Thursday, May 6, 2010

Allan Cooper

Allan Cooper, FAIA, is a retired professor of Architecture at Cal Poly, and has served as Director and Associate Dean of the department. He is the recipient of a multitude of professional and teaching awards, including the AIA Presidential Citation (awarded four times) and the AIACCC Award of Merit for design of the Cooper Residence. Allan has given many years of service to the community of San Luis Obispo, serving on the boards of various local organizations, including the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission and the San Luis Obispo Arts Council. He is the current president of Obispo Beautiful.

Allan is currently reading Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine - The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," which inspired his rant contribution :

In 1967 Senator Everett Dirksen, a Republican Senator from Illinois, summarized the two basic principals then guiding the Republican party:
1) Conserve assets (i.e., through balancing budgets) and conserve values (primarily 20th century Christian values);
2) Oppose incursions of the government through rule of law into the liberties of the American people (i.e., regulation of so-called "free market" forces, regulation of guns, redistribution of wealth, etc.).

Naomi Klein's thought-provoking book "The Shock Doctrine" carefully documents how the University of Chicago School of Economics under Milton Friedman's leadership managed to impose these values (through clandestine CIA and corporate intervention) on developing third world nations that had been leaning toward socialism and democracy. The net result were quasi-fascist kleptocracies, the dissolution of all social welfare programs (including unions) and the elimination of trade barriers (which benefited multi-national - mostly U.S. - corporations). As Tom Neuhaus so eloquently stated in his April 29th Tribune Letter to the Editor: "The rise of fascism is often preceded by populist anger, fueling the success of the future dictator and founded on the repetition of stereotypes." The most effective strategy is to stereotype liberals or progressives as Socialists, Marxists or Communists (or, in some cases, even as "terrorists"). A study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence. In the current study, Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals. To be fair to all of those "conservative" readers out there, there are many exceptions to these findings and all of us share the following values: Emphasis on tolerance; Concern for the collective good; Moral and religious values; Trust in authority, and; Self interest. But the first two values appear to be the hallmark of liberals and the last three are the hallmark of conservatives.

If this contribution has piqued your interest, feel free to build on it: Post your own version of the story's continuation here in comments, on Twitter, on Flickr, or text us at (805) 628-2283. You can also wait for the May 15th SLO event and type it all on a real live typewriter.

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