[From Brian D'Agostino (951004.1830)]
This respond's to Tom's (950929.1340) critique of my article,
posted by Rick (951002.0800).
Tom wrote: You did say that some individuals did not match the
representative scores for your groups, but you went ahead and
talked about group statistics as though they might apply to all
members of the groups.
Reply: I am well aware of the distinction between individuals and
group averages. Although this distinction can be very important
for some purposes and in some contexts, it was not important for my
purposes, and so I did not make a point of maintaining the
distinction in my article. As I mentioned in my posting of
950930.0610, I am not interested in individuals _as such_, but only
in individuals inasmuch as some of their attitudes, beliefs, and
behaviors support or oppose wars, war preparations, and war as an
institution. The relevant methodology for this kind of inquiry is
what Max Weber called "ideal types," which is the methodology I
chose. For my purposes, the endless variations by which
individuals deviate from the "hawk" or "dove" belief systems are
completely irrelevant; the only thing relevant is the ideal type
As for the personality Q-sort, I was only interested in whether
there are any personality phenomena associated with the hawk/dove
belief typology, and if so, what these personality correlates of
militarism are. There may be a better statistical way to explore
this question than the particular approach I used, and I'd be happy
to hear one.
Tom: You ended up with too few females to satisfy the conditions
that would allow you to generalize from your sample to the larger
"policy elites" and "attentive publics," but you went ahead and
talked about possible generalizations.
Reply: The reliability of generalizations is a matter of degree.
You make it sound like I accomodated to the low scientific
standards of the mainstream, while in reality I set a more rigorous
standard for generalizing than either the mainstream or the CSG.
In the mainstream, findings that are statistically significant at
P < .05 are routinely reported; all the findings from my female
sample (n=85) that I cautioned the reader about were significant at
P < .01. The proposal expressed on CSGnet that survey research and
statistics be jettisoned altogether in favor of in-depth interviews
would involve abandoning measurement altogether and instead
generalizing about militarism on the basis of qualitative
observations of unknown typicality.
Tom: I wonder why you treated the data for females and males so
Reply: I applied the same criterion to both data sets, namely,
militarism correlates significant at P < .01, which yielded six
self variables for the females and 18 for the males. I noted the
statistical significance of the male correlates in the technical
appendix, but I should have also included this information in Table
II. I provided more of an analysis of the male data than the
female, both because such analysis would be more robust on the
basis of the larger male sample and because the male data were of
more theoretical interest in understanding the institution of war.
(It is overwhelmingly males who allocate a society's resources to
war and war preparations, and who are responsible for military
Tom: Whether or not PCT exists, these correlations are weak and any
science built on them must be flawed, especially if the scientists
purport to explain the behavior of individual people. It is not
your fault that most behavioral science is built on "facts" that
are fatally flawed.
Reply: Before responding to this, I need to think further about the
excellent discussion of this topic on CSGnet by Bruce Abbott and
Tom: You rely heavily on a mainstream strategy in which writers
portray certain behaviors they do not like as "psychopathological,"
and people who encourage those "behaviors" are said to use
"propaganda." Hence, "militarism = psychopathology," there is a
"problem of militarism," and there is "militaristic propaganda."
Reply: This is not an accurate characterization of any "mainstream"
I know of. The word "propaganda" in the U.S. has been used almost
exclusively to label the public relations activities of communists
or other leftists. Since when do good red-blooded, flag waving
Americans call press releases from weapons contractors and the
Pentagon "propaganda?" I think the word should be applied to _all_
public relations, whatever its political bias; it is the
"mainstream" that uses it only to discredit ideas they disagree
As for "psychopathology," the concept has been relegated to
clinical circles, where it has come to have a purely privatized
meaning, something like "having trouble adapting to the world."
For example, if a man goes berserk and kills another man, the
killer (if convicted) will be incarcerated and/or
institutionalized, and all the clinicians would agree he is not
well. However, if an entire nation goes berserk and kills hundreds
of thousands of men, most mainstream clinicians would not call that
psychopathology. They would call it war, or better yet, "defense."
So for me to suggest that war and war preparations have a
pathological dimension is heresy with a vengeance.
Tom: A male who controls for a perception of "not feminine" evinces
"male gender insecurity." Psychopathy is rampant!
Reply: This is not what I said. On pages 280-281, I noted that a
male raised from birth by a male and then programmed by society to
be "not feminine" would experience no gender insecurity. However,
most of us are raised from birth by a female, deeply identify with
her, and are therefore naturally feminine or "effeminate" in
infancy or early childhood. Then society programs the boys to be
"not feminine," forcing them to negate and repress their early
identification with the mother. But this "feminine" part of the
male is nothing less than the foundation of his psyche and self
system, and it cannot be eradicated. It therefore continually
impinges on his self perception, generating chronic conflict with
his socially programmed reference perception for "not feminine."
What I said is that this _conflict_ between reference perception
and perception, not the reference perception by itself, constitutes
"male gender insecurity." Meanwhile, it is no wonder that males
periodically go berserk.
Tom: I usually try to avoid that misconception altogether [that PCT
is about "being in control of yourself and your actions"] by not
saying PCT is about self-regulation.
Reply: I see the problem, but there is another misconception that
people get if we just use the word "control," namely, that it has
something to do with "controlling" or dominating others. I used
"self-regulating" to counteract _this_ stereotype. Does anyone
know how to do that without contributing to the "self-control"
Tom: On page 269, in your description of the Q-set, you say the
procedure is one in which each item is a potential disturbance to
a controlled self-perception. Fine. As a suggestion about how to
use the Q-set in a study that is more clearly PCT-ish than yours,
you could work with participants, one at a time, and follow up on
their original sorting of the items. You could tell them the
sorting was "wrong", or that you think some of the items they said
were important should be in another place that indicates
unimportance, or you could present an alternative sorting and ask
the person to "make it right," and so on. Procedures like those
would let you test more directly for controlled perceptions.
Reply: These sound like potentially fruitful ideas for my
interviews, and I will need to give them more careful thought.
Tom: On page 278, you describe some thought experiments in which
you discuss the different "effects of" a given perception on three
individuals, with three different reference levels for the
perception. This is a good topic, and I can imagine your treatment
of it might be novel in the literature of political science. I
would describe the situation a little differently than you, given
my quirky aversion to speaking about perceptions as things that
affect people -- that's a little too Cause-Effect-like for my
Reply: Thanks for picking up on this, and recognizing my apparent
originality on this point. If your time permits I would love to
hear your alternative formulation of how to say the same thing
without using the discourse of cause and effect.
Tom: The distinction between the roles of the thermostat and the
output devices is not clear, hence, it isn't totally clear which
element(s) you have in mind when you say, "the system controls room
Reply: Aren't the thermostat and output devices parts of a single
control system, which as a whole controls room temperature? (or
controls its perception of room temperature, to be more precise).
Tom: In the role of reference perceptions, preferences would guide
(specify) perceptions, not behaviors, which would necessarily vary
in order to maintain perception at the reference value.
Reply: This question was raised previously by Rick and Bill; I will
summarize my reply, and add a new point. I believe the political
phenomenon I am examining has some special control system
characteristics. An individual has negligible control over his or
her country's level of military power, but may nevertheless want to
"do his part" to influence it. Chronic dissatisfaction with public
policy drives a more constant behavioral output than in the normal
case of successful control. Meanwhile, doves and hawks are
motivated to persist in the face of dissatisfaction by higher level
reference perceptions such as "idealism" or "machismo."
Another point, which I have not previously made on CSGnet, is that
"doing one's part" to influence policy typically involves
"behaviors" that do not fit the PCT model very well. For example,
people vote when elections are scheduled, not when something
disturbs a controlled perception. A person who is generally
dissatisfied with some public policy may complain in writing to her
senator, even though writing the letter does not correct a specific
disturbance of a controlled perception. Do you have any idea how
to relate such behavioral phenomena to PCT?
Tom: I think your example [of gender insecurity in Figure 1 and pp.
280-81] might be represented better by a system with _two_
high-level reference signals, and two high-level control systems,
one for "don't be feminine," and the other for whatever you mean
by, "be identified with mother." That way, you would have pure
Reply: This is an interesting idea, and I will have to give it more
thought. At first glance, however, I don't see the advantages. Am
I not already modeling internal conflict in Figure 1, and in a more
elegant way than you are suggesting? What do you mean by _pure_
In conclusion, thanks very much for doing such a careful and
thoughtful reading of my paper and for making such detailed
replies, especially with so many other demands on your time. If
your time permits, I would be most interested in your thoughts
about competing theories of memory in view of the
neurophysiological evidence and your thoughts on Stanley Palombo's
information processing theory of dreaming and memory, as per our