Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the Algemeiner, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Independent Journal Review, American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, Jewish Press, J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and many others.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Further Thoughts On Psychology Today's "9/11 Effect" Article

Last week, I posted an item about a Psychology Today article titled "The Ideological Animal" (now fully available at the website). The article purports to explain what motivates those of us who made the post-9/11 shift from left to right and it uses my story, as well as the discussion group I started, the 9/11 Neocons, as an example.

As I indicated at the time, I have no serious complaints about the article's take on me, which I found to be generally fair. Mostly, I objected to the inaccurate use of the term "pro-war rallies" to describe my days as a counter-protester at leftist rallies. By doing so, the author, Jay Dixit, missed an opportunity to shed light on the sort of negative behavior exhibited by the left (anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism) that helped solidify my political transformation.

I also expressed some doubts as to the objectivity of the conclusions reached in the article that I now wish to elaborate on. In short, like most psychological studies and articles examining political persuasion, conservatives are made out to be the bad guys, while liberals come off as enlightened beings. This may be because, nine times out of ten, such "studies" are conducted by liberals and are biased from the start.

Indeed, the Psychology Today article makes use of one particular 1969 study, that of leftist U.C. Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block, which has been roundly debunked in the rightwing blogosphere. Michelle Malkin and The Volokh Conspiracy provide a sampling of the criticism and it isn't pretty.

My own anonymous tipster actually knew some of the people engaged in conducting the Berkeley study and describes them as "flaming Berkeley multi-culti liberal moonbat types who set out to prove from the get-go that conservatives were inferior." So much for scientific objectivity.

The Psychology Today article's central thesis, that the move towards conservativism is based on fear of death, is questionable at best. When a true threat to one's self, family, community, country and civilization exists (i.e. Islamic fascism) and he or she responds by wanting to fight that threat, I'd call that engaging with reality, not simple fear of death. And isn't the instinct for self-preservation based on a fear of death? It would seem that those who think themselves and their civilization invulnerable are the the delusional ones, not those who understand human nature and mortality and act accordingly.

Finally, the article's closing paragraph indicating that if one is simply encouraged to "think rationally" none of this political shifting (presumably to the right) would be required, is not only silly, but insulting. It was just such rational thinking that led me to reject the left and embrace those (most of whom, it turned out, were on the right) that fully understood the dangers of Islamic fascism. If it's irrational to want to fight against the great totalitarian threat of our day, then count me in.

Other conservative-leaning bloggers have weighed in on the "9/11 Effect" article and reached similar conclusions. Red State Kids provides a hilarious (and accurate) take on my story in "Want Conservative Minded Kids? Then Scare Them to Death." Radio Nerd discusses "Why Conservatives are the True Bedwetters" and Yave Begnet isn't sure he's fully on board for the "Fear of Death" thesis. I'll add more links as I find them.

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

America's Border War

Speaking of illegal immigration (see post below), my new column is up at

America's Border War

Read it and weep.

Column Included In "Opposing Viewpoints" Textbook on Illegal Immigration

An SFGate column I wrote in 2005 on the then new Minuteman Project and the larger issue of illegal immigration, "Return of the Minutemen," has been included in a textbook on illegal immigration. Titled "Opposing Viewpoints: Illegal Immigration," the textbook is part of Thomson Gale's Opposing Viewpoints Series and it will be used in Grade 7 and up.

Students will be well served by the variety of viewpoints included in this textbook and the overall presentation, which encourages critical thinking instead of blind acceptance. I'm certainly happy to have done my bit to help educate future generations on this crucial topic.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Iraq War Veteran To Peaceniks: Stop Using U.S. Military Casualties for Political Purposes!

More words of wisdom from Scotty, the 24-year-old United States Marine Corpsman, wounded Iraq War veteran and honored member of my online discussion group, the 9/11 Neocons.

Last time I quoted Scotty, it was in response to San Francisco's anti-military values and this time, it's his response to the anti-war movement's cynical use of U.S. military casualties for their own political purposes. In particular, the candlelight vigils that were held recently to mark the 3000 casualties in Iraq thus far:

As everyone knows by now, 3000 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the war began. Now I'm not using that as some sort of milestone for a protest like some are planning for today. Instead, I wanted to point out the continued commitment of the U.S Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine.

After almost 4 years of war and 3000 deaths, the military keeps meeting and exceeding its goals for new service members. The detractors say that this is in large part due to what they call the "poverty draft," which, in my experience, is for the most part a myth. Even if it was true that someone joined the military because of his or her economic situation, the thought that somehow that is a bad thing is just downright anti-military.

In the end, we have no draft and everyone in the military is a volunteer. So unless these new members of our armed forces and current members have been living under a rock since 9/11, then they know the risks.

So my message to the protesters that hit the streets today is this: Stop using American soldier K.I.A numbers on your stupid banners and propaganda. You really don't care about our fallen soldiers, it's just a number to you that you can use to rail against this country.
I couldn't have said it better myself.