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 Post subject: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:04 pm 
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Interesting essay version of Johnathan Haidt's Wristen Lecture here.

Quote long but some interesting insights and ways to think about the political and cultural turbulence in the US. Well worth a read.

https://www.city-journal.org/html/age-o ... 15608.html

I'll just pull out a couple of points that I found interesting.

1. The notion of the 'fine-tuned liberal democracy' constructed to mitigate the bad bits that arise from natural human tribalism. This is the setup for the whole essay. He writes:

Quote:
When we look back at the ways our ancestors lived, there’s no getting around it: we are tribal primates. We are exquisitely designed and adapted by evolution for life in small societies with intense, animistic religion and violent intergroup conflict over territory. We love tribal living so much that we invented sports, fraternities, street gangs, fan clubs, and tattoos. Tribalism is in our hearts and minds. We’ll never stamp it out entirely, but we can minimize its effects because we are a behaviorally flexible species. We can live in many different ways, from egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups of 50 individuals to feudal hierarchies binding together millions. And in the last two centuries, a lot of us have lived in large, multi-ethnic secular liberal democracies. So clearly that is possible. But how much margin of error do we have in such societies?

Here is the fine-tuned liberal democracy hypothesis: as tribal primates, human beings are unsuited for life in large, diverse secular democracies, unless you get certain settings finely adjusted to make possible the development of stable political life. This seems to be what the Founding Fathers believed. Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of those eighteenth-century deists clearly did think that designing a constitution was like designing a giant clock, a clock that might run forever if they chose the right springs and gears.


So this is the old in-group preference, which operates along multiple axes: political, economic, cultural, ethnic, linguistic etc. The old story about the US is that alongside the structural mitigations designed to balance out power (e.g. the constitution) there are a suite of other features intended to mitigate other sorts of difference such as the allegiance to the flag, the national narrative about being the and of opportunity etc.

2. The idea that in addition establishing the fine-balanced liberal democracy the Founding Fathers also sought to train new generation of mechanics to maintain the mechanisms, by which he means the education system and particularly a liberal arts education.

Quote:
So, how are we doing, as the inheritors of the clock? Are we maintaining it well? If Madison visited Washington, D.C. today, he’d find that our government is divided into two all-consuming factions, which cut right down the middle of each of the three branches, uniting the three red half-branches against the three blue half-branches, with no branch serving the original function as he had envisioned.

And how are we doing at training clock mechanics? What would Jefferson say if he were to take a tour of America’s most prestigious universities in 2017? What would he think about safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, bias response teams, and the climate of fearfulness, intimidation, and conflict that is now so prevalent on campus? But first, let’s ask: How did we mess things up so badly?


3. The recent trend to polarization, which he has been studying since 2007. He uses the notions of centripital and centrifugal forces to describe different forces that strengthen or weaken cohesiveness. He lists out 5:

Quote:
External enemies: Fighting and winning two world wars, followed by the Cold War, had an enormous unifying effect. The Vietnam War was different, but in general, war is the strongest known centripetal force. Since 1989, we have had no unifying common enemy.

The media: Newspapers in the early days of the republic were partisan and often quite nasty. But with the advent of television in the mid-twentieth century, America experienced something unusual: the media was a gigantic centripetal force. Americans got much of their news from three television networks, which were regulated and required to show political balance. That couldn’t last, and it began to change in the 1980s with the advent of cable TV and narrowcasting, followed by the Internet in the 1990s, and social media in the 2000s. Now we are drowning in outrage stories, very high-quality outrage stories, often supported by horrifying video clips. Social media is turning out to be a gigantic centrifugal force.

Immigration and diversity: This one is complicated and politically fraught. Let me be clear that I think immigration and diversity are good things, overall. The economists seem to agree that immigration brings large economic benefits. The complete dominance of America in Nobel prizes, music, and the arts, and now the technology sector, would not have happened if we had not been open to immigrants. But as a social psychologist, I must point out that immigration and diversity have many sociological effects, some of which are negative. The main one is that they reduce social capital—the bonds of trust that exist between individuals. The political scientist Robert Putnam found this in a paper titled “E Pluribus Unum,” in which he followed his data to a conclusion he clearly did not relish: “In the short run, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighborhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down.’ Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.”

In short, despite its other benefits, diversity is a centrifugal force, something the Founders were well aware of. In Federalist 2, John Jay wrote that we should count it as a blessing that America possessed “one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, the same language, professing the same religion.” I repeat that diversity has many good effects too, and I am grateful that America took in my grandparents from Russia and Poland, and my wife’s parents from Korea. But Putnam’s findings make it clear that those who want more diversity should be even more attentive to strengthening centripetal forces.

The final two causes I will mention are likely to arouse the most disagreement, because these are the two where I blame specific parties, specific sides. They are: the Republicans in Washington, and the Left on campus. Both have strengthened the centrifugal forces that are now tearing us apart.

The more radical Republican Party: When the Democrats ran the House of Representatives for almost all of six decades, before 1995, they did not treat the Republican minority particularly well. So I can understand Newt Gingrich’s desire for revenge when he took over as Speaker of the House in 1995. But many of the changes he made polarized the Congress, made bipartisan cooperation more difficult, and took us into a new era of outrage and conflict in Washington. One change stands out to me, speaking as a social psychologist: he changed the legislative calendar so that all business was done Tuesday through Thursday, and he encouraged his incoming freshmen not to move to the District. He did not want them to develop personal friendships with Democrats. He did not want their spouses to serve on the same charitable boards. But personal relationships among legislators and their families in Washington had long been a massive centripetal force. Gingrich deliberately weakened it.

And this all happened along with the rise of Fox News. Many political scientists have noted that Fox News and the right-wing media ecosystem had an effect on the Republican Party that is unlike anything that happened on the left. It rewards more extreme statements, more grandstanding, more outrage. Many people will point out that the media leans left overall, and that the Democrats did some polarizing things, too. Fair enough. But it is clear that Gingrich set out to create a more partisan, zero-sum Congress, and he succeeded. This more combative culture then filtered up to the Senate, and out to the rest of the Republican Party.

The new identity politics of the Left: Jonathan Rauch offers a simple definition of identity politics: a “political mobilization organized around group characteristics such as race, gender, and sexuality, as opposed to party, ideology, or pecuniary interest.” Rauch then adds: “In America, this sort of mobilization is not new, unusual, un­American, illegitimate, nefarious, or particularly left­wing.” This definition makes it easy for us to identify two kinds of identity politics: the good kind is that which, in the long run, is a centripetal force. The bad kind is that which, in the long run, is a centrifugal force.


4. He circles back to link points 2 and 3 to say that the US is no longer training new mechanics to maintain the finely tuned system. Through the focus on intersectionality and the reduction of all analysis to issues of power he believes that the training is now on how to divide. It is training in tribalism not against it.

There is a lot in there to consider. In particular I think he is underestimating the impact of immigration on the real or imagined lives of citizens. I say 'imagined' in reference to Benedict Anderson's notion of the Imagined Community:

Quote:
Anderson is best known for his 1983 book, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, in which he examined how nationalism led to the creation of nations, or as the title puts it, imagined communities. In this case, an "imagined community" does not mean that a national community is fake, but rather refers to Anderson's belief that any community so large that its members do not know each another on a face-to-face basis must be imagined to some degree.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedict_ ... ommunities

The point being that in the absence of personal relationships the community relies on an imagined cohesiveness. But if that imagining starts to break down then so must the cohesiveness. Haidt acknowledges this (a repeat from above)

Quote:
immigration and diversity have many sociological effects, some of which are negative. The main one is that they reduce social capital—the bonds of trust that exist between individuals. The political scientist Robert Putnam found this in a paper titled “E Pluribus Unum,” in which he followed his data to a conclusion he clearly did not relish: “In the short run, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighborhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down.’ Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.”


Anyway, looking through Haidt's list it is very hard to see where a rapprochement will come from. They are all so intertwined.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:31 pm 
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The period between Christmas and New Year can get a tad boring but FFS Santa you need to get out a bit more.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:40 pm 
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Scrummie wrote:
The period between Christmas and New Year can get a tad boring but FFS Santa you need to get out a bit more.


:lol:

But it does bring out some daisy cutting posters. :thumbup:


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:46 pm 
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America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:47 pm 
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usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Zico wrote:
Scrummie wrote:
The period between Christmas and New Year can get a tad boring but FFS Santa you need to get out a bit more.


:lol:

But it does bring out some daisy cutting posters. :thumbup:



I think its going to be a great day on PR ... just look whose already active this morning ... Santa, Anon, Top Troll (TT), Dumpster Diver and many more ... :lol: :lol: :lol:

You would still miss Seneca but he'll be back ... bless him ... :D


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:52 pm 
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Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:55 pm 
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Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


I would imagine that too but wanted him to confirm. Does that problem apply to all countries that practised slavery or just America?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Santa wrote:
Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


I would imagine that too but wanted him to confirm. Does that problem apply to all countries that practised slavery or just America?


Think the difference is that no other country at the time proclaimed that all men are created equal, legitimised the institution of slavery and even said slaves counted as 3/5s of a free person for state voting purposes, all in the same document. Then regarded its authors as demi-gods ever since.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:05 pm 
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Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


I would imagine that too but wanted him to confirm. Does that problem apply to all countries that practised slavery or just America?


Think the difference is that no other country at the time proclaimed that all men are created equal, legitimised the institution of slavery and even said slaves counted as 3/5s of a free person for state voting purposes, all in the same document. Then regarded its authors as demi-gods ever since.


Well I'm not sure that that's worse than what others got up to.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:07 pm 
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Which would be a useful point if usermame had claimed that it was worse


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:11 pm 
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Chuckles1188 wrote:
Which would be a useful point if usermame had claimed that it was worse


If you read back through the chain, Chuckles, you would see that participants in the conversation shifted. My comment was not therefore addressed to usermame.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:21 pm 
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Santa wrote:
Chuckles1188 wrote:
Which would be a useful point if usermame had claimed that it was worse


If you read back through the chain, Chuckles, you would see that participants in the conversation shifted. My comment was not therefore addressed to usermame.


:?

Santa wrote:
Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


I would imagine that too but wanted him to confirm. Does that problem apply to all countries that practised slavery or just America?


Your comment was still very much in reference to the point usermame was making. Jim was just standing in for him, the conversation hadn't gone in a different direction


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:02 am 
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Yeah, slavery, and its extension through Jim Crow. Legislated distrust from the beginning, for, I think, the majority of the nation's history.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:08 am 
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NZ's apologies to Chinese and Samoans for prior treatment have powerful symbolic meaning in the creation and maintenance of national trust. The US has yet to have a conversation with itself about parts of its history.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:15 am 
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Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
Jim Lahey wrote:
Santa wrote:
usermame wrote:
America's birth defect destroyed national trust right from the start.


What do you mean?


Slavery I'd imagine.


I would imagine that too but wanted him to confirm. Does that problem apply to all countries that practised slavery or just America?


Think the difference is that no other country at the time proclaimed that all men are created equal, legitimised the institution of slavery and even said slaves counted as 3/5s of a free person for state voting purposes, all in the same document. Then regarded its authors as demi-gods ever since.


Did Napoleonic France abolish "Liberty, equality, fraternity" when it re-established slavery?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:49 am 
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Haidt is a voice in the wilderness, one of a handful of moderate communicators in a sea of frothing madness. Interesting to hear his use of the centrifuge as a metaphor for society, something I've been pushing for years (after Bakhtin). Unfortunately, I also see the pendulum as a useful political metaphor, and since moderate voices are largely the ones being silenced (the extremes on both sides are being promoted, including the fascist boogeyman, which has been massively inflated, but will gain momentum from having been promted as the boogeyman by the media), there will be little resistance in the middle when the pendulum starts to swing back, which it has. There is no indication that any of the protagonists are willing to move towards compromise, in fact quite the opposite. Despite people like Haidt, the current divide will end in tears and worse, IMO, because the moderates (with the exception of people like Haidt) have been cowards. The only way people will come back together is through some form of cataclysmic event, which may not bring people together at all, especially if moderates continue their cowardice, but will be the spark for more generalized violence. That is when the state will step in to keep the peace, with the full force of a permanent police state. I can't help but think, given the obviousness of the divisiveness of the current narratives, that it's deliberate.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:07 am 
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Mick Mannock wrote:
Did Napoleonic France abolish "Liberty, equality, fraternity" when it re-established slavery?

Obviously, yes. How could it not?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:10 am 
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pontifex wrote:
Haidt is a voice in the wilderness, one of a handful of moderate communicators in a sea of frothing madness. Interesting to hear his use of the centrifuge as a metaphor for society, something I've been pushing for years (after Bakhtin). Unfortunately, I also see the pendulum as a useful political metaphor, and since moderate voices are largely the ones being silenced (the extremes on both sides are being promoted, including the fascist boogeyman, which has been massively inflated, but will gain momentum from having been promted as the boogeyman by the media), there will be little resistance in the middle when the pendulum starts to swing back, which it has. There is no indication that any of the protagonists are willing to move towards compromise, in fact quite the opposite. Despite people like Haidt, the current divide will end in tears and worse, IMO, because the moderates (with the exception of people like Haidt) have been cowards. The only way people will come back together is through some form of cataclysmic event, which may not bring people together at all, especially if moderates continue their cowardice, but will be the spark for more generalized violence. That is when the state will step in to keep the peace, with the full force of a permanent police state. I can't help but think, given the obviousness of the divisiveness of the current narratives, that it's deliberate.


Interesting post.

I'm not sure that the moderates are cowards as such, they are just keeping their head down and getting on with life making innumerable compromises in their daily milieu in order to get along with their neighbors. Moderates are by inclination modest people who aren't looking to force their views on others and they are the type of personalities that are doers rather than blusterers.

On that note, in my opinion the perception of the increase in polarization is not really true, its built not on real life interactions but what is portrayed in the media and in social media where the blusterers hold sway. Internet trolls, bipartisan politicians and terrorists for instance have a disproportionate influence on shaping peoples opinions. As a case in point PR posters perceptions of <insert nationality here> are probably influenced more by the small handful of prolific and outspoken posters of said country than by the dozens of mostly anonymous rank and file moderates who post nothing particularly controversial and who are on the whole agreeable.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:21 am 
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Smee wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Haidt is a voice in the wilderness, one of a handful of moderate communicators in a sea of frothing madness. Interesting to hear his use of the centrifuge as a metaphor for society, something I've been pushing for years (after Bakhtin). Unfortunately, I also see the pendulum as a useful political metaphor, and since moderate voices are largely the ones being silenced (the extremes on both sides are being promoted, including the fascist boogeyman, which has been massively inflated, but will gain momentum from having been promted as the boogeyman by the media), there will be little resistance in the middle when the pendulum starts to swing back, which it has. There is no indication that any of the protagonists are willing to move towards compromise, in fact quite the opposite. Despite people like Haidt, the current divide will end in tears and worse, IMO, because the moderates (with the exception of people like Haidt) have been cowards. The only way people will come back together is through some form of cataclysmic event, which may not bring people together at all, especially if moderates continue their cowardice, but will be the spark for more generalized violence. That is when the state will step in to keep the peace, with the full force of a permanent police state. I can't help but think, given the obviousness of the divisiveness of the current narratives, that it's deliberate.


Interesting post.

I'm not sure that the moderates are cowards as such, they are just keeping their head down and getting on with life making innumerable compromises in their daily milieu in order to get along with their neighbors. Moderates are by inclination modest people who aren't looking to force their views on others and they are the type of personalities that are doers rather than blusterers.

On that note, in my opinion the perception of the increase in polarization is not really true, its built not on real life interactions but what is portrayed in the media and in social media where the blusterers hold sway. Internet trolls, bipartisan politicians and terrorists for instance have a disproportionate influence on shaping peoples opinions. As a case in point PR posters perceptions of <insert nationality here> are probably influenced more by the small handful of prolific and outspoken posters of said country than by the dozens of mostly anonymous rank and file moderates who post nothing particularly controversial and who are on the whole agreeable.


Smee, check out this article. It gives some good indicators of growing polarisation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... be69fb04da

In particular

Quote:
Before the 1980s, if you knew which party an American voted for, you couldn’t predict very well whether the person held liberal or conservative views. This chart shows the degree to which identification with a party correlates with a person’s self-placement on the liberal-conservative spectrum. If there were no relationship, the “correlation coefficient” would be zero. If there were a perfect relationship, it would be 1. In 1972, it was 0.32, but it has nearly doubled since then, to 0.62 in 2012, which is considered strong.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:57 am 
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Just following some links from that article here is an interesting piece of work.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 668.x/full

Quote:
Although skeptics continue to doubt that most people are “ideological,” evidence suggests that meaningful left-right differences do exist and that they may be rooted in basic personality dispositions, that is, relatively stable individual differences in psychological needs, motives, and orientations toward the world. Seventy-five years of theory and research on personality and political orientation has produced a long list of dispositions, traits, and behaviors. Applying a theory of ideology as motivated social cognition and a “Big Five” framework, we find that two traits, Openness to New Experiences and Conscientiousness, parsimoniously capture many of the ways in which individual differences underlying political orientation have been conceptualized. In three studies we investigate the relationship between personality and political orientation using multiple domains and measurement techniques, including: self-reported personality assessment; nonverbal behavior in the context of social interaction; and personal possessions and the characteristics of living and working spaces. We obtained consistent and converging evidence that personality differences between liberals and conservatives are robust, replicable, and behaviorally significant, especially with respect to social (vs. economic) dimensions of ideology. In general, liberals are more open-minded, creative, curious, and novelty seeking, whereas conservatives are more orderly, conventional, and better organized.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:57 am 
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And a review of Johnathan Haidt's key work - The Righteous Mind.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books ... haidt.html

Quote:
You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong.

This isn’t an accusation from the right. It’s a friendly warning from Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal.


Quote:
To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided.


Quote:
The hardest part, Haidt finds, is getting liberals to open their minds. Anecdotally, he reports that when he talks about authority, loyalty and sanctity, many people in the audience spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia. And in a survey of 2,000 Americans, Haidt found that self-described liberals, especially those who called themselves “very liberal,” were worse at predicting the moral judgments of moderates and conservatives than moderates and conservatives were at predicting the moral judgments of liberals. Liberals don’t understand conservative values. And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:18 am 
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He appears to be stuck in the old liberal/conservative dichotomy that America is obsessed with.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:20 am 
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Duff Paddy wrote:
He appears to be stuck in the old liberal/conservative dichotomy that America is obsessed with.


If you look at the WaPo polarisation article you'll see that it's a bit more nuanced than that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:22 am 
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Santa wrote:
And a review of Johnathan Haidt's key work - The Righteous Mind.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books ... haidt.html

Quote:
You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong.

This isn’t an accusation from the right. It’s a friendly warning from Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal.


Quote:
To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided.


Quote:
The hardest part, Haidt finds, is getting liberals to open their minds. Anecdotally, he reports that when he talks about authority, loyalty and sanctity, many people in the audience spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia. And in a survey of 2,000 Americans, Haidt found that self-described liberals, especially those who called themselves “very liberal,” were worse at predicting the moral judgments of moderates and conservatives than moderates and conservatives were at predicting the moral judgments of liberals. Liberals don’t understand conservative values. And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment.

That's completely bang on. :nod:


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:47 pm 
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Smee wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Haidt is a voice in the wilderness, one of a handful of moderate communicators in a sea of frothing madness. Interesting to hear his use of the centrifuge as a metaphor for society, something I've been pushing for years (after Bakhtin). Unfortunately, I also see the pendulum as a useful political metaphor, and since moderate voices are largely the ones being silenced (the extremes on both sides are being promoted, including the fascist boogeyman, which has been massively inflated, but will gain momentum from having been promted as the boogeyman by the media), there will be little resistance in the middle when the pendulum starts to swing back, which it has. There is no indication that any of the protagonists are willing to move towards compromise, in fact quite the opposite. Despite people like Haidt, the current divide will end in tears and worse, IMO, because the moderates (with the exception of people like Haidt) have been cowards. The only way people will come back together is through some form of cataclysmic event, which may not bring people together at all, especially if moderates continue their cowardice, but will be the spark for more generalized violence. That is when the state will step in to keep the peace, with the full force of a permanent police state. I can't help but think, given the obviousness of the divisiveness of the current narratives, that it's deliberate.


Interesting post.

I'm not sure that the moderates are cowards as such, they are just keeping their head down and getting on with life making innumerable compromises in their daily milieu in order to get along with their neighbors. Moderates are by inclination modest people who aren't looking to force their views on others and they are the type of personalities that are doers rather than blusterers.

On that note, in my opinion the perception of the increase in polarization is not really true, its built not on real life interactions but what is portrayed in the media and in social media where the blusterers hold sway. Internet trolls, bipartisan politicians and terrorists for instance have a disproportionate influence on shaping peoples opinions. As a case in point PR posters perceptions of <insert nationality here> are probably influenced more by the small handful of prolific and outspoken posters of said country than by the dozens of mostly anonymous rank and file moderates who post nothing particularly controversial and who are on the whole agreeable.


I think you mean partisan politicians. Bipartisan politicians are a good thing.

However, I'm not sure your comments are accurate - from memory just about every way of measuring this sort of thing does suggest polarisation has increased. And in US politics in particular it absolutely has by a long way (e.g. http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/05/ ... ven-wider/ )


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:50 pm 
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Quote:
And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment
.
Question to the experts: Is this a specific personality trait?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Bokkom wrote:
Quote:
And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment
.
Question to the experts: Is this a specific personality trait?


What do you think open mindedness means


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:07 pm 
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Bokkom wrote:
Quote:
And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment
.
Question to the experts: Is this a specific personality trait?


Why not read the article?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:08 pm 
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Bokkom wrote:
Quote:
And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment
.
Question to the experts: Is this a specific personality trait?


Everyone but me wrote:
For everyone but me


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:38 pm 
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JM2K6 wrote:
However, I'm not sure your comments are accurate - from memory just about every way of measuring this sort of thing does suggest polarisation has increased. And in US politics in particular it absolutely has by a long way (e.g. http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/05/ ... ven-wider/ )

Increased from, oh, 1864 say?


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:57 pm 
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usermame wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:
However, I'm not sure your comments are accurate - from memory just about every way of measuring this sort of thing does suggest polarisation has increased. And in US politics in particular it absolutely has by a long way (e.g. http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/05/ ... ven-wider/ )

Increased from, oh, 1864 say?


I suspect that you're taking too broad an approach to this.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:21 pm 
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Santa wrote:
Bokkom wrote:
Quote:
And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment
.
Question to the experts: Is this a specific personality trait?


Why not read the article?

Great article. I shall order the book.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:27 pm 
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I like Haidt's work. Currently reading The Righteous Mind and it makes some excellent points about things like political tribes' understanding of others' beliefs. I strongly recommend it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:37 pm 
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Chuckles1188 wrote:
I like Haidt's work. Currently reading The Righteous Mind and it makes some excellent points about things like political tribes' understanding of others' beliefs. I strongly recommend it.

That is the book Santa gave a link to


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:43 pm 
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Smee wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Haidt is a voice in the wilderness, one of a handful of moderate communicators in a sea of frothing madness. Interesting to hear his use of the centrifuge as a metaphor for society, something I've been pushing for years (after Bakhtin). Unfortunately, I also see the pendulum as a useful political metaphor, and since moderate voices are largely the ones being silenced (the extremes on both sides are being promoted, including the fascist boogeyman, which has been massively inflated, but will gain momentum from having been promted as the boogeyman by the media), there will be little resistance in the middle when the pendulum starts to swing back, which it has. There is no indication that any of the protagonists are willing to move towards compromise, in fact quite the opposite. Despite people like Haidt, the current divide will end in tears and worse, IMO, because the moderates (with the exception of people like Haidt) have been cowards. The only way people will come back together is through some form of cataclysmic event, which may not bring people together at all, especially if moderates continue their cowardice, but will be the spark for more generalized violence. That is when the state will step in to keep the peace, with the full force of a permanent police state. I can't help but think, given the obviousness of the divisiveness of the current narratives, that it's deliberate.


Interesting post.

I'm not sure that the moderates are cowards as such, they are just keeping their head down and getting on with life making innumerable compromises in their daily milieu in order to get along with their neighbors. Moderates are by inclination modest people who aren't looking to force their views on others and they are the type of personalities that are doers rather than blusterers.

On that note, in my opinion the perception of the increase in polarization is not really true, its built not on real life interactions but what is portrayed in the media and in social media where the blusterers hold sway. Internet trolls, bipartisan politicians and terrorists for instance have a disproportionate influence on shaping peoples opinions. As a case in point PR posters perceptions of <insert nationality here> are probably influenced more by the small handful of prolific and outspoken posters of said country than by the dozens of mostly anonymous rank and file moderates who post nothing particularly controversial and who are on the whole agreeable.

I did think about an edit acknowledging the fact that moderates, by definition, are less likely to involve themselves in polarising debates, but that is kind of the point. Moderates do not take the personal risk of taking a position, since they will be skewered for it, largely from the extreme left (see,for just one recent example, the treatment of Matt Damon after he said that there was a difference between being patted on the bum and being violently raped (even though we should confront and eradicate both)). Out of fear, reasonable moderates remain silent in the public sphere, but equally importantly, at Christmas parties and at work, because they are conflict averse and because the extreme left is in full cultural revolution mode.

Moderation has to become a position in its own right, rather than simply watching on from the sidelines paralysed by fear. Haidt's doing his bit, I'm doing mine, in a not entirely insignificant way, but I'm afraid it's too little, too late. I am betting, very sadly, that the inertia of division will not be resolved peacefully, and the division in the US will spill over into other countries. We will soon face a choice between war and a handful of flavours of undemocratic, total police states. I would argue, in fact, that the time for that choice may be behind us, and that events will start to dictate with a relentless logic of their own. It need not have been that way, and there's a very slim chance we can preserve liberal democracy, but for that to happen moderation needs to become a positive stance, and moderates need to speak up very, very soon.

One of the great failings of moderates in the current situation is the complacent belief that historical cleavages have always been resolved, without recognising that significant cleavages were almost always resolved through large-scale violence. Other moderates may view my position here as extremely dramatic, but I challenge people to look for a peaceful mechanism by which to resolve the current cleavages. If they see one, they need to pursue it quite urgently. It really is time that moderates, who are probably still in a majority, drop their complacency and speak up in whatever capacity they have available to them. With the technologies available to the state which are emerging, we really are playing for keeps, and if we meekly give away our freedoms, we won't be getting them back.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:26 pm 
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One last comment, the left understands very well that demonising a group leads to radicalisation, though they seem to have a blind spot with respect to their constant demonisation of certain groups. Make no mistake, the extreme left, and increasingly the mainstream media, is radicalising a large percentage of the population and strengthening those who they claim to oppose (i.e. the far right, who openly thank the left for their increasing support). Again, I suspect it's not accidental. I just cannot see how they do not understand what they are doing.

Happy New Year PR! May we all personally start to help resolve these cleavages in 2018!


Last edited by pontifex on Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:30 pm 
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Mick Mannock wrote:
Chuckles1188 wrote:
I like Haidt's work. Currently reading The Righteous Mind and it makes some excellent points about things like political tribes' understanding of others' beliefs. I strongly recommend it.

That is the book Santa gave a link to


Yes. I know.


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Thanks for this thread Satan. In fact, in this month's Psychologist magazine by Craig Harper, the coddling campus, discussing what is appropriate freedom of speech and how tribal political groups don't listen to each other. He quotes 'a righteous mind' in it. I only have a paper copy so can't post a link.

There is also a great documentary on netflix by one of Clinton's staffers about how its not about lef v right but about the disenfranchised v the insiders. I can't remember the name of it and don't have time to discuss now so will talk about this another time.


Maybe, finally the liberal elite are seeing their blind spot


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 Post subject: Re: The Age of Outrage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:48 pm 
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pigsy wrote:
Thanks for this thread Satan. In fact, in this month's Psychologist magazine by Craig Harper, the coddling campus, discussing what is appropriate freedom of speech and how tribal political groups don't listen to each other. He quotes 'a righteous mind' in it. I only have a paper copy so can't post a link.

There is also a great documentary on netflix by one of Clinton's staffers about how its not about lef v right but about the disenfranchised v the insiders. I can't remember the name of it and don't have time to discuss now so will talk about this another time.


Maybe, finally the liberal elite are seeing their blind spot


Pigsy I'll look out for it.

My take is that the lines aren't that clear and that there are a lot of alliances of convenience that cover significant disagreements or different requirements. Trump's support, for example, was a combination of core Republican and other disaffected, and their interests actually do not align in some very significant ways. On that basis I can see a case for some major reworking of political and economic approaches. Take for example the new nativism, which as far as I understand it broadly combines aspects of cultural conservatism, some left leaning economics in respect of global markets and some capitalism in respect of domestic markets. Maybe that's an established position. Maybe not.


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