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Why The US Is So Politically Polarized

Arnox

Veteran
Staff member
Founder
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4,255
I think this is another one of those subjects that really needs to be discussed. And one I'm surprised I haven't tackled sooner.

Now, there's a few surface reasons you can give for all this crazed fighting, but at the end of the day, for both sides, I think it boils down to one core thing. People being damaged financially or freedoms wise by government actions. Or sometimes, government actions don't necessarily have to affect them but someone or a group that they care about. People ask why we can get so angry at people's voting decisions, and I think this is why. Because when you hear someone voted for someone you don't agree with, you think in the back of your mind that they are enabling the same or even more damage that you've personally experienced.

And maybe that's the first and perhaps most important step to having a productive political dialogue. We all need to get over our hurt and our problems. Easier said than done, I know, but if we don't do this, then we're just going to open the floodgates to even bigger problems.
 

Paco Smithereens

Outlander
Messages
11
Occupation
Mechanic
I think our capacity for a rigorous epistemology has been fucked with: we no longer have the capacity to apprehend even an approximation of truth, nor do we have the faculties to understand the difference between knowing something, believing something, wanting to believe something, and believing we know something. The Internet and the way it works shares a lot of the blame.

At some point I grew exhausted questioning about every other sentence I read (by which I mean, asking "is this really true and how do you know it is?") in response to an assertion. I also knew that the oblivion of coming to understand how little you actually know is unpleasantly disorienting, or at least it is to me. And I don't want to come on all heavy with that energy.

So now when I meet someone who is really opinionated, my first thought is, "This person doesn't have any idea what they are talking about," followed by, "and this is more a comedy than a tragedy because they don't know that they are just running their mouth" followed by, "and you have no way of really knowing they don't know what they're talking about, yourself. Maybe this dude is right?"

At that point, usually, I find myself wishing I had some bubble wrap to play with because if there is one thing we can agree on, it is the joy of bubble wrap.

Because this conceit of thinking we really know what is going on, is a real drag, but I have no alternative to offer.
 

Arnox

Veteran
Staff member
Founder
Messages
4,255
I think our capacity for a rigorous epistemology has been fucked with: we no longer have the capacity to apprehend even an approximation of truth, nor do we have the faculties to understand the difference between knowing something, believing something, wanting to believe something, and believing we know something. The Internet and the way it works shares a lot of the blame.

At some point I grew exhausted questioning about every other sentence I read (by which I mean, asking "is this really true and how do you know it is?") in response to an assertion. I also knew that the oblivion of coming to understand how little you actually know is unpleasantly disorienting, or at least it is to me. And I don't want to come on all heavy with that energy.

So now when I meet someone who is really opinionated, my first thought is, "This person doesn't have any idea what they are talking about," followed by, "and this is more a comedy than a tragedy because they don't know that they are just running their mouth" followed by, "and you have no way of really knowing they don't know what they're talking about, yourself. Maybe this dude is right?"

At that point, usually, I find myself wishing I had some bubble wrap to play with because if there is one thing we can agree on, it is the joy of bubble wrap.

Because this conceit of thinking we really know what is going on, is a real drag, but I have no alternative to offer.
I'm gonna start this at a really deep level and then work my way up from there. How can we know ANYTHING at all? Maybe we're just monkeys having dreams. Maybe we're being controlled by aliens. Maybe Colonel Sanders is the God of all.

This line of inquiry quickly devolves into a discussion that is, as Captain Jack Sparrow would put it, just maddeningly unhelpful. It's interesting to ask these questions, but that's exactly where their value ends. There is nothing that can be gained chasing that rabbit hole because there's always another one right after it.

"We escaped the Matrix!"
"But what if we were inside a Matrix inside a Matrix?"
"Yay! We escaped the second Matrix!"
"But bro, what if, like, there's a Matrix in a Matrix in a Matrix?"
"Yay... We escaped the third Matrix?"
"But what if... "

*cue the madness*
So let's get off that sinking ship already and return back to basics, because like it or not, it's all we've got and all we'll ever get. And what you know are this and this and this. You sift through what is true and what is false by finding problems (which I seem to be absurdly good at). You continue to dig until you don't find anymore problems, and then you find truth, or at least, as far as you know. Then you compare notes to check anything you may have missed. You then take these things and form a foundation of knowledge that you can use as a jumping off point to obtain more knowledge.

This all may seem obvious on a read, but I see too many people getting lost in the weeds.
 

Paco Smithereens

Outlander
Messages
11
Occupation
Mechanic
This all may seem obvious on a read, but I see too many people getting lost in the weeds.
Right but, and so what is to be done? You can't get people to sit down for your monologue about common sense, and how to weigh evidence, why proceeding cautiously is probably wise, and what is or is not truth.

While it is easy to understand things right in front of you, it is really hard to understand complex systems - and humanity, exchanging ideas through symbols, is really difficult to understand. Look at market predictions and the number of experts who get that wrong. If your news feed is anything like mine, there are always experts with a great record predicting that a complete economic meltdown is imminent.

But then the market doesn't melt down, until it does [2008]. A person who believes they understand how these large systems work such that they can pivot and react to them requires a lot more confidence than I have. We understand mostly what is right in front of us: mowing our lawns and how that gets done, or making a sandwich. We know to try to spend less than we take in. But believing we know how large systems work and taking firm, stubborn decisions on them is also foolishness, especially since having an opinion on all of this implies that we should be taking an action in response to them.

There are too many conversations I have with people - like strangers at bars - that do not involve how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich, and, rather, are "what is to be done about homelessness," or "how to fix Syria." And I am amazed, sometimes, listening to how committed people are on problems they have, maybe, read an article on Yahoo news on.

(Completely off-topic here - I once looked up the numbers: if Americans spent as much on human beings and sheltering them as they do beer, we would eliminate homelessness.)

I think there is also a distinction that has to be made: this is not about the matrix / simulation concept. I am pretty sure objective reality exists -- that there is a way of understanding and even modeling reality in an accurate way, if we had the resources to do so (though there are astronomical amounts of inputs). I don't think it is hidden from us so much as encrypted or obscured by complexity. We see *some* inputs, and we see *some* outputs and mistake that for the whole (the elephant parts problem).

I am arguing that we are bad at this, lack the computing power for it, and that certainty in the face of this is foolish. It doesn't mean we do nothing, but it does mean we need a methodology by which we proceed knowing our models are grossly incomplete. Less like a horse at full gallop (which is the way increasing numbers of people are) and more like a cat sneaking up on something, slowly, quietly.

This is out of fashion in the current zeitgeist where people are, firstly, walking complexes of poorly-formed opinions, with nearly dead human flesh trailing behind like a cape.

Twitter is the best example of this. My opinion, let me show you it. You have seen it. We are in same tribe, you and me. Grunt grunt.

Another example is the "eat the rich" tendencies of the Left: simply tax the rich to pay for everything and then the problem goes away. Of course, the rich go away to tax havens, taking their savings and tax base with it.

"So let's have world government so there's nowhere to hide."

Good luck! I'm sure you'll get right on that!

"What we need to do, is ban rain on game day, so the game never gets cancelled. SIMPLE!"
 

Arnox

Veteran
Staff member
Founder
Messages
4,255
Right but, and so what is to be done? You can't get people to sit down for your monologue about common sense, and how to weigh evidence, why proceeding cautiously is probably wise, and what is or is not truth.
You can't be everyone's momma at the end of the day. Very basically, the first step in disagreement is to obviously try to discuss things with them. If that doesn't work, the second step is to try talking AGAIN. If they still won't listen then you begin distancing yourself from them. If they begin to infringe on your property or rights, you try to talk with them again one last time. And if THAT doesn't work... Well... A war of some kind is inevitable then.

I think you should check a look at the last entry on this list. You might have read it already though.

... violence is sometimes inescapable and is the final source of all societal power. Obviously, it should be avoided as the results of it are messy and sometimes unpredictable, but if that is not possible, then a society should not shun away from employing it in a disciplined and measured manner.
 

Cyberat

Outlander
Messages
6
I don't think Polarization is a matter of USA only, but world wide, they may call the 2 rings by different names but for the same purpose.
To keep the Sheeple in the state of mind of pacifism and not revolting as well as the illusion that the masses have control of government.
So while we argue and bicker which of the 2 (or more) parties should rule over us, they murder, rape, rob us blind without a retaliation.
They reduced it to 2 parties because they realized the Sheeple are too dumb to track more than 2 and that their illusion is harder to keep in a multi-party setup. As Thomas Jefferson once said, it is the same old question, whether the masses shall be governed by a minority or be allowed to govern themselves. With that said, the Constitutional Republic ceased to be with Traitor Lincoln overstepping the Constitution.
 
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