Monday, April 17, 2017

What should really differ a “Progressive” from a “Conservative”?


What should really differ a “Progressive” from a “Conservative”?
Please note: this post has a joke, 
to skip the post and go directly to the joke just scroll down!

“Republicans are against science!”
“Republicans consider ignorance to be a bliss!”
“Republicans do not want people to learn”
“Democrats represent the completely opposite approach to knowledge, to science, to education!”
OK.
Let us assume that all those statements are correct.
In that case, this is a very important piece of knowledge every politically active knowledge-lover should have:
emotions always cloud our decision, and in too many cases emotions govern our decision.
A quote from Wikipedia (or you can Google “How emotions affect decisions” and chose whatever source you like): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_bias
“An emotional bias is a distortion in cognition and decision making due to emotional factors.
That is, a person will be usually inclined
·       to believe something that has a positive emotional effect, that gives a pleasant feeling, even if there is evidence to the contrary.
·       to be reluctant to accept hard facts that are unpleasant and give mental suffering.
A more detailed consideration is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotions_in_decision-making.
In simple words, it means that when we hear or read something, and if it makes us feel “bad”, especially if we start feeling “bad about ourselves” we tend to reject whatever we hear or read (and v-v).
At first, our brain makes the emotional judgement – “this is bad”, and then immediately follows a “logical” one – “this is wrong’. The emotional judgement happens deep inside in our mind, uncontrollably, subconsciously, and the rest of the energy is being used to develop a “logical” support around it.
Ten years ago, such knowledge would have been available only to a very tight circle of researchers in the field. Today anyone can easily find it on the Internet.
Of course, not everyone needs to have this particular knowledge.
I would suggest, however, that people who make certain claims about other people statements (in person, or on Facebook), need to be able to go beyond just “I like it”, or “I don’t like it”. Especially people who see themselves as the opposite of “those so much hated, stupid, ignorant Republicans”.
Because, anyone who does just one thing – provides an emotional judgement, but cannot offer nothing more to support it, or to logically disprove the opposite statement – is not really different in his or her actions, approaches, tactics from “those so much hated, stupid, ignorant Republicans”.
The true difference is not in the ideals and beliefs, but in the actions undertaken for supporting those ideals and beliefs.
And again, all I want to do is to point at writings on the mater provided by very smart people.
Karl Popper (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper) is one of those people. One of his famous books “The Open Society and Its Enemies” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Open_Society_and_Its_Enemies) presents a detailed account on how good ideas may lead to bad social results.
In short, when people accept an idea of some “ideal world” without any critical analysis, i.e. dogmatically, eventually they tend to reject every other idea which is incoherent with the “big idea”, and people who offer other ideas become treated as wrong, and as the enemies of the “ideal world” (and those people are needed to be destroyed).
I know, this is a gross simplification of the Popper’s views, but good enough to make a point.
In the end, the true big difference between people with different political views is not the views they have, but – if they treat those views dogmatically, or if they allow some critical reasoning.
So, if anyone writes on Facebook (or anywhere else): “I don’t like this!” -  that is absolutely fine. But if that statement is related to a potential political action (not about food, clothes, etc.), a responsible Democrat should be able to add “Because of 1, 2, 3, …”
Similarly, if anyone writes on Facebook (or anywhere else): “I like this!” that is also absolutely fine. But if that statement is related to a potential political action, a responsible Democrat should also be able to add “Because of 1, 2, 3, …”
But developing and laying out logical arguments (a.k.a. reasoning) is as a job as any other job – requires a certain amount of practicing. The first step is just to start trying (like the first step to learn how to ride a bicycle is to start riding a bicycle). People who do that, propel themselves beyond just emotional judgement. But not everyone wants to do that (although – everyone CAN!).
Some time ago I had a Facebook chat with a lady, who attended a so called “Resistance School” (https://www.resistanceschool.com/). Long story short, eventually I asked her to write to me and everyone else one page of the summary from what she learned with a focus on what mistakes have been done in 2016 (according to her, it was covered in the “school”). At this point she told me that she needs to take care of kids, family, job, and she has no time for doing this. Since she has time to drive to the “school”, listen to the speakers, talk to other participants, drive back, and then chat about it on Facebook, I assumed that she rather did not want to do it (“no time” is just an excuse). I do understand that for the lady, attending the “school” plaid a very important role by giving her an emotional support, by having her being surrounded by people with similar views, by helping her to make sense from the 2016 loss and the current politics. But a small extra step, like writing one summary page, would make this whole experience even more valuable, more practical, more actionable (BTW: a true school always assigns homework! Since the videos are freely available at some point I will listen to them, usually I use a traffic jam for this purpose).
The willingness to make that extra step, to go beyond an emotional judgement, and to offer some reasoning to support his or her opinion (or to dismantle somebody else’s opinion) – that is what (in my view) separates a true Progressive from a Conservative.
So, I spent hours, and I wrote a long post about the importance of reasoning in politics. What’s in it for me?
There is a joke I learned many years ago when I was a physics undergrad.
Scientists study if monkeys can solve problems. In a big glass cage they planted a tree and placed a banana on a top branch. A monkey enters the cage and sees the banana. It jumps, but the banana is too high. It tries to clime the tree, but there is a very slippery plastic wrap around it. It looks around, finds a long stick and uses it to hit the banana down. Success! Then the researchers prepare the tree for the next experiment, place the banana on a top branch, but leave for a lunch. A hungry physics student sees the banana. He jumps, but the banana is too high. He tries to clime the tree, but there is a very slippery plastic wrap around it. The student starts shaking the tree, but the banana does not fall down. The researches come back from a lunch and see a student shaking a tree. After watching for a while one guy says via the intercom: “Hey, have you tried to think?” And the student says: “I’m not stupid. F@#k thinking! Just has to shake it harder!”
When I read something like: “Senator Sanders is on a tour! Donate $3!” I always remember that joke.
I fail to see the logical connection between the two parts of the statement. Does Senator Sanders need some extra money to buy airplane tickets, or to rent a car, or to stay in a hotel? It looks to me that people who sent this email think that I am no smarter than the student in the joke. All they want from me is “keep shaking”.
However, when I look at the current state of affairs, to me it looks that the Democrats (most of the top ones) are just “keep shaking a tree”.
In 2016 I trusted in the ability of the top Democrats to see the social, economic, and political landscape of the Country, and to design the appropriate strategy. Close to the October I started having deep doubts, because the whole campaign has been built on a trivial slogan: “Trump is bad! I am good!”. I knew that that would not work; and I was not the only one, for example, Michael Moor and Bill Maher expressed similar views. But no one at the top wanted to hear anything different from their own views. And Trump won.
“Fool me once, shame on you”, right? The thing is I do not want to be fooled the second time. I lost my trust in the ability of the Democratic party leaders to design the correct strategy to win next elections. But I still have a hope they may come around. My hope is thinning every day.
All I hear is “We will fight!” I have no doubts in that.
I have doubts when I hear “We will win!”
Well, Democrats, you did not win the last time. And you treat your loss like nothing special, like one pro-football team lost another one.
In realty, your loss is like a pro-football team lost to a bunch of guys who has never plaid football and who just has met each other. And you are trying to make an impression that nothing went wrong, it was just a fluctuation. “Look, we won the popular vote!” Yes, you did, which means you could have won the whole thing, BUT you did not, which makes things even worse for your ability to deliver.
In 2016 Democrats did not use the money wisely (http://gomars.xyz/op.html#why). They dreamed that people would see how bad Trump was and would not vote for him. Now they dream that people would see how bad Trump really is and will not vote for him. So, six months passed since the election day, but the Democratic leadership has not offered ANYTHING new in its strategy.
I do not believe that a complicated problem has a simple solution. I do not trust people who say that. And I definitely do not trust people who failed but do not want to talk about it.
Democrats, if you could not do it right in 2016, and keep doing old same old same in 2017, why would I give you any money? You will lose again, anyway!
For years, I have been voting democratic but remained an independent. A couple of weeks after Trump won I registered as a Democrat. I did not do it because I liked the Democrats. On the contrary, I did it because I did not like the way they acted in 2016 elections and wanted to see from the inside if the new leadership would show the signs of being able to make changes the party needs.
SO, I am observing, and thinking, and writing, and waiting.
If I will not see from the leadership clear signs that they know how to win the next elections (and I need a proof!), I will be doing what millions of people have done on November 9, 2016 – switching to the third party.
And yes, top Democrats – this IS a threat.
And yes – there are millions of us who are not trusting in just slogans (I am just a sample from that army), and whose vote will decide the next elections.
And the next.
And the next.
How do I KNOW it?
If Democrats will not be capable of being true Progressives (in time to 2018 elations), people who make decisions using logical arguments will have to put their efforts together and form a new, the first truly third, political party (I hope you would also read other posts available on the blog).
P.S. This is a link to a nice example of an exchange “logic” vs. “who are you?: http://www.dailywire.com/news/13350/watch-ben-shapiro-breaks-down-argument-authority-hank-berrien
P.P.S. some introduction into practice of arguing: https://triangulations.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/laying-out-an-argument/
or
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logical-fallacies
 
P.P.S. FYI - when I write what I think, I do not want to make every reader to agree with me, or to switch someone into thinking like me. All I want is to find people who (a) have similar views and willing to express it, or (b) have different views and willing to offer a reasonable critique of my ideas. People who just call me names do not affect me.  
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