It has been a lifelong goal of mine to understand politics, the brain and how people think, also the nature of the world, women and other things but that’s not the subject here. Partly because of my interest in artificial intelligence politics is a fascinating example of how the human brain can operate with incredible diversity.
A seminal moment for me was a period of time about 20 years ago. I saw a person every day at work in a small environment the 2 of us worked side by side on different companies. We were both intellectual and both claimed to be libertarians.
We both were passionate about our beliefs and we argued about issues. Many times we would agree but there were a couple issues that we disagreed about. Both being highly rational and informed people we debated several issues that in theory we should agree on.
I can’t even remember what the issues were now. It’s irrelevant. Every day we would spend more than an hour making the case for each position. We listened to the other side and we both had the same set of facts yet in spite of having the same facts and a similar intellectualism and similar libertarian viewpoint we could not agree.
The more I thought the facts transparently would present that only one conclusion was possible he would always counter with another set of facts that he thought were more important to the conclusion he made. We would take apart the facts, take apart the logic, take apart the ideas and still disagree.
This was profound because I saw how a brilliant mind like his could always find a set of facts to justify his position no matter how rock solid my position seemed. I saw the futility of changing someone’s mind on something.
It was not just that he was stubborn. He believed what he said and I think he was absolutely earnest. I realized that his ego and his id essentially would work to protect his viewpoint so that he protected his mental stability. It was clear that if he or I changed that to some extent it would mean changing who we thought of ourselves.
I realized that the mind is very sophisticated and complicated this way. People will argue and stay aligned with their group even if it means hypocrisy, lying, conjuring up other facts. The reason was clear. Asking him to change his mind was tantamount to asking him to change his life. I had no right to destroy his identity and ego. I respected him so I relented.
Ego and Id will go to an incredible extent to justify a position
It is also a social thing. To change one’s position on some issues would put your marriage in jeopardy in some cases or break friendships and associations, family relations. Humans have a “group meme” which means they want to belong to a group. This is evolutionarily very beneficial because the group will protect you and take you in if you fall. If you divorce your group identity then you are alone in the world and it is more likely you will fail or die.
So, humans will believe in religion, one’s country, one’s village or politics. With the fall of religion more people are likely to pick a political group meme to cling to. I am not sure this is good.
A lot of people are less interested in politics and have different groups they adhere to. This is actually good because these people can think independently. People who identify themselves more by their political beliefs may be more educated about politics in order to defend their beliefs but their views may be so unchangeable they can’t be rational and they can’t make decisions objectively.
One explanation for how people like Strozek and Comey and Rosenstein, the media and Google execs, etc … fail to see their political bias as blatant is because partly they are caught up in their political identity.
This is what I thought until a few days ago.
Left and right usually have broken on economic and rights issues
When we describe the left and right it is something that has changed. There is no absolute left and absolute right I thought. For many years right meant you were for unmitigated free trade and free movement of labor, few regulations, and limited government interference. The left was the daddy state that would protect and insure that everyone was given an equal life outcome.
The right was more concerned that the state didn’t interfere in whatever outcome that naturally would befall you depending on your beliefs and actions. The left was essentially more forgiving and open minded about people’s foibles and would try to make unions to protect workers for instance.
This has all moved around. Today the left is for unmitigated free trade, unlimited labor movement from other countries to the US and instead of being more forgiving they have become puritanical with #metoo and many issues proclaiming in the news constantly how Republicans are despoiled, dregs, racist, deplorable. They act like every sin is unbelievable as if they never did such things.
How do people who 20 or 30 years ago believed one thing able to change. The same has happened to many Republicans? Has something fundamentally changed or is there something more fundamental under these issues that divides left and right that isn’t what it seemed was the prior distinction.
People who believe in the individual vs the society
I think this is something that I overlooked as something about economics and communism vs capitalism. In fact it is much deeper.
What I’ve begun to realize is that some people actually believe what the founders of this country I think believed which is that each individual had the right and the ability to make the decision not only for their own life but could make a decision about the future of the country and what was right and wrong.
Other people believe that individuals are not good enough to make those decisions. They believe that if people are allowed to make the decisions they will decide their own selfish interest which necessarily is NOT good for the whole of society.
Thus people who believe in this idea believe more that there are elites who actually know how to run our lives and country. Thus global warming is real, super intelligent people believe it and even if the common man has to be duped to go along or forced that they are right to insist. They believe that the majority of ordinary people are dregs as Joe Biden said recently. Such people can’t be respected or trusted to make the right decision at the polls. They must be deceived and controlled to believe.
Thus it is important to control the information sources they get to make sure they think correctly as the elite think they should. They cannot be trusted to think on their own in case a lot of them decide to string up some hispanics. The elites know that our immigration rules are sacrosanct and modifying them is tantamount to fascism. They know that oil execs are evil and anybody Republican is a racist.
I used to think liberals or left were emotional not rational
It is true that a lot of liberal or left beliefs seem to be very emotional. When you see Cory Booker screaming at some woman government administrator for being inhuman in an impassioned way you see that preacher in him. He is superior. He is right. The woman has no valid viewpoint. It’s deeply emotional.
The same is true when hearing Antifa and #metoo and lots of left speakers today. They are filled with emotional surety. Women are being abused. Children are being abused.
The problem is that the issue changes literally every day and when we look into the actual facts of the situation its apparent that these things always occurred or occurred under their watch and they had no similar passion. Their arguments are based entirely on emotion driven by their desire to maintain their political ego and Id. In doing this they are so convinced they cannot see the blatant hypocrisy that any rational person can see.
When Al Gore or other Climate Change advocates scream at oil executives and demand we lower our CO2 footprint it is hard not to notice that they are flying everywhere in private jets which produce more co2 than 1000s of people in most of the world produce daily. Al Gore had 8 mansions around the country one of which in his home state was 10,000 square feet and had a swimming pool that he paid $800/month in electricity to warm. The thing I used to always marvel at was the ability of these people to hold these 2 things in their head at the same time.
He could be up there screaming about co2 output as he was producing 10s of thousands of people’s co2 output as a single person. Somehow he considered himself one of the special people who could do that because he was the smart one, the righteous person who could dictate how others could live although such constraints apparently don’t apply to them.
You saw this on the right too sometimes. The most blatant example I remember is of a preacher who would lambast every week against the sexual sins of his congregation. We eventually found out of course he was seeing prostitutes weekly. We also have preachers who molest children.
We used to say the first to throw a stone should watch out that the stones don’t come back to them. Meaning that the person who complains the most about something may very well be the person who is committing the act or is worse than whatever they decry.
This country has been a forgiving country. I used to say that one thing I thought was so amazing and great about America is how you could fail at something and pick yourself up and do something else and everybody would basically almost totally ignore you previous failures if you found something else that worked.
Thus America is the land for entrepreneurs because entrepreneurs fail. They have to pick themselves up and try again. This country forgave you whether you committed sin, crimes or failure in business or personal life. We had a short memory and were willing to believe people changed.
One thing I worry about with technology is that this memory has gotten longer and more difficult to extinguish. Some thing you may have written or done 40 years ago is in the record easily looked up just as in a communist state the government was the employer of all, it knew everything about you and could never forget what a loser you were ever.
Let us say Kavanaugh or anybody did something in high school. Let us presume for a second that his accuser is absolutely right and his denial is pure subterfuge. When do we forgive someone for making bad decisions in the past? Does it really come down to “If you are a republican never, if you are democrat yesterday.”
From every known account Kavanaugh has lived an exemplary and beneficial life for women for 35 years since high school after this alleged incident. When does being a good person outweigh something you did 35 years ago? (Assuming it even happened as alleged). I find it unbelievably harsh coming from people who tell us to ignore the crimes of illegal immigrants who represent 25% of our federal prisons. Those crimes are not really crimes. We can let illegal immigrants go from prisons in sanctuary cities and forgive them but not Kavanaugh after 35 years of a good life.
This is the hypocrisy is hard to understand. What is it the left believes and thinks?
I think it does come down to this separation of what the “people” think and what the “elites” think.
I want to return to this idea. The more I put the liberal ideology together I realize it doesn’t have to do with economic equality but is more of a belief that the individual is actually capable of making a decision and can be trusted with running their own lives vs people who believe they should.
I have pointed out that inequality is inevitable. In any society which allows you free choice inevitably some people will make poor choices and they will have poor results. Others will make good choices and have outsized incredible results. So, reducing inequality also means potentially in many cases reducing people’s freedom to choose. This means fewer people with really horrific results and fewer people with outsized super results.
Resorting to the mean may not seem like a bad thing except people resist it. The people on the side of making poor decisions keep wanting to make poor decisions and have you pick them up. The people who make good decisions don’t like having their results forfeit and look for ways to escape. The society as a whole generally gets rich based on the results of outsize extraordinary risk taking that works. Unfortunately allowing and supporting that means there will be failures but failures are limited at zero. You can’t go below zero but there is almost no limit on how much wealth for instance will be created by the right ideas at the right time executed well. This is how society gets rich. These outsize wealth creators produce wealth that didn’t exist before and wouldn’t exist without the freedom that allowed them to do what they did. Thus restricting that freedom means fewer of those extraordinary results.
The average of very high results from some extraordinary is not what is called zero-sum. If the result would be zero-sum then it wouldn’t make any difference and taking from some would just mean that others benefited. Capitalism is not zero-sum. People create wealth that never existed and this means the average can soar. It won’t be equally distributed but the overall wealth and opportunity for even the others in society will grow.
Our founders believed in the people
The US constitution is a unique document and it essentially depends on the average person being able to consume enough information to make decisions about the society. The alternative belief is that certain people are endowed with extraordinary elite knowledge of what is right and wrong and they make the decisions.
So, saying that the average person is a “dreg” or “deplorable” is saying I don’t trust the common man or woman to have enough information or be “liberal enough” or “good enough” to make a decision. This is a distrust in the common person. This is fundamentally at odds with our constitution and is fundamentally what liberals are saying about the latest vote.
They believe that we know people are racist and are corrupted by oil execs and have a tendency to believe hateful things about outsiders like illegal immigrants or immigrants in general and these people, the dregs are to be put down, hated, they are despicable people who don’t understand. They have to be controlled. The information they get is too complicated for them to consume without us filtering it for them. They will turn to hate as a normal course.
I don’t believe this. I grew up in Vermont which was a highly Republican state when I was there and it was a place of nothing but good people. I never saw the kind of hate liberals express. The people were generous and forgiving. They were nice to everyone of every group although I noticed we were lacking in some groups. One of the reasons I went to Boston to go to school was I felt that lack of diversity. Nonetheless this does not disparage the people of Vermont. If blacks or others had gone there I am 100% certain they would have been accepted just as asians and Jews and other ethnicities were. People tend to forget that this nation was founded by not “white people” but by many ethnicities and these ethnicities had huge conflicts. See the movie “West Side Story.”
The founders were ultra-democratic believers. They founded this country at a special time in history where the ideas of democracy and freedom were being highly discussed and regarded. The people who moved to america were radicals when it came to democracy. They wanted everything to be decided as close to the local level as possible.
They distrusted any central authority or the rule of any “elite thinkers” or rulers. They did set up a republic and depend on representatives largely I think because the technology of the day simply wouldn’t support more democracy but many never wanted any central government for fear of the imposition of rules on people.
For this reason the constitution limits what the federal government can do rather than what local government can do. It specified 5 areas the federal government had provenance over and everything else by definition was left to the states and local.
The constitution also prohibited the government from all kinds of things that would limit the freedom of people to make their own decisions and live their life free from government intrusion. They spelled out how the government couldn’t go into your house Willy Nilly. How you were to be able to face your accusers so government couldn’t denounce people or the mob rule over individuals. It specified that people had the right for freedom to speak and publish their own thoughts without limits.
They even prohibited the government from stopping you from defending yourself (for instance with guns) considered a fundamental right of all human beings.
They did not put “positive rights” in the constitution that would guarantee things the government would do for you. Thus there is no minimum food allocation or health insurance. (It did stipulate education.)
The most fundamental thing the constitution was designed to do was prevent the government from becoming dictatorial. The design for this included an elaborate set of checks and balances. The constitution made it extremely difficult to get anything done without great consensus making it impossible for any one person to dictate anything. To get a bill passed requires the house and the senate to pass it. The house being more representative of the population, the senate being more representative of the individual states. The President then has to sign it. Even then if the Supreme Court decides it is inconsistent with the constitution they can stop it.
This makes the idea that Trump or any president could be a dictator ridiculous. The continued existence of our democracy does not depend on the personality of any individual. In other words the founders designed a constitution that insisted the people will decide the direction and will have the ability to correct any mistakes the leaders make.
The constitution says that the future of the country is tied to the idea that the will of the people not elites or individual leaders or parties will decide how this country goes forward. When you think about it this is pretty radical especially if you believe the average person is not up to it. You have to have faith in people, the average person to believe this kind of government will work. It is a complete repudiation that there is any royal elite class who are better.
Liberals fundamentally I think are at odds with all this
I am beginning to see that a lot of liberal ideas if you take away the emotion and the confusion of the specific issues and the hypocrisy and contradictions and other things comes down to:
We think we know better than you.
Because they are sure they are more aware of the correct decision they don’t need to justify the contradictions, hypocrisy or even to synchronize results and truth with what they believe. It doesn’t make any difference what the results are or what the truth is because they are operating on a moral level higher than the dregs.
I have frequently criticized liberals for their policies based on the results. In other words if we look at Obama’s results in terms of foreign policy or domestic policy we might conclude huge failures.
However, the liberal mind doesn’t allow that. No matter the results Obama was a superior man, and was part of the elite right thinking people who were right regardless of results. The results were because of the dregs not doing what they should do.
This is similar to Venezuela where Maduro will castigate the people to do better. It’s not our system or me. It’s you not doing better.
So the disasters of the Obama era are overlooked. Slow growth. That is the new norm. EU breaks apart? That is dreggy Brits who cling to old ideas. Muslim crime? That is ordinary citizens not being open enough to foreign ideas.
The ideas CANNOT be wrong because these are left ideas that are morally unchallengeable. Mass migration is fundamentally good. Nobody should claim their place is special because that is fundamentally xenophobic or racist.
The right now is clearly in the other camp. The right is saying that if the voters decide X then X is right until they change their mind to Y. Then Y is right. It doesn’t make a difference what X or Y are as long as those decisions don’t violate the fundamental rights and principles espoused in the constitution. The constitution can also be changed but it is rule based. The people decide the rules, the system, the leaders and what the priorities and laws are. The elites are to follow those rules and laws just as any ordinary person has to.
The right fundamentally believes that every person regardless of their station in life is equipped to be a decision maker and that the collective result of all our decisions is fundamentally better than any elite person or group could ever decide.
I think a key point is that this approach allows people to change their mind too. If they don’t see a result they like they can change their mind. If they don’t like that result they can change their mind again.
The idea of democracy is that the average person can see fundamentally what is right and wrong and doesn’t need to be lectured about it. Doesn’t need to be force fed the right thinking and isn’t fundamentally bad. The right thinks that people will evolve to be better as they evolve their country to better results through incremental decisions they will also improve everything else incrementally but it is up to the people.
The left thinks these people cannot be trusted. Therefore they can lie to the people. They can scream and lecture because these average people are morons who can’t understand things like global warming or economic policies and immigration policies and what is good for them or bad.
If you put together everything I’ve written above you may see it ties together. The ideas of individualism, economic ideas, choice, the ego and id, the evolution of society, our constitution it all fits together.
I think that the longer I live and the more I see the more I become convinced the founders were unbelievably smart. For 250 years this country has outperformed every other country in the world.
Some may doubt the last statement but I remember looking at an economic textbook from 40 years ago that looked at the relative performance of the US even in the early years compared to Europe and Asia and everyplace else. Even though the US was a small country at the time with very few people compared to these other places the US was outperforming all along. It only became apparent after WWII and the US having to take a military posture how incredibly successful the country was to the rest of the world.
Our system is stable and has weathered an incredible number of difficult storms. I think the recent election in 2016 with the corruption of the Democrats put this democracy to a test. I expected the result but was still surprised. I am convinced that the liberal/left mindset is fundamentally flawed and disrespects the very concept of democracy because it is convinced of its rightness above the people and fundamentally doesn’t care about people.
That is why Democrats say they are doing things for the masses and for different groups but actually the results don’t show that. They actually don’t care about the people. They only say these things to make their ideas palatable to the undeserving masses. This is because they are convinced about their elite ideas of what is right and wrong and not the fundamental rights and good of the people over ideas.
Some might say that the right has its own ideas of what is right.
That is true but those ideas are more about how to live “my” life and how if you want to be happy and successful you should live your life. It is a belief for sure but it doesn’t mean that I would ever want to build a society that thinks only what I think is right.
I have said the only intolerance I can tolerate is intolerance of intolerance. This belief in the individual has a similar sounding circular argument that isn’t.
What this comes down to is do you believe like the founders that the only possible future of our society is to depend on the people to make the right decisions and that we trust the people to take this country forward to a brighter future or do you think elites like Strozek, Al Gore, Cory Booker, Adam Schiff know how to go forward and it is perfectly okay for them to defraud the American people or do whatever is necessary to unseat a legitimate president of the US?
For instance, do you think that companies like Google and Facebook can shield us from “wrong” ideas and should be able to tell us what is true what is false? Can google eliminate “influence from bad actors?” Do you think that elite scientists are flawless and if they say something is true they must be right? Do you think that you know you aren’t racist and others are?
Do you find yourself outraged at Donald Trump before you even see the results?
I remember after Obama won. I was depressed a little but I understood the reason the American people chose him. Our democracy operates incrementally and Bush Jr had led the country poorly by most accounts. I understood that the people would have the chance to make another choice. Our system had checks and balances.
Like people who are fixated that they are right regardless of what someone else thinks Democrats reacted to the election with an unwillingness to accept the results. They have been fighting to argue the election was invalid to try to unseat Trump and they blindly argued to destory our Democracy numerous times. They have remained blind to the corruption scandal that is devastating key agencies of the US government.
Do Democrats not understand the constitution or not believe in it? Why do they think the system will fail and Donald Trump represents some kind of existential evil that they can do and say anything when he has done nothing wrong and he has only served less than 2 years of 8 years he will most likely get?
Are you so convinced of your idea of what is racist or not and who is bad and who is good that it is okay to go into restaurants and scream at Republicans and confront them on planes physically?
I find the jumping to conclusion and the willingness to commit crimes, lie and do virtually anything to win the Democrats seem to be on a path toward anarchy and showing their true colors. They don’t respect Democracy even as they claim that Democracy was attacked.
Not by the Russians but by them. When Hillary Clinton tweets:
Donald Trump refuses to be subject to the law. The legitimacy of our elections is in doubt. The president is waging a war on the truth. The administration is undermining the national unity that makes democracy possible. And then there’s the breathtaking corruption.
When you see this tweet do you see that she is tweeting precisely about herself not Donald Trump. Donald Trump hasn’t even been credibly charged with any crime. It is Hillary who has been shown to have committed numerous crimes just as her husband committed too numerous to count #metoo violations. The legitimacy of our election was in doubt not by anything Donald Trump did but by the corruption of the FBI, DOJ and the media’s blatant bias that even Harvard put at 96%. The unity of our country is undermined by you calling half the country deplorables. The corruption is the indictments of DOJ, FBI and soon CIA and NSA related officials and FISA violations. Donald Trump has no indictments.
So, it is Hillary talking about herself.
It is a complete repudiation of the will of the voters. It is a willingness to break the country and democracy for the sake of her rightness to win because she is one of the elites not subject to the rules of everyone else.
The rhetoric of the left is apocalyptic leading to 585 documented hate crimes against conservatives by completely insanely spun up leftists who threaten the unity of the country not Trumpers.
When Obama was elected the right did put the tea party together. They did organize. They did have ideas but they let those ideas be waged in the marketplace of ideas.
The left doesn’t want a marketplace of ideas. They now distrust the free press idea and think we need overseers who decide what we should see and not see.
I think they are exposing that their conviction in their ideas trumps their faith or trust in democracy. Thus this has illuminated a fundamental difference that might be the most fundamental difference of all.