Claims about the Culture Wars

by on December 22, 2016 at 12:02 am in Current Affairs, Education, Philosophy, Religion | Permalink

Maybe understanding that opposition from the other tribe was not the reason for failure can help overcome polarization?

  • Your counterculture did not fail because the other counterculture opposed it. (They did, but that’s not why.)
  • Your counterculture failed because the majority did not agree with it.
  • The majority rejected your counterculture because it was plainly wrong about many things.
  • It would help if you understood how younger generations relate to meaningness; they are right that some of your main issues are illusory.
  • You need to let go of the sacred myths of your tribe. Decades ago they inspired genuinely positive social change, but now they produce only frustration and hatred and stalemate. Everyone born after 1970 thinks they are idiotic. You are stuck pretending to believe, but even you secretly know they aren’t true.
  • Your counterculture and the other one also agree about many things!
  • Some of what you agree about is wrong; you should admit that and drop it.
  • Some of what you agree about is right; you should work together to support it.
  • Much of what you imagine you fight about is symbolic, not substantive. Your advocacy of these issues is mostly a statement of tribal identity, and claims for high status within your tribe.
  • When your symbolic issues blow up into actual political conflicts, often you are fighting to establish tribal dominance, not to accomplish pragmatic improvements in society.
  • If you understand what you really disagree about, and why, you may be able to find pragmatic compromises, instead of both sides demanding total victory.

While the piece (who wrote it?) is uneven in parts, it is both interesting and important.  Here is the whole on-line manuscript.  Here is the critique of Bayesianism as Eternalism.  For the pointer I thank Jake Seliger.

1 eigenrobot December 22, 2016 at 12:10 am

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

2 eigenrobot December 22, 2016 at 12:14 am

PS, author is on twitter as @Meaningness

3 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Thanks. Will check it out.

4 Dan December 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Seeing this here did make me tingle. I am either moving closer toward something or adjacent worlds are colliding slowly and harmoniously. Either way tingles.

5 dearieme December 22, 2016 at 12:19 am

The US was made by (i) the “Revolution”, which was an act of treachery, and (ii) the Louisiana Purchase, which was unconstitutional. Ever since you’ve been living a lie.

There you are, a counter counter culture.

6 Sam Haysom December 22, 2016 at 1:54 am

One cannot commit treason against an island of pirates.

7 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 6:51 am

It is not treason, if one wins. “The Strong Do What They Can, And The Weak Suffer What They Must.”

8 JWatts December 22, 2016 at 9:31 am

“The US was made by (i) the “Revolution”, which was an act of treachery, and (ii) the Louisiana Purchase, which was unconstitutional. Ever since you’ve been living a lie.”

No, not really. Americans are quite aware that we started as Revolutionaries. And the Constitutionality of variant actions (such as the Louisiana Purchase) is often a topic of vigorous debate.

So, no we aren’t living a lie. We are just contentious, revolutionary idealists trying to decide what our ideals should actually be.

9 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 9:54 am

But as Brazilian revolutionaries used to say after their beautiful ideals were betrayed: “We didn’t make the revolution for this (insert specific atrocity)”

10 Thursday December 22, 2016 at 12:26 am

– Your counterculture failed because the majority did not agree with it.
– The majority rejected your counterculture because it was plainly wrong about many things.

The author of the piece conflates these two things, and the second point is never really argued.

11 Dzhaughn December 22, 2016 at 3:26 am

Easy to disagree on both counts.

The first point is that the majority disagree with “your counterculture”, as opposed to the notion that majority are silent but actually agree, or never encounter the ideas because they are censored by The Establishment. It’s not so: they heard you, they disagree.

The second point (i.e., the vast majority are wise to disagree in important ways) is argued in broad strokes at the link, but that is sufficient. The countercultures’ stories are laughably narrow, with too few colors and shapes to make a good picture.

12 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 5:20 am

I don’t think the second point is seriously argued.

The implied argument seems to be that claims of the countercultures clash with “reality”–i.e. they don’t align with real-world observed experience. But a case for this needs to be systematically made, and it is not. The main examples at the link are straw-man arguments. Most liberals didn’t really believe that smoking pot would end the war, nor did most of the religious right believe the tribulation is at hand. Beyond that, it quickly becomes a discussion of “what people want” rather than things that are objectively wrong.

The claim that the main existing systems are “anti-rational” or obviously at odds with reality, is actually key to this whole exercise, and it is mostly assumed rather than argued. Similarly, the case for the rationality of the alternative system (which is not a system but actually really is) is never really made either.

Most of the time the fact that the majority either don’t agree or don’t live according to these systems is taken as conclusive evidence that the systems are “wrong”. Can the majority ever be wrong about something? It’s not clear. But I would note that even fewer people (far fewer) adhere to what the author proposes.

This work makes some interesting point, but I think it ultimately fails. I think it’s one giant exercise in what Tyler likes to call “mood affiliation”. It is compelling because the specific criticisms of the religious right and the leftist counterculture often ring true. But it does not work in a systematic sense.

13 JWatts December 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

I think you make some good points, but the site was still some interesting reading.

“The main examples at the link are straw-man arguments. Most liberals didn’t really believe that smoking pot would end the war, nor did most of the religious right believe the tribulation is at hand. ”

I agree that these were very weak arguments and they were effectively straw-man arguments. (I started to argue that they weren’t actually straw man arguments and then realized how weak my point were. So, changed my position. 😉 )

Though the arguments were actually made by members of each group. They were both fringe positions and never adopted as a core tenet of either group.

14 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 9:57 am

I think they were straw-men because they were identified with their respective movements, and then the author pretends to have discredited the movements by discrediting those positions. But yeah, some people actually did claim those things.

15 Dzhaughn December 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

I agree; the author expects you to fill in the details here.

One of the fundamental difficulties in the piece as a whole is its imprecision of what the “countercultures” are. Who exactly is he making all these bullet points to? I think the answer is to everyone in part, or rather part of everyone. In particular to the defensive aspects of ourselves that tell us to circle the wagons. For example, to the part of ourselves addressed by the NYT these days in saying HRC lost because of Russian’s/FBI director’s shenanigans. (“The perfect weapon aimed at the US election.” Honestly.) And the substantial of part HRC herself that led to her “Basket of Deplorables” and “So why am I not leading by 50 points?” improv pieces.

(There are plenty of examples on the Right, but they are more obvious.)

Ok fine. But whether that justifies a general monist/dualist reading of politics is far from clear. And whether that in turn especially justifies an atheistic semi-Buddhist philosophy is even less clear.

16 Thursday December 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Beyond that, it quickly becomes a discussion of “what people want” rather than things that are objectively wrong.

Yup.

17 Rami December 22, 2016 at 12:29 am

The quality of this blog is really going down. Disappointed that Tyler thinks this drivel has any worth. Maybe he’s not as smart as I thought.

18 Locke December 22, 2016 at 3:25 am

Yet you took the time to leave a comment rather than swiping right. Maybe you’re not as smart as you thought.

19 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 6:33 am

According to the system of Meaningness, it’s better to swipe both left and right.

20 John December 22, 2016 at 9:16 am

Doesn’t that just make the image bigger?

21 mobile December 22, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Swipe right from the left side, and swipe left from the right side. At the same time. That’s what will make it smaller!

22 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

+1

23 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 6:56 am

Maybe you are not as smart as you think you are.

24 JWatts December 22, 2016 at 9:39 am

“The quality of this blog is really going down. Disappointed that Tyler thinks this drivel has any worth. Maybe he’s not as smart as I thought.”

No matter how smart you are, if you aren’t willing to seriously consider some ‘drivel’, you will quickly find your self constrained to an ideological bubble.

25 Daniel Weber December 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

It’s very very easy to blog about the culture war. It gets you lots of clicks. Tyler could blog about it all the time and generate lots of “discussion.”

Instead he gives us an occasional dip into a river that drowns a lot of people.

26 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm

+1

27 Brian December 22, 2016 at 12:33 am

Oddly my counter culture had the majority and lost anyway

28 Sam Haysom December 22, 2016 at 1:56 am

Presumably you are speaking of traditional Christianity because that’s the one majority that was truly upended by oligarchic judicial absolutism.

29 Thomas Taylor December 22, 2016 at 6:32 am

Hahaha. Yet the Christian Far-Right writes book after book atacking those Christians who disagree with them (the Far-Right loves trying to join populist appeal and persecution complex – i.e. we are the majority/those sissies won’t allow me to apply “God’s law” and kill homosexuals and people who break the Sabbath). The same way, strangely Muslim terrorists kill more Muslims than infidels. The true enemy of the blood-lusting is their moderate breathen.

30 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 6:36 am

“Book after book”? I challenge you to find one such book that advocates “kill[ing] homosexuals and people who break the Sabbath”.

31 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 7:37 am

Except the Old Testament, you mean (you may have heard of it, it is where the Ten Commandments and it is a fairly important book)? But you made it so eaaasy anyway: just anything by this guys: http://reason.com/archives/1998/11/01/invitation-to-a-stoning

They just happen to be the most prolific Christian writers of our times and surely among the most influential. To be fair, though, they think Sunday is the Sabbath, not Saturday. Disrespecting one’s parents also earns stoning, but being a drunkard doesn’t.

For a more regional matter, if I got a penny every time a Brazilian Catholic defends the Inquisition and other dissident-killing practises in the Old Portuguese Empire and implies it is about time to get back to those, I would be richer than Trump says he is.

32 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 8:50 am

I was wrong.

Disappointing that this exists, but it is a fringe movement that doesn’t represent the position of the Christian right. These people are marginal even among fundamentalists.

Mainstream Christian thought is that the Old Testament penal codes no longer apply since Jesus has overturned/fulfilled the Law.

33 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 10:26 am

1) I am not so sure, they have a respectable foothold in the homeschool movement and the Ron Paul movement (two movements I sympathize a lot with, really). And, realistically, life is about trade-offs and focus. I remember an author arguing “America, the Beautiful” has become “America, the Bizarre” because, you know, gays and Atheists. So America was beatiful when, say, under the Segragation regime or the Trail of Tears (the song is from the late 1800s and I don’t think the idea is America has just become beautiful that exactly moment), but now, you know, gays and Atheists. I think it is obvious Americans of all persuasions are getting ready for a jihad.

2) Yet the Old Testament minus dietary laws and divorce is the moral basis of Christianity. Yes, there is a tension between legislating Christian morality – or any other – and the whole “whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone” thing, but historically Christians have been able to justify harsh measures against sinners and adversaries. Not everyone is so cost-conscious as “Mr. Stones are cheap and plentiful”, but the Puritan fervor is clearly there (and what about the Jews? The overthrowing of the Davidian kingdom and foreign control did not overthrow the Law – as late as Christ’s time, they were busy stoning people). The Overton Window went left (down, South, backwards?) and it is cause of endless weeping and gnashing of teeth among the true believers in the Right. As I said, I grew up hearing about how pious our forefathers were for crushing any challenge to the Church. We are one of the few peoples who actually complied with Rome’s instructions to get rid of the old pagan day names. One doesn’t get this kind of change without large scale state terror and one doesn’t praise it if one is not ready start all again if one has a chance.

34 8 December 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

The evil Christians dump Jesus for Jewish law? Wow, just wow. Anti-semitic much?

35 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm

If you really want to be inclusive and multicultural, you can dump Him for the sharia instead. Except for the skin color of the followers (which seems to be very important for the American Right), there is no difference.

36 Luke Edwards December 22, 2016 at 12:49 am

David F—ing Chapman is the author.

37 Sid December 22, 2016 at 12:55 am

The author is David Chapman. He’s written a lot of Buddhism and philosophy of self and meaning.
https://vividness.live/about-david-chapman/

He used to be an AI researcher at MIT. Among other things, he wrote this seminal paper on how robots might form plans: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0004370287900920

He’s also an entrepreneur who seems to have been quite successful: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-chapman-22a15b1

38 8 December 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

I like Buddhism for the violence.

39 Saturos December 22, 2016 at 12:59 am

David Chapman is the next best thing in the blogosphere after the entire OvercomingBias crowd (and perhaps this blog).

40 stephan December 22, 2016 at 1:32 am

from the article: ” Especially at turning points in life, people ask questions like:
Is there any purpose at all in living? Or is everything completely pointless?
What am I supposed to do?
How can I choose among the many ways I could spend the rest of my life?
Does everyone’s life have the same purpose, or does everyone have their own?
Where does purpose come from? Does it have some ultimate source, or is it just a personal invention? ”

I don’t ask myself these questions. It makes as much sense as asking: ” what’s the purpose of the sunset , is it purposeful, it it pointless ?” If you have to ask these questions, you have a problem, Life just is: experience it.

41 Dzhaughn December 22, 2016 at 3:35 am

What is the purpose of explaining that?

In particular, what makes “life just is” a better motto than (a) “Life just is for getting as much power (or esteem of others, or fame, or pleasure) as possible” Or (b) “Life is for serving God through serving others?”

42 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 7:23 am

“Life is for serving God through serving others?”

What Is the point, serving others or serving God? How do we know? If it is serving God, why do we care it is done by “serving others”? If it is serving God through exploding children (or killing sacrificing one’s first-born), is it still good? How do we know that?

43 Dzhaughn December 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I’m glad you agree, Thiago, that there are questions that must be answered. Contra stephan, above; If you don’t ask these question, you have, or maybe are, a problem.

44 stephan December 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I was in a flippant mood. There is purpose in our actions but I think people who ask ” Is there any purpose at all in living? Or is everything completely pointless?” suffer from depression or anhedonia. Our being here now is mostly the outcome of random events. There is no need to find a purpose in this outcome.

45 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

But how do we know those are questions that must be made, let alone answered?

46 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 5:41 am

In your framework, how can others be so wrong that they “have a problem”? Whence the imperative to “experience” things rather than search for meaning?

47 stephan December 22, 2016 at 11:58 am

@dan1111 If you have to ask these questions, you have a problem

48 dan1111 December 23, 2016 at 2:44 am

Ok, I get it now. There is an absolute truth: stephan’s opinion.

49 Andre December 22, 2016 at 3:27 am

“Kling’s framework gives me hope: everyone can agree that oppression is bad, civilization is good, and freedom is good.”

When did anyone agree about this? De Jure oppression was the law of the land for hundreds of years. Do we just have to wait for the people that lived then to die out?

Was it some sort of lazy counter culture that changed the laws?

50 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 5:56 am

Yeah.

In the modern western context, you probably can get near-universal agreement on just that sentence. But in order to act on it, you have to define “oppression”, “civilization”, and “freedom”. That is where it will all break down.

Failure to admit that there really is irreconcilable disagreement is one of the most harmful errors one can make. And it pervades this piece.

51 derek December 22, 2016 at 8:55 am

There will be a huge number of pieces over the next while about how the political discussion has hit a new low; people will be yelling at each other, and it is just terrible.

This guy sounds alot like the pot smokers I run into. Be cool. But there are interests that conflict; sometimes it is a zero sum game. Power is abused and needs to be confronted.

The emotional appeals from both sides are about building a coalition and mass to be able to affect change. Mob action works.

52 albatross December 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

+1

We can boil all our political arguments down to “the government should do the right thing,” as long as we can somehow resolve what “the right thing” is.

53 Evan Harper December 22, 2016 at 3:46 am

I’m sure that gay teenagers being tortured into madness and suicide in the Moral Majority’s “conversion therapy” prison camps will be relieved to know that shutting those camps down would in the end be mostly a statement of tribal identity and a claim for high status, better addressed by respectful pragmatic compromise with their torturers.

Honestly. I’m trying to take this seriously but it just reads to me as an incredibly long-winded, pretentious, and idiosyncratic way for a guy to say that issues that don’t move or affect him personally are really just a big irrelevant joke that everyone should stop caring about. At least not when there are extremely important issues like economically inefficient banking regulations out there.

54 Jeff R December 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

Those camps did make for a really funny South Park episode, though (“Cartman Sucks”), so don’t be so quick to write off the “big joke” perspective.

55 Art Deco December 22, 2016 at 9:59 am

I’m sure that gay teenagers being tortured into madness and suicide in the Moral Majority’s “conversion therapy” prison camps

None of this exists or did exist outside your imagination. The Moral Majority (which dissolved in 1989) was a political organization, not a social service agency or a ministry. They ran voter registration drives and the like. There have been church ministries to homosexual populations, but they don’t torture people. Some of them are hooked up with counselors and psychologists who have reparative therapy as part of their book, but the counselors don’t torture anyone either. The main organizations for mental health tradesmen who do reparative therapy is called NARTH and they are not an evangelical organization.

56 Daniel Weber December 22, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I don’t know why I still get amazed at people who say

1. “I am really super concerned about X” and
2. “I don’t know the most basic facts about X.”

57 Evan Harper December 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm

You are being deliberately obtuse by pretending that my use of “the Moral Majority” refers to Jerry Falwell’s defunct organization specifically, rather than the broad evangelical right which its name invokes. Especially since I’m responding to a website that specifically states that “the Moral Majority” means the latter.

58 Evan Harper December 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

…and I am well acquainted with the reality of evangelical torture camps because my significant other is youth rights activist, has personally met scores of the victims who you deny exist, some of whom later committed suicide, and personally bluffed her way out of a child psych ward ca. age 12 by faking a religious conversion to appease the evangelical crackpot witch doctor who ran the place. Jackass.

59 Jeff R December 22, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Without the camps, they might have committed suicide much sooner.

60 a definite beta guy December 23, 2016 at 8:04 am

I think we need to talk more about all the people who die from cancer and heart disease.

61 AveH December 22, 2016 at 11:23 am

I agree. For a lot of people on the Left, these issues are just virtue signalling opportunities, but the ultimate goal of the happen to be-ers is far from symbolic, to “shut those camps down” i.e. to prevent people from practicing their religion as is their constitutional right.

62 Evan Harper December 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

ah yes, the well-known One-and-a-Halfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right of parents to hire professional torturers to beat the gay out of their own children

63 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

+1

64 peri December 22, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Religion was dead the moment that churches did anything as shameful and irreligious and absurd as run re-education camps for gays. Or if they never did, it was dead the moment that we thought they did or did not and began to talk about it, as we talk about gay all the damn time. True religion would never fixate on such a thing.

So: you are not getting religion back either way. Not the fault of the modern Left.

It is interesting, though, the daily evidence that the Left believes there is something left to destroy. I wonder if that means it’s in its demented death throes too.

65 Melmoth December 22, 2016 at 4:56 am

“But galleons are archaic, clumsy, ornately ridiculous vessels, ill-suited to contemporary conditions. With the rejection of rationality, they came unmoored from their foundations.”

I’m having a hard time seeing past the mixed metaphors.

66 Rich Berger December 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

With so much mixing, a man could get seasick reading those lines.

67 Edward Burke December 22, 2016 at 5:53 am

Can a Tantric Buddhist earn $2,800 (USD) an hour slicing a leg of ham? Two conversions might be required.

68 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 6:57 am

Can a Jew slice a leg of ham on the Sabbath?

69 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 7:07 am

Only if they don’t speak English.

70 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 7:19 am

Which made me wonder: at all or just at work? How does the ham knows which language one speaks?

71 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 7:29 am

How does the ham know it was cut by a person and not a slicing machine? The slicing machine “melts the fat”? Pffffft!

72 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 7:47 am

Maybe slicing ham is more an art than a science. A machine can’t love, so it can’t slice ham.

73 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 8:52 am

AI is improving though. A computer will be able to pass the Ibericological Turing Test pretty soon.

74 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 9:20 am

If a machine can’t love, and a ham can’t make love to a machine, what exactly are we all doing here?

75 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

Man can love ham and make sex with a machine , though, or so I am told.

Even if a machine could slice ham, it would not know it can do it, this is what makes man man, we know we slice ham and we know why. A machine’s existence is its own essence, its own raison d’être, if you will. But man’s essence is of his own making, he is the author of his own fate. Man is doomed to be free and this is his prison.

76 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 10:48 am

A relevant clip from Rick and Morty:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7HmltUWXgs

77 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Thanks. It is the story of my life.

78 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

You are a machine designed to pass butter? Is commenting on this blog part of performing that function? If it is, I feel like that may reveal a key piece of information about the universe.

79 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Oh, I was thinking about the big picture. Years and years as a student singing anthems about the Paraguayan War and our invincible Army and marching on civic holidays. I probably spent much more time marching and singing than learning multiplication tables or Geometry preparing for war. Yet, Brazil hasn’t fought a major war since 1870. Even our thousands of dead in WW II still make it our prticiption mere skirmish in the large scheme of things. Our military bases were considered then essential to the war effort, but now our leaders are not invited to the festivities (but the Germans are!). What good was all that whipping up fervor if we won’t fight? Brazilians are made for fighting yet our leaders won’t allow us to fight no matter how our neighbours mistreat us. A lost generation and a death by a million cuts. It is sad.

80 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

“The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been .”

It is the beginning of the end, except nothing ever ends.

81 y81 December 22, 2016 at 7:28 am

“Your counterculture failed because the majority did not agree with it.”

If the study of history teaches us anything, it is that the conscious will of the majority has very little influence on the course of events.

82 Harun December 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

I would also submit that a lot of culture is “engineered” now.

Culture is just shared understandings.

Its pretty easy to try to change this via astroturf.

Think back to when a barbarian king would convert to Christianity as a great example of this.

Not much different from getting MTV to release viral videos otherizing white males.

83 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 2:16 pm

I doubt MTV is nearly as influent as the barbarian kings were. I doubt anyone hs done anything ’cause MTV said so in the last 20 years.

84 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

“Your counterculture failed because the majority did not agree with it.”

Yes, if the will of the majority makes right, then everyone would need to become Christian now, because it is the most believed faith. And if everyone failed to do that now, then a few years from now, everyone would have to become Muslim, because that faith is rapidly overtaking Christianity in popularity, because the birth rate there is so high.

Truth sometimes prevails and sometimes not. What if someone had said that to “heretics” during the Spanish Inquisition? In fact, I am sure they did. Might and power do not always make right.

85 SC December 22, 2016 at 7:51 am

Can somebody please link to the page where he substantiates any of his vague assertions with some examples? Is there something wrong with me because I find this highly self-referential and completely abstract work unsatisfying?

86 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 8:47 am

“When your symbolic issues blow up into actual political conflicts, often you are fighting to establish tribal dominance, not to accomplish pragmatic improvements in society.”

True, but acknowledging this could lead to straight-out tribal conflict without even the pretext of doing something for the good of society generally. And what if eliminating the other tribe is my vision of improving society?

“You need to let go of the sacred myths of your tribe. Decades ago they inspired genuinely positive social change, but now they produce only frustration and hatred and stalemate. Everyone born after 1970 thinks they are idiotic. You are stuck pretending to believe, but even you secretly know they aren’t true.”

We only make it through life by holding on to various sacred myths. The truth of existence is brutal. This ultimately reads as “Let go of your sacred myths. Adopt mine instead. They are better.”

87 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 9:01 am

“This ultimately reads as ‘Let go of your sacred myths. Adopt mine instead. They are better.'”

Yep, exactly. And he hasn’t even established that the myths are myths in the first place.

88 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 9:18 am

I tend to proceed from the assumption that all competing philosophies, religions, and political ideologies are just collections of sacred myths, and that most of what we do when discussing “weighty” topics is battle over whose sacred myth is better. Some might accuse me of nihilism, not unfairly.

So I am willing to grant him that what he calls myths are probably myths. I just think he holds onto his own myths, perhaps without being fully aware of it, and that he ultimately just wants people to adopt his in place of his own. This is a very common view of the world (“Ha! I’ve exposed your beliefs as false! Now listen to my theories…”), but it is a view lacking in depth.

I think the proper way to conduct the argument is to say “These are your sacred myths. Here are mine. What is your vision of the Good in existence? Here’s mine. This is why I think my myths are better at achieving my desired vision of the Good. Here is why I think they might also be better for achieving your desired vision of the Good.”

89 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 9:38 am

This is fair enough. But in his world the “problem” is not people like you, but actual adherents to the “anti-rational” systems. He cannot very well convince people to abandon systems if the falsity of those systems is assumed more than argued.

90 JWatts December 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

“But in his world the “problem” is not people like you,”

The problem is always the Turkey Vulture, you just haven’t realized it yet. 😉

91 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 10:28 am

TV, from your posts I imagine you as an ultimate skeptic, which is inherently nihilistic. I get the logic behind it, and it is a very rational approach up to a point. Have you heard of the golddiggers paradox? A man has 100 acres of land, and on 1 of the acres is a chest of gold/landmine depending on the version. He is a rational fellow and does not want to waste time searching/avoid using valuable land. He has a poorly drawn and tattered map that suggests 10 certain acres. It is only 10% accurate. He has a malfunctioning metal detector that gets false positives, and if used would indicate 20 acres, or only 5% accuracy. Finally he could just declare there is no gold/landmine and have 99% accuracy. He chooses the most accurate model and then explodes.

Skepticism is a negation of most myths and models, without an affirmation of any instead. It is largely correct-you are probably right to not believe a teacup is orbiting the Sun, or that Zeus will turn into a bull and impregnate your wife. But following scepticism to its extreme is nihilistic, and even Nietzche (Sic?) acknowledged the need for morality and unprovable affirmatives.

I agree that there’s a lot of fighting over myths, but the myths aren’t silly, they’re deathly serious. I strongly disagree with Ahmed from the previous thread, and I reject what he believes, but not the significance of it. It does shape how we feel life should be lived. Even liberty and justice for all is a supposition!

92 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 10:40 am

It is just how I am, not who I chose to be. I haven’t found any myth that works for me, partly because I can’t bury my belief that they are all myths. So I try to enjoy being a skeptic and contrarian, arguing over things I believe to be meaningless, because it gives me some measure of pleasure and passes the time. That may be overstating it though – I have a vague sense that understanding the reality of existence has some merit to it. When Judgment Day comes, I hope to have a place in Philosopher’s Heaven for getting a close glimpse of Truth.

I don’t mean to imply that fighting over myths is silly. In fact, that seems to be all we have to hold onto in this life. So it is serious, to the extent that anything can be serious.

93 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 10:40 am

“you are probably right to not believe (…) that Zeus will turn into a bull and impregnate your wife.”

In fact, something like that is said to have happened around 1 AC. Is the bull part really that important?

94 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 10:58 am

TV, I did not mean it to be a slam at you. Of all the posters here, you are the among the most rational, thanks TO your skepticism. I only warn it’s a philosophy that can only get you so far, or rather carried to its logical extreme is nihilistic. What fruit comes from that tree? I and Ahmed would probably both say Columbine and hedonism, which ironically appear to be desperate searches for meaning in a world devoid of it. Ahmed and I would both say that you can change your nature, although he may say that is the only choice you have!

If the constant struggle for truth and meaning from the beginning of time has taught us anything, it is that the search for truth and meaning itself is good. For striving towards that you have a place in Philosopher Heaven. Nihilism is abandoning the search. Even if we are all fumbling in the dark, seek and ye shall yet find.

Thiago, that is exactly why I picked the example of Zeus. I don’t find it silly! I believe in a virgin birth of God.

95 J December 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

I have never heard of the “gold digger/landmine paradox” and a search- Google and a University database- yielded nothing. Can you point me to some information on it or a paper about it?

96 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

Well, I do greatly enjoy William Blake. I even named my eldest son in his (and my) honor. Skepticism is itself ultimately meaningless, and romantic irrationality and transcendentalism can seem appealing. Perhaps I can be a weekday skeptic and nihilist, and a weekend romantic transcendentalist.

97 msgkings December 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm

@Sam: Is your belief in the virgin birth your own, or the one you were taught as a child that as an adult you’ve decided to accept as truth? Meaning, isn’t that belief merely an artifact of who your parents were?

98 Thiago Ribeiro December 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Which is the point. If a virgin birth of God, why not a tea cup orbiting the Sun? God moves in misterious ways.

As America falls, the struggle for power will become ever more desperate. It will be Rome, Part II.

99 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Msgkings, I am the only one in my family who takes religion seriously. My mom I think views it more as a political cudgel (smite the heathens!) and my dad believes in scientism. (I get my religiosity from my dad and political bent from mom). I recognize most of what I’ve inherited but the virgin birth is not among them.

I believe in the divine, and while I don’t recognize any miracles in my life, it neuters the point of God to sanitize a la Jefferson any references to miracles ever. Clearly a virgin birth is impossible, we know it now as they knew it in 1 AD. I could deny the virgin birth and countless other miracles and be left with a tame neutered God that behaves the way I say he ought. Or I could accept it, which requires accepting God does occasionally intervene, gain a bit of appreciation for the absurd Greeks, and a bit of mystery as well. Maybe others get more insight into God from this than I for I get little, but it’s not for me to discard.

Another example of why I shouldn’t reject a myth is in Genesis. That Old Testament God was kind of a wrathful smitey dude, wasn’t he? What happened to the first murderer, Cain? … rather than punished, God put a mark of protection on him that would return sevenfold any harm. One of God’s first acts was to attempt to stop a neverending cycle of retribution. Sometimes the lesson of a myth takes a while to sink in. In my case it took 32 years for that to switch from historymyth to morality lesson. It took me a while to appreciate the value of that myth, and im now glad I kept it, even if its historical accuracy is very questionable.

100 msgkings December 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

@Sam: nice reply. I agree in the allegorical value of Christian (and other) myths, things that probably didn’t actually happen but the stories of which function well as moral education. Sounds like in your heart of hearts you don’t really think they happened either, it just pleases you to act as if.

“It took me a while to appreciate the value of that myth, and im now glad I kept it, even if its historical accuracy is very questionable.” – this of course can apply to the virgin birth too.

I could be misunderstanding you of course, just curious. Most of those who tell me they truly and literally believe in every word of the Bible aren’t nearly as intelligent as you.

101 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Msgkings, as long as you have a positive opinion I’ll stop while I’m ahead and say you have a good grasp on my position! 🙂

I don’t believe in a fully literal bible, but I do know SOME of it is true. There’s a danger in the pick-your-own religion as well as danger in accepting all, even the uncomfortable parts.

I’m trying to straddle the line between skepticism and belief. I think to find the truth I have to be willing to be found wrong. Thanks for putting up with my ramblings!

102 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

“I think to find the truth I have to be willing to be found wrong.”

Amazing. Very few people are willing to be found wrong. Our current tribal system in the U.S. is all about whom and what you believe and whom and what you disbelieve. If you are willing to be found wrong, you risk being stranded without another soul around.

There are some few truth seekers in our society though. I hope you come across some in your life, and on the Net.

103 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

I think there is something here, but I don’t really like the counterculture framing. Few combatants think they are the counterculture. Many do however lock into patterns of battle.

Remember when many of you admitted to locking onto a past form of pop music, and then tuning your radio/stream to stay in that moment?

It might not be unrelated.

104 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:13 am

Another way to put it is that nobody gets up in the morning and forms a new theory of human nature, philosophy, and (as related to this blog) political economy based on a new state of the world.

If we are lucky, very lucky, we will just manage to update our priors a little bit, move a bit from where we were 10 years ago.

105 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 9:19 am

You underestimate me.

106 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:26 am

I don’t know, maybe. But I think a lot of people carry “sacred myths” that are not only outdated on December 22, 2016, but are injurious to self and society.

We could probably agree on much of the list, from young earth creation to fears of GMOs.

Maybe I am too optimistic to think that many even consider the applicability of their beliefs to the world. They are too busy dumping on people who give to charity and other weird counterproductive shit.

107 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

I don’t know about injurious to self. That depends very much on how you approach the issue. I could believe something that might cause me to die young, but that gives me great satisfaction and a sense of understanding the universe and my place within it. Should I be made to reject that view if it leads to a long life of despair and meaninglessness?

I think that, to one extent or another, young earth creation and fears of GMOs fit into such worldviews.

108 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

There are (many) comfort giving frameworks that “can deal” with the age of the earth, GMOs, and science in general, so that is kind of a false choice.

109 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:48 am

I just saw that you said “nihilism” above.

Yes, I think the idea that false beliefs (snake handling?) are good if they feel good, gets there.

110 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 9:58 am

You might be confusing nihilism for hedonism.

It isn’t a false choice unless you believe you can just walk up to someone and get them to replace their comfort-giving system with the alternative you believe will achieve the same ends without the negatives.

111 anon December 22, 2016 at 9:59 am

I am saying you are the nihilist to grant them the hedonism.

112 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

Why hold back their hedonism? We must make people miserable for their own good?

113 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

This is a case where we are arguing over what is Good. Eating hamburgers is tasty and makes me happy, which is Good! (Is it? Stealing things from the store also makes me happy) But it shortens my lifespan! That’s bad! (Is it? Was the landing at Normandy a collection of men making Evil decisions?)

And despite the disagreement over what Good is, we almost all agree it’s out there. Search for the meaning first before cleansing your society of heretics.

114 albatross December 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

I think this is a symptom of using beliefs to signal tribal membership. For most people, they’re a very cheap signal–an electrician or elementary school teacher who has wrong beliefs about CO2 emissions affecting the climate or the virtues of a gold standard or Iraqi weapons of mass destruction can still do his job just fine. It’s only when we have to make collective decisions that their incorrect beliefs have a cost.

115 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

I believe Virtues in a Kantian sense, they must be absolutely and always good. I believe Mercy (or promoting comfort and joy) and Justice (payment of debts) both virtuous. A curious thing happens where you cannot have one without the other. Recall the rape case where the rapist was given a month in jail. A merciful sentence to the man but not the woman, so ultimately neither a merciful nor just sentence. Justice and Mercy must synthesize to become fully expressed.

The one who lets me eat to my death is perhaps expressing Liberty, or perhaps in a sense Mercy (lets me stay happy, up to the last 5 minutes of having a painful heart attack).

The one who knocks the burger out of my hand could be expressing Temperance or a form of mercy (being fat is likely to make me unhappy more than the burger makes me happy). In my worldview the debate is over how to properly synthesize them. A light tax, preserving Mercy Liberty and Temperance? Then the debate over what a light tax is starts. Even in a society that believes the same broad strokes as me will have disagreement.

TL;DR I forgot what i was talking about, and can’t scroll back up easily on mobile. Sorry for wasting your time.

116 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

“This is a case where we are arguing over what is Good.”

Indeed, which is a good step in my mind. Too often I think we get caught up in arguing about the merits of various alternative ideologies or policies, when a fundamental disagreement about “What is Good?” is coloring all of the arguments.

I think it is difficult to poke logical holes in someone’s view of “What is Good?” It is, ultimately, a matter of faith. You can, at best, give reasons why your vision of the Good seems better.

But if you know someone’s view of “What is Good,” you can logically critique whether their proposed system or policy achieves that end.

This is why I have sometimes proposed that the starting point for most philosophical, religious, and political discussions should be having the participants state, as best they can, their vision of the Good. I think when Tyler interviews a Thinker, it should be his first question: “What, to you, is Good?”

117 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm

+100, Turkey Vulture. Yes, the very first question, always.

118 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

I’m curious: how is belief in young earth creationism “injurious to self and society”?

I can’t think of how it would be. The best I can come up with would be “It may cause one to reject other beneficial science”, but that is rather indirect. Also, it doesn’t seem true in practice. Harmful anti-science movements like opposition to GMOs and vaccines seem to be associated with the left just as much as conservative Christian groups. Global warming skepticism is associated with the right, but there is nothing religious about the argument, really.

I would be interested to hear thoughts on this. I’m a Christian, but not a young earth creationist.

119 anon December 22, 2016 at 10:04 am

I think you caught the idea and then released it. Catch and release.

Young earthism (and all the big separations from reality) pave way for not just more rejection, but a culture where rejection is accepted.

Something seeminly unrelated, like homeopathy, benefits from the meta-framework. It is just a belief, and experts are all against us, am-I-right?

120 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

“Young earthism (and all the big separations from reality) pave way for not just more rejection, but a culture where rejection is accepted.”

The basic framework of our lives is a rejection of reality. We do not believe in the reality of our inevitable deaths. We demand meaning from and ascribe meaning to an impermanent world by rejecting that impermanence.

121 anon December 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

We are far afield from political economy when we get to the basic inevitability of death, but I would say that many frameworks, religious and non, have their ways of saying “the teacup is already broken.”

122 dan1111 December 22, 2016 at 10:19 am

@anon, but my point is that in practice, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

If belief that the earth is 6000 years old makes it easier to believe in homeopathy, we should expect fundamentalist Christians to use alternative medicine more than other groups. But that doesn’t seem true.

Political/religious priors don’t seem to at all predict who is more prone to believing pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, etc.

123 Turkey Vulture December 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

“We are far afield from political economy when we get to the basic inevitability of death”

I think not. Much of political economy, as so much else, is built upon a foundational denial of the inevitability of death. Keynes even felt the need to remind everyone of that reality.

124 anon December 22, 2016 at 10:32 am

Is there a study that goes directly from one unscientific belief to another? That is a bit different than looking for correlations in self-identified religious group.

It certainly seems that when you meet an adherent of one fringe theory, you hit the mother lode.

125 anon December 22, 2016 at 11:05 am

This reminds me of a guy I knew. After I had known him for a while, he mentioned that he didn’t believe the world was billions of years old. He said it knowing that I disagreed, he was prepared for it.

Later though it really hurt his feelings that I didn’t believe in Bigfoot.

Two seemingly unrelated things.

126 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

Gary Johnson caught a lot of flak for saying, of global warming, ‘Of course it’s true. Heck 1 billion years from now the sun will boil away the ocean!’ It’s true, but we all want to ignore the long term. If thermodynamics is true, eventually all the stars will burn out and all life will cease.

That doesn’t inform us what to do now though, nor render our actions meaningless despite the end result being the same. Any positive act made by politicians in this sense a rejection of death.

127 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Anon, here is a good example of the problem of skepticism and tribal beliefs. I have seen such unadulterated bullshiitake mushrooms coming from mainstream media (like Russian Haxx0rZ made Hillary lose) that I’ve become skeptical of all of it.

But I want to still have some beliefs. I’m not rejecting the existence of Russia or even that Putin prefers Trump over Hillary. I have to believe some sources still to have any opinion on foreign affairs, so I decide to trust Alex Jones. Voila, tribal beliefs.

The more skeptical a person the more they lean towards foreign agnosticism, or isolationism. Kim Jong Un, maybe he’s good maybe he’s bad maybe he doesn’t exist, let’s ignore that part of the world.

128 anon December 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

“Any positive act made by politicians in this sense a rejection of death.”

I don’t get that. Many of the things politicians do are directly about death, for a start. Hell, some of them want to be wheeled in for a last vote.

129 anon December 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Actually, moving to hacks, you touch on something related to a thread above that I did not address.

You said “start with what is good,” where I would have said “start with what is fact.” Only after you accept true a view of the world can you build or apply a philosophy for it. On the other hand, if you refuse to do seek the facts, you have tipped your hand that you are not a serious player, in your own interest or at large.

In this case, we have IMO well proven “Russian hacking.” To get on page one is to accept that. After that you can decide if it is good (no) or if the effect is quantifiable (no).

130 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm

If we’re all going to die, why make the world a better place? For the children. But they too shall die, and eventually there will come a point where the last human shall be born, and die. We could cut to the chase, burn all the carbon on the planet to make ourselves the richest, most comfortable, and last generation.

Or we can keep fighting death. Death’s gonna win, but the fight itself is noble. And even saying ‘noble’ is a statement of belief in the metaphysical.

131 anon December 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

I’m not sure where this is going.

Do you just want me to remind you that childless monks and nuns all around the world try to make things better?

The average pol may be more cynical than the average monk, but I’m not so pessimistic that I would say they have disjoint sets of motivations.

What was your opinion on Hans Rosling? Deluded fool?

132 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Anon, now is a bad time to get intellectually lazy! We are both presupposing Good comes first, and we both agree that Truth is a part of Good. Right? Otherwise what is your attachment to the truth? You can contrast this to some Human BioDiversity opponents who say that EVEN IF ITS TRUE is wrong to teach because of racism. Even the truth deniers are unfortunately serious players. Do we both not agree the principle question is Is it true? Followed by What do we do with it if it is? (My answers: somewhat and nothing. It is a tiresome crowd)

You admit the hacking is well proven, IN YOUR OPINION. I have a higher standard of proof for reasons that have been endlessly belabored on this forum, but that does not make either of us less interested in the truth. Let me repeat: just because you have a lower standard of proof does not make you a liar or a denier of reality. You may even be right. The principal question again becomes Is it True, and what should we do about it if it is? (My answers: not likely, and demand more from domestic journalism, because we shouldn’t rely on foreign governments to provide US transparency).

A solid understanding of epistomology shows we’re in the same general camp, not opponents, despite this disagreement. We both value Truth.

133 anon December 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm

I think there is an often unacknowledged strain of agnosticism in American society. It is very important, even if part of the deal is that it is subtle and unspoken. It is what allows coworkers to say “I’m Catholic” or “I’m Protestant” without disemboweling each other. So I say start with that, and the truths that Buddhists and Mormons can agree upon.

And don’t even, on the spying thing. When you must plug your ears when all major and independent intelligence organizations in the US government speak, you are not accepting fact, as best understood at this moment.

134 anon December 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm

“The federal intelligence community, as well as private cybersecurity analysts, are confident that Russian actors were behind the hack. The Homeland Security Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement Oct. 7 saying they believed people at the top levels of Russian government directed the attack in an attempt to interfere in the election.”

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/dec/01/russia-and-its-influence-presidential-election/

So again, don’t even. If you want us to believe you are talking about this world.

135 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Anon, we are in a post-truth society. You mustn’t confuse people from the fake news culture with “facts.” To them “facts” are whatever Alex Jones or Trump or their other trusted leaders say they are.

That’s an important issue in the culture wars that the article left out. When people are so tribally identified that there can be no consensus around what reality is and what facts are, with people outside of their tribe, how do you get past that? Or, more importantly, is it possible to get past that at all?

Perhaps it isn’t. If the most fundamental belief of your tribe is about the common enemy your tribe revolves around, and about defining your tribe in contrast to enemy, and about taking every action or inaction of the other tribe as proof that this enemy is evil, stupid, and weak, how do you get out of that? Or do you ever? Is it impenetrable, not just to the enemy tribe, but to all people not in the tribe. Perhaps “you are either with me or against me” is part of the tribal beliefs.

136 Sam The Sham December 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Anon, I touched a nerve there 🙂 I was trying to illustrate that we both value Truth. I also gather you value Fairness perhaps more, since you indicated previously you’d be ok with this if the RNC were also leaked. Which, because I value Truth, I would also be ok with. In fact, please bring it on! Fairness doesn’t need to get involved for me to approve of shining a light on corruption.

The fact that you appear to, makes it appear that Truth takes a backseat to Fairness to you. Am I being fair in this assessment? I was content to let this be about the effects of skepticism and tribalism. My skepticism of both the CIA/mainstream media and Assange/Alex Jones does not give me a strong tribe to back me up.

137 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Gosh, it’s hard to figure out where to click on Reply, to get my response into the proper place, when a thread is really long. I wish Tyler would find a way to make more “nests” if that’s what you call them, so that this would be easier.

“Anon, I touched a nerve there 🙂 I was trying to illustrate that we both value Truth. I also gather you value Fairness perhaps more, since you indicated previously you’d be ok with this if the RNC were also leaked. Which, because I value Truth, I would also be ok with. In fact, please bring it on! Fairness doesn’t need to get involved for me to approve of shining a light on corruption.”

“The fact that you appear to, makes it appear that Truth takes a backseat to Fairness to you. Am I being fair in this assessment? I was content to let this be about the effects of skepticism and tribalism. My skepticism of both the CIA/mainstream media and Assange/Alex Jones does not give me a strong tribe to back me up.”

I am interested to hear from Anon about this. I also have some thoughts.

I think truth takes a backseat to almost everything in our society today. But fairness is shut away in the trunk of the car.

The context here is important. To say that truth takes a backseat to fairness, what does that mean? Many possible things. Perhaps someone has a verbally abusive spouse. Perhaps that abusive spouse rags on their partner constantly, telling them “the truth” about every small fault they have, every tiny error they make. And suppose the spouse is an addict and is physically abusive too. Now, say you are the abused spouse and you walk out and never come back. Why is that? Is that because fairness is more important than truth to you? Well, if that is what it means, then perhaps fairness ought to be more important. And this is the way ti was for HRC in the campaign.

Perhaps the more important issue here is context. We are immersed in Right Wing propaganda (90% lies) and fake news (100% lies) in this society. The reason the “email scandal” worked to defeat HRC were not because it was “true.” A few of the many many reasons were as follows:
1) Media obsessively covered HRC’s email scandal, while ignoring much larger flaws on DT’s part.
2) Those who released emails, did so on a schedule where the releases kept going on and on, constantly and consistently blocking out any positive messages that HRC was trying to get across to voters.
3) Media gave DT billions of dollars of free air time, and also less negative coverage than HRC
4) Both Fake News and Right Wing News used the staggered email release to persuade the public of lies e.g. pizza gate, e.g. that there was a “pay to play” arrangement between the Clinton Foundation and the U.S. government– and many other “scandals” of which there was actually no evidence whatsoever in the emails. The steady stream of emails, blocking out all of HRC’s postive messages, plus the misinterpreting the emails and jumping to conclusions about what the contents meant– this is the factor about the emails that lost HRC the election– not the actual “truth” of the content of the emails.

Almost all news in the U.S. is Right Wing. How can I say that? What about the NYT? David Brock, a Dem political operative, documented well in his latest book and elsewhere, documented how biased the NYT articles were against Clinton, even thought the paper technically endorsed Clinton. See the video and article below for that documentation.

The reason why almost all news in the U.S. is Right Wing is that there are basically 3 kinds of news: Fake News, Right Wing news (100% RightWing, 90% lies), and Attempted Neutral media. Attempted Neutral media bends over backwards to include all points of view, and to be seen as including all points of view. But since they are not Right Wing totally, they are constantly criticized by powerful Right Wingers, as being biased against the Right Wing. They respond by bending over further backwards. Essentially the Right Wing bullies the NYT and other supposedly Left Wing media, into doing False Equivalence coverage. This means that the Left Wing presents their view and news (which is almost completely true) and the Right Wing presents their view and news (which is often 100% lies.) So the reader/viewer of supposedly Left Wing news ends up finding the “middle and moderate” point of view– which ends up in a position where the news consumer of supposedly Left Wing news ends up believing “news” which is 50% lies.

So basically, HRC lost the electoral vote because even Left Wing consumers of supposedly Left Wing news believed 50% of the lies told about her by the Right Wing.

Google for the Media Matters video with the title below.

On MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, David Brock Explains The NY Times’ Institutional Prejudice Against Hillary Clinton

And google the Politico article with the title below

David Brock: The New York Times has ‘a special place in hell’
The pro-Clinton crusader accuses former D.C. bureau chief Carolyn Ryan of
helping to turn the paper into a ‘megaphone for conservative propaganda.’

138 anon December 22, 2016 at 3:17 pm

This anon never said he’d endorse Russian hacking of the GOP. In fact this anon made a statement on sovereignty:

I am confident that if any democracy on earth found that a foreign government had hacked and published one of their major parties’ communications, they would consider this an attack on their sovereignty.

Even worse to consider hacking and blackmail, which is implicit in “sure, let them hack.”

That was in response to you, even.

Now, speaking more broadly, consider that when I submit myself to “fact checks” on my opinions, with googles for reputable sources, what I am really doing is taking many opportunities for my own motivated reasoning off the table.

139 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Anon, I see what you mean, in what you said and I quote, below.

“I am confident that if any democracy on earth found that a foreign government had hacked and published one of their major parties’ communications, they would consider this an attack on their sovereignty.

“Even worse to consider hacking and blackmail, which is implicit in “sure, let them hack.” ”

This is not a matter of truth or fairness you are discussing, but national sovereignty. Which is interesting. Trump has changed our politics totally. Even a few years ago, no politician could have gotten away with this “sure, let them hack” attitude, and even inviting Russia to hack more, if it would help him defeat his opponent. But tribes are often about following the leader to any crazy place he may lead– even to Russia. As you can see by looking at the beliefs of any religion you disagree with. No one thinks their own religion is crazy, but most everyone is aware that other people’s religions are.

“Now, speaking more broadly, consider that when I submit myself to “fact checks” on my opinions, with googles for reputable sources, what I am really doing is taking many opportunities for my own motivated reasoning off the table.”

Good idea. However, if you ever want to fit into society better– by leave your motivated reasoning on the table, like most people in the U.S. currently do, just claim that every fact checking site that is not part of your own tribe is “biased.” Someone from the enemy tribe once donated to the fact checking organization, or was on some board of an organization with somebody from the fact checking site, or whatever. It’s easy to think up “evidence” for why anything you don’t want to believe is biased.

140 Sam the Sham December 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Anon, looking at the thread you have been consistent in the sovereignty argument, and I’ve been consistent on the ‘please make everyone transparent’ argument. I would say there’s value in Sovereignty as well, but the truth shouldn’t take a back seat to it either. I was originally excited when Obama the Candidate pledged transparency, and disappointed that Obama the President did not deliver. I feel like I have been non-partisan about this.

This is peculiar. How are your thoughts on Brexit? I’m strongly pro-Brexit because of the sovereignty argument, but it does not work with me here. If we’re well-behaved tribal warriors, the sovereignty argument shouldn’t hold water for you in Brexit.

141 anon December 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I have no current opinion on Brexit. I was only mildly interested, and I haven’t kept up.

142 Sam the Sham December 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Fair enough. In most debates I’ve been in about Soviet hax0rz, the prevailing argument has been “how would you like it if YOUR party got haxxed?” (and since I have no party, and think parties do more harm than good…) – and the same general side has been quite vocal that the Pro-Brexit sovereignty argument is dumb. I suppose since you actually have a novel argument regarding the hacks, I should have been more attuned to your position, but I can’t argue your consistency then. In fact, I support your value of national dignity, independence, etc, but I just do not feel it applies here. And perhaps that’s the biggest point of contention – I’m belittling something you value (unintentionally).

A similar inconsistency is whenever the anti-Electoral College people also place significance on the fact that Scotland, Ireland, and Gibraltar all voted Remain – a fact that would only be significant if they had an electoral college. This is not to say that the electoral college is good nor bad, but I expect people to remain consistent even when it hurts their side. I think that neither Truth nor Fairness need to take a back seat to each other.

143 Sam the Sham December 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm

From your own link, anon: Based on the evidence, it seems highly unlikely that actions by the Russian government contributed in any decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton.

I agree. This is why I brought up this topic in the first place, to bring the topic away from hypotheticals and to real scenarios. Even the sources you cite aren’t very strongly “russia did it”.

Also from your link: “Regardless of the extent of the impact we should be concerned about the attempt,” he said. “It is something to investigate regardless of whether we think it affected the result.”. Again, I agree. And I’d far rather investigate than beat the war drums, which was what Obama did by threatening retaliations. Whenever a cop makes headlines by shooting someone, the facts get so muddled so quickly that I ignore both sides and wait for the court ruling. That may be lazy on my part, but I put my faith in 12 randomly selected people rather than the sensational news platform of your (or my) choice.

144 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe December 22, 2016 at 7:23 pm

“it seems highly unlikely that actions by the Russian government contributed in any decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton.”

Regardless of what article said that, it is highly unlikely to be true. Actions by the Russian government were risky and time consuming. Their purpose was to contribute in a decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton, and they obviously succeeded in that. Do you think the Russian government would have gone to all that trouble, without any purpose in mind?

145 chuck martel December 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

Once again, the use of the word “tribe” in this context is a literal error. The definition of tribal relationships indicates a far different phenomenon than the opposition of ideas and development of divisions within a given culture, which is the subject here. There must be a common frame of reference for the culture/counter-culture to engage in opposition. A new word needs to be coined to describe opposing groups within a culture that are defined by differences in ideology, morality and values rather than kinship.

In fact, the posting doesn’t use the word “values”, which is of the most basic importance in the analysis of cultural differences.

146 BenK December 22, 2016 at 9:51 am

It’s interesting to see such simplistic teleology wear the guise of sophistication.
As always, there are some truths in there, which may be foreign to the party
being critiqued in that particular phrase. However, the ‘plague on both your
houses’ – extended to almost all houses, in this case – is typically trite.

147 Geoffrey G Bestor December 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

Author is https:/approachingaro.org

148 August Hurtel December 22, 2016 at 10:12 am

I think the entire idea of culture ‘war’ is just wrong. If you want your culture to win, you have to produce cultural products. This means your people (however you define them) have to have their own place where they can focus their energies and assets on their own cultural products. And, frankly, you have to have an economy sophisticated enough to do be able to support what are basically high level luxury goods (which, in turn, reinforce many of the intangibles people think of as culture).

But this is not what is done in America. Everybody wants their stock portfolio, retirement, nice home with good resale value, etc….
And everybody imagines they can use the infrastructure of modernity to spread their own culture, while being constantly being compromised by the very same. You need your own infrastructure.

Inter-generational wealth generated culture. Venice generated culture. There’s some vertical integration with space, time, people, etc…. The people of today talk about culture like it is an algae bloom on the surface of the sea. No sense of ecology- just some random idea that if everybody just agreed on certain things the great revival will spread like wildfire. It disappears like wildfire too.

149 anon December 22, 2016 at 10:21 am

My calming thing is to follow cabinet makers, hand tool users, on Instagram. There are a lot of people out there who build things to last.

#handtoolthursday

150 Post-Truth Politics December 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Yes, wooden cabinets and furniture are wonderful and often things of beauty, works of art really.

151 JWatts December 22, 2016 at 2:09 pm

“If you want your culture to win, you have to produce cultural products. This means your people (however you define them) have to have their own place where they can focus their energies and assets on their own cultural products. And, frankly, you have to have an economy sophisticated enough to do be able to support what are basically high level luxury goods (which, in turn, reinforce many of the intangibles people think of as culture).”

Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_(video_game)

152 August Hurtel December 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I’m not surprised. Good game developers have to develop a good map of reality.

153 8 December 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

The Alt-Right says: those who fail to learn Jewish history are doomed to repeat it.

154 AveH December 22, 2016 at 11:26 am

+ 10

155 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe December 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Would you care to explain specifically what that means to the Alt-Right? My first guess is that, since Alt-Right people are Far Right racists, that this means that Jewish people must bow down and kneel before the Gentiles, and that they had better worship the white non-Jewish majority group as the superior and natural rulers of everything? Or else Hitler types will return?

But, since like most people, I do not totally understand the Alt-Right, perhaps they mean something else.

156 Harun December 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

“Exactly why the abortion strategy worked so well, and the precise appeal of dualist counterculture, remains somewhat mysterious. I have read many plausible partial explanations, but no convincing synthesis. Most authors agree that the desire to make sex more dangerous for people of other socioeconomic classes is central to American “social conservatism.””

LOL.

Its not as if humans would be evolutionary programmed to like babies and be repulsed by killing them.

157 AveH December 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

+1

He asks why “tens of millions of Americans who had zero interest in abortion in 1975 discovered deep concern for the well-being of fetuses by 1980,” not considering the explosion of abortions which occurred in that time period which occurred at the same time fertility rates plunged to a record low.

158 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe December 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Most authors agree that the desire to make sex more dangerous for people of other socioeconomic classes is central to American “social conservatism.””

Interesting that you find this funny. We will have to agree to disagree about whether some little blood clot looking thing inside a woman’s body is “a baby.” Certainly even anti-abortionists AKA pro-life-of-little-blood -clot people do not think that “killing” this alleged “baby” is the same as murder in legal terms, as no one is suggesting that a woman who gets an abortion be punished by execution or other punishments meted out to murderers.

Social conservatism is about telling other people what they can and can not do, including whether they can have sex without risk of pregnancy. Risk of pregnancy should be the same as it was in the Stone Age, if it’s left up to social conservatives.

I don’t think abortion being such a major issue for people has to do with people’s desire to have a certain kind of family, as much as it has to do with wanting to tell other people what to do. And it also has to do with the theatrics and self-righteousness of screaming “Murderer” at people who get a little blood clot thing removed from their bodies, because they don’t want it to grow into what they would consider to be an actual child.

159 chuck martel December 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

In many jurisdictions, even where abortion is legal, an assault that terminates the viability of the little blood clot thing is called murder.

A tangential issue that will certainly come up in the near future is the responsibility of the mother toward the little blood clot thing. If a mother that consumes alcohol and drugs brings to term a little blood clot thing that has been poisoned by her drugs and alcohol, producing a fetal alcohol syndrome child, what’s her responsibility? Is it legal to poison a little blood clot thing just because it can’t breathe on its own or apply for a social security card? Would the now-living-outside-the-womb thing have legal standing to file suit against the mother for damages? If the little blood clot thing is now a handicapped, living, breathing burden, who is to assume the care of that burden? Ultimately, if the little blood clot thing has been wronged, what’s to be done to rectify the situation?

160 lemmy caution December 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

“Two things are actually one thing” is my least favorite rhetorical position

161 MyName December 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Interesting reading so far and seems to give some insight into my parents’ political/personal viewpoints though obviously not rigorous enough to be academic and not quite punchy enough to be really enjoyable reading.

162 bill reeves December 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm

This is just the latest variation on the “pox on all your houses” gambit. I don’t fully identify with either tribe so I’ve been playing it for years. But I’ve never been pretentious or deluded enough to think that I had transcended “monist/dualist” thinking. Thinking at right angles to reality is clever and all but it’s no substitute for living in reality. Writing boring cliches about some “real reality” that no one else can see is just pathetic. A potent for the end of the ridiculous academicism that poisons our culture with inanity. Fire ’em all and let reality sort them out.

163 Nato December 24, 2016 at 10:40 am

Did I follow a different link to the rest of your commenters? I had an absolute ball all afternoon on that website. As an irregular,but admiring reader of the blog for just a few months I was moved by that site to thank you for the link,

Of all the link aggregation posts full of links,nothing snared me to read this raptly for so long in a decade.

There were a number of occasions when the “that word means a different thing to you than it does to me, doesn’t it?” thought passed through, but that’s probably more a result of sneaking a ciggie behind the bike shed during the class they taught metaphysics in High School.

The dispassionate tone! It really hit me and falling into that inter sub-sub sect cattiness when he missed This Really Important Detail that will, like, totally change your whole world view was a nice reminder to hurry up and resign from the Dunning Kruger club. Poetry like “Holiness is about sharpening the difference between the sacred or more godly and the profane or sinful” Any attempt at rebuttal would basically boil down to “But because that’s a good thing” or “You didn’t have to put it that way.”.

He’s got a different style, but shares the Tyler Cowen talent for understated precision in language

Merry Christmas,

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