Friday, June 04, 2010

Debate of the Day

Assistant Village Idiot requests reactions to this question:
[I]n psychology, we are presented with people who have been told a thousand times their ideas are crazy before they get to our facility. They've been told but they haven't believed the tellers. Our job is to get them to accept, however partially and grudgingly, a set of facts that everyone around them can see (even other psychotic people) without effort.

Play that out in political persuasion. I contend that liberals simply do not understand conservative arguments. They think they do, but they cannot accurately repeat them back. They are usually unable to describe them without caricature. Yet even in an MSM saturated subculture, they must have heard the opposition arguments a hundred times. What prevents the hearing?
It's a question AVI has raised before, and repeated recently. He presumes the lefties are exposed to conservative syllogisms, which is questionable.

But ignoring that, my brief response is: equating progressivism with progress. They presume an a-historic, near infinite mutability of man. This makes lefties careless about facts, suspicious about time-tested policies, and heedless of unintended consequences. That's why the left tends to mistake reality for what they wish it were.

All this yields profound differences between liberal and conservative world views, especially the source of the perceived threat -- the state for conservatives/society for liberals -- and the ranking of freedom vs equality -- freedom preferred by conservatives/equality by liberals. But my point here is that liberals rarely will drill down to the level of such fundamental assumptions. Rather, they presume their premises are shared by all--even conservative opponents. Righties, by contrast, understand this departure, and ache to debate it.

Without a shared understanding of reality, discussion is doomed. So, since disputing facts doesn't seem to work, would it help to question the left's bias toward change and concomitant distaste for the present? (It might merely be a cry for attention.) Or asking whether they understand that some aspirations may, even over the medium term, be impossible?


Geoffrey Britain said...

I have a different take, though I see no reason why our analysis can't be complimentary rather than mutually exclusive.

First, when we talk of the left or liberals or progressives there's often a lack of differentiation between the left, who've adopted the currently fashionable 'progressives' appellation and liberals.

The left seeks power for its own sake. They only worship Marxism because it’s such a useful tool in acquiring power and control.

Thomas Jefferson spoke of their ilk; “Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes”

Liberals, are motivated by their emotional protest against reality’s essential inequality, it’s a form of arrested emotional development and infantile in nature. Since their motivation is an emotion-based 'demand' rather than a preference, no amount of reason, logic or factual rebuttal can be permanently persuasive. As reason cannot satisfy an emotional need. This is I believe, the source of OBH's "liberal reset button"

Liberals are the left’s ‘useful idiots’.

Liberals have swallowed ‘the narrative’ (the source of their world-view or ‘map-of-reality’) hook, line and sinker.

Conservatives haven’t bought into ‘the narrative’ nearly as fully.

I say nearly because the narrative has been taught in schools since the 30's and many have unconsciously succumbed to it. RINO's fall into this camp.

It appears to be the case that the more naturally one gravitates toward a libertarian outlook, the more naturally immune one is to the narratives precepts.

I don't think we’re smarter than liberals (more realistic, yes) I think the difference is in how we process information.

Conservatives think deductively, while liberals think inductively.

Since Conservatives/libertarians think deductively, they reject the premises that ‘the narrative’ advances, resulting in our having no logical choice but to reject their conclusions because that’s implicit to deductive reasoning.

The left, reasoning inductively start at their conclusions (how they'd like the world to be) and then work backwards toward premises that support their conclusions. Focusing on the 'facts' or perceptions that support their conclusions.

What most have trouble with is that neither deductive or inductive reasoning are inherently 'superior' they are merely tools and how they are used makes all the difference.

Inductive reasoning is a great way to make new discoveries, its literally thinking out of the box.

Deductive reasoning is a great way to confirm the viability of a proposition.

Conservatives who never reason inductively become reactionary, static and rigid.

Liberals who never think deductively fall for whatever rationale is currently popular. Thus the ever evolving PC that never looks at the practical results of its prescriptions for society.

Lame-R said...

Great points and observations, NofP and Geoffrey. I'd just like to add that I don't think the naivete of the Left can be overcome through anything other than Attrition, or Tragedy--neither of which is very reliable.

If I may clarify:

Attrition would seem to me to only work for those observant and introspective enough to notice over long periods a divergence between their perceptions and reality. How best can we help this process along? I think the best we can do is point out the inconsistencies in their views, or the contradicting end-points that they typically arrive at. Force them to try to explain some of their inanity, and just maybe, little by little, they'll start to think outside their small box?

Tragedy--sometimes a disruptive event will 'shock' some sense into these people, like a sniffing salt that revives them out of their stupour into reality. Assumedly it is something that occurs which is so far at odds with their expectations that at least part of their belief system is perceived as untenable. The stereotypical scenario is a gun-hater who gets mugged and does a 180 on guns after that, etc. Perhaps we can stimulate, on a small level, a similar response by co-opting something that is near and dear to them: the 'narrative'. They're so fond of this, maybe we should give them some of their own medicine. They are suckers for stories, especially involving tragedy and/or outrage, and maybe one that elicits dramatic feelings in them and which is carefully linked to their ideology, will perhaps in the end aid the attrition process? Tugging on those bleeding hearts just might make enough of an impression for them to slowly realize that good intentions can produce very awful consequences. Reality tends to make pragmatists out of people--perhaps our biggest failing as conservatives is in not portraying reality to liberals in a manner that they can understand?

Kurt said...

Hey, you linked to my comment! Neat!

Anyway, Lame-R's comment reminds me of something I have observed with some Facebook acquaintances in recent days. Two Jewish Democrats who are moderately pro-Israel (i.e. pro-Israel after a lot of hedging about being critical of Israel on many issues) wrote comments on their Facebook pages about how they were avoiding the news and the left-leaning blogs and comment boards they frequent because they didn't like seeing Israel trashed all of the time there because of the recent incident involving the Turkish ship. Another acquaintance wrote of how odd it was that she was more inclined to agree with what the National Review said on the matter than her normal sources of information. One also made a comment about having been "un-friended" by someone (no doubt, a more committed leftist) as a result of his views on the matter. Do I think any of these folks are likely to shake off "the narrative" anytime soon? Sadly, no, but at least there are a few more cracks in it than there were as a result of this incident.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Kurt, this is complicated by the left's socially-driven views. You might play on that National Review and chuckle with them that this is their chance to see what it's like to be a conservative, and they should mention it from time-to-time and see how many people unfriend them.

All of us are somewhat socially-driven in our views, of course. We survived by being social hominids and we continue to be highly dependent on adherence to the norms of some group or other in order to get hired, find mates, have friends. But this tendency is far more pronounced on the left.

OBloodyHell said...

Lame-R, you missed the other alternative: Decimation

It's what happens when the universe overwhelms the societal/civilization functions that allowed the dunderheads to grow unbounded by proper natural selective measures.

One of the downsides to civilization is that, all the people who are too foolish to keep out of the tiger's maw without civilization continue to live and breed. The result is more fools ad infinitem.

At some point, that protection collapses, and the decimation occurs, correcting the excess of foolery. In essence, this is what happened with the Roman Empire.

Put more simply:

Too Much Tiger Food.
Not Enough Tigers.
We Need More Tigers!

OBloodyHell said...

> Play that out in political persuasion. I contend that liberals simply do not understand conservative arguments. They think they do, but they cannot accurately repeat them back. They are usually unable to describe them without caricature. Yet even in an MSM saturated subculture, they must have heard the opposition arguments a hundred times. What prevents the hearing?

I have covered this concept before.

1) Lack of Wisdom. Wisdom and Intelligence do not go hand-in-hand. Some of the most brilliantly intelligent individuals are the biggest fools imaginable.

Intellect is the ability to learn from books.

Wisdom is the ability to learn from *experience*.

I put it to you that, if you were to search for a defining characteristic of Liberals, it is a singular lack of Wisdom

Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others' experience.
- Bismarck -

If there was a test to measure "Wisdom Quotient", then you would find the vast majority of, if not all, liberals are the WQ equivalent of a moron.

2) The "Midnight Reset Button".

There's a device built into their tiny widdle brains (such as they are) which acts on their memory processes as it processes the day's experiences into permanent storage.

It examines all the day's learning in light of Officially Accepted Liberal Positions®. If it finds ANYTHING which violates the OALP, it is instantly purged and removed from further affect on the brain (such as it is).

This explains how you can, with any liberal, start from one of their more Cherished OALPs, take them, step by step, through a reasoning process and show how that OALP is categorically guaranteed to result in exactly the opposite of that thing which the OALP is intended to promote, and have them agree with you utterly and completely every step of the way, even unto the conclusion that the OALP is blatantly, inherently wrong (They'll weasel it almost every time with "Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about this some more").

Then, despite this, when you see them again a day, or two days, or a week, later, they will still be arguing in total and complete support of the OALP you just wasted your time demonstrating to them was utterly and completely defective in every way, shape, or form.

The Midnight Reset Button has done its nefarious work.

Once you grasp that, despite appearances, this is not a joke, that it's an actual, functioning mechanism inside libtard brains (such as they are), you will have a far greater understanding of how it is that liberals make no sense.

Lame-R said...

@OBH: well said, as always--on both your comments.

Carl said...


Your "MRB" is exactly what I meant by infinite mutability, ignorance of time-tested policies, and disinterest in unintended consequences. But you said it better.