Jump to content
Carol the Dabbler

The Political Thread

Recommended Posts

I've always trusted Snopes, but the far right and far left don't, I hear. Contradicts their narratives too often. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What the heck was it that I looked up in Snopes a few days ago?  Well, anyhow, I thought they were a bit too quick to assign a conclusion to an intrinsically nebulous question.  Not that I disagreed with them, exactly, just that I thought they were labeling their conjecture as Fact.

I generally appreciate their research on factual matters, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like it's become really difficult to find neutral, factual sources of information, hasn't it? Or maybe we people of the 21St century and the Internet are just more suspicious. Certainly doesn't help that there are lots of accusations flying about from all sides à la "you are being lied to". And on some topics, the news is so contradictory that it really is impossible to believe everyone which in turn makes me distrust everybody. 

It's really hard having political discussions with people when we can't even agree on what is fact and what isn't. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Thank you, Arcadia!

JP, I used to depend on Snopes a lot, but they were bought a couple of years ago by some company or other (escapes me at the moment), and the feel of independent fact checking that I used to like seems to have lessened.  So I use it as one source but not as a definitive one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Boton said:

I use it as one source but not as a definitive one.

Probably a wise method in any case.  So many areas that should be factual have become so politicized of late that even the most objective fact-checker is bound to be tripped up now and then.  (Though frankly I wonder whether science ever was actually as scientific as we were told in school!)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Probably a wise method in any case.  So many areas that should be factual have become so politicized of late that even the most objective fact-checker is bound to be tripped up now and then.  (Though frankly I wonder whether science ever was actually as scientific as we were told in school!)

 

I lay a lot of the blame on the shift from comprehensiveness to speed.  Everyone is so interested in getting the "hot take" - the most retweeted tweet, the most-shared online news item, etc. - that we aren't doing a very good job saying "This is what we know now, but it is subject to change as we get more information." 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That too.  And the news programs are rapidly degenerating into a collection of sound-bites.  But was there ever such a thing as objectivity?  Or did we just think there was?  Was Walter Cronkhite truly neutral, or just putting on a good act?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is hard to say but what definitely was better before: you simply didn't have any other option than to trust (or not) a source. Because there were simply no means to check anything. IMO we were as bad informed then as we are now, but we've had more time.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect you're right.  Those were simply more naive and/or trusting times.  I can wax nostalgic, but I wouldn't care to go back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a strange thought recently while driving to work: that the cold war was - ironically - a stabilizing element in the world politics. Even with Khrushchev hitting the table with his shoe, and Vietnam, and Pig Bay and stuff… Everything was somehow… clearer. But maybe it's just the old-good-times effect.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

That too.  And the news programs are rapidly degenerating into a collection of sound-bites.  But was there ever such a thing as objectivity?  Or did we just think there was?  Was Walter Cronkhite truly neutral, or just putting on a good act?

I remember debating this vigorously in grad school, when my profs were mostly Baby Boomers who protested in the 60s/70s.  They contended that there was no such thing as objectivity, so it was useless to try to create anything objective or unbiased, because it would always be tainted by the beliefs of its creator.

I agree that we are all trapped in our own perspective, so to speak, but I do think that we have just given up on trying to be objective.  I think that anyone can learn to recognize ways to remove one's own bias from the equation.  The attempt to be objective gets you asymptotically closer to the goal, even if you can never reach it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Boton said:

I think that anyone can learn to recognize ways to remove one's own bias from the equation.  The attempt to be objective gets you asymptotically closer to the goal, even if you can never reach it.

So you can have meaningful dialog, yes!  (Assuming of course that the other party is also making a good-faith effort).  A disconcerting number of people nowadays seem to be so wrapped up in their own belief system that any attempt to understand the opposition's viewpoint would be seen as betrayal.  I suspect there's a good bit of that "us vs them" attitude hard-wired into human nature -- it has good survival value.  Maybe some people really can't see past it.  I dunno.

3 hours ago, J.P. said:

the cold war was - ironically - a stabilizing element in the world politics. Even with Khrushchev hitting the table with his shoe, and Vietnam, and Pig Bay and stuff… Everything was somehow… clearer. But maybe it's just the old-good-times effect

Nostalgia may be part of it -- but only part, I think.  I mentioned a related thought on some thread or other a few weeks ago:  The Cold War unified the US internally (and i assume also unified the western allies), because we were facing a very visible common enemy.  There wasn't all this current internal polarization, nor the current demonization of one's opponents here at home.  We had worse things to worry about than some domestic squabble.

So yeah, I agree with you.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I suspect there's a good bit of that "us vs them" attitude hard-wired into human nature -- it has good survival value.  Maybe some people really can't see past it.  I dunno.

 

We had a discussion in one of my classes in undergrad about the human need to identify the "other." Like you say, it has good survival value - if you are living in a cave or tribe of a couple of hundred people, it makes sense to be wary of the people you don't recognize coming over the next ridge.  Understanding that is the key, IMHO, to having productive dialog - in order to get anywhere, you have to make your "opponent" into something that is not "the other."  That's why I like forums like this or discussions with people I already like for another reason; people are already a part of my "tribe," so it is much easier to listen to their perspective and see what information they can add to my understanding.  Hopefully they feel the same.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot remember who said it but: "War is the best way to make a nation out of individual people."

This of course also apply to the other side.

Also to revolutions of any kind.

Once there is no external threat needing a cooperation, small groups start to jump at each other. So yes, discovering aliens that might be dangerous to us could be the best thing for humanity. But those stabilizing factors always seem to break down at some point. Time to extinct…

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/26/2018 at 1:29 PM, J.P. said:

 

Once there is no external threat needing a cooperation, small groups start to jump at each other. So yes, discovering aliens that might be dangerous to us could be the best thing for humanity. But those stabilizing factors always seem to break down at some point. Time to extinct…

I've often thought of the "aliens" solution myself.  It doesn't hurt that I'm a sci-fi fan, so intelligent life from elsewhere is pretty much a win-win in my book.

I think we also have to deal with the idea that human beings didn't evolve to think of things on a global or even a national scale.  For most of our evolution, we existed in groups of a few hundred up to a few thousand people, at most. Asking people to understand the complexity of dealing with millions or billions of people may not be realistic.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are too many in too many too crowded clusters. A while ago I've read an article about how people living too close to another start to behave like animals in ZOOs -> I don't remember details now, but it was about risen level of aggressivity, food envy and such. A bit not good.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Boton said:

I've often thought of the "aliens" solution myself.  It doesn't hurt that I'm a sci-fi fan, so intelligent life from elsewhere is pretty much a win-win in my book.

I think we also have to deal with the idea that human beings didn't evolve to think of things on a global or even a national scale.  For most of our evolution, we existed in groups of a few hundred up to a few thousand people, at most. Asking people to understand the complexity of dealing with millions or billions of people may not be realistic.

And yet some people are perfectly capable of doing so. Or if not understand the complexity, be capable of dealing with it without demonizing "the other." So are they more evolved, or what? And if so, then why can't we all evolve?

I look at the younger generation and I see kids  of all races, ethnicities etc. hanging out together in coffee shops and playgrounds -- something that would have been next to non-existent in my time. Of course, I know there's also kids that age who are just as racist (if not more) than their forbears … but there always have been. The difference now is that you see the others, the ones who are more accepting, too … before, you didn't. Not around here. So I think we're capable of adapting. More than capable, really; I think we're wired for it. Whether we want to or not, I'm not so sure. The stick-in-the-muds are so loud right now, it's hard to tell if they're actually in the majority, or just making more noise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, J.P. said:

We are too many in too many too crowded clusters. A while ago I've read an article about how people living too close to another start to behave like animals in ZOOs -> I don't remember details now, but it was about risen level of aggressivity, food envy and such. A bit not good.

I do agree there is something to that … but I don't think it's just proximity, is it? It's whether they're competing for resources or not, surely. There's neighborhoods near me where the well-off are packed in check-by-jowl, but they get along fine … because they're not competing for anything. And there's areas around here where there's acres between neighbors, and they're about to blow each other's heads off … because they are competing (for money, mostly. Or prestige).

The ones that get me are the bazillionaires who own these vast estates out in the Virginia countryside and don't ever have to see another human being if they don't want to … yet they still hate anyone who doesn't look, act and think like them. Those people, I can't figure out at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

And yet some people are perfectly capable of doing so. Or if not understand the complexity, be capable of dealing with it without demonizing "the other." So are they more evolved, or what? And if so, then why can't we all evolve?

I look at the younger generation and I see kids  of all races, ethnicities etc. hanging out together in coffee shops and playgrounds -- something that would have been next to non-existent in my time. Of course, I know there's also kids that age who are just as racist (if not more) than their forbears … but there always have been. The difference now is that you see the others, the ones who are more accepting, too … before, you didn't. Not around here. So I think we're capable of adapting. More than capable, really; I think we're wired for it. Whether we want to or not, I'm not so sure. The stick-in-the-muds are so loud right now, it's hard to tell if they're actually in the majority, or just making more noise.

I agree, but I think that accepting visible difference is only one dimension of understanding that people belong in your tribe.  Honestly, accepting different races in your playgroup is not inconsistent with the whole idea that you look for a small group you identify with.  I'm from a (formerly) very small town in the Midwest. Although our ethnic diversity was pretty much limited to Black and White, we all played on the playground together without a second thought of it.  I  can't remember ever hearing anyone say anything racist that would apply to anyone in town. (Give or take the odd linguistic appendix that needed to just be dropped out of the language.)  But if you were talking about people from "the City" (whether that be the nearest one, or LA or NYC), there was an intense suspicion of those folks; they weren't our tribe, and it was hard to accept their opinion.

I think that the human default is suspicion of the other, but "other" can be defined a lot of different ways, and we can't limit it to race/ethnicity, sex/gender, sexual orientation, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I see your point, and it's a good one. But I also know people who aren't like that. (Or at least, I've never witnessed them be that way.) So I'm still not convinced it's the human default. I'm more inclined to believe it's a result of societal pressure. Even in the "old days", small kids of different backgrounds etc. played together … until adults interfered. 

But it's also true that there were groups of kids who harassed and taunted kids who weren't like them … until adults interfered.

Sooooo …. I don't exactly know what point I'm making, except it seems to me we're capable of overriding whatever "defaults" we're born with … that's one of the things that makes humans so unique, isn't it? But some of us need a push from outside forces to send us in one direction or another.  Some don't. Dang, people are complicated. :blink:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Sooooo …. I don't exactly know what point I'm making, except it seems to me we're capable of overriding whatever "defaults" we're born with … that's one of the things that makes humans so unique, isn't it? But some of us need a push from outside forces to send us in one direction or another.  Some don't. Dang, people are complicated. :blink:

Oh, absolutely.  The challenge of being human is the struggle of overcoming the default settings.

An imperfect analogy: fight or flight.  That's a default setting for sure.  But most of us encounter things regularly that trigger that impulse, and we know how to suppress the impulse and use our minds to judge whether the situation is really a threat and the cost/benefit of reacting.

So, am I a bad person for feeling the urge to punch my boss in the nose, or a good person for knowing that this action goes against my moral code? 

Yeah, people are complicated.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Boton said:

So, am I a bad person for feeling the urge to punch my boss in the nose, or a good person for knowing that this action goes against my moral code?

... or a sensible person for knowing that it'd get you fired?

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How if punching the boss doesn't go against your moral code, but I'm merely refrain myself because I don't want to go to jail?

Actually not very sure how far my moral would go if I'm allowed to do things I want without consequences/with ability to get away with it. I wouldn't want to hurt good guys but pretty sure I want to hurt bad guys if I'm able to. I always think that I'm not a nice person on default anyway.

How far would you guys go? You all seem...nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's only ever been one time that I was seriously tempted to punch somebody.  He (not my boss; someone I knew socially) hadn't done anything really wrong, he was just being a total self-centered insensitive a-hole.  I seriously would have punched him, but only if he had swung first.

Our car had been sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver while we were on the way to meet two other people for dinner.  So when we got there, we told them that we needed to report the incident to the police.  Oh great, he said, now dinner is going to be delayed!  (Not, are you guys OK, or that's a nasty scrape on your car, only concerned for his own stomach.)  I said to him, Gee, fella, that's just tough!  He bristled, looking like he was about to take a swing at me.  I stood my ground, glaring at him and kinda hoping he *would* start something -- but knowing full well that he knew full well that he'd look like an utter bully if he did.

It probably would have been pretty funny to anyone who wasn't involved -- the classic fight scene, each of us being pulled back by someone else -- except that he was half a foot taller than me, weighed about twice as much, and twenty years younger -- plus he was, you know, a guy.  I still kinda wish he'd given me an excuse to punch him in the nose!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't usually feel many violent urges towards people and I have never been in a physical fight. The most I do is yell but that's usually in frustration rather than a direct attack. 

I am more passive aggressive. Dunno if that's any better really, it just seems more sneaky.

I tried to slap a schoolmate once as a teenager because he said something truly horrible to my friend and everybody laughed at me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 29 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of UseWe have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.Privacy PolicyGuidelines.