Tribal epistemology

02/13/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/22/14762030/donald-trump-tribal-epistemology

Over time, this leads to what you might call tribal epistemology: Information is evaluated based not on conformity to common standards of evidence or correspondence to a common understanding of the world, but on whether it supports the tribe’s values and goals and is vouchsafed by tribal leaders. “Good for our side” and “true” begin to blur into one.

It's your thing - do what you wanna do

01/08/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/smarter-living/dont-let-a-lack-of-self-awareness-hold-you-back.html?action=click&module=Smarter%20Living&pgtype=Homepage

A close friend and I have this agreement: If one of us ever recognizes the other person’s “thing,” we’re bound to disclose what it is, no matter what.

But what is a person’s “thing,” exactly?

It’s that particular behavior, habit or mind-set that is self-destructive but that we’re completely blind to. Personally, professionally or otherwise, it’s something that’s holding us back from achieving our full potential, but for whatever reason, we simply can’t see it ourselves.

What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind?

01/06/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://theconversation.com/what-if-consciousness-is-not-what-drives-the-human-mind-86785

 

If the experience of consciousness does not confer any particular advantage, it’s not clear what its purpose is. But as a passive accompaniment to non-conscious processes, we don’t think that the phenomenon of personal awareness has a purpose, in much the same way that rainbows do not. Rainbows simply result from the reflection, refraction and dispersion of sunlight through water droplets – none of which serves any particular purpose.

And after all.  Rainbows are pretty.  Isn't that a purpose, he said tongue-in-cheekily.

Do poor white Republicans really vote against their self interests?

01/04/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread

Link: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/31/trump-white-working-class-history-216200

 

Southern liberals in the 1930s and 1940s applied a sharp class focus and concluded that wealthy Democrats wanted, in historian Gavin Wright’s words, to keep labor “cheap and divided.” The white liberal writer Lillian E. Smith famously captured this thinking in her short story, “Two Men and a Bargain,” which began: “Once upon a time, down South, a rich white man made a bargain with a poor white ... ‘You boss the nigger, and I’ll boss the money.’”

 

 

Don't call it racism - call it cultural anxiety

01/02/18 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/white-working-class-trump-cultural-anxiety/525771/

 

In the wake of Trump’s surprise win, some journalists, scholars, and political strategists argued that economic anxiety drove these Americans to Trump. But new analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found something different: Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump.
This data adds to the public’s mosaic-like understanding of the 2016 election. It suggests Trump’s most powerful message, at least among some Americans, was about defending the country’s putative culture. Because this message seems to have resonated so deeply with voters, Trump’s policies, speeches, and eventual reelection may depend on their perception of how well he fulfills it.

 

The justification behind tax cuts for the wealthy

12/21/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/opinion/tax-bill-gop-democracy.html?login=email&auth=login-email

I don't know why - there is nothing new here - but for some reason this article caused me to have a small epiphany behind the reasoning conservatives use for tax cuts. I think it was borne out of realizing that there was a fear of taxing us into mediocrity -- in light of the communist (aka proletariat) threat of the 50's. The one thing that made America great was its industry.

The fly in the ointment is democracy: can't have pesky unwashed masses voting themselves entitlements that detract from the greatness of the thing that made America great: corporations and the wealthy. A perfect modernist manifest destiny!

Thus the party of the wealthy becomes anti-democratic. There is outrage among all except those who believe this ideology. There, outrage is inconsequential because they believe in their mission, and thus aren't ashamed of anti-democratic policies, and tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact they believe these are moral imperatives for society to survive!

In the 20th century, and in particular after World War II, with voting rights and Soviet Communism on the march, the risk that wealthy democracies might redistribute their way to serfdom had never seemed more real. Radical libertarian thinkers like Rand and Murray Rothbard (who would be a muse to both Charles Koch and Ron Paul) responded with a theory of absolute property rights that morally criminalized taxation and narrowed the scope of legitimate government action and democratic discretion nearly to nothing. “What is the State anyway but organized banditry?” Rothbard asked. “What is taxation but theft on a gigantic, unchecked scale?”

The hostility to redistributive democracy at the ideological center of the American right has made standard policies of successful modern welfare states, happily embraced by Europe’s conservative parties, seem beyond the moral pale for many Republicans. The outsize stakes seem to justify dubious tactics — bunking down with racists, aggressive gerrymandering, inventing paper-thin pretexts for voting rules that disproportionately hurt Democrats — to prevent majorities from voting themselves a bigger slice of the pie.

When does a watershed become a sex panic?

12/21/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/when-does-a-watershed-become-a-sex-panic

The affirmative-consent and preponderance-of-the-evidence regimes shift the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused, eliminating the presumption of innocence. If the presumption of innocence is rooted in the idea that it is better to let ten guilty people go free than risk jailing one innocent person, then the policing of sex seems to assume that it’s better to have ten times less sex than to risk having a nonconsensual sexual experience. The problem is not just that this reduces the amount of sex people are likely to be having; it also serves to blur the boundaries between rape, nonviolent sexual coercion, and bad, fumbling, drunken sex. The effect is both to criminalize bad sex and trivialize rape.

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