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  1. #1
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    Default Do the sophisticated practice demagoguery?

    Do the sophisticated practice demagoguery?

    The demagogue is a “leader who makes use of popular prejudice and false claims and promises in order to gain power”--Webster. Demagoguery is often the preferred tool of politicians and plutocrats because the muddled masses are moved more easily by emotion than by reason.

    SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) reports “Nearly a decade after virtually disappearing from public view, the so-called “Patriot” movement is back…This is the most significant growth we’ve seen on 10 years. All it’s lacking is a spark…These groups are steeped in bizarre conspiracy theories and seething with rage”

    I am convinced that our (American) educational system, which teaches young people what to think but not how to think, is greatly to blame for this unfortunate situation.

    Quickie from Wiki: “The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German syndicalist sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic or autocratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop into oligarchies. The reasons for this are the technical indispensability of leadership, the tendency of the leaders to organize themselves and to consolidate their interests; the gratitude of the led towards the leaders, and the general immobility and passivity of the masses.”

    Is it possible for a nation to overcome our human nature to fear the responsibility inherent in free will? I think that the answer is YES.

    The way that we can overcome this human weakness is by a large segment of the population becoming self-actualizing self-learners with Critical Thinking skills that will tend to overcome the hypnotic appeal of group psychology.

    The sophisticated do practice demagoguery because the appeal to emotion is the best way to manipulate the unsophisticated who have little or no Critical Thinking skills.

  2. #2
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    Yes, it is the case. And it's not.

    See... here's the way things work:

    The people AS A WHOLE get a vote... they don't vote based on logical reasoning, they vote based on emotion. Therefore, the preferance when dealing with the masses is to deal with them on an emotional level. Sensationalism thrives here.

    However, the ones they elect, are being elected BECAUSE the people realize they react in stupid ways (well some of them do), the reason why we elect officials is so that they can sit down, review all the details, and choose whot's best for us, based upon the listed values we have. We don't always agree with them, because we don't always have the full set of information.

    It's actually in our interests to express our values and emotional side when voting, and rely on the politicians themselves to handle things on the intellectual side of things.

    Unfortunately, to get the votes... the ones who 'win' are the ones least capable of such usually.

    Sooooo because we're stupid, we defeated ourselves. Yay. Go us.

  3. #3
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    I am convinced that our (American) educational system, which teaches young people what to think but not how to think, is greatly to blame for this unfortunate situation.
    Yes.

    The sophisticated do practice demagoguery because the appeal to emotion is the best way to manipulate the unsophisticated who have little or no Critical Thinking skills.
    Well, yes, but even those with critical thinking skills will use them only insofar as it reaches the conclusions their emotions deem desirable - and not simply because their internal principles or emotions will this outcome but also because of the cost if they are not swept up like everybody else. It's called laziness for a good cause. And it's the mode du jour.

    The way that we can overcome this human weakness is by a large segment of the population becoming self-actualizing self-learners with Critical Thinking skills that will tend to overcome the hypnotic appeal of group psychology.
    Nice goal. Got a ladder in mind?
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Quote Originally Posted by InaF3157 View Post
    Yes.


    Well, yes, but even those with critical thinking skills will use them only insofar as it reaches the conclusions their emotions deem desirable - and not simply because their internal principles or emotions will this outcome but also because of the cost if they are not swept up like everybody else. It's called laziness for a good cause. And it's the mode du jour.


    Nice goal. Got a ladder in mind?
    The ladder is the Internet forum. Would you care to join me in the effort to convince the readers to take the first step up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    The ladder is the Internet forum. Would you care to join me in the effort to convince the readers to take the first step up?
    Step 1 is . . . ?
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Quote Originally Posted by InaF3157 View Post
    Step 1 is . . . ?

    I am a retired engineer with a good bit of formal education and twenty five years of self-learning. I began the self-learning experience while in my mid-forties. I had no goal in mind; I was just following my intellectual curiosity in whatever direction it led me. This hobby, self-learning, has become very important to me. I have bounced around from one hobby to another but have always been enticed back by the excitement I have discovered in this learning process. Carl Sagan is quoted as having written; “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”

    I label myself as a September Scholar because I began the process at mid-life and because my quest is disinterested knowledge.

    Disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term ‘disinterested knowledge’ as similar to ‘pure research’, as compared to ‘applied research’. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

    I think of the self-learner of disinterested knowledge as driven by curiosity and imagination to understand. The September Scholar seeks to ‘see’ and then to ‘grasp’ through intellection directed at understanding the self as well as the world. The knowledge and understanding that is sought by the September Scholar are determined only by personal motivations. It is noteworthy that disinterested knowledge is knowledge I am driven to acquire because it is of dominating interest to me. Because I have such an interest in this disinterested knowledge my adrenaline level rises in anticipation of my voyage of discovery.

    We often use the metaphors of ‘seeing’ for knowing and ‘grasping’ for understanding. I think these metaphors significantly illuminate the difference between these two forms of intellection. We see much but grasp little. It takes great force to impel us to go beyond seeing to the point of grasping. The force driving us is the strong personal involvement we have to the question that guides our quest. I think it is this inclusion of self-fulfillment, as associated with the question, that makes self-learning so important.

    The self-learner of disinterested knowledge is engaged in a single-minded search for understanding. The goal, grasping the ‘truth’, is generally of insignificant consequence in comparison to the single-minded search. Others must judge the value of the ‘truth’ discovered by the autodidactic. I suggest that truth, should it be of any universal value, will evolve in a biological fashion when a significant number of pursuers of disinterested knowledge engage in dialogue.

    In the United States our culture compels us to have a purpose. Our culture defines that purpose to be ‘maximize production and consumption’. As a result all good children feel compelled to become a successful producer and consumer. All good children both consciously and unconsciously organize their life for this journey.

    At mid-life many citizens begin to analyze their life and often discover a need to reconstitute their purpose. Some of the advantageous of this self-learning experience is that it is virtually free, undeterred by age, not a zero sum game, surprising, exciting and makes each discovery a new eureka moment. The self-learning experience I am suggesting is similar to any other hobby one might undertake; interest will ebb and flow. In my case this was a hobby that I continually came back to after other hobbies lost appeal.

    I suggest for your consideration that if we “Get a life—Get an intellectual life” we very well might gain substantially in self-worth and, perhaps, community-worth.

    As a popular saying goes ‘there is a season for all things’. We might consider that spring and summer are times for gathering knowledge, maximizing production and consumption, and increasing net-worth; while fall and winter are seasons for gathering understanding, creating wisdom and increasing self-worth.

    I have been trying to encourage adults, who in general consider education as a matter only for young people, to give this idea of self-learning a try. It seems to be human nature to do a turtle (close the mind) when encountering a new and unorthodox idea. Generally we seem to need for an idea to face us many times before we can consider it seriously. A common method for brushing aside this idea is to think ‘I’ve been there and done that’, i.e. ‘I have read and been a self-learner all my life’.

    I am not suggesting a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. I am suggesting a ‘Lewis and Clark Expedition’. I am suggesting the intellectual equivalent of crossing the Mississippi and heading West across unexplored intellectual territory with the intellectual equivalent of the Pacific Ocean as a destination.

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