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  1. #11
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    Forcing integration would be fascism. Logic fail.

  2. #12
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    There is one thing you must understand about my personality marmie. I do not take my ideas seriously. They're just toys to play with. I come from the school of thought that funny > truth so don't interpret me so literally lol.

    P.S. STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FASCISTS!!! ZOMG THEY'RE PEOPLE TOO
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    There is one thing you must understand about my personality marmie. I do not take my ideas seriously. They're just toys to play with. I come from the school of thought that funny > truth so don't interpret me so literally lol.

    P.S. STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FASCISTS!!! ZOMG THEY'RE PEOPLE TOO
    Some of my best friends are fascists.

  4. #14
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    [... DiscoBiscuits's word wall crits Seymour for 1000...]
    I agree that the nature of news has changed as you described. Once news was seen as a profit center, its role has increasingly shifted to entertainment. I think that shift in news is both fairly obvious and much discussed. I think it's a very tough topic to discuss productively, though, because while news media bias definitely exists, one can't even get agreement on who is more biased or how to determine bias. Do the mainstream networks and CNN have a liberal bias? If so, how much? Is NPR as biased as Fox news? It's clear that far more conservatives watch Fox than liberals watch MSNBC, but what does that mean? Does it just mean MSNBC does a poor job? How about the overwhelming success of conservative talk radio vs liberal talk radio? In Jon Stewart the liberal equivalent of Glenn Bleck/Rush Limbaugh/whomever?

    I think that discussions focusing on media bias are both fraught and tend to have an underlying assumption of equivalency and symmetry. That is, the assumption becomes "both sides are equally biased and function in equivalent ways." That kind of assumption looks past real differences that exist. It's the kind of assumption that leads to media reporting in the style of "side A says X, while side B says Y... back to you, Joan."

    So, I agree with you that changes in media definitely have a real effect, but focusing on that aspect doesn't get us that far towards a better understanding of perspective. I think the questions revolving around how the parties are not symmetric to be far more interesting. Why are Republicans better at staying on message and voting as a bloc? Why are liberals worse at clear messaging? What's the psychological content of liberal and conservative and how does that effect politics?

    Plus, there are other forces beyond media bias. For example, Southern conservatives moving from the Democratic to Republican parties increased liberal/conservative sorting by party over the last 30 years. The increased political activity of evangelicals and their increasing alignment with the Republican party has done the same. I think media bias as definitely played a role in that sorting, but something real has become increasingly sorted. What is it?

    So, I guess I mostly agree with you but it's a different discussion (an not what those books are getting at). Yes, media bias does explain a good chunk of increasing polarization, but it doesn't explain the content of what's being polarized or why different things appeal to one side or the other (in so far as they do).

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I think it's a very tough topic to discuss productively, though, because while news media bias definitely exists, one can't even get agreement on who is more biased or how to determine bias.
    Do the mainstream networks and CNN have a liberal bias? If so, how much? Is NPR as biased as Fox news? It's clear that far more conservatives watch Fox than liberals watch MSNBC, but what does that mean? Does it just mean MSNBC does a poor job? How about the overwhelming success of conservative talk radio vs liberal talk radio? In Jon Stewart the liberal equivalent of Glenn Bleck/Rush Limbaugh/whomever?
    First and foremost, forgive me for addressing an aspect of this issue that was kind of beyond the scope of the OP. My training and expertise is in politics, international relations, and policy.

    My knowledge of psychology and sociology aren't such that I feel I can really contribute to the more human aspects of this issue that your OP wished to address.

    I'm reticent to get into who's more biased, or why, because even framing the question like that infers that one party or the other is more "to blame" for our current political climate. Which I think is a fairly slippery slope that doesn't lend itself to level headed discussion.

    That being said, I'll address the differences in bias for you. Before I go any further let me state both sides are equally biased. On the face of things this may seem counter intuitive, but let me explain.

    The media (prior to CNN and to this day) generally had a very mild liberal bias. I would also posit that CNN has a very mild liberal bias. Prior to the birth of Fox news, there just was not much news that appealed to Republicans. And while the liberal bias was mild, it was noted and resented. When most of the news is liberally biased there is no need for that bias to be extreme, because that mild bias dominates the market.

    The uber conservatism of fox news is a response to the alienation felt by conservative voters who felt that liberal bias was coming from all sides (which to a certain extent it was). When the opposing view dominates as much of the market as (mild) liberal bias does, the natural thought is to fight it with increased volume and stridency. The rise of MSNBC with true blue liberal bias was a response to the increased volume and extremism coming from FOX.

    The success of the uber conservative news machine can be attributed to the lack of conservative bias within the MSM generally. Liberals have vastly more options to find news that conforms their worldview than do conservatives. This lack of conservative bias explains why conservatives so uniformly flocked to FOX News. In the conservative mind the thought went, "for the first time we have news on our side." MSNBC doesn't do as well as FOX because FOX has the TV market cornered on conservative news, and MSNBC doesn't have the market cornered on liberal news.

    This difference is reflective of the parties generally, and can help explain why Conservatives are a more unified voting block than Liberals. Conservatives try to get Conservatives to vote, Liberals try to get everyone else.

    It's way easier to focus on and appeal to a more narrow section of the electorate than it is to focus on everyone else. The more heterogeneous one's party, the harder it is to unify them. What makes up for the difference here is that while they are harder to unify, there are generally more people that don't identify as Conservatives than do.

    And this brings me back to my first point that there are equal amounts of bias on both sides. The extremism of bias on the conservative side in the media was an attempt to balance the less extreme liberal bias that was much more prevalent. There are few conservative news outlets that are more intensely conservative, while there are many liberal news outlets that are less intensely liberal. The extremism was a natural attempt to balance out the the greater number of sources of liberal bias. It is by this reasoning that I argue that the levels of bias are equal.

    I think that discussions focusing on media bias are both fraught and tend to have an underlying assumption of equivalency and symmetry. That is, the assumption becomes "both sides are equally biased and function in equivalent ways." That kind of assumption looks past real differences that exist. It's the kind of assumption that leads to media reporting in the style of "side A says X, while side B says Y... back to you, Joan."
    So, I agree with you that changes in media definitely have a real effect, but focusing on that aspect doesn't get us that far towards a better understanding of perspective.
    I consider my understanding of the perspectives involved sufficient (regardless of whether others consider my understanding adequate). I care more about finding a solution to the problem than I do understanding the inclinations of the people. So once again forgive me for not staying within the strict scope of the OP.

    I think the questions revolving around how the parties are not symmetric to be far more interesting. Why are Republicans better at staying on message and voting as a bloc? Why are liberals worse at clear messaging? What's the psychological content of liberal and conservative and how does that effect politics?
    I find those questions interesting (and I think I answered many of them above), but ultimately pointless insofar as they create a discussion focused around enumerating our differences as opposed to how to help bridge the gaps.

    Plus, there are other forces beyond media bias. For example, Southern conservatives moving from the Democratic to Republican parties increased liberal/conservative sorting by party over the last 30 years. The increased political activity of evangelicals and their increasing alignment with the Republican party has done the same. I think media bias as definitely played a role in that sorting, but something real has become increasingly sorted. What is it?
    The media set the stage, the internet, and the soapbox it gave extreme views allowed that sorting to be fully realized. These changes you mentioned, I would say, are part of the natural evolution of the political parties. Whereas the growth of hyperpolarization within media is not natural, and has had a destabilizing effect on our political efficacy.

    Party evolution didn't start with the shift of the Southern Democrats, or the emergence of evangelicals, it's been going on since we've had parties. In lieu of that, I consider those shifts you mentioned as a normal part of the political process. The explosion of media bias, and the internet on the other hand I think have had a distorting effect on our political conversation insofar as the changes they ushered in happened suddenly and were strongly felt to such an extent that they couldn't work within our greater political evolutionary scheme.

    So, I guess I mostly agree with you but it's a different discussion (an not what those books are getting at). Yes, media bias does explain a good chunk of increasing polarization, but it doesn't explain the content of what's being polarized or why different things appeal to one side or the other (in so far as they do).
    I just chalk that up to different strokes for different folks.

    I'm wary of any discussion that tries to enumerate the reasons for our differences, lest that discussion devolve into who's wrong and who's right regarding the differences concerned.

  6. #16
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    I don't understand social scientists reliance upon bimodal models of opinion.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Munchies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exact View Post
    I don't understand social scientists reliance upon bimodal models of opinion.
    That pretty much sums up my ideas
    1+1=3 OMFG

  8. #18

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    Those are an interesting selection of books on the topic of authoritarianism, although a lot of them are recent and a lot of them use the contemporary/current dichotomous relationships which are derivative from the US political scene which I'm not a fan of to be honest.

    The word and concept of libertarian for instance emerged from the mix of anti-communist forces and opinions seeking to prevail over the one time intuitive dislike for selfish individualism, the cultural pendulum has swung so far in the other direction now as to lead to a lot of people forgetting that, the dichotomy of individualism vs. socialism, much as I didnt like it (as a rule I dont like reductive, simplistic dichotomous relationships or categorisation, life is more fluid and fixed positions are limiting products of abstract or theoretical reasoning) and much as it is difficult to employ in the US (since the word socialism is synoymous for most with central planning, command economies and anti-capitalism) was better than the liberal-libertarian-conservative division.

    Attitudes to authoritarianism cut across those boundaries and I would think very possibly those identified in the other sources too, ie not simply liberal-libertarian-conservative but also the social/status group, polar group and the first one again, I dont recall it this instance. I really do think its possible to be an authoritarian liberal, authoritarian libertarian and authoritarian conservative, which is ironic since most people would conceptualise a scale or horse shoe political spectrum still with liberal or libertarian on one end and the conservative authoritarian on the other.

    Personally I like older studies, like those done by Fromm, Adorno and Marcuse of the Frankfurt School of Research, highly flawed as I consider Adorno and Marcuse to be (in Marcuse's instance at least as a human being let alone a theorist) their studies of authoritarian personality attempted to be more perrenial than contemporaneous (despite the fact that fascism and nazism loomed so, so large in their frame of reference and also that there remained a naivety still about both communist regimes and the radicalised or politicised social outsiders).

    Some of their studies are more literary in the sense of socially constructing their own concepts, the intuiting and then rationalising perhaps, although that could be unkind or suggestive of more deception or bias than I believe is correct but when Fromm discussed peoples aversion to personal freedom and discussed a number of keynote individuals like Hitler and Luther (much to the chargin of a lot of protestants) having sadomasochistic tendencies to "kiss up, piss down" (obey a higher power, tyranise those perceived or made subordinate/outsiders) it made sense to me and transcended political labels or even politics. I see that in trolling or simple group dynamics (families, friends, schools, workplaces, teams, neighbourhoods, communities, societies, nations) too.

    Fromm also returned to this line of reasoning in an essay contrasting the rebel and the revolutionary, in this essay he was way too kind to Trotsky and a few historical figures like Trotsky but he described how rebels can initially oppose authority but when a certain need in them has been accomodated they'll frequently become the most authoritarian entity there is, effectively out doing or surpassing the authority they initiallly opposed in terms of authoritarianism. He described how Lenin and Luther were both like that, I think Luther particularly and Calvin too when they joined with national or aristocratic powers following the Peasant War or establishment of Geneva as a base, although I'll admit possible prejudice there if anyone chooses to point it out. Revolutionaries Fromm suggested couldnt be co opted or placated in that way because their disobedience was not really disobedience but living in such a way that it constituted a challenge to the authorities, mainly perceived as such by the authorities rather than as deliberately conceived by anyone choosing to challenge the authorities which was frequently the attention seeking rebelliousness.

    Fromm's work surrounding authoritarianism is very good, I'd say a good place to begin any serious study of authoritarianism, which has taken up a lot of my time because I give a lot of thought to what is legitimate authority and want to see an end to every species of authoritarianism. There's amazing content in The Fear of Freedom which motivated me to branch out into studies of other psychoanalytical thinking, about sadomasochism for instance, the Standford Prison Experiment and Stanley Milgram's research etc.

    For instance Fromm describes caring sadists, people who would in The Righteous Mind index be categorised probably as liberal, who appear to be motivated by harm reduction but who're closet control freaks and crave opportunities to enforce rules, compell others, create consequences for non-compliance or non-conformity. There are single issue groups in all political quarters which attract these sorts of people like flies on shite. Even legitimate grievances attract them and you get the rebel factor thing again, which objectively sets back any progress, no matter how successful it appears to have been by exacting defeats on perceived opposition. The caring sadist idea has been elaborated on in studies of killers in the UK in medical professions, such as Dr.s or Nurses, who've killed children, old people or patients in their care, when control fantasies and frustrations tip over into escalating actions.

    There's other sorts of authoritarianism too, so for instance while a libertarian may totally, and rightly, despise a state's realpolitik use of force to ensure compliance they'll be fine with the power of money or wealth accomplishing the same realpolitik, in fact the most honest libertarians I know have said they know that and are fine with it and think its more natural where it occurs, less insidious and has a lower incidence anyway. So the famines caused by Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao are totally wrong but the one caused by Trevelyan was fine.

    The spectre of authoritarianism in other creedos is perhaps more well known, the book on "liberal fascism" is not a bad book when it comes to highlighting the sorts of homogenity of opinion which some of its driving lights want in the name of diversity and respect or "consensus building" want, conservatism is an odd beast and I'd differentiate between cultural conservatism and political conservatism, cultural conservatism has accrued to itself too much of what should be simply normative and/or folkways but the authoritarian aspect of each, the requisit conformity factor is pretty well known too. In socialist or left sectors the authoritarian spectre has been totally focused upon, almost to dead horse proportions, Orwell etc. have deprived the left of blindspots which the right still have I think, I would consider this as moot even among so called libertarian socialists or anarchists.

  9. #19
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    First and foremost, forgive me for addressing an aspect of this issue that was kind of beyond the scope of the OP. My training and expertise is in politics, international relations, and policy.

    My knowledge of psychology and sociology aren't such that I feel I can really contribute to the more human aspects of this issue that your OP wished to address.

    I'm reticent to get into who's more biased, or why, because even framing the question like that infers that one party or the other is more "to blame" for our current political climate. Which I think is a fairly slippery slope that doesn't lend itself to level headed discussion.

    That being said, I'll address the differences in bias for you. Before I go any further let me state both sides are equally biased. On the face of things this may seem counter intuitive, but let me explain.


    The media (prior to CNN and to this day) generally had a very mild liberal bias. I would also posit that CNN has a very mild liberal bias. Prior to the birth of Fox news, there just was not much news that appealed to Republicans. And while the liberal bias was mild, it was noted and resented. When most of the news is liberally biased there is no need for that bias to be extreme, because that mild bias dominates the market.

    The uber conservatism of fox news is a response to the alienation felt by conservative voters who felt that liberal bias was coming from all sides (which to a certain extent it was). [...]

    [...lots of informed stuff I don't disagree with...]

    I just chalk that up to different strokes for different folks.

    I'm wary of any discussion that tries to enumerate the reasons for our differences, lest that discussion devolve into who's wrong and who's right regarding the differences concerned.
    So, again I generally don't disagree with you on a lot of specifics, but I still feel like we are talking past each other. It's a bit like the argument between doing quantitative and qualitative research. I think both bring something to table, and which is better depends on the kind of insight you are looking for.

    Even in the above snippets, there are things like "The media (prior to CNN and to this day) generally had a very mild liberal bias", which begs the question, "why?" Why should there be a general liberal bias amongst reporters, even though media owners are mostly (but not universally) conservative?

    Those are the kinds of questions you can't answer if you only look at the split in terms of generic people randomly allocated to teams. It's bit like arguing that MBTI type is entirely counter-productive, that you're better off considering all people to just be "people" and fundamentally the same. Whether that's a better approach or not depends on the issue and the kind of insight you're looking for.

    In some cases, assuming everyone approaches problems and perceives things the same way leads one to think others are brain damaged and/or incredibly ignorant. I've seen this with my dad, who really, truly, sincerely believes that if people were as experienced and wise as he was, they'd always agree. That kind of misunderstanding is somewhere a model like Haidt's can really help ameliorate.

    Additionally, are you sure that that mild general liberal bias (which fits my personal intuition) is entirely the cause of the "alienation felt by conservative voters," or is that alienation partially caused by the conservative tendency to find the world a threatening, dangerous place (which research also indicates)? Isn't it more understandable if it's a combination of both?dThat's not a strike against conservatives... the world is often a dangerous place and being a Polyanna isn't always the best approach.

    I find your stance on avoiding talking about differences a little odd, since it's a little like being adamant about not describing MBTI type differences because they can lead to stereotyping—which can happen! But providing a model for conceptualizing differences can also lead to more tolerance and understanding, at least if a positive intent exists. I started looking into these issues when I found myself unable to shift my perspective to adequately understand the stances I saw some conservatives taking. I would agree though, that one could interpret a lot of this information to reinforce stereotypes and paint the other side as stupid. There are dangers in both describing differences and asserting sameness.

  10. #20
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Sounds like it's time for someone to adopt the policies of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires and force integration

    Random comments:

    This reminds me in part of east/west shame culture/guilt culture divides

    [...shame vs guilt related to fe vs fi summary...]

    Random observation the authoritarians sound very similar to this:

    The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. Those who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development. Conventional morality is characterized by an acceptance of society's conventions concerning right and wrong. At this level an individual obeys rules and follows society's norms even when there are no consequences for obedience or disobedience. Adherence to rules and conventions is somewhat rigid, however, and a rule's appropriateness or fairness is seldom questioned. [7][8][9]

    Also, I've noticed political social intellectual etc dichotomization throughout history. Generally they tend toward homogeneous, less deviation from the mean demographic, generally "superior" average members vs heterogeneous, higher deviations from the mean in terms of demographics (4 or more), extremes of specialization in development

    Examples

    Sparta vs athens
    Ussr vs usa
    Greece vs persia
    Britain vs france
    Etc

    I'm going to be incredibly typist and say that ntjs + sjs tend to work together as conservatives with ntjs in positions of authority abusing the sjs below. Think corporate financier and construction worker. The problem is this pair works against their own interests and necessitates the creation of their political/social foes. For example if a person becomes injured, exposed to trauma, or represent a deviation of greater than 4 from the mean, etc they are abandoned by the shame culture for not do-being what they are supposed to be. Most of the time these genes on the periphery do not survive, but occasionally they do the periphetic genes tend to unite and create an emergent culture based on their similarities. This also has problems as these cultures are less efficient on the individual level, but because specialized often more efficient as a whole. The rival cultures compete for supremacy till one dominates or external factors intervene. These agreements of being tend to diverge internally as well by countervailing themselves subconsciously as well (for example white guilt).

    I believe they keep recursively differentiating to greater complexity ad infinitum (barring resource constraints)
    People like Haidt argue that "level of moral reasoning" model is mostly shaped by our WEIRD (see OP) perspective, and that other perspectives are equally valid, and may even take more moral scales in that liberals tend to. I think Mooney (whom I'll post about soon) would agree with you that liberals vs conservatives is kind of NP vs SJ in some sense (which just goes to show how type-constraining it is to be forced into a single dichotomy politically).

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