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  1. #51
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Then Mooney goes out of his way to discredit the notion that there is any such thing as the Enlightenment ideal of pure rational thought. People primarily reason intuitively and emotionally.
    I guess he read Hume...
    Expecting facts and logic alone to change people's minds is a losing proposition. It's almost as though our belief systems are physical (and they are, in so far as they have physical wiring in our brains); our brains respond to an attack on identity in a way analogous to a response to a physical attack.
    I don't like this kind of defeatism. Brains may be "physically wired", but they are also highly plastic.
    The media in the US may have a liberal bias (couldn't say, my personal impression is that it is alarmingly parochial) as may academia, the arts and some scientific disciplines, but most primary and secondary education overwhelmingly caters to left-brain (STJ) development. For the first three years of life, all children are right-brain dominant, but traditional educational systems, which kick-in after this period, do not foster right-hemisphere development, with the result that it tends to atrophy in all but the exceptional or the alternately nourished.

    How to make a liberal act like a conservative

    Amusingly enough, there are a few techniques one can use to make a liberal react like a conservative.

    First, one can make a liberal react more like a conservative by forcing a liberal to multitask, so his or her attention is divided. Liberals then respond more like conservatives, tending to be more biased in their responses.

    Secondly, one can put a liberal under threat (which was covered by some of the books above).

    Thirdly, and most amusingly, you can get a liberal drunk.
    All things which impair higher cognitive functioning.

    So, if we can "create" conservatives by making people more stupid, why can we not similarly create liberals by educating / stimulating right-hemisphere development at an early age? Or at least level the playing-field.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    I guess he read Hume...
    I don't like this kind of defeatism. Brains may be "physically wired", but they are also highly plastic.
    The media in the US may have a liberal bias (couldn't say, my personal impression is that it is alarmingly parochial) as may academia, the arts and some scientific disciplines, but most primary and secondary education overwhelmingly caters to left-brain (STJ) development. For the first three years of life, all children are right-brain dominant, but traditional educational systems, which kick-in after this period, do not foster right-hemisphere development, with the result that it tends to atrophy in all but the exceptional or the alternately nourished.

    All things which impair higher cognitive functioning.

    So, if we can "create" conservatives by making people more stupid, why can we not similarly create liberals by educating / stimulating right-hemisphere development at an early age? Or at least level the playing-field.
    You see I think there's a real problem with how conservatism and liberalism are defined in accordance with this, liberalism is correlated with higher cognitive functioning, and to a certain extent intelligence, conservatism is correlated with lower cognitive functioning, a lack of intelligence and emoting.

    This is not my experience.

    I'm being very, very frank here that in my experience this is an erronious generalisation made to support what I believe is an over arching liberal narrative about itself and the conservative "other", the "other" is to be villified, as it generally is when these sorts of things happen and therefore it is strongly associated with all those things, such as lower cognitive functioning.

    In truth I would say that liberals or conservatives, or for that matter anyone who isnt either but holds a strong belief in or about something, if that belief is attacked may engage lower functioning and become defensive, resistant to insight, shut down. I've seen that happen lots in various contexts, although the majority of them personal and relating to responsibility but that's just my experience again, more practical than academic.

    To be truthful, depending on what is being discussed, I dont even accept the traditional dichotomous relationships of left and right politics or liberalism and conservatism. I'm not even sure that I entirely agree that politics and culture are autonomous of the economic context which at the very least underpins them, if they are autonomous its only relatively so.

    It is perhaps tangental but you could consider the conservative character of traditionalism among socialist or within formerly socialist states, the opposition, particularly the grass roots opposition in China is often hardline communist or maoist and not maoist with certain provisos or abandoning of its less desirable (from a western or "modernist" chinese perspective). Or alternatively consider the highly unconservative character of political conservatism in the US or elsewhere, its much more about defending wealth than norms, virtues or traditions, much, much more so and if you doubt it all you have to do is go to the thread about conservative answers to liberal complaints on this forum and consider how much of it is what would have been called paleo-conservatism or social conservatism and how much of it is a straight forward defense of capitalism. To find any trace of more genuine conservatism I'd say you'd have turn to clock back to Teddy Roosevelt in the states with his, ironically named, progessive party, or further back still.

    Russell Kirk acknowledged in his introduction to a collection on conservative writing I have acknowledged that conservatism's vice was avarice, he wrote about going beyond the dreams of avarice but still saw fit to write books defending and laying claim to capitalism as a conservative system, it took some spinning I think to maintain that position because when he included the vociferous attacks upon capitalism in its advent in england by english conservatives, Southey, Coleridge etc. it didnt appear to make sense. He finally settled on the idea that capitalism was only detestable in so far as it was a harbringer or considered a precursor to welfare capitalism and socialism.

    To be honest the dichotomy between American conservatism and liberalism to me appears about what sort of consumer society to live in, not that there is any alternative or anything more vital or virtuous than the same, the sort of reflective conservatism which Baghot (spelling) suggested was a good idea, permitting limited change or innovation to the extent that it could be experimentally tested or trialled with review and possibly dispensing with the innovation, if it exists at all only does so in so far as innovations in norms and expectations are acceptable in so far they do not disturb wealth or even in so far as they permit rich elites to experience every appetite or fashion or vogue or possibility or choice, all of which are consumer norms, whether they are presented as choices about family structure, parenting, sexuality, work and days.

  3. #53
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    You see I think there's a real problem with how conservatism and liberalism are defined in accordance with this, liberalism is correlated with higher cognitive functioning, and to a certain extent intelligence, conservatism is correlated with lower cognitive functioning, a lack of intelligence and emoting.

    This is not my experience.

    I'm being very, very frank here that in my experience this is an erronious generalisation made to support what I believe is an over arching liberal narrative about itself and the conservative "other", the "other" is to be villified, as it generally is when these sorts of things happen and therefore it is strongly associated with all those things, such as lower cognitive functioning.

    In truth I would say that liberals or conservatives, or for that matter anyone who isnt either but holds a strong belief in or about something, if that belief is attacked may engage lower functioning and become defensive, resistant to insight, shut down. I've seen that happen lots in various contexts, although the majority of them personal and relating to responsibility but that's just my experience again, more practical than academic.

    To be truthful, depending on what is being discussed, I dont even accept the traditional dichotomous relationships of left and right politics or liberalism and conservatism. I'm not even sure that I entirely agree that politics and culture are autonomous of the economic context which at the very least underpins them, if they are autonomous its only relatively so.

    It is perhaps tangental but you could consider the conservative character of traditionalism among socialist or within formerly socialist states, the opposition, particularly the grass roots opposition in China is often hardline communist or maoist and not maoist with certain provisos or abandoning of its less desirable (from a western or "modernist" chinese perspective). Or alternatively consider the highly unconservative character of political conservatism in the US or elsewhere, its much more about defending wealth than norms, virtues or traditions, much, much more so and if you doubt it all you have to do is go to the thread about conservative answers to liberal complaints on this forum and consider how much of it is what would have been called paleo-conservatism or social conservatism and how much of it is a straight forward defense of capitalism. To find any trace of more genuine conservatism I'd say you'd have turn to clock back to Teddy Roosevelt in the states with his, ironically named, progessive party, or further back still.

    Russell Kirk acknowledged in his introduction to a collection on conservative writing I have acknowledged that conservatism's vice was avarice, he wrote about going beyond the dreams of avarice but still saw fit to write books defending and laying claim to capitalism as a conservative system, it took some spinning I think to maintain that position because when he included the vociferous attacks upon capitalism in its advent in england by english conservatives, Southey, Coleridge etc. it didnt appear to make sense. He finally settled on the idea that capitalism was only detestable in so far as it was a harbringer or considered a precursor to welfare capitalism and socialism.

    To be honest the dichotomy between American conservatism and liberalism to me appears about what sort of consumer society to live in, not that there is any alternative or anything more vital or virtuous than the same, the sort of reflective conservatism which Baghot (spelling) suggested was a good idea, permitting limited change or innovation to the extent that it could be experimentally tested or trialled with review and possibly dispensing with the innovation, if it exists at all only does so in so far as innovations in norms and expectations are acceptable in so far they do not disturb wealth or even in so far as they permit rich elites to experience every appetite or fashion or vogue or possibility or choice, all of which are consumer norms, whether they are presented as choices about family structure, parenting, sexuality, work and days.
    I think you have a lot of good ideas here. As for the dichotomous left and right, I prefer the political compass:
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/
    But no "system" is a perfect reflection of human behavior and thought. I usually think adding more than one dimension to representations of things adds more sides of reality.

    As for higher intelligence and development, it's true that intelligent people tend to associate with other intelligent people. So if you are an intelligent "conservative" you will probably encounter others just by that fact, so your experience may not be a reliable indicator of the reality. In my observation there are all levels of intelligence across the political spectrum/compass, but there might be different percentages of them in different places. And political persuasions certainly represent different ways of thinking, which is probably reflective of brain functioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    I guess he read Hume...
    I don't like this kind of defeatism. Brains may be "physically wired", but they are also highly plastic.
    The media in the US may have a liberal bias (couldn't say, my personal impression is that it is alarmingly parochial) as may academia, the arts and some scientific disciplines, but most primary and secondary education overwhelmingly caters to left-brain (STJ) development. For the first three years of life, all children are right-brain dominant, but traditional educational systems, which kick-in after this period, do not foster right-hemisphere development, with the result that it tends to atrophy in all but the exceptional or the alternately nourished.

    All things which impair higher cognitive functioning.

    So, if we can "create" conservatives by making people more stupid, why can we not similarly create liberals by educating / stimulating right-hemisphere development at an early age? Or at least level the playing-field.
    This is fascinating! I think you're right. I've thought for awhile that math should be taught with a "top down" approach, more like science, rather than simply the most simple concepts first. Teaching why we are doing what we are doing, in a way that makes sense, would make it all make more sense. I think this approach would engage the right brain. I found this to be the case for me; I've been really good at some kinds of math and only average in others, and then when I took a college calculus class everything made sense and I got an A with no problem because 1) it was something that could be illustrated visually, and 2) they explained the general concepts first and then how the calculation was relevant.

  4. #54
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    I don't like this kind of defeatism. Brains may be "physically wired", but they are also highly plastic.
    The media in the US may have a liberal bias (couldn't say, my personal impression is that it is alarmingly parochial) as may academia, the arts and some scientific disciplines, but most primary and secondary education overwhelmingly caters to left-brain (STJ) development. For the first three years of life, all children are right-brain dominant, but traditional educational systems, which kick-in after this period, do not foster right-hemisphere development, with the result that it tends to atrophy in all but the exceptional or the alternately nourished.
    I think the right brain/left brain distinction hasn't held up terrifically well to research, although there are certainly differences... focusing more on particular brain region use is more illuminating, I think.

    And while I understand your point about Mooney being defeatist, I think it's a matter of degree. Politics (and good government) is definitely about "the art of the possible." The reason why some more idealistic/simple approaches fail (communism, laissez-faire capitalism, objectivism, fundamentalism, etc) is because they require human nature to be different than it is. Plus, the dark side of idealism is the idealist lashing out at fallible human beings for not living up to an impossible ideal or theory.

    In some ways, good governing is like good design, in that designs need to take the nature of actual human beings into account. If everyone is always clicking on button A when they mean to click on button B in a user interface, it's time to redesign the UI rather than berate the user.

    Still, I agree it's a balancing act. Taken to an extreme degree just accepting people's actions as they are can up encouraging a kind of lowest common denominator. Still, optimizing for actual human nature is bound to be more productive than optimizing for an ideal human being that doesn't exist in the real world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    All things which impair higher cognitive functioning.
    Well, more specifically things that interfere with the liberal secondary response of tending to compensate for motivated reasoning. And yes, that does lead to more complexity, but liberals do tend to over-compensate at times (tending to always side with victim, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    So, if we can "create" conservatives by making people more stupid, why can we not similarly create liberals by educating / stimulating right-hemisphere development at an early age? Or at least level the playing-field.
    Well, you are assuming that "liberal" is always better, and I think several of these authors agree that which is better depends. What isn't good is conservatives and liberals each functioning in epistemic closure (which is almost what we've reached in the US). I think both Haidt and Mooney would argue that both sides have something to bring to the table and that they counterbalance each other in constructive ways given enough interaction.

    Plus, if you listen to Haidt, he's arguing that conservatives take more moral scales into account, so (in that particular sense) are the most well-rounded of us. Group identity and consensus building are net positives in many case (although it's hard for a liberal non-joiner like me to accept), and those are areas in which conservatives tend to excel.

  5. #55
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I think the right brain/left brain distinction hasn't held up terrifically well to research, although there are certainly differences... focusing more on particular brain region use is more illuminating, I think.
    It's a metaphor (with a possible real world correlate). It's easier to talk about left v right than anterior cingulate gurus vs amygdala or whatever. The point about early education and STJ bias stands. Is this because most people are STJs (innately) or do most people start out fairly undefined and become conditioned that way? I think it's the latter. I think most people are broadly ambi- and get forced into "left-brain" mode. In the same way left-handed kids used to be forced to use their right hand. There is massive "right" bias, especially in language (just look at the meaning of the word "right"). Betty Edwards covers some of this in her "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". In particular, she describes how children lose the innate ability to draw (which we all have) it's educated out of them, because the left brain is a fucking Nazi which tries to take over everything, even the stuff it is crap at, like drawing. Only individuals who are so constituted as to be able to resist that conditioning (or who are strongly right-brain dominant), emerge in tact.

    And while I understand your point about Mooney being defeatist, I think it's a matter of degree. Politics (and good government) is definitely about "the art of the possible." The reason why some more idealistic/simple approaches fail (communism, laissez-faire capitalism, objectivism, fundamentalism, etc) is because they require human nature to be different than it is. Plus, the dark side of idealism is the idealist lashing out at fallible human beings for not living up to an impossible ideal or theory.

    In some ways, good governing is like good design, in that designs need to take the nature of actual human beings into account. If everyone is always clicking on button A when they mean to click on button B in a user interface, it's time to redesign the UI rather than berate the user.

    Still, I agree it's a balancing act. Taken to an extreme degree just accepting people's actions as they are can up encouraging a kind of lowest common denominator. Still, optimizing for actual human nature is bound to be more productive than optimizing for an ideal human being that doesn't exist in the real world.

    Well, more specifically things that interfere with the liberal secondary response of tending to compensate for motivated reasoning. And yes, that does lead to more complexity, but liberals do tend to over-compensate at times (tending to always side with victim, for example).
    Actually, I meant you were being defeatist. You are so anxious not to take a side. In fact, you're over-compensating by trying too hard to understand things which are intuitively morally repugnant to you. That just leads to ineffective vacillation. What's the point of having an opinion if you're not going to have an opinion?

    You are suggesting that conservative opinions are knee-jerk responses and liberal opinions more considered. I don't necessarily agree. I think liberal responses are largely empathic ones and conservative, largely fear-based, I.e. both are born of emotion. The rationalisations come later, as the literature you cite has already pointed out.
    Well, you are assuming that "liberal" is always better,
    Yes, I am. I have the courage of my convictions. You assert that a tendency "to always side with the victim" is a legitimate criticism of liberalism. I don't see it that way. I think the philosophy essentially boils down to a desire that humans act humanely, above all other considerations. That's pretty hard to fault.

    A lot of the conservative knee-jerks have evolutionary advantages in times of severe external threat, I.e., the conditions we have subsisted in for most of our history. Try being compassionate to Neanderthals and sharing your meat in a hard winter. That way lies extinction. But understanding the origins of primitive responses to in-group and out-group does not legitimise them. We have moved beyond that (in theory). If we hadn't we'd still be living in caves (like American survivalists).
    What isn't good is conservatives and liberals each functioning in epistemic closure (which is almost what we've reached in the US). I think both Haidt and Mooney would argue that both sides have something to bring to the table and that they counterbalance each other in constructive ways given enough interaction.
    I think that's because the distinctions between the two aren't particularly impressive, so they have to assert a difference, by being at loggerheads. Same in the UK.
    There is no real left in mainstream politics anymore.

    Plus, if you listen to Haidt, he's arguing that conservatives take more moral scales into account, so (in that particular sense) are the most well-rounded of us. Group identity and consensus building are net positives in many case (although it's hard for a liberal non-joiner like me to accept), and those are areas in which conservatives tend to excel.
    Meh. Rubbish. They just like labels.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    I think you have a lot of good ideas here. As for the dichotomous left and right, I prefer the political compass:
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/
    Haha! I'm more liberal than Ghandi + the Dalai Lama !

    Also, see what I was saying about the absence of a real left in US/UK politics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  6. #56
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Haha! I'm more liberal than Ghandi + the Dalai Lama !
    Economic Left/Right: -6.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.59
    pcgraphpng.php.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Also, see what I was saying about the absence of a real left in US/UK politics.
    Oh it's there; it's just not represented in politics. We're more focused on sustainable living and independence from the system.

    Edit: Gr. I can't get the image thing to work. Alas, I'm not a techno wizard.

  7. #57
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Haha! I'm more liberal than Ghandi + the Dalai Lama !

    Also, see what I was saying about the absence of a real left in US/UK politics.
    Yeah, but that test biases ridiculously hard to the lower left corner. I've never seen anyone take it and wind up on the top half, and maybe one in ten wind up on the right half.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #58
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Yeah, but that test biases ridiculously hard to the lower left corner. I've never seen anyone take it and wind up on the top half, and maybe one in ten wind up on the right half.
    That's because it's only liberal wasters who have time to take it.
    Everyone else is busy running shit (into the ground).
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  9. #59
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    That's because it's only liberal wasters who have time to take it.
    Everyone else is busy running shit (into the ground).
    I've seen people take this who definitely shouldn't have wound up in the lower left corner, and they did. It seems to me like the site is almost trying to convince people that we are all one and in distinct opposition to every politician.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    It seems to me like the site is almost trying to convince people that we are all one
    It's a liberal conspiracy!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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