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Civility in the US political discourse and identity politics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Arthellion, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    Answer: No one here is preaching hatred but people are essentially telling the left and minorities by proxy that we should just stay "civil" and that to do anything else would just make things worse. Is staying quiet and civil with people who have no sense of reason really useful? Ignoring them and letting them die out on their own hasn't seemed to work so what do you suggest we do because constantly hearing you have to take the high road when taking the high road has resulted in nothing but loss for us and a gain for the hateful.

    It's also a little condescending. "I dont personally feel the effects of this kind of rhetoric but I'm sure I'd handle it with grace and civility if it were aimed at me so should you."

    I salute you for sticking to your principles but they only really work in a ideal world. I'm also not suggesting we hate people with bigoted or ignorant views (that would be a waste of energy), just that we treat their ideas (and them) with the contempt they deserve.

    Edit: I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we've seen through evidence that being civil is neither useful or good for your mental health so beyond high minded principles, why should be we be civil to these people?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  2. Agayek

    Agayek Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    Honestly? That depends on the people in question. Most people are good-hearted and want what's best for everyone, though their priorities for how to go about it are generally based on the layers of their monkeysphere and personal value systems. For those people, having a civil conversation is immensely useful, even if only to occupy a space in said monkeysphere and force them to reconsider their priorities accordingly.

    At the same time though, there's always going to be some people, often highly vocal ones, who are driven by either malice or willful ignorance, and no amount of civil conversation is going to convince them of anything. However, dealing with people is just as much about the audience as the other party, and one's conduct then can have some severe ramifications. A good example of this is the whole Evergreen College thing that went down a couple years ago, where a bunch of activists got it in their head that their highly progressive liberal arts school was a bastion of depravity and racism and essentially staged a coup of the school. The frankly borderline-psychotic behavior of those people was a rallying cry and galvanizer for the growing anti-education sentiment on the right; after all, college turns otherwise reasonable people into those loonies, so it can't be good for you. Or, for the other end of the spectrum, anti-abortion activists who sit outside of clinics and accost random strangers with all kinds of awful bullshit and who serve as a rallying cry for the left to point at and galvanize against the obvious lunatics opposed to what is 'obviously' the only correct and moral stance on the matter.

    Also, something important to mention here is that silence never entered the equation. No one is saying be silent. By all means, call people out when they're being assholes. Just do it with some self-respect, dignity, and, if possible, class. In the best case, you've earned some converts, and in the worst case you stand as an example of 'one of the good ones'. Whereas the other way around, the best case is that you don't permanently alienate people from your beliefs/stance, and the worst case is that you drive converts for the opposition.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  3. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    Fair enough, and I do agree that most people are just good people trying to go about their day and that responding to hatred by civilly speaking out is better for optics but I also think that some of the fault of our current situation should be put on the audience those people as well. We, even moderates simply trying to go about their day, have to ask ourselves how we should view these confrontations. We shouldn't let things turn violent but we shouldn't treat the incivility of people pissed off at bigots and the hateful rhetoric of bigots as if they're the same.
     
  4. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'll touch on this again, and explain why I said that I think we've reached the limit of a useful conversation here.

    I see no difference between arguments and basic beliefs/value systems. One is inherently dependant on the other. So I don't find them fruitless to debate at all. Basic beliefs/value systems are the foundations of every argument that we make. The only difference here, is that my basic beliefs/value systems are based upon careful consideration (life experience, academic research, experience in the field, and logic). Your basic beliefs/value systems are based upon a 2,000 year old book that cannot be disputed in any argument, 'because god'. I have no doubt you've logically and rationally constructed your own world view, but it is based on top of these unchallengeable assumptions that are foundational to your arguments.

    I find this deeply frustrating to argue against. It does not matter what I do, how I make my points, if I cannot challenge you 'because god' then we can't have a conversation on these topics. I can't argue against that. Instead of taking ownership of your beliefs, you are simply outsourcing them to tribal group think based upon one interpretation of a 2000 year old book which is fiercely debated among your own religion.

    What makes you correct, rather than the catholics? Or any of the other denominations of protestants? Or other denominations of Christianity in general? I am no theologian, but I do know that that many of you are at odds with each other as much as with other religions or non-religions. I can see no objective difference in any interpretation. It's all subjective. And subjectively, you can rationally argue for any outcome as it comes down to personal interpretation.

    As I've said in previous threads, I am much more tolerant of religion than many, because I genuinely do believe that it has a place in society. It gives people a way out of situations that their pride or ego's would otherwise not let them. As you've said on this board, it has helped you overcome your own shortcomings as a person, and what the environment that you grew up in made you. I have no problems with this. I see it as performing an essential service that the state cannot. But western society is secular for a reason, and its modern success has been dependant on that.

    So, to clarify, I do not find beliefs about god to be 'insane'. I find this particular belief of yours and your argument that it should be adopted by everyone to be insane. Especially in context of how it relates to public policy and institutional decision making processes.

    While that way of thinking may help you personally, it is not infinitely transferable among other people. Because they did not grow up like you did, in the ways that you did. And they do not exist in positions of privilege like you do. What works for you does not necessarily work for all other people. And it certainly does not work as a macro level decision making process. There is no infinitely objective truth. Every decision we make must be dependant on the situation, on context.

    The final point I'll make is that all arguments are biased. Including my own here. It is impossible to take your own thoughts and preconceptions out of any argument, as much as some might argue that it is essential. My thoughts here are absolutely influenced by my experiences, and I consider that a strength, not a weakness in this particular context.

    Instead of trying to remove your biases, understand them, and account for them. You absolutely come at this problem from a position of privilege, academic understanding, and little to no life experience in the real world consequences of how these types of moral absolutist views can cause immeasurable harm. Instead of looking at these things in abstract, look at the outcomes. But then you can't do that, because you are only concerned with the present. And so we go around in circles.
     
  5. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    I think my response to this will essentially address the other issues you bring up. What makes me correct rather than the catholics? I could get into the nitty gritty of how the Catholic face places the authority of the Church over the Bible and thus, the opinions of fallible human beings over God...but this would not mean much to this debate because that's a theological matter.

    So what ultimately makes me correct? It's not me that is correct it is objective truth. Reality reveals objective truth and I see it and state it. Interpretations can be as subjective as they want to be, but if they fail to match up with objectivity...then they're wrong. My views hold up with objective truth.

    Is this arrogance? You're welcome to think so, but you're wrong in the same way a flat earther would be wrong if they called scientists arrogant for saying the earth is round. Or if climate change deniers would be wrong if they said climate change was false.

    I speak with God consistently. He speaks back inaudibly. I'll give an example. A few semesters ago, I was late to class. I typically go one way to park, but felt compelled by the voice of the Holy Spirit to head to the area directly in front of the class room (which is always full). I obeyed and a car was leaving just as I arrived.

    Other examples. One night I was walking down a dark hallway at work. I felt what could only be described as evil and literal claws digging into the back of my head. I told it to stop in the name of Jesus and it ceased. These sorts of things happen constantly in my life.

    Now...could I be simply insane? It's certainly possible, but there is nothing that disproves the existence of the supernatural. Nothing that disproves the existence of God. This alone is obviously not enough evidence, but conversations with other believers...especially ones from other countries corrobate my accounts with similar experiences.

    So...tldr: What makes me correct? The fact that my views align with reality and objective truth.
     
  6. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    It does not. You seem to misunderstand my point.

    A key point of mine was that personal experience is not transferable beyond your own context. Your response is to use your personal experience and then assume that all of reality behaves the way you've experienced it.

    Surely you can see the fallacy here?

    Edit: I'd say take some time and actually think this through man. There's no way you can adequately respond to what I'm saying in minutes.

    Another useful axiom is that 'feeling is not knowing', and vice versa.

    Edit#2: I’ll also say that I am just as critical of scientists who claim objective truth out of their specific context. They cannot make this claim either. Both involve claiming that you know far more than you actually do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  7. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This is called schizophrenia.
     
  8. Saez

    Saez High Inquisitor

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    What the fuck did I just read? I thought y'all were kidding when you said politics regularly devolved into weird shit. I straight up think you're crazy now Arth :p
     
  9. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    That may be a bit extreme.

    I’d say it’s more that he mistakes his subconscious, intuition, instinctive reasoning for god.

    Which is another conversation entirely. But much to do with the echo chamber he’s been raised in.

    Because if I’m honest, I place my gut instinct on an equal playing field with rational decision making when it comes to results/outcomes.
     
  10. Silens Cursor

    Silens Cursor The Silencer DLP Supporter

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    I just find it amusing that in the first damn page of this thread I referenced privilege and there was a very convenient lack of response from Arthellion, especially when I cited a video that goes in pretty deeply into the extended argumentation behind the stakes of moral or even violent stances against systemic oppression.

    All the more indicative of someone who is insulated from real consequences because of factors beyond his control, and the convenient ignoring of said discussions of privilege because it shatters huge chunks of his worldview, especially surrounding the victim complex masquerading as religious sentiment (and a dangerously fundamentalist and slanted reading of the Bible, I should add).

    The ironic thing is that when one stands up for those oppressed by the system - say, when Jesus exposed corrupt Pharisees in his ministry and overturned the moneychangers' tables, or if you join an antifascist protest so that white nationalists and protofascists don't march through gay neighbourhoods - that privilege evaporates pretty damn quickly. It reminds me of a predominantly black podcast I was on a few years back after Charlottesville, and one of the ladies on the panel remarked that when privileged people take a stand against oppressive systems, they often forfeit that privilege in the eyes of the extremists on the other side AND the system, and are often branded as worse because you have betrayed them.

    Just food for thought in the "marketplace of ideas". /s
     
  11. Kevizoid

    Kevizoid Third Year

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    Arthellion proving Innomine's view that you can't argue with religion. Everything breaks down when god and the associated religious view is treated as objective fact.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  12. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I would say that it's not religion that you can't argue with, it's fundamentalists. Another word for it is extremists or absolutists.

    Some of the people I respect the most are religious, but they are ones who tend to follow religious principles rather than hard doctrine.

    This fundamentalist issue is just as prevalent and dangerous within academia. There are those whom having gained expertise in one extremely narrow area, then assume that this expertise and intelligence then transfers into other areas where the context is different. It does not. To be fair, this was a systemic belief as well for quite some time. It doesn't appear in my generation so much, but if you go back a few, you'll see it clear and present.

    Just because some dude is really good at structural engineering does not make him good at managing people. Stop putting technical experts in charge of people. And vice versa. Stop putting people managers in charge of technical experts. Find some balance between the two. Neither extreme is good.

    Science also has a massive legitimacy issue right now, because politicians love taking something that works in one area, and then doing it another place because "science". One size fits all rules (almost) always end up causing bad outcomes at least somewhere.

    And given the way the law protects and enshrines specialist expertise, people on the ground adversely affected by this cannot protest, as their knowledge is not seen as 'legitimate' by the law or politicians because they do not have a piece of paper saying they are smart. Trust the people on the ground to know their context. But not to be able accurately apply it on macro scales. Trust the people at the top to understand macro level policy, but not specific context on the ground. Good outcomes come from bridging these two extremes.

    Scientific advice to government is particularly problematic in many areas, as it is often given in absolutist form. Scientists will gather in a room, full of opposing views, and then pair it all down to one singular view which is meant to be the 'most accurate' and most transferable. Often this means that it ends up adequately applying to no one.

    If you take the whole world, and average it out, we'd all have one breast and one ball. Imagine how you'd feel if someone started treating you like that. This is what we do to people on a structural level, treat people as the average. And you're all like "umm, what the fuck are you guys thinking". And the politicians are like "the scientists told me to do it (over here, and it made sense)" and the non fundamentalists are like "umm, err, that's like a completely different context?". The fundamentalists are like "Im the world expert, you must have just done it wrong". Thankfully we're now starting to get more of the former, than the latter.

    Our entire political system was designed to force compromise between different extremes. And it worked well in America, until this extreme partisanship started in the 70s.

    Ultimately, to be right, you gotta be willing to be wrong.
     
  13. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Order Member

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    I agree with @Innomine here. The issue, of course, is that we're all arguing from places where our axioms are completely different. I, for example, was not raised in an environment where "God is Good" was ever a thing. I can not relate at all with what Arthellion is saying because I do not understand the place from where he's coming at all. If one ignores the bit about God and takes the resultant argument to be the bedrock of his beliefs, I can understand where he's coming from. He's asking everyone to take the moral high ground. I think every religion asks you to do that. The problem, I've found after reading a substantial bit of history, is that people who take the moral high ground don't usually end up in history books. The ones we remember were usually fucking ruthless. Genghis Khan isn't remembered for his kindness, the Indian Emperor Akbar is remembered for establishing the Mughal Empire, which he did by steel, not hugs and kisses. Alexander the Great wasn't a morally just person. The Hindu Epic Mahabharata has a section famous in the West as the Bhagvad Gita, which is explicitly a dialogue between a God and a human in which the God convinces the human to perform an immoral act, because without it, the human wouldn't have won what he did. Politics seems to breed scoundrels, and that seems to be an axiom. Even the most just politicians have ascended on a staircase of immorality usually caked in blood.

    Also, while one cannot be certain of the consequences of their actions, one can calculate probabilities. If I slice my wrists right now (There's no danger of me actually doing it, no worries), there is a non-zero chance I might die. There is also a non-zero chance I live. However, the probabilities of various results have shifted as a consequence of my actions. One not considering those probability shifts while pondering on actions seems to live in the world prophesied, not the real one. You can never be sure that your actions result in certain consequences, but you can be damn sure that your actions influence the probability of those consequences. If you don't believe in the relationship between actions and consequences, try not eating for a few days. Let's see where that takes you.

    One might also believe that kindness is its own reward, which I heartily agree with, but I believe there are other rewards greater than the one given by kindness towards which I might aspire to. If I do a cost-benefit analysis of being kind vs getting the other thing I want, that other thing being the right to exist as I wish to, then fuck kindness. To be clear, if kindness and the other thing are compatible, surely go with both, but if they're not, as is the case being discussed right now, then it's hard to argue for being kind. I believe the people in this thread when they say that kindness has been tried for a while, and let me reiterate, I truly believe that that kindness is quite rewarding in of itself. Unfortunately, I don't believe it's rewarding enough to justify sticking to it when there are greater rewards at stake.

    If someone doesn't believe that God is Good, if they believe that actions have consequences, and they believe that once they die they stop existing, then there's no reason to try and better yourself for heaven. I'd rather create a better world for myself today and live in it than suffer today and stop existing after my suffering.

    Also, apologies if I rambled, I'm suffering from a distinct lack of sleep.
     
  14. CrippledGod

    CrippledGod Third Year

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    In response to your edit: it seems to me like that’s where the entire problem lies.

    I’m Nigerian, I’ve never travelled out of the country, and I still don’t understand most of the jokes in the Funny Pictures thread, so both sides of the coin — both Liberal and Republican — have concepts and talking points I can’t totally relate to.

    The difference between both stances, to me, and to a lot of people like me, seemed to be the PR: Democrats cared about Africans and the marginalized, and Republicans like guns and money and were racist.

    This was further cemented by the unstated understanding that, if we were going to be controlled by superpowers, it was by far better to be controlled by one with a semblance of a conscience/ability to look past self interest.

    We were all pretty much Democrat by default, as a result.

    Pretty much up until recently, when Trump won and it seemed like the excesses, slander and political thuggery we had previously attributed to Republicans, began to be displayed by the Democrats.

    There was initial disillusionment, then concern, then a sort of cynical acceptance.

    Now, how does that matter? Why should the views of a couple of random people in a different continent, who you’ll probably never meet matter to you?

    Because, the moral high ground is pretty much the backbone of being Democratic, from my obviously limited perspective.

    Once that’s taken away, the difference between the two sides become strictly ideological. The difference between owning slaves and not owning slaves, was a moral decision.

    The difference between giving people rights and treating them as slaves, is a moral decision.

    You can’t decide, yeah, fuck the moral high ground and then continue to use words like reprehensible and contemptible, as I’ve seen in this thread.

    You can’t say fuck the moral high ground and then think that your position and views are better in any way than the other guys.

    That’s what I think anyway.
     
  15. cucio

    cucio Third Year

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    #145

    I don't think those are the kind of experiences most rational people think about when they are discussing "reality and objective truth."

    Of course you live your real life according to your interpretation of them, so that gives them a measure of reality. Quoting Dumbledore: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

    But, as a basis for universal morality, they do seem difficult to share for those who haven't felt anything of the sort.
     
  16. blab

    blab Second Year

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    This is just......What.
     
  17. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    So let me get this straight, you think that if I give up civil discourse with people who wish for the actual death of all minorities, my position and view that we don't deserve to die and do in fact deserve equal rights and theirs are essentially equal as a result of my actions?

    Edit: If you put the Democratic party on some politically untenable moral pedestal and actually expect them to accomplish anything, then you're either being extremely optimistic or naive. It's also equally ridiculous to say that since rhetoric has degenerated, the parties are essentially equally bad. The Democrats certainly aren't angels but they're not (for the most part) actively engaging in the sabotage of political institutions and civil rights. ofHas the Democratic party actively started to disenfranchise voters through gerrymandering? Have they engaged in the active denial of climate change? Have they tried to take away rights form any particular group of citizens?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  18. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Gerrymandering being a partisan issue is a very recent thing, the Democrats have a long history of it just as the Republicans do. It's only that the Republicans swept state legislatures in 2010 that's brought it into the popular discourse. Democrats are trying to fix it, which is laudable, but they don't have an uncheckered recent past either.
     
  19. Agayek

    Agayek Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    I just find it very telling that gerrymandering wasn't a problem until Republicans secured an overwhelming advantage in state legislatures. Then it was suddenly the greatest threat to democracy.
     
  20. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy Prisoner DLP Supporter

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    I just find it very telling that, from that comment, yall are focusing on the gerrymandering part rather than the climate change denial and the desire to strip rights from those dirty gays and trannies and other undesirables. It's almost like those are the unquestionable parts of the comment - whether you're coming from a bigoted point of view or a 'because Jesus' point of view.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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