Three degrees of separation

I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.

One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.

Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.

1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.

As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.

2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.

We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.

I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”

And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.

I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.

This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.

3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.

I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?

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  1. barbtheevilgenius says

    I can’t help you; I still have a serious problem with number one. The leftists I used to call friends very rarely share their political views publicly. The few times they have, and I’ve tried to start a discussion, they backtrack and say they don’t want to talk about these things. “Can’t we all just get along?” One of these friends is a minister in a Christian denomination, yet his wife supports Barack Obama. There’s no way I could have a conversation with her about how she can support someone in favor of living infants in closets to die, so I’ve just quit being friends with these people.
    Another time, I tried to have a conversation with a public school teacher about what his peers were doing during the Wisconsin debacle. He outright refused to believe that these things were going on; I must have seen them on Fox News, therefore they were made up.

  2. Gringo says

    The few times they have, and I’ve tried to start a discussion, they backtrack and say they don’t want to talk about these things. “Can’t we all just get along?”
    My experience with libs is that they are more than willing to initiate a conversation which illustrate their lib views/biases, but do not like a contrary opinion being given back. They do not handle disagreement very well. When you have the effrontery to disagree , you are  often told that you are fanatic/partisan. It is rather amusing when the Yellow Dog Democrat  who tells me that I am partisan is the person who has the rear doors of his Suburban plastered with Democrat Party bumper stickers.
    I am not sure about separating 2) and 3), as core assumptions can also be seen as faith. It is a difficult call.
    The Secular/Religious split between Libs and Wingnuts is not carved in stone, as it were. For example, the Yellow Dog Democrat I previously referenced attends church. I have never been a churchgoer. That being said, and operating on the 2) core assumptions level, it would appear to me that Wingnuts tend to be more aware of their own core assumptions than Libs tend to be. As such, Wingnuts have tended to devote more time to developing and/or testing their own core assumptions. Something similar can be said about 3) faith. Libs tend to assume that THEY are the logical ones, and Wingnuts are not. This occurs because Libs  often are neither aware of their own core assumptions nor have bothered to test the.
    I read somewhere that the difference between Libs and Wingnuts is that Libs believe Paradise is in the future, whereas Wingnuts believe Paradise is in the Past. One practical application of this point of view is that  Libs will tend to believe that some social program will solve the problem it claims to solve, whereas Wingnuts will tend to be skeptical about the claimed results of that social program. My working two years as an Aide in a psych hospital and in an institution for the mentally retarded during my undergraduate years tended to increase my skepticism about claimed results of social programs.
    I believe there is something to the Paradise Past/Future differentiation between Libs and Wingnuts. While I was born and  raised as a Lib in Bluish Blue Libland, I learned well before I entered high school that a contented status quo can be shattered in an instant- or over a period of time. Those life experiences made me inherently skeptical  towards claims that some social program will bring forth a Bright Shining Future.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    Past focus versus future focus – good observations, Gringo. 
    Barbtheevilgenius – I suspect that what you are describing is Left/Progressives desperate to twist facts to fit their templates.
    One question I have is that, when people need to make up facts in order to make their world templates work, is that a sign that their Liberal house-of-cards is about to collapse…i.e., that they are on the verge of jumping the shark?

  4. SADIE says

    Talking to liberals. Doesn’t one side have to be listening? The few times I have tried to interact with them on FB (it rarely happens, I think I’ve been blocked by most of them). I had the audacity to back up my position with facts and links. What I have noted over time, is that the Left always conflates two or more issues and wraps them up into one bundle.
    Example: Detroit’s finances. Someone posted the following:
    Detroit has been run by liberals for decades – Texas has been run by Conservatives for decades. Any questions?
    A liberal responded: The question is – where are women getting a more fair shake?? (Not likely Texas)
    Sadie’s response: In Texas, revenue determines spending, not the other way around.
    Probably why I enjoy watching this Allstate commercial.

  5. Gringo says

    Sadie “Detroit has been run by liberals for decades – Texas has been run by Conservatives for decades. Any questions?   A liberal responded: The question is – where are women getting a more fair shake?? (Not likely Texas)
    Sadie’s response: In Texas, revenue determines spending, not the other way around.
    Another response would be to point out that a fairer shake is more likely occur where there is revenue available.  By definition, revenue is not available in a bankrupt municipality.
    Another  response would be to point out as TX population has been increasing, whereas Detroit population has been decreasing, an awful lot of women have decided that all in all, they would get a fairer shake in TX compared to Detroit.   As Lenin said, you vote with your feet. I  don’t know of any wingnut women in TX- and I know a fair amount- who want to move to Detroit. Were I to suggest to those TX Lib women that they move to Detroit, the response would be, “Are you out of your F@#$#@# mind?” Even though Rick Perry may be the Devil incarnate to a lot of TX Lib women, they overwhelmingly  prefer living under the Devil incarnate in TX to living under a Democrat in Detroit.
    Which, now that we are into August, reminds me of a 19th century joke about TX. The Devil bought TX, and then had to decide whether to live in Hell and rent out Texas, or vice versa. The Devil decided to live in Hell, and rent out Texas, because Texas was hotter. Until August, the summer has been relatively cool in TX, but August is August. Hot.

  6. Danny Lemieux says

    One of the things I like to point out to liberals when they complain about not enough resources being available to fund pension systems, “Drive out and go look at a wind farm. That’s where your pension money went”

  7. says

    “I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. ”
    What does this mean?
    “on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation”
    I would reframe that as an OODA and parallel computing issue. Quick and correct decisions rely upon an appropriate context and observational relative viewpoint. A parallel computer has a better context, can reframe things if one line is mistaken, and can use things like parallax to computer values more accurately by checking for differences.
    Thus the more life experiences humans have, the more templates and perspectives they can use to make decisions.
    What the Leftist alliance does is to ensure that only One AUthority exists to provide the perspective. Everybody else is either a follower, a slave (tool), or evil (not wrong, but evil). It is the concept that there is only one Truth which makes for witch trials and burnings. If we dip the witch into the lake and she survives, that proves her devil magick exists. If we dip the witch into the lake and she doesn’t survive, that proves she wasn’t a witch. The idea that there may be more than 2 interpretations and choices… is what delineates the difference between Light and Darkness, Good and Evil. Humanity must continue to hunt for and seek out different truths and interpretations, or else fall prey to the problem of thinking the universe revolves around their Einstein perspective.
    <B>I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. </b>
    Remember this?
    <I>Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.</I>
    Free people can be enslaved and made permanent tools through the generations. It requires “fixing” certain attitudes. Those that think this is just some foreign problem, should look carefully at inner America.
    The reason why the idea and concept that the Left was just another political party that can be defeated by elections in a democracy, was wrong is merely because power that changes how people think and feel are too powerful to be challenged by mere elections and political debates. This is entirely different game “above” the political game here. The meta. The same way Divine Power looks down upon and controls the temporal world, so the same is true of that game board where a higher state exists. There is something above politics.
    <B>As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions.</b>
    I would say the Leftist alliance members expect to change the world to make it obey their evil intentions. Coincidentally, that does make people conform to misperceptions.
    The Left lashed out at certain people because that’s what their Authority told them to do. If a child doesn’t obey their father, what tends to happen? To make it easier to conceive of, if a slave does not obey their master, what do people think will happen?
    In a war between faith, time, force, and strength are the primary weapons. There are always different ways to persuade, such as Jesus’ disciples tried out. There’s a difference between the Old Testament’s idea of conversion and Jesus Christ’s idea of conversion. There’s also a difference between Zoroastrianism’s idea of conversion and Mohammed’s idea of conversion.
    “Shock” is another way of referring to defeat, absolute surrender, and destroying the entirety of a person’s clan, social construct, civilization, and blood allies. In a battle of faith, the stronger faith generally wins, with some exceptions.

  8. says

    In a war of faith, teaching the community will convert them. Supporting them and defending them against their enemies, will grant you their gratitude. But generally speaking, those who don’t want to meet with you or talk with you, aren’t easily converted by words. Because they refuse to listen.
    Facts and such things are useless against a Leftist true believer or even tool. You need to hit them where it hurts, like any war requires.
    If they think women are getting a fair shake in Detroit, you have to attack this belief and destroy it, by forcing them to emotionally deal with the number of rapes and crime on women in Detroit.
    Jesus Christ didn’t look at the con artists in the market exchanging foreign currency and say “you know what, I should be peaceful, pacific, and just warn my disciples to avoid such people and leave them alone”.
    Jesus Christ went up to those market con artists, threw over their transaction table, and hounded them out of the area. One might wish to reconsider the “soft” persuasion methods if they think this is “Christian”. Leftists aren’t going to disappear if you ignore them. Their evils aren’t going to disappear if you ignore them. Their support of Detroit won’t go away so long as you don’t attack Detroit and their Democrat masters.

  9. SADIE says

    Gringo: The liberal comment, had nothing to do with Detroit vs Texas, but everything to do with the Left hub-bub “outrage”  about abortion. They’re always in the midst of a hysterical outrage.
    I knew instinctively where she was going with her comment, but didn’t acknowledge it. The Left loves perching on a ledge, shouting “I am gonna jump”.  It’s more of the same crapola they tried to pull in Wisconsin with the Scott Walker recall debacle. Don’t hear much about Wisconsin in the news today, do we.
    Danny: Soon you can tell them to a long walk off a short pier.

  10. barbtheevilgenius says

    Danny, I’ve never known a person in my own life who had his liberal house of cards fall apart, so I wouldn’t know. I’d like to find out that one of the people I used to have in my life quit being leftist/socialist, but I’m pessimistic about it happening as I slide towards my fifties.<p>
    Ymarsakar, I would dearly love to round up Obama’s votes on abortion, as well as some of his “better” quotes on the subject, and send them to the Christian pastor’s wife and ask her how she can support this man with a clear conscience, but I don’t think it would change anything. I thought she’d grow out of her socialism when she got married/had kids, but she and her husband are in academia and she has a rich mommy and daddy, I think she’s pretty isolated from real world consequences.

  11. says

    Barb, it’s easier not to face the music when someone else is facing the consequences.
    If every time I make a mistake, a kitten dies for it and that means I can become immortal, it takes a certain kind of “personality” then to attempt to save the kittens, to take on the sins of the world when nobody demands that you do so.
    So long as a Leftist member has slaves to take the brunt of their actions, they have no need to change themselves.

  12. JKB says

    Not long ago, I dabbled in some of the lectures on Development Economics over at MRUniversity.  i found this one to be particularly enlightening The Effect of Geography on Institutions | MRUniversity  Alex Tabbarok contrasts the institutions that arose in the Spanish Americas with those in North America.  
    Spanish Americas being an exploitive economy, extracting both natural resources and the lives of people, dominated by European ruling elites.  The “elites” in North America wanted to set up such a system here but our wide, sparsely populated continental expanse permitted people to vote with their feet and head west.  Plus, wheat farming was amenable to the yeoman family farm whereas the sugar cane, cotton, etc. in the Spanish Americas required an organization with lots of low skill labor and overseers.  The plantation system that perpetuated slavery in the US was more like the Spanish Americas than the individualist system that the rest of the continent promoted.  
    Now, I saw in that lecture how the institutions and psychologies created in the Spanish Americas not only persist but are very much like what the Progs want to bring to the U.S.  They made decent success with the urbanization but then the auto permitted the People to escape, again.  Interesting that urban planning of the New Deal was organized to keep the blacks in the cities.  It explains the Prog love of the South of the Border immigrants who are already infected with the psychology of elite rule, even as they try to escape it.  It explains the Progs drive for Regional Authorities to recapture the escaped “citizens”
    Now, we aren’t in the natural resource extraction economy anymore to a large extent.  But that doesn’t mean the Progs are seeking just as an exploitive economy.  Since they can’t force much out of human capital in a knowledge economy, they come at it sideways.  They exploit the various groups, use government to mine the rich deposits of earnings, enrich themselves and then leave their exploited labor to an early grave after a life in a hell hole.
    BTW, this supports my idea that the fastest way to turn the Progs off immigration is to start promoting policies that free up the formation of small businesses and to promote such formation to immigrants as the traditional path to the American Dream.  If the Progs sense that inroads are being made to inculcate the immigrants with traditional American values and institutions, like earlier waves of immigrants were, they’ll turn on the “undocumented” with a vengeance.  

  13. Danny Lemieux says

    JKB – I think that you are right on all counts. However, I am so totally amazed to see so many Progs living at the lower end of the economic scale who appear to be oblivious to the fact that they are helping to seal their own servitude. 
    The Progs imagine a future where “the best and the brightest” (i.e., academia leftists) make the world better, but they can’t comprehend that it is not their would-be aristocratic rulers have no room to make for them in the ruling class. This is so…French. 

  14. says

    JKB….Rose Wilder Lane contrasted the differing approaches of the French and Spanish colonialists with those of the English stamp:
    he Governments gave them (in the case of the French and Spanish colonies–ed) carefully detailed instructions for clearing and fencing the land, caring for the fence and the gate, and plowing and planting, cultivating, harvesting, and dividing the crops…The English Kings were never so efficient. They gave the land to traders. A few gentlemen, who had political pull enough to get a grant, organized a trading company; their agents collected a ship-load or two of settlers and made an agreement with them which was usually broken on both sides…To the scandalized French, the people in the English colonies seemed like undisciplined children, wild, rude, wretched subjects of bad rulers.

  15. says

    More from RWL:
    In the spring of 1789, Moses Austin, the first American west of the Mississippi, applied to the Governor in New Orleans for permission to put millstones in a mill to be built at Mine a Breton in Missouri. He had the millstones there, and his request was mere routine, for Don Moses Austin was so important to New Spain that the King had given him one square league of rich mining land.
    Six months later, he set his foreman to finishing the mill, while he rode to St. Louis to get the permit. It reached the authorities while he was there. He returned, to his domain with it, and found that not a stroke of work had been done on the mill. In his absence, the foreman had gone fishing.
    Moses Austin had made two large fortunes in the new States, and lost them in two nation-wide crashes, caused by collapses of land-speculating booms. There were no such calamities in orderly New Spain. But for some reason, amiable Moses Austin’s temper became unreliable there. When the foreman returned from fishing, Don Moses fired him.
    This could not be done. In New Spain, not even the most powerful Don could discharge the lowest workman without the Alcalde’s permission. Don Moses Austin was summoned before the Alcalde in Ste. Genevieve, two days’ journey from the unfinished mill.
    The case was postponed from time to time, but finally all witnesses were assembled. The Alcalde heard their testimony, reprimanded the foreman, and approved his discharge. Next year, Moses Austin got his mill to working, so that for the first time, Missourians were released from grinding grain by hand with pestle and mortar. A mill that could have been built in a month had taken a year.
    The early history of nearly every State in this Union is crammed with such instances of “planned economy,” for this country belonged to the Old World for as long as the history of the Republic.

  16. Danny Lemieux says

    It is also the case that in New Spain (Mexico), the peasants (Indios, mestizos) were not allowed to own weapons, because doing so could challenge the rule of the Spanish ruling class. Instead, they were assigned (poorly trained, poorly paid) soldiers with obsolete weapons to protect them against bandidos and Indians. The result was that they became sitting ducks for the depredations of Navajos, Apaches and Comanches (to use but a few examples).
    When the nasty, dastardly Anglos came and stole that land from the saintly Mexican ruling classes, they allowed these previously helpless people to protect themselves. Which they did.

  17. Charles Martel says

    Regarding the Comanches, Mexico finally had to go outside its own borders to recruit people who not only were well armed and knew how to fight, but loved to fight: the Scots-Irish of the American South. Once the rednecks arrived, badda-bing, badda-boom, the bad-ass Comanches got kicked into the history books.
    Then Mexico made the mistake of telling the rednecks, now referred to as “Texicans,” how to run their lives.

  18. Danny Lemieux says

    Hammer, the Comanches didn’t get defeated until after the Civil War. Some, like Chief Quanah Parker’s band, were never defeated but relinquished themselves to Federal control voluntarily. He then went on to become a famous Oklahoma politician and cattle baron. 

  19. says

    One slightly optimistic observation: many if not most of the Dem supporters I know are NOT 100% in the Lefty camp, but are more mixed in their views. For example, there is one woman who is fiercely against extended welfare/unemployment benefits for those who don’t actively seek work, and is equally fierce against any kind of bailout of Detroit..but voted for Obama, I suspect, based largely on fear that Republicans will ban contraception (and also probably a feeling that a Republican vote wouldn’t align with her somewhat Bohemian persona.) There are older Dem voters who honestly don’t realize how radical and anti-American…indeed, anti-civilization…their party has gotten. If you get your news from network TV and the typical newspaper, there are a lot of things you just don’t see.

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