• praxis
    3.5k


    It's good to be in the small coalition of power in an autocracy but the people always do better in a democracy, I understand.
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    Views are often inculcated through upbringing and education. Once they've become part of the system, of the psychological makeup, it may be difficult for somebody to consciously isolate, identify, and analyze them in any meaningful way. And what if subconscious memories from previous lives, or genetic factors, play a role?Apollodorus

    Norms are inculcated , but every one of us interprets those norms in slightly different ways in relation to our own outlook. We never simply , blindly internalize ideas
    from the culture. We are not vacuum
    cleaners , we are interpreters. We make use of the informational resources of our culture , and that limits us , but we can only select from those resources what is consonant with our own system of understanding, even when it seems at a distance like an entire community is in lockstep with each other.


    It’s true we are not always very good at articulating in words what we believe and why we believe it , but there are ways of helping someone to express what they think by having them put it in contrastive terms with positions they oppose. What I can say is that if someone has a conviction that is important to them, then there are ways to allow them to articulate it and show what makes it different from alternatives. It’s also possible that their political alignments are not very important to them and they are happy to just follow others.

    Unconscious memories of course will influence belief, but only in the way that all aspects of our history do. But memory is always filtered though and reinterpreted in accordance with our current thinking. So we are never simply slaves to our past. The past that you recall is always a reconstruction. You never have direct access to what you experienced in an earlier time. Your past in some sense is always ahead of you.
  • Isaac
    4.3k
    what if instead of connecting such complex ways of thinking with reductive causes like lesions in the brain, or reinforcement contingencies, we saw them as akin to scientific theories? That is, if we saw every social-political-ethics stance as the manifestation of an underlying ‘scientific’ theory that was constructed by the person on the basis of the evidence as they interpreted it? Would you then agree that coercion, condemnation, peer pressure and violence would not be particularly effective in changing their theoretical view?Joshs

    No. I have no doubt that there's a 'theory-building' element to one's political worldview, and if you still think I'm a reductionist about these matters then you haven't been reading what I've written. But the problem is that theories are massively underdetermined by the data, more so the more complex the data set. So I don't see much being resolvable by this process.

    Group rules and ostracization only work when those being ostracized have enough overlap of their thinking with the dominant group. It has the opposite effect when the two parties have profoundly different worldviews.Joshs

    The effect is either to re-integrate or to eliminate, so I think it works still.

    Conservatives and liberals interact online all the time in the U.S. on comment sections and blogs, but studies have show that rather than causing them to come closer to the other’s point of view, it simply reinforces their differences.Joshs

    Indeed. That's the point of the interaction. To cement who is in who's group. We polemicise precisely to more firmly define the boundaries of our groups when they seem too permeable. No-one wants to find the middle ground of agreement because there's too much competition there to maintain one's own utility in that group.

    All you will end up with, at best, is a clever soul who learns how to ape the superficial aspects of your ways of acting in order to keep out of trouble.Joshs

    And if we've learnt anything from the success of CBT, that will not be an insignificant win.

    in the meantime that person will strategize how to gain power in order to overthrow what they never bought into to begin with.Joshs

    Everyone will do this anyway, the trick is to give them that power via egalitarian social structures, but there's little enthusiasm for that in such a complex social environment, it's just too risky for most.

    Even pigeons have been known to outfox reinforcement contingencies.Joshs

    Indeed, but it depends heavily on the circumstances, it's not like reinforcement just fails, it's like almost everything else in psychology - it's just more complicated than a simple rule can capture.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    We never simply , blindly internalize ideas
    from the culture. We are not vacuum cleaners , we are interpreters. We make use of the informational resources of our culture , and that limits us , but we can only select from those resources what is consonant with our own system of understanding
    Joshs

    But some aspects of culture are internalized "blindly" without our being aware of it.

    And people do speak of things like "national character" and "psychological/personality traits". Are they just in our imagination? Even children and young animals may be observed to be placid, boisterous, domineering or aggressive almost from the start. Where do these "traits" ultimately come from and how do they influence our view of the world and the way we interact with it?
  • ssu
    4k
    This is not a helpful observation; it provides almost no insight.Tom Storm
    Something that people should be reminded when their views of Marxism-Leninism become too rosy, I should add.
  • ssu
    4k
    Norms are inculcated , but every one of us interprets those norms in slightly different ways in relation to our own outlook. We never simply , blindly internalize ideas from the culture. We are not vacuum cleaners , we are interpreters. We make use of the informational resources of our culture , and that limits us , but we can only select from those resources what is consonant with our own system of understanding, even when it seems at a distance like an entire community is in lockstep with each other.Joshs
    How much is it about culture, how much about past events? Things what we look as "our culture" are quite positive things. So why political differences can lead to violence in some places where in others the issues are handled cordially. History plays a crucial part.

    Let's think about this from the viewpoint of attempts in political secession in the case of UK and Spain.

    BxwwX8LCcAAk2xc.jpg?itok=XsrAweE5

    In the UK the secessionist movement in Scotland has been peaceful, where the secessionist movement in Northern Ireland had a long and very violent past, even if the UK government has very smartly depicted basically an insurgency as "the Time of Troubles". In Spain the secessionist Catalan movement was put down with violence and the secessionist politicians ended up in jail whereas in the UK the former IRA terrorists with much blood on their hands live still as free men when the justice system didn't find enough evidence to prosecute them.

    Why the bloody history in Northern Ireland, whereas Scotland everything has been civilized? In my view the real difference here is that the wars between Scotland and England are ancient history and the idea of both being British was quite successful, while the Irish never did get used to being British and still the Irish war of independence was something quite current and very relatable. In Scotland the opposite sides "stay" or "independence", never were depicted as the side of the English and the side of the Scots. And that is crucial. In Northern Ireland, the situation is different even with religious differences. And so are the way to obtain independence. The Provisional IRA, even if with quite different political ideologies from the "old" Irish Republican Army, still has roots in the IRA of the Irish war of Independence, the organization that then basically morphed into the current Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Defence Forces, even if the "Provos" had little to do with the Irish Defence Forces.

    When Catalonia tried to gain independence from Spain, the attempt lead to violence. Here I think again the memories of the Spanish Civil War and it's aftermath, the dictatorship of Franco, had a part to play.

    The sight of Spanish national police beating voters, and politicians being jailed, revived disturbing memories, for some, of the Franco dictatorship.

    And if we compare this to worst current European tragedy, the break up of Yugoslavia with over 100 000 killed in the bloody civil war, the trauma from the past is even more evident. In Tito's Yugoslavia what happened during WW2 wasn't dealt with and the past came to haunt the present in the worst way possible.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Something that people should be reminded when their views of Marxism-Leninism become too rosy, I should add.ssu

    Those rosy views must have acquired a rather deep red hue by now. But you better be careful how you talk about Marxism-Leninism these days or else you'll be heading for that reeducation camp in Xinjiang before you even know it. After posting one or two threads on Marxism my spam folder is now full of messages in Mandarin with pics of a dead bat in them. And I've been given to understand in no uncertain terms that I'll be next on the list.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    It's good to be in the small coalition of power in an autocracy but the people always do better in a democracy, I understand.praxis

    I agree. But as we’ve seen from the thread Democracy v Socialism (that actually inspired this one), “democracy” seems to be a nebulous concept. Was the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) a democracy? Even the US Democratic Party is seen by some as not entirely democratic due to the Marxist factions within it.

    And were people fundamentally unhappy before the introduction of political parties?
  • ssu
    4k
    But you better be careful how you talk about Marxism-Leninism these days or else you'll be heading for that reeducation camp in Xinjiang before you even know it.Apollodorus
    I really doubt that. Especially as this forum isn't so popular, actually. Only few people read this.
  • praxis
    3.5k


    According to selectorate theory particular forms of governance can be irrelevant. It has to do with concentrations of power.

    And were people fundamentally unhappy before the introduction of political parties?Apollodorus

    Odd question because it assumes people are fundamentally unhappy with political parties and it's unclear what 'fundamentally unhappy' even means in this context. I imagine that many are happy that the party system can be so divisive because they benefit from its divisiveness.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    The Provisional IRA, even if with quite different political ideologies from the "old" Irish Republican Army, still has roots in the IRA of the Irish war of Independence, the organization that then basically morphed into the current Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Defence Forces, even if the "Provos" had little to do with the Irish Defence Forces.ssu

    I think we also need to consider the close links between the Irish nationalist movement and the London Fabian Society and its front the Labour Party. Fabian leaders Sidney and Beatrice Webb went to Ireland to preach Fabian Socialism back in 1892 and the whole movement was soon infiltrated by the Fabians and their more radical allies. The Fabians, incidentally, were also close to other revolutionary groups in Russia and elsewhere through the Socialist International and other socialist organizations. Nehru and Gandhi were also members.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    I imagine that many are happy that the party system can be so divisive because they benefit from its divisiveness.praxis

    That's a perfectly reasonable imagination you've got there. I for one couldn't dispute that even if I tried. As I said before, it looks like the division started with the liberals and then it extended its grip on society with the democrats, the socialists and the communists. Then we got Islamic State and now China. Where will it all end?
  • Apollodorus
    531
    I really doubt that.ssu

    Well, the cyber activities of the Chinese Communist Party division called "United Front Work Department" are well known. Ask the CIA and MI6. But I don't need to tell you.
  • Tom Storm
    971
    Something that people should be reminded when their views of Marxism-Leninism become too rosy, I should add.ssu

    Reminded of what specifically? That some prefer Nazism to Communism based on that childish nugget? Or that Communism kills people? Surely this is the most obnoxious cliché people reach for when discussing this subject and is rarely not reached for by some 'incisive' thinker....
  • ssu
    4k
    No, simply when people start forgetting too much of the negative aspects of the totalitarian system. So much that their view isn't in line with the historical facts. It happens rarely, but does happen sometimes.
  • ssu
    4k
    Well, the cyber activities of the Chinese Communist Party division called "United Front Work Department" are well known. Ask the CIA and MI6. But I don't need to tell you.Apollodorus
    Well, the Chinese aren't alone in that field...

    If this was a top discussion board I guess then it would be different, but PF is backwater.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    If this was a top discussion board I guess then it would be different, but PF is backwater.ssu

    Yes, but would it be less left-wing? That is the question.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Reminded of what specifically? That some prefer Nazism to Communism based on that childish nugget? Or that Communism kills people? Surely this is the most obnoxious cliché people reach for when discussing this subject and is rarely not reached for by some 'incisive' thinker....Tom Storm

    I agree that people shouldn't engage in trading insults. However, we can't keep going on and on about "Nazism" when in fact it no longer exists as a political force whereas communism is still very much alive and kicking if you look at China and other totalitarian regimes.

    Why is it so hard to admit that communism isn't any better? Why can't we just reject all forms of totalitarianism? Where exactly is the problem? And what is the explanation, psychological or whatever?
  • Apollodorus
    531
    That was exactly why I started this topic, because I was looking at the thread on Democracy vs Socialism and I could see that people find it extremely difficult to be objective and instead of having a rational and civilized discussion, it ends in mud-slinging and name-calling. And if this is happening on a "philosophy forum" what can we expect from other forums?
  • Tom Storm
    971
    Why is it so hard to admit that communism isn't any better? Why can't we just reject all forms of totalitarianism? Where exactly is the problem? And what is the explanation, psychological or whatever?Apollodorus

    Huh? Sounds like I missed an exciting debate on here about totalitarianism. I looked, vainly trying to find what you were referring to but it seems to have gone. Oh, there was some Jordan Peterson neophyte making a Peterson comment on this earlier but no one except me took issue.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Huh? Sounds like I missed an exciting debate on here about totalitarianism.Tom Storm

    My question was "And what makes us so defensive when discussing opposite views?"

    You're saying "some prefer Nazism to Communism" and "Communism kills people is the most obnoxious cliché".

    However, all totalitarian systems kill people, don't they? Therefore, all should be opposed equally. If Communism is a totalitarian system similar to Nazism, why is condemning Communism a "cliché"? It's just a question.
  • Tom Storm
    971
    It's just a question.Apollodorus

    Your whole paragraph is typed in bold - this is not 'just a question' for you. You are VERY preoccupied by totalitarianism. Why is that?
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    My question was "And what makes us so defensive when discussing opposite views?"Apollodorus

    By us I assume you include yourself. Start with that. What makes you so defensive? If you say that it is because others are, you are not being honest with yourself.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    You are VERY preoccupied by totalitarianism. Why is that?Tom Storm

    I'm not "VERY preoccupied" at all. I believe in democracy and freedom and that's why I'm against totalitarianism. I don't see what's so hard to understand.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    By us I assume you include yourself. Start with that. What makes you so defensive?Fooloso4

    You sound pretty defensive yourself, that's why you joined the discussion isn't it? And since you've been on here for years it's only proper for you to explain your defensiveness first. Plus, you sound much older than me. So, after you.
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    You sound pretty defensive yourself, that's why you joined the discussion isn't it?Apollodorus

    You are projecting. I attempt to defend my position, but I do not get emotionally wrapped up in it. It makes no difference at all to me whether you agree or disagree with me.

    I joined the discussion because I have an abiding interest in political philosophy. My interests are largely theoretical. It is clear that you take this all too personally. I think you would do well to ask yourself why. You may take this as a personal attack but it is not.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    You may take this as a personal attack but it is not.Fooloso4

    How very gracious. However, you have been on this forum for much longer than myself, have you not? And since presumably you're older, more knowledgeable, more experienced, wiser and know this forum and its members much better than I do, you really should help me steer the discussion in a direction that is satisfactory to all or most of us instead of trying to sow distrust and division and drive the thread into the gutter and then blame it on me.
  • ssu
    4k
    Lol.

    I think that you just assume that this site is leftist. That's the typical stereotype of a "Philosophy Forum". Sure, there are some who would call themselves Marxists, but they aren't the majority. Yet with stereotypes you go only that far.

    Don't underestimate the people you are talking to.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Sure, there are some who would call themselves Marxists, but they aren't the majority.ssu

    I'm sure there are some who are Marxists even if they don't call themselves that. But it's good to know that they aren't the majority. I was beginning to wonder ... : )
  • ssu
    4k
    Primary thing to learn: never believe that people are like the stereotypes portray them, it's all just partly true. But not all true.
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