• fdrake
    2.5k
    Would you be ok calling that potential a fundamentally biological thing? Or is there something extra-biological about it?frank

    Eh, we've evolved as social animals; our biology and development are radically social, so're all the (probably) unique higher order mental functions we have. I'm happy saying it's rooted our body, so long as our body is understood to already be a social organism.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Trust is earned, it cannot be enforced. When it is lost, we suffer the consequences. But trust will not be regained through enforcement. That ship has sailed. This thread is depressing.Metaphysician Undercover

    No. Trust cannot be earned. You may have turned down 40 pieces of silver to betray me, but what about 60? One has never quite earned it. But to enforce a standard is not to create trust at all, it is to declare whatought to be trustworthy. It's like having a law against shop-lifting; it doesn't make every customer trustworthy, but sets out what being a trustworthy customer consists of.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Similarly, t.here is a rule that you cannot print your own money. And that establishes legal tender as something that ought to be trustworthy, and obligates governments to act to maintain it so. That there may be forgers as that there may be shoplifters and dishonest politicians is not in question, we need it to be the case that there ought not be.
  • frank
    3.1k
    An argument against it would be Social Darwinism; easy to defeat, yet it still has a robust following.

    In the US, it could be accomplished by the judiciary because there's a federal statute about defrauding the US. A prosecutor would have to show that the lie was intentional.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    In the US, it could be accomplished by the judiciary because there's a federal statute about defrauding the US. A prosecutor would have to show that the lie was intentional.frank

    Well in a way, if we can persuade ourselves that this is important to our lives, that we can trust politicians and officials the way we have to (even if we cannot absolutely) trust drivers to stop at red lights, then most of the work is done. I don't think everyone is convinced yet though. There is a contingent of 'freedom of speech is freedom to lie and cheat and undermine the fabric of society.' Once we've crossed that bridge, I think I can trust the lawyers to get a robust and balanced system in place, especially if we hold them accountable if they don't.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    The astute reader will have noticed that this is by way of a critique of Machiavelli. The king, the corporate director, the hedge fund manager, the political leader, have moral obligations just like the janitor and the forum poster.

    One of the things that happened in the UK that constituted the degeneration of politics in large part was the Bairite move from conviction politics to focus group politics. Rather than try to convince the electorate to support what they believed to be the right policies, the Blair New Labour method was to find out from focus groups what was popular, and make that the policy. From amorality comes immorality.
  • frank
    3.1k
    There is a contingent of 'freedom of speech is freedom to lie and cheat and undermine the fabric of society.'unenlightened

    How would you prove that lying politicians undermine the fabric of society? If society is a manifestation of our biology, its fabric would have to be pretty sturdy. Or is it a certain kind of society that you're really favoring?

    The American Civil War, which opened the door to great moral good, was triggered by the lies of a few politicians. Apparently this kind of lying ran to extremes and absurdity in those days. Society survived it and ultimately benefited from it.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Or is it a certain kind of society that you're really favoring?frank

    No ,it is possible to be unsocial, like pandas are, but if there are social relations, they depend on trust, in the same way that language depends on truth - if no one tells the truth, language becomes useless and nobody would bother with it. That's it - social, or solitary - there isn't another option.
  • frank
    3.1k
    If everyone constantly lied, social integrity might be in danger. I can't offer anything empirical about that because I don't know of a case of it.

    But even if true, it wouldn't follow that the lies of politicians undermine social stability or integrity.

    So your argument is a rationalist one that doesn't ultimately convict anyone of damaging society. It only warns against mass inter-citizen fraud.

    I think all we have is that fraud is a crime that we prefer to have less of.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    No. Trust cannot be earned. You may have turned down 40 pieces of silver to betray me, but what about 60?unenlightened

    I don't understand this attitude. Are you saying that if I was close to you for years, a good friend for many years, and I never did anything to incline you to distrust me, I would never earn your trust? Are you paranoid or what?

    But to enforce a standard is not to create trust at all, it is to declare whatought to be trustworthy. It's like having a law against shop-lifting; it doesn't make every customer trustworthy, but sets out what being a trustworthy customer consists of.unenlightened

    OK, I see that such a standard is set to demonstrate what being trustworthy consists of. We might model ourselves to the standard to become trustworthy people, or judge people in reference to the standard in order to determine whether or not they are trustworthy. Where is the need for enforcement? It appears to me like enforcement would have a negative affect. It would force the untrustworthy to behave according to the standard against their will, making them appear to be trustworthy, so that we might judge them as trustworthy, when they really are not. Then they would take advantage of us in other ways where the enforcement didn't reach. Dishonest people may obey the laws, but find the loopholes.

    Similarly, t.here is a rule that you cannot print your own money. And that establishes legal tender as something that ought to be trustworthy, and obligates governments to act to maintain it so. That there may be forgers as that there may be shoplifters and dishonest politicians is not in question, we need it to be the case that there ought not be.unenlightened

    It is not the rule which establishes what ought to be, we determine what we believe ought to be, and then we make the rule to represent this. So it was determined that legal tender ought to be trustworthy and then the rule, that you cannot print your own, was produced to support this. The rule follows what we believe ought to be, not vise versa.

    Either it is the case, or it is not the case that there ought not be forgers, shoplifters, or dishonest politicians, but making laws to represent one's opinion concerning this, will not change the truth concerning it. Neither will enforcing the laws change whether there ought or ought not be forgers shoplifters, or dishonest politicians.

    What I think you are talking about is changing people's opinions about what ought to be. You want people to believe that politicians ought to be trustworthy for example. To do this, I think you need to get people to look at facts, not to make laws for enforcement.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    What would make the op pop is a convincing historical reconstruction of a time when people *did* trust politicians.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k

    Then we could work to make politicians great again.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    What would make the op pop is a convincing historical reconstruction of a time when people *did* trust politicians.csalisbury

    Well I simply recount anecdotally that the zeitgeist round here has changed in that direction. But there have always been and still are politicians that I or others trust, even when we disagree. one can be honest or not on left and right equally, so I don't really see the necessity...?

    I would never earn your trust? Are you paranoid or what?Metaphysician Undercover

    No. I'm saying that trust cannot be earned. I trust you already. It's not something you are entitled to because you are righteous.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    No. I'm saying that trust cannot be earned. I trust you already. It's not something you are entitled to because you are righteous.unenlightened

    I assume then, that "trust" is an attitude which you have toward me, and others as well. Would you say that you are born to be trusting, so it is instinctual that you tend to trust people, and you might learn at a young age that if a person failed your trust, you might revoke it? If so, do you think it is possible that someone else, someone like me might have been born with the instinct to be untrusting, and with that attitude I would learn at a young age that people would have to pass my tests of trustworthiness before I would trust them?

    What if it's not an instinct at all, but something we learn at a very young age? Do you think it is possible that the experiences we gain at an extremely young age would shape our attitudes of trust? Suppose we're born with a sort of blank slate in respect to trust, and our young experiences form an attitude which makes us either naturally trust people, or naturally mistrust people. But these would be the extremes, the attitude to trust everyone, like yours, and the attitude to distrust everyone, like mine. In reality, I think most of us would actually fall in between somewhere.

    So when we meet someone, on first impression one might either trust or not trust that person, due to the combination of some features of the person having been noticed, and the early age conditioning. In this case, we would not tend to naturally trust everyone, nor naturally distrust everyone, there would be features about the person which would trigger a natural trust or distrust toward the person, depending on the early age experiences.

    It's not something you are entitled to because you are righteous.unenlightened

    I'm really having difficulty understanding this attitude. Are you saying that all people are entitled to your trust whether or not they are righteous? Are you saying that you place no conditions on your trust? I can see how trust itself might be construed as being unconditional, like love is sometimes supposed to be, but I cannot see how you could just naturally give anyone you meet unconditional trust. So you could give some people unconditional trust, like you could give some people unconditional love, if this is what trust is meant to be, without conditions, but how could you give this to anyone, or everyone you meet?
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Are you saying that all people are entitled to your trust whether or not they are righteous?Metaphysician Undercover

    No, the opposite; no one is entitled to anyone's trust.

    Are you saying that you place no conditions on your trust?Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, in so far as one trusts, which may be as far as one can throw or some other extent, there can be no conditions. If I set a condition: - 'I'll trust you to respond thoughtfully, but if you don't, I'll kill you', then I don't trust you to respond thoughtfully, do I?
  • frank
    3.1k
    If i set a condition: - 'I'll trust you to respond thoughtfully, but if you don't, I'll kill you', then I don't trust you to respond thoughtfully, dounenlightened

    So a law against lying would institutionalize mistrust? Does an oath of office also do that?
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    So a law against lying would institutionalize mistrust? Does an oath of office also do that?frank

    I don't understand. Do you think institutions are the kind of thing that is capable of trusting or distrusting? I say it is the reverse, that people trust institutions or not, and they trust them the way they trust bridges - if they are well made they are trustworthy, and otherwise probably not. So a well made institution institutes relations of trustworthiness by having strong measures for weeding out incompetents and malevolants. I trust the surgeon because not anyone can just set up as a surgeon - the institution regulates to promote trust.

    I am saying we need to trust each other, so we need robust institutions that facilitate our trust. Is that something strange?
  • frank
    3.1k
    I am saying we need to trust each other, so we need robust institutions that facilitate our trust. Is that something strange?unenlightened
    It's not strange. :up:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    No, the opposite; no one is entitled to anyone's trust.unenlightened

    I still don't understand. You are willing to trust anyone, yet no one is entitled to that trust. On what basis do you give your trust? If trust is some thing that you just randomly give to anyone at anytime, for no apparent reason, how is it of any value?

    Yes, in so far as one trusts, which may be as far as one can throw or some other extent, there can be no conditions. If I set a condition: - 'I'll trust you to respond thoughtfully, but if you don't, I'll kill you', then I don't trust you to respond thoughtfully, do I?unenlightened

    Isn't this exactly what enforcement says? It says that I do not trust that others will be trustworthy, so I want to enact measure to ensure that they will be. Isn't the desire for enforcement, and institutions to create trust just a manifestation of distrust?
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    I still don't understand. You are willing to trust anyone, yet no one is entitled to that trust. On what basis do you give your trust? If trust is some thing that you just randomly give to anyone at anytime, for no apparent reason, how is it of any value?Metaphysician Undercover

    Well I don't know how it is for you, but if I am a bit lost, I will ask a total stranger the way to the station, or whatever and totally trust that they will send me the right way if they can. But on the other hand, if I don't like the cut of his jib, I will not trust him and not ask. Totally my privilege, and nothing earned or unearned.

    Isn't this exactly what enforcement says? It says that I do not trust that others will be trustworthy, so I want to enact measure to ensure that they will be.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, exactly what enforcement says. Except that enforcement does not speak, and enforcement does trust or mistrust. Institutions enforce -- so that -- we can trust. The way to the station is one thing, but I do not ask a random stranger to operate on my hernia, or govern the country. the weirdness of your difficulty is becoming unsettling...
  • Number2018
    273
    The alienation of people from their government representatives mirrors the alienation of the political class from international vectors of power. One way to address this issue is to replace non-compliance with structurally conditioned indifference; the 'non-linear' part of Russian propagandist Surkov's non-linear warfare:

    In his enforcement of Putin’s will — or his own interpretation of it — Surkov carefully constructed and presided over a system in which Russians could play-act an intricate imitation of democracy. Every persuasion on the political spectrum was given a Kremlin-backed voice within the system as Surkov ensured that the Kremlin organized and funded a wide range of political groups and movements, from liberal to Communist to conservative, sowing confusion and cynicism in the public while at the same time co-opting any genuine opposition. The messengers differed, but the message was the same — the Kremlin was always in control. Under Surkov’s simulation of politics, dissent wasn’t crushed: it was managed.

    The key part of this management strategy is the creation of supported avenues for dissent which stymie the formation of effective popular movements. These are gatekeepers for political action, moving the goalposts or hiding them.

    It has the perhaps intentional side effect of alienating honest citizens from politics by denying the efficacy or applicability of their votes and petitions.

    The media management of outrage interacts with our modern day equation of politics=political discourse to play a role here, the contours of acceptable opinion are rarely perturbed, and the well known alliance between powerful corporations and media outlets (cough Murdoch and Koch cough) project the voice of the ruling class from the institutions which help shape the terms of debate in which popular opinion is formed. Politics on social media is typically sound and fury organising nothing except the convenience of our ruling class.

    An emerging role for 'influencers' is taking place, acting as pseudo-servants of the ruling classes by embodying acceptable opinions which are near the contours of acceptable opinion. The communities which support influencers also necessarily become associated with a consumer identity through the algorithms which shape the medium they are in: these algorithms also watch their every move, and our governments have almost unrestricted access. Here we can see the role of ideological echo-chambers, discretising identity into a panopticon of conflicting units that in reality have far more shared political interest than their antipodal role in discourse suggests.

    This promotes a second level of apathy and indifference, there are people who can 'see through' this shit, which includes many liberal commentators, but this is still within the narrows of acceptable opinion; it is fashionable to bemoan the degradation of discourse, and this too is organised over influencer communities.
    fdrake

    Thank you for the interesting analysis of some totalitarian aspects of our societies. I just want to add a few points. I think that it will be beneficial to reconsider the concept of alienation that you applied. To better explain it, I like to bring one of the Zizek' assertions in the debate with Peterson. He said (based on his own personal experience - he was born and grew up in totalitarian Eastern Europe) that people could be happy while living in a totalitarian society. Further, to strengthen his argument, Zizek a few times pointed out at China. And, his great concern was that a kind of totalitarianism can become our own future. So, Zizek assumes the essential compatibility of "happiness" with various totalitarian regimes: being self-identified with an external transcendental unity, people experience not alienation, but happiness. The concept of alienation (as opposing to totality) implies a set of classical liberal political premises of the existence of the rational subject, the agent of rights, choices, and interests. However, there is no rational subject outside of the media megamachine, the role of which is not just that "of ideological echo-chambers, discretizing
    identity into a panopticon of conflicting units." And, it is much more politically effective, than just "Politics on social media is typically sound and fury organizing nothing except the convenience of our ruling class." Each mass media platform produces, organizes, and reproduces not just the frame of essential public opinions and discourses, but also the chain of social and cultural codes, inseparable from corresponding values, positions, perspectives, views, etc.
    Even when mass media looks like reporting the essential local news, first of all, they reproduce their own self-referential communicative machinic reality. "Real" facts and narratives in themselves have nothing substantial (= "identical") about them, but merely have to be identified in the context of being reviewed, selected, and retained for purposes of reference, of recursive use, and only for that purpose. Consequently, the media localizes and structures socio-psychological patterns, created by its mass action that just later may appear as "real" socially independent autonomic groups. It is most likely that Surkov's simulation of politics in Russia could be possible only through an intensive utilization of mass media processes and developments. Yet, in our societies, without an apparent external organizer, are they able to generate autonomously their totalitarian effects? I do not deny the well
    known effects of alienation from politics, I just think that there are much more ways of political engagement than it is usually considered.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    the weirdness of your difficulty is becoming unsettling...unenlightened

    Are you starting to see why you shouldn't have been so quick to trust me? And I've been subjected to many institutions of enforcement.

    The way to the station is one thing, but I do not ask a random stranger to operate on my hernia, or govern the country. the weirdness of your difficulty is becoming unsettling...unenlightened

    I just don't see how years of training at medical school makes a person trustworthy. I really don't think you are even talking about trust here. You are judging whether a particular person is fit for a specific job (has the adequate training), not whether the person is trustworthy. The problem is that the person you judge to be fit for the job might still be untrustworthy. Judging whether a person has been subjected to the appropriate institutions of enforcement required to learn how to carry out a specific job is not the same judgement as judging whether the person is trustworthy, because those institutions are incapable of enforcing trustworthiness. The dishonest are capable of hiding their dishonesty, and that's how they deceive us.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Are you starting to see why you shouldn't have been so quick to trust me?Metaphysician Undercover

    No, not at all.

    I really don't think you are even talking about trust here. You are judging whether a particular person is fit for a specific job (has the adequate training), not whether the person is trustworthy.Metaphysician Undercover

    Well I am talking about something, that I am calling trust. Here's the thing; I know that I am not competent, and do not anyway have the time or access to make a judgement of the competence of my surgeon. So I have to trust (or not) that the institutions of the hospital and the medical authorities are competent and that they exercise their judgement on my behalf and in my best interests.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    The dishonest are capable of hiding their dishonesty, and that's how they deceive us.Metaphysician Undercover

    Sure, and we only know that we have been deceived when we are undeceived. Nevertheless, we must trust each other or live alone. And we understand that the third party is often the most trustworthy, so if you need a builder, ask the neighbours for a recommendation.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    It seems weird and very naive to me that there would have ever been many people, especially educated people, who didn't see politicians/heads of state/etc. as more or less being "professional liars." That's kind of the whole game. It's why "being political," as a more general term, refers to knowing how to position/spin things--basically, how to bullshit a bit, how to gloss over some things, etc.--in order to manipulate actions and opinions to a desired end.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    It seems weird and very naive to me that there would have ever been many people, especially educated people, who didn't see politicians/heads of state/etc. as more or less being "professional liars."Terrapin Station

    It seems weird to me that any educated person could imagine that a society built on lies could long survive.

    Wikipedia Shows How to Handle Political Polarization.

    This is rather interesting. Wikipedia is, I would say, a radically socialist, (as in communal, non-profit) institution that values truth. And it has developed a bureaucracy and system of self-governance that seems to work to harness conflict and polarisation, and a topic neutral ethos that supports good behaviour and discourages and reduces the influence of vitriol and bullying. I'm going to look a bit further at this, and I think @Banno has some experience that might be useful.

    I just have this vague idea that there is something potentially useful to be learned for the way we conduct politics and even possibly for the way we organise this very site.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    It seems weird to me that any educated person could imagine that a society built on lies could long survive.unenlightened

    Societies aren't built on (the work of) politicians.

    A lot of politicians seem to do little that has practical impact, actually. That's one of the problems with politics as it's practiced now.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    The real tragedy is that lies have become the new "bullshitting".Wallows

    No, the real tragedy is that truth is now created by repetition. Gone are the days when truth was based on verifiable facts. Now you just stick to your beliefs no matter what, and repeat them until they become true. Bush and Blair brought this attitude to the fore, but it had been coming for a long time. Lies have become expected. That's a tragedy too.
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