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Thread: Identity Politics, Tribalism, and the end of rational discussion.....

  1. #1
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    Identity Politics, Tribalism, and the end of rational discussion.....

    It has been increasingly clear lately that becoming a part of a movement doesn't help anybody think clearly. Obviously this phenomenon can be seen on this forum, particularly in the US election thread and the Islam thread, however that is just a manifestation of what is happening in the world at large as we witness the poles being driven further and further apart. I think the primary root cause of this is that people are increasingly joining teams rather than honestly thinking about or discussing individual issues.

    It is pretty strange that whether you are talking about guns, or immigration, or abortion, or climate change, or racial strife, or foreign intervention, knowing someones position on any one of these issues generally allows you to reliability predict their position on any other. This is a sign that people are joining tribes and movements, its not the sign of clear thinking.

    Its getting to the point where it is not really possible to have discussions on some issues. It is becoming an almost stunning event when you find someone who depending on the issue may have a right wing position and at the same time holds a left wing position on another issue. Its also telling that on both sides, the tribe, actually reserves more vitriol for a "fellow team member" breaking with consensus than they do for the opposing team. It is becoming worse to be an ideological apostate on both the left and the right than it would be to completely join one side or the other. People can understand joining the religion of the left, or the religion of the right, but not joining either is treason against both.

    No doubt both sides will be quick to blame this phenomenon on the other side, but the fact that this type of group think identity politics has become the standard tactical plan for political warfare on both sides, in my view, is the end of rational discussion in politics.
    Last edited by kuhio; 19th September 2016 at 05:43.
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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Good post... so now we know what we are all guilty of... how do we stop ourselves doing it... even when aware? ..55

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    I'm pro gun and pro legalized drugs, but these rights shouldn't be excercised at the same time 55
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    Get out there in the game, don't sit up in the bleachers. That is the philosophy of pimps and preachers.

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    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    I have a problem with this premise.

    I mean, most everyone agrees that people with deep rooted psychological problems should not be allowed to own guns, right?
    Last edited by Pablo; 19th September 2016 at 11:37.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tnlawyer View Post
    I'm pro gun and pro legalized drugs, but these rights shouldn't be excercised at the same time 55
    Hunter Thompson.. Your argument is invalid !!
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    K2, andymon and WTF like this.

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    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    "Men go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one..." - Gordon Sumner
    Last edited by Easycpl; 19th September 2016 at 22:19.
    "They got the metric system over there… they wouldn't know what the fcuk a quarter-pounder is…"

  9. #9
    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuhio View Post
    It is pretty strange that whether you are talking about guns, or immigration, or abortion, or climate change, or racial strife, or foreign intervention, knowing someones position on any one of these issues generally allows you to reliability predict their position on any other. This is a sign that people are joining tribes and movements, its not the sign of clear thinking.

    No doubt both sides will be quick to blame this phenomenon on the other side, but the fact that this type of group think identity politics has become the standard tactical plan for political warfare on both sides, in my view, is the end of rational discussion in politics.
    Ok, I'll take a slightly different view then 555. Take all the issues you listed above, and my position will be more towards the liberal side. Absolutely no question about that. But yes, I can still have a rational discussion with anyone about them. E.g. I come from a community with an even higher gun density than the US... and I'm definitely not anti-gun. We could go down the list, but every issue has its own unique set of depths and complexities. Does that mean I'm somehow not thinking clearly for essentially holding liberal views on all of them?

    So is tribalism getting worse? I would argue that the natural state of human beings has always been tribalism in one way or another. I've had that exact (philosophical) discussion plenty of times over the decades, and broadly concluded that tribalism is in fact a necessity for survival. People have always joined tribes and movements. You should not confuse that with groupthink though. If some group depresses or ignores facts which leads to an irrational or harmful result... then that is obviously bad. Which leads us nicely into blaming the other side...

    I fundamentally reject the notion of both-siderism 555. Meaning, whenever we face a problem of sorts, the rational solution would always be to take the extreme sides and then meet somewhere in the middle. Surmising that both sides are probably equally bad. Like for instance groups like No Labels fronted by Mark McKinnon. Not only do I reject that... but would argue that this idea has in fact made matters worse. As Norm Ornstein of the conservative AEI pointed out, the rise of Trump and anti-intellectualism is a self-inflicted wound by the Republican leadership. It's not really tribalism we need to be concerned with, but rather strong anti-rational populism.

    Is my response very helpful to the overall political discussion? Perhaps not. But I would never compromise my own values and beliefs, and would unabashedly claim that today the far-right represents a hugely more dangerous problem than does any fractions on the left. I don't even have a problem with people having the exact opposite opinion of me. And yes, I can claim that and still be able to have rational discussions with ideological and political opponents... as long as we agree on the same set of universal facts. People should feel passionate about the values they hold dear. And not some bland, compromised version of a middle third way of sorts split evenly down the middle. It's not a math equation.
    Last edited by sundancekid; 19th September 2016 at 22:42.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Bacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuhio View Post
    It has been increasingly clear lately that becoming a part of a movement doesn't help anybody think clearly. Obviously this phenomenon can be seen on this forum, particularly in the US election thread and the Islam thread, however that is just a manifestation of what is happening in the world at large as we witness the poles being driven further and further apart. I think the primary root cause of this is that people are increasingly joining teams rather than honestly thinking about or discussing individual issues.

    It is pretty strange that whether you are talking about guns, or immigration, or abortion, or climate change, or racial strife, or foreign intervention, knowing someones position on any one of these issues generally allows you to reliability predict their position on any other. This is a sign that people are joining tribes and movements, its not the sign of clear thinking.

    Its getting to the point where it is not really possible to have discussions on some issues. It is becoming an almost stunning event when you find someone who depending on the issue may have a right wing position and at the same time holds a left wing position on another issue. Its also telling that on both sides, the tribe, actually reserves more vitriol for a "fellow team member" breaking with consensus than they do for the opposing team. It is becoming worse to be an ideological apostate on both the left and the right than it would be to completely join one side or the other. People can understand joining the religion of the left, or the religion of the right, but not joining either is treason against both.

    No doubt both sides will be quick to blame this phenomenon on the other side, but the fact that this type of group think identity politics has become the standard tactical plan for political warfare on both sides, in my view, is the end of rational discussion in politics.
    That's only been going on for the last 200,000 years or so. Didn't really start to warm up till about 10,000 years ago though. Our estimates about the age of civilisation could be a little off, especially if you watch those nut jobs on the History channels talking about ancient aliens. But otherwise you're dealing with a species of barely civilised ape that spent by far the majority of it's recent step in evolution living in tribes. The Internet has taken that to a whole new level of fun, but other than that nothing new here. Any illusions of progress or civility so far have been just that. Maybe in another 200,000 years. I hope the planet hits the reset button again before that though.
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    The Campus Left and the Alt-Right Are Natural Allies - The American Interest


    The PC left and the alt-right exist symbiotically with one another: Working together to exacerbate tribal loyalties, to undermine the legitimacy of the state as a political unit, to question the idea that Western institutions can really treat groups of people with equal respect—in other words, to draw out and hijack the inherent weaknesses and contradictions in the Enlightenment liberal tradition. It’s unlikely that either movement has the cultural power or breadth of appeal to succeed on its own. But taken together, they make a fearsome foe.

  12. #12
    WTF
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    Problem is even when you think you are an individual the sound of your peers is only just audible above the nay Sayers.
    A true individual is a very rear thing indeed!
    Anyway that's sorta outlawed in merica anyway!

  13. #13
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    Using science in an argument just makes people more partisan, data shows ? Quartz

    If only we would all just use our rational, scientific minds. Then we could get past our disagreements.It’s a nice thought. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.

    Yale behavioral economist Dan Kahan has spent the last decade studying whether the use of reason aggravates or reduces partisan beliefs. His research shows that aggravation easily wins. The more we use our faculties for scientific thought, the more likely we are to take a strong position that aligns with our political group. That goes for liberals as well as conservatives.

    Rather than use our best thinking to reach the truth, we use it to find ways to agree with others in our communities.

    “The process is called biased assimilation,” says Kahan. “People will selectively credit and discredit information in patterns that reflect their commitment to certain values.”
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  14. #14
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    Absolutely agree.
    Science also often doesn't take common sense, human nature, feasibility or fiscal ability into projected outcomes.

    I'm not in any way anti science btw. Its just that on occasions one small data input or change can make a significant difference to the outcome...something like the butterfly effect I guess for a bad example.
    Last edited by Homer; 29th December 2016 at 07:01.

  15. #15
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    People have been using science to support their ideas since the enlightenment.
    Just because there is no scientific proof of (duplication) doesn't mean an idea is invalid.
    Jump to the 21st century. An explosion of ideas (patent pending) being synthesised ahead of time.
    Most political machines are well behind the eightball and struggling to find new ways to connect with people.
    My take on the OP. Reverse hypothesis if you like.

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