Civility For Thee

Citizen Tom has a good post up called “Why Such Hatred For Donald Trump?”, that discusses the irrationality behind the Left’s visceral reaction to everything he does. CT essentially makes the argument that Trump is a master at pushing the emotional trigger buttons of his detractors, whose idolatry of things other than God (ego, intellect, being right etc…) trips them up.  I happen to agree with this.

As usual with a post from Citizen Tom it sparked some interesting conversation in the comments section.  Scatterwisdom kicked things off by bringing up the psychological angle of what motivates people to behave in such a way.  This shifted the conversation down some interesting avenues and all involved offered some insightful perspectives.

Scatterwisdom  also referenced one of my favorite cultural philosophers, Jonathan Haidt, who had this to say:

One thing that you find in most of the great wisdom traditions is the idea that reality as we see it is an illusion. It’s a veil, it blinds us, and enlightenment is taking down the veil, seeing things as they are, transcending dualities. And that, I think, is really crucial for thinking about civility, because that’s what happened to me in writing this book and in doing this research, is, I was a self-righteous, conservative-hating, religion-hating, secular liberal. And in doing this research over many years, and in forcing myself to watch FOX News as an anthropologist who just — “I’ve got to understand this stuff” — over time I realized, “Well, they’re not crazy. These ideas make sense. They see things I didn’t see.”

The feeling of losing my anger was thrilling. It was really freeing. When you get people to actually understand each other, and they let down their guard, and they learn something new, and they see humanity in someone that they disliked or hated or demonized before, that’s really thrilling. And that, I think, is one of the most important emotional tools we have to foster civility. Because once you get it started, it’s kind of addictive.”

Isn’t that great stuff?  Basically, for civility in politics to exist, there has to be an acknowledgment that the other side has validity.  It doesn’t you mean you have to agree with them, but there must be enough self awareness and humility to realize that not only do you not know everything, there are probably many things you are just plain wrong about.  This pertains to ALL of us.

Haidt expounds on all of this in the transcript scatterwisdom links to, The Psychology of Self-Righteousness.  Please do yourself a favor and take some time to read it after you finish digesting Tom’s post and the comments that follow. All are well worth it.

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41 Responses to Civility For Thee

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    Thanks for the link and for posting Scatterwisdom’s comment. Much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “CT essentially makes the argument that Trump is a master at pushing the emotional trigger buttons of his detractors, whose idolatry of things other than God (ego, intellect, being right etc…) trips them up. I happen to agree with this.”

    Soooooo… let me get this straight… people who do not support Trump do not uphold God??
    Sorry.. I don’t even see Trump upholding God (likely because there’s no room for Trump to include more than himself). Is this the basis for all far right conservative thought… that God is obviously conservative? Is this the “God is on our side” defense now? Golly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      No. Go read Tom’s post again.

      Like

    • Tricia says:

      I should have been more clear by what I meant as Trump’s detractors for those that haven’t read Tom’s post. I mean, and I believe Tom does too, the far left ideologues that become unhinged every time the man sneezes.

      I don’t see you being that way. For the record I disagree with a fair amount of thing Trump does too.

      Like

      • I appreciate Tom.. and we’ve managed to “dance” together between our blogs and elsewhere.. and no question we can frustrate each other… but it seems to be a friendly tolerance so far. I can’t discuss religion, and he prefers to mix religion and politics… so I leave that part alone as best as I can. I read all his posts… and some I have actually agreed with. In this case there is some truth to the idea that each time Trump sneezes it’s a news break. Case in point is when he goes golfing. By now that seems more presidential routine than anything else… and there’s far more important national and international things to dwell on about Trump than his golf habits. Yet… it seems always to be in the news. But.. one has to assign perspective. Why is his golfing news? Because Trump himself made it such an issue about Obama… and Trump has exceeded Obama’s fairway time “bigly”. In the end it’s all about Trump’s “un-presidential-ness” that gets folks ticked off. Trump got elected because of all the lies… and members of the press (mostly guest talking heads actually) are making it an issue. But here again.. it’s not that the press says one thing or another.. it’s all about having the critical thinking ability to filter for yourself what’s important.. what’s fact… and what’s the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Like I said, there are plenty of things about Trump that bug me too, but I also agree with a fair amount of things he’s done since taking office, despite his unpleasant personality. The media and Democrats can’t stand this because it validates him as a person and takes away the “unpresidential” weapon they’ve pinned on him. Trump makes the news because Trump makes the media money.

          Like

          • Exactly… and we need to always remember that part of media coverage. Media is also big business. There is a measure of checks & balances in that if any one of them historically fashion truth or manipulate facts that they will indeed loose viewers and hence revenue. The latitude comes into play in how the news is presented and how often. But also remember.. the media caters to the viewers because that is where the money is. So, being creative with an owner’s agenda doesn’t necessarily make the owner more money if viewers aren’t sold on watching it… or believing what they are hearing/seeing.
            Again.. it’s up to us viewing the news to filter to our own level of common sense and rule of reasonableness. The other factor is that we are in an age where my facts against your guy are actually the facts that make you support your guy. Maybe the facts are indeed correct for both sides.
            For your reading consideration…
            http://www.findingpoliticalsanity.com/american-eggshells/

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            Just the fax ma’am! Sorry couldn’t resist, it’s my favorite movie quote, one of the few I can actually remember. Thanks for the link!

            Like

  3. David says:

    I have completely figure out why the Democrats are completely irrational and have such a visceral response. It is completely logical really. If you will notice you will never ever to able to reason with a Democrat because they do not have reasoning or critical thinking skills. None whatsoever! Thus you can win an argument with a Democrat (which they will rarely engage) but they will not be able to comprehend their defeat. A Republican does possess logic, but it is reversed logic. Thus a story will first be believed and then it is harder to not believe a story after the mind has put it into storage as the truth. A Democrat is actually programmed so they will be so gullible that they will believe the main street media implicitly. Democrat’s views will be all the same as they are all completely programmed. Since they do not have reasoning skills, they will never question anything and that is what the true rulers of the world want, a good useful soldier. The visceral response of a Democrat is just that, it really is a programmed response. Do you remember the lefties screaming into the sky? Do you see the extreme hate coming from the lefty protestors? This is just how they are programmed, no critical thinking involved.
    The Elites want a dumbed down population and American’s are just that. Sorry, I am a former Republican and I realize that Republican’s are not very smart, but unfortunately Democrat’s are not even conscious. If you believe there really is a difference between the two parties, you are living in the Matrix. You must question everything as that is the mark of true intelligence. If you just accept what you have been told I assure you that you have lies stored into your head as truth, guaranteed. Our brain can be programmed and has been just like a computer.
    “Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” Plato.
    If any of you think your mind cannot be programmed, you are their favorite person because they want you to believe it is your own free will. As none are so enslaved as those who unknowingly believe they are free!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      I get what you’re saying, I think, but personally I believe we are all subject to being “programmed”, Left, Right or none of the above. You see it more on the left because most the culture (arts, movies, tv, etc…) we live and breath in is politically very left wing, so you can’t help but be exposed and indoctrinated in a way to those ideas. Reading, understanding and eventually grasping conservative philosophy first takes an acknowledgement that one even exists and then actively seeking out materials outside of the mainstream to educate yourself.

      I like what Haidt says in the referenced statement about not really caring about being right, only wanting to understand and how freeing that can be. Tough to do though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • David says:

        I think you understand as we are all subject to being programmed. However, if a person does not have reasoning skills to determine fact from fiction, they are programmed very easily as there is no resistance. There is nothing rational about any of the actions that a Democrat does. My lifelong question has always been “why are democrats so stupid?”. This should not be a shock to anyone that knows me and it is a discussion I had with my father who is still my hero many times. I certainly do not mean it to be insulting, it is just a simple fact. If a person does not have critical thinking skills which I can guarantee lefties do not have, that means you are retarded. This may seem harsh, but it is the truth. It is not a matter of a difference of opinion, it is a difference of intelligence and morality. Democrat’s have none of either.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Tricia says:

          Well you know I disagree with your premise entirely, It’s ridiculous to paint all Democrats as retarded. that’s the type of thinking that really leads a country down dangerous paths if enough people get sucked in to that type of belief.

          Liked by 2 people

          • David says:

            The Truth can be bothersome, but if you can come up with some hypothesis why Democrat’s are so irrational, then tell it too me. Mine is based entirely on logic and it is not politically correct, and obviously neither am I!

            Like

        • So, what you are saying, David, is that you are such a critical thinker that you find it easy to segregate a group of fellow human beings who don’t subscribe to your “critical thinking” attributes into some category reflecting some station far below that of your alleged position? I thought the “bad” guys were the elitists in D.C. We apparently have some well-groomed republican elitists in our midst as well.

          Liked by 2 people

          • David says:

            No, what I am saying is that I can actually critically think. A Democrat is not actually capable of understanding what I am saying because they do not actually have reasoning skills. If a person does not have reasoning skills, they are retarded. It is just simple logic, nothing more. So it is not a matter of your so called elitist (BTW I am a former Republican, but now most certainly an independent thinker), it is a simple matter of being able to rationalize a situation, of which a Democrat has no ability to decipher fact from fiction making them no different than AI (artificial intelligence). This is what the “elitists” have done to dumb down the population. (See Brave New World). These people are the “deep state” or what you may think to be the “elitists.” I do not live in Plato’s Cave like you do as I have taken the Red Pill. If you do not understand what the Matrix is, you actually live there. I live in reality and you live in an illusion. You just don’t realize it.

            Like

          • The Matrix?? If that’s your gamer world, my friend, then I suggest you consider pulling a plug and re-join life before you get too far gone from humanity.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Civility for thee, but not for me.

          Caustic, smug arrogance is not persuasive. It’s why, no matter how much I may agree with Ann Coulter’s world view, I can’t stand listening to her verbal tactics in interactive settings. Her style doesn’t stand a chance of persuading an unsure political neophyte that conservatism is best for a free society in the long run.

          One of the things conservatism is is a philosophy of deferred gratification — that the “easy” short-term fixes are rarely best, fiscally and morally, for a whole society in the long run. That’s a very difficult philosophy to sell to 18-34 year-olds raised on instant-feedback technology in phones and gaming consoles. Effective persuasion skills are important to win over malleable minds. Blunt-force trauma rhetoric isn’t effective.

          All you’re doing, David, is making people glad they don’t have to deal with you personally in real life. And it seems pretty galling that you’re doing it so braggadociously, under an article that Tricia intended to discourage ostracizing and belittling ones’ political enemies. In the blogging world, that’s called trolling, and it’s distasteful.

          Liked by 1 person

          • David says:

            Let me get this straight. I put out a simple fact that Democrat’s do not have critical thinking skills which is extremely obvious on how irrational they all are. If you have any critical thought process it is pretty easy to see. It is the truth and nothing more. Did any of you ask me questions on the process and analysis I have done to come to this verified conclusion. No. Did I attack any of you personally. No. Did each of you attack me? Yes. Is there no civility for thee? Exactly how much different are the irrational attacks on Trump any different than what you just did to me?
            I really do not care if you disagree with me as I will speak the truth but I will never attack any of you personally. It is civil to debate ideas and intelligent to ask questions.
            Just another example of the inverted Orwellian/Brave New World we live in. I found the personal attacks quite distasteful and the epitome of trolling. Trolls seldom recognize themselves!

            Like

          • Tricia says:

            David-You are the epitome of a troll both here and on Facebook. You have an agenda and you will use any outlet to broadcast it without any care for the person whose page you happen to be hijacking.

            As far as you’re “ALL Democrats are blah, blah blah…..” statements. This can only be only be quantified if you have spoken with every single one of them on the planet which we both know you haven’t. I know of plenty that are reasonable, have critical thinking skills and are wonderful to have discussions with because it sharpens both of us and broadens minds.

            People speak out against you not because you’re broaching on some eternal, hidden truths, but because you say ridiculous things. I’m sorry to be harsh, but I’ve been treating you with kid gloves up until now because you’re a friend but your statements are getting more and more delusional and honestly, a bit dangerous. It’s sad really for me to watch because I do care for you but I know nothing I say or do will matter.

            Like

  4. Thank you, for your link, and I concur with your remarks about both Citizen Tom and Johnathon Haidt..

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Al says:

    I think the main difficulty the left is having here is one of total culture shock. Consider this, for eight years they adored and revered a man who once went to Germany and said “we are the ONES you’ve been waiting for.” What he really meant was “I am the ONE you’ve been waiting for.” The left got drunk on this narcissism.

    His policy was one of leading from behind (I recommend you read this article from the Washington Post regrading this oxymoron .https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-obama-doctrine-leading-from-behind/2011/04/28/AFBCy18E_story.html?ut). So this was Obama’s legacy: endorsing entitlement, appeasement, and suspicion of those sworn to protect us, both civil and military.

    Now comes a man who is the antithesis of all those traits, one Donald Trump. Talk about having a rug pulled out from under you. You’ve been coasting along for years being told that personal responsibility is overrated and your country is not the first-rate place you’ve been led to believe. Now you are being shown that yes, we are the greatest country on earth, take pride in it and responsibility for it!

    I think I would be acting like them too, if I wasn’t fortunate enough to have already known this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      That’s a great point Al about Trump being a complete antithesis to Obama and that being what ticks the Left off so much. I think there is a lot to be said for that.

      Sometimes I wonder though if someone like say Rick Perry or Mitt Romney was president and enacting the same type of down the line policies Trump is. Would the hatred be so visceral? It might very well be as we saw with GWB, Reagan and even Papa Bush.

      Honestly, I wish the Left would get it’s act together because we need two strong parties in this country and Trump needs to face more criticism within his own party but we don’t do it because of the “Trump is Hitler” like pile ons we see coming from the more hysterical chambers.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Today’s consumer has a difficult time separating emotion from policy outcome. Assuming liberal or conservative ideologies alone are the basis for determining advancement of our country is nonsense. There are MANY paths toward advancement that include liberal paths, conservative paths, 3rd party paths or some combination of these various approaches. The stagnation we face today is not based on political ideology, but rather dogmatic personalities that choose to prevent any kind of advancement in favor of preventing the “other side” from pursuing their agenda. The common person chooses to accept political rhetoric as factual “TRUTH” (ex. “repealing and replacing Obamacare will cause 20 million people to lose health coverage resulting in the DEATH of a large percentage of this population of people.”) Rather than wording this concept to fester hatred toward individuals or political parties, why not ask a more substantial question like, “How has Obamacare or the attempted Republican Alternative addressed improving the QUALITY of HEALTH for those living in the United States? Placing 20 million more people into a healthcare system to increase medical access to “treatments” that help MAINTAIN CHRONIC DISEASE rather than RESTORE PHYSICAL and/or EMOTIONAL health does not advance our country toward achieving healthier outcomes OR reducing healthcare costs. NEITHER POLICY results in improved health for our nation; it simply increases the number of people we can supply with pharmaceutical drugs to elongate the lives of those suffering with chronic diseases. Is increasing longevity without QUALITY OF LIFE the solution Liberals or Conservatives believe the electorate seeks? Do they really believe we don’t mind the increasing numbers of patients developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and stroke? Does either party seek a REAL SOLUTION or are they more focused on creating unrest in the nation to DISTRACT US from their incompetence?

    It is the political system in its infrastructure that divides this nation of ours. Obama was stonewalled by the Republicans. Trump is being stonewalled by the Democrats. Political leaders are jockeying for better positions to advance THEIR agenda using emotional tactics to suit THEIR needs.

    We can achieve better outcomes for our country using either (or some combination of BOTH) Liberal/Conservative policies. It is those “representing” these political parties that currently interfere with achieving better results. They are willing to let the nation suffer to attain a better personal position in government.

    The only “check” on this system is the population at large. Some believe the public “spoke out” by electing a non politician called Trump. In reality, the divided nation has chosen to turn a deaf ear to alternative ideas, they have chosen to support a system that minimizes their will; they have chosen hatred and obstinance over reasonable compromise, tolerance and acceptance.

    Why do we follow this path? Those in REAL POWER (BIG BUSINESS) benefit from this chaos because it strengthens “more of the same” behavior. More legal drug production to lengthen chronically diseased lives, more cheap harmful agricultural foods that contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal disease, liver disease, obesity and cancer, more consumer spending to increase consumer debt while supporting BIG BUSINESSES and a growing economy, etc… This is the vicious cycle we live in and ACCEPT. We complain and then do NOTHING significantly different to alter our path.
    …and we proudly call this, “THE GREATEST NATION IN THE WORLD”…

    REALLY?

    Please don’t ask, “so where would you rather live?” Just because other countries may be worse doesn’t make our nation “great.” Greatness offers real opportunity for advancement; it teaches the importance of PURPOSEFUL LIVING; it helps our people discover PASSION for life; it gives us MEANING and DESIRE to help EACH OTHER. These are the words that motivate people to pursue better pathways. These are NOT THE WORDS/CONCEPTS our educational system teaches. Instead,we learn to accept LIFE as it is because it has “always been this way.” “Don’t buck the system.” Pay your debt to society so a new generation can do the same.

    This, in my opinion, is not the trademark of a nation defined as “THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I think you really hit the nail on the head of the problem Jonathan by what you state about people being too willing (and excitedly so in my opinion) to accept political rhetoric as fact. In fact I think that is probably the biggest factor in all of this because people not willing to dig beyond the sound bites of issues and then so easily jump on the demonization of political opponents band wagon feeds in to so many other problem areas we face in our political culture. That’s why I think what Haidt has to say on this is so important. We have to learn how to HEArR and UNDERSTAND each other and instead of just making our own talking points.

      I don’t mind that congress to often stymies a president’s agenda. That’s what it was designed to be as our Founding Father’s wisely understood that executive power needs a brake in the form of a debating body of Congress to avoid sweeping changes to the country and eventual tyranny.

      What I do have a problem with is so many of those in power (left and right) have no idea what they are doing. So few seem to understand the importance of our Constitution and that the focus on individual liberty must be held in the highest of esteem. Their desire is to create a bigger and more powerful government, their cowardice on address our huge deficits and their overall complacency to just keep things as they are as you say is not at all comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Preventing a President from pursuing his or her agenda for the sake of “politics” rather than protecting the electorate from potentially harmful policy, is an abuseful use of “checks and balances.” This, in my opinion, is what we appear to face (and have faced for the last 9+ years.)

        The new political revelation seen within the FBI and Department of Justice complicates the matter that much more.

        Those seeking government positions today are weakening the structural design of our system. The result is a government willing to impose its will on its citizens violating their constitutional liberties. Unfortunately, the country’s apathetic attitude permits this abuse of power.

        You know I typically circle back to health policy. Tell me how a tetanus vaccine (a NON INFECTIOUS DISEASE) is mandatory to attend public school?

        Tell me how the state can impose a seatbelt requirement claiming the law saves lives, yet avoid imposing any penalty for smoking cigarettes PROVEN to CAUSE DEATH.

        Today we see a government more concerned with maintaining its own power and the benefits associated with this power than a patriotic elected body looking out for the welfare of its constituency.
        …and the average consumer continues to bury their head in the sand…

        Liked by 2 people

  7. This episode of Uncommon Knowledge from right before last fall’s election is an interesting example of “civility for thee.” I’m reading J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy that is the topic of the interview, but the interview itselfis fascinating because Peter Robinson interrupts Vance repeatedly (far more than his usual style) to try to provoke him to talk more stridently against liberal elitists, and Vance for the most part will have none of it. Even though he’s a conservative, Vance’s responses are pretty balanced and empathetic of the working-class white poor citizens in the hill country of Appalachia. He is successful in getting Robinson and the viewer to stop and think, rather than just damning the political opposition and criticizing the government anti-poverty programs wholesale.
    – Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      You know Jeff that is another book I’ve been wanting to read. I already have Brave New World news purchased and just waiting for me to crack it open, I will have to add Hillbilly Elegy to the collection!

      That does sound like a fascinating interplay between the two. Stop and think about solutions rather than damning the other party. Go figure!

      Liked by 1 person

      • David says:

        Wonderful on the Brave New World! I hope you got the one where it has the brave new world revisited as that talks about all the brainwashing and is not fiction, but true reality, and he wrote that in 1958. Much more sophisticated today obviously. You just have to question 1 thing of the official garbage narrative, and then the Socratic reasoning will start to begin. Intelligence means questioning things. I am still confident you will do that or I wouldn’t be such a pain in the ass. Remember I am very smart, and obviously as you have confirmed before, extremely humble! Is there anyone who even comes close to pushing your buttons as much as I do? Do you not believe I have your best interests at heart? Think about it.

        Like

        • Tricia says:

          I don’t doubt for a second that you have my best interest at heart and the world at large David. You’re tendency to assign negative characteristics to large groups of people that think differently from you though is a fatal flaw in your thinking process. You’re practicing a reverse form of identity politics which is blocking some prevalent truths from your conclusions.

          Liked by 1 person

          • David says:

            “Being in the minority, even the minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” George Orwell
            I tell the truth, but I do understand it is uncomfortable. It was not me who made Democrat’s devoid of reasoning skills. I am just the messenger.

            Like

  8. David says:

    Ok, I do not live in the Brave New World! “You will know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.” Aldous Huxley author of Brave New World. Plato’s Cave, Brave New World, Orwellian World, Matrix. Whatever you want to call it, it is real.

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on Rudy u Martinka and commented:
    Insightful commentary sorely needed to be read, shared, and discussed on the topic of civility to heal the political divide in our nation, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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