Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another QoD from Ed at G&T

Second, the older I get the more I believe that the real divide in this country (I won't speak for the whole world, although I have my suspicions) is not between liberals and conservatives, the old and young, black and white, or any of the most common tropes. The divide in modern America is between people who think facts and knowledge are based on evidence and those who think that whatever one believes is true. The media is liberal because I think it is. Climate change and evolution are myths because I don't believe them. Tax cuts grow the economy because I think they do. This is what attacks on the NSF, and academia more broadly, are about. It's an easy target because a substantial portion of this country doesn't believe that science is a thing. To them, the scientific method begins with a conclusion and research is the process of manufacturing some kind of evidence to support it. The ice caps aren't melting because I say they aren't, and some oil companies wrote a paper proving it. What do we need the NSF or fancy-pants colleges for?  
                                                -- Ed

This fits pretty much hand in glove with the quote I posted last Thursday.  You can't engage in rational discourse with someone to whom rational thought processes are unknown, or even worse, scorned impediments to scoring points.

Why be rational when you can win by bullying or shouting your opponent down?

And, of course, it is conservatives who operate in this way because they never have been swayed by rationality.  Remember the pillars of conservative mental processes are ignorance, prejudice, magical thinking and denialism.

When first thinking about this, I had "false choice" in place of "denialism" in this quartet, but came to realize that all sort of falsity was used to support conservatism, so I generalized it as denial of reality.

Which is why Steven Colbert reported that reality has a well-known liberal bias.


Roger Chittum said...

Jonathan Swift, via Climate Progress yesterday: "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Well, now I am depressed enough to recall a quote from a acquaintance fond of belief over anything resembling an inconvenient fact:

"A lady has to believe in something; I believe I need a Scotch!"

mike shupp said...

I don't want to blame everything on conservatives, not just for being conservatives per se. I see three long term issues which are screwing up American politics. The first, obviously, is this godawful recession, which is making all of us miserable. The second is the aging of the babyboomers, which is going to squeeze the federal budget until the bulk of them are dead -- which isn't going to be till 2025 or maybe 2035. And the third is the large numbers of 30-ish or 40-ish Libertarians, whom we're stuck with until well past the middle of the century.

Perhaps by 2020 or so, economic growth will have revived a bit, and the employment and median income figures won't be so bad. And maybe improved medical technologuy and pharmacology will keep people happy and productive for longer periods. Those might counteract the demographic issues, but I'm not especially sanguine.

Jazzbumpa said...

Mike -

I don't blame everything on conservatives, though it's hard to think of something that doesn't qualify.

They are absolutely responsible for the lingering recessions here and in Europe.

I'm one of those boomers, and hope to live for a couple more decades - my mom is going strong at almost 92. The only budget buster there is health care costs, and Medicare does better than the rest of society in controlling them. Still, a big problem.

Libertarians are just ignorant, and the ones past 40 must b willfully so. There is probably no hope for them.

Median income is down because of capture by the wealthy, mainly in the form of rents. Big changes are needed to correct that - taxation and regulation policies from 50 years ago. Blame conservatives for that, too.

Thanks for the comment.