One of the most important things that I believe I have recognized in American society is our inability to debate in a logical and congenial manner. Obviously, not really a very prophetic observation. The political debates are an example, surely theatrically entertaining but hardly a search for an ideological truth or even a compromise of anything.
In his book “The Three Languages of Politics” Arnold Kling argues that American political discourse is dysfunctional because we look at the world through different lenses that our political opponents do not share.
I agree with this, but only to a very minimal degree. It is true, but very generalized and thus not the real underlying problem. You can have it on your Kindle for a mere $3.99.
Russell Roberts published an article Monday, July 10, 2017 on FEE here: https://fee.org/articles/check-your-ideological-blind-spot/?utm_source=FEE+Email+Subscriber+List&utm_campaign=72793e3641-MC_FEE_DAILY_2017_07_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_84cc8d089b-72793e3641-108174449
And you can listen here to his EconTalk interview with him on the book at no charge.
He suggests that people look at socio-economics through three different basic lenses.
- Liberals see the world as a battle between victims and oppressors.
- Conservatives see the world as a battle between civilization and barbarism.
- Libertarians see the world as a battle between liberty and force/coercion.
He surmises that we do not communicate well because we are unable or unwilling to put ourselves or consider the different mindset of the others.
I contend that there maybe three basic groups but everyone sees the world differently from their own individual perspective based on their ethos, knowledge, experiences and the wisdom to discern the truth from fiction written and voiced by others. I also believe that placing weight or relevance on the importance of the various factors of the social policies is a key to discerning/obtaining the greatest or best ideological results. Our discourse is dysfunctional because we do not do this very well nor can it be done well, because we only participate in political debates not to really learn, but only to win by either presentation, demeanor, theatrical performance or demeaning the opponent, caring little for the truth. We should not need to see the politicians debate because we should already know what we desire before we go to elect them. The Citizens are the ones who need to debate and tell our politicians what we want them to enact or do. We’re waiting for some super hero to come out of the shadows and each generation ends up unable to hold their breath long enough.
It is not that most do not recognize the pros and cons of the other’s ideologies, they do not even understand there are negative effects to their own ideologies, to be able to know if theirs is better or worse than others and part of the reason for this is they have never had the opportunity to do it. As an example, now can one know if their positions are the best if by debating you only attach the other ideologies and you are unwilling to be circumspect our your own.
Many years ago, when I first started writing, it became evident very quickly that I didn’t know very much. That I needed to learn a great deal if I were ever going to be able to earn a living writing. I had to develop my own ideology if I ever wanted to be able to influence others. I have been a member of all their major political parties, starting with the Democrats and I have found that the most educated people in the area of political economy are by far the libertarians. I debated with them for two years before becoming a member myself in 1991. So why is it that the libertarians have nor progressed or had much influence on our society. From my experience, the media, the two parties and those that have power over them have used devious methods to keep the masses dumbed down to a large degree.
I started to develop my own method of logical decision making as I was learning the essential areas of political economy. What I do is similar to what is called the Franklin Close in sales. First, you list out all the pros and cons of the issue. The next part is the essential part as you then must place the level of importance on both the pros and cons on the list. This is what we are not doing as individuals within our society because we were not really taught to do this. If you do this to say “public education” you will find out the public education causes more harm than good to your society, yet how many people are opposed to public education, except libertarians. It one of the reasons the two parties work very hard at keeping the libertarians out of their debates. Apparently, some people are better at logical evaluation than others.
To prove my point, I would like to set up a filmed but informal experimental debate with three teams of two people each “without” any observers. One liberal/progressive group, one neo-conservative and one libertarian group with each providing their own two-person research support with laptops in hand both to fact check and provide additional facts within the issues discussed. It will not be timed nor will there be any determined winners. The experiment is to first determine the best potential format(s) for debate, to see how people respond to them from the three basic perspectives and to see if the results have any potential of persuading the participants to alter their ideological perspectives.
If the Citizens cannot agree on an ideological road to pursue, our elected representatives will surely see that as a signal to do as the will, and that is exactly what they have been doing. According to a couple of Princeton Univ studies, the average person has little or no influence on public policies yet they want us to vote for people that do. You see how great that is working out for us.