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The threat from loneliness 
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Post The threat from loneliness
David Brooks, at the New York Times, is definitely on my wavelength. It has been a long time since one of his columns captured my take on things as effectively as this one:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/opin ... ssion.html

In this view, it is not Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Dear Leader who are fanning the flames of division, it is the loneliness of men. (There are plenty of lonely women out there, but since they don't suffer from the effects of testosterone, they don't get around to buying a gun and shooting people). Those professional dividers are just riding the wave, like Newtie himself.

I don't know that we need to parse out the causes and underline one of them. But I do think we need to figure out how to get men back into what was once called "society." Porn doesn't help. Online (or other electronic) gaming doesn't help. Internet exchanges like Reddit and BookTalk probably don't help. Maybe bars do. (British pub culture, which is in severe decline, is actually very social.) Churches do, but they are being dumbed down to offer a place for the lonely men, and it is sad to see. Well, better a grubby refuge than a shiny turn-off. Softball, and hiking clubs, and book clubs, and science clubs, all help. But there isn't much left of gathering around somebody's old car with the hood up to see what can be done for it, let alone barn-raising.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
.
.
"Most of us live in insular media and social bubbles that provide us with Pravda-like affirmations of our own moral superiority."
— David Brooks.

Hear, hear.


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Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:54 am
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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
i like what Brooks said with passion on the PBS News Hour, that politics should not be one's whole identity, is not in fact one's whole identity. But we are acting as though there is nothing more to ourselves than this.

More to Harry's point, the loneliness epidemic has the attention of health insurer Cigna. This was the subject of an NPR report. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-sho ... est-burden

Brooks has long emphasized the vital importance of our "betweenness," which may be a reason he resonates strongly with Harry. I've read a couple of his books, Bobos in Paradise and The Social Animal. I didn't realize that he has several other titles to his credit until I checked just now. I first became aware of him from an Atlantic piece many years ago called, "People Like Us." That one explored a different angle of diversity, how we sort ourselves according to how we think, how much we earn, and the culture we like.



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Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:21 am
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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
Good little piece.

Quote:
Most of us live in insular media and social bubbles that provide us with Pravda-like affirmations of our own moral superiority. Most of us hew to a code of privacy that leads us to not know our neighbors.


Moral superiority has been endemic with the left, particularly for the last several years. It manifests itself through identity politics mostly. African American and Hispanic people become the white man's socio-political mascot mostly during times when democrats are attempting to re-seat themselves in positions of power. As a man of color, I have never bough into it.

I suspect there are countless men like me: average intelligence, single, spends most all of his free time alone without feeling needy or lonely, involves himself periodically in volunteer work, and is ruggedly handsome ( :P ) but never goes out and purchases a semi automatic weapon to shoot up a synagogue.

We are more connected than ever because of our technological advancements, and yet are becoming more isolated.
Sherry Turkle's Alone Together (2011) touches on our march toward technological isolation brilliantly. I highly recommend it.



Last edited by ant on Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
ant wrote:
Good little piece.

Quote:
Most of us live in insular media and social bubbles that provide us with Pravda-like affirmations of our own moral superiority. Most of us hew to a code of privacy that leads us to not know our neighbors.


Moral superiority has been endemic with the left, particularly for the last several years.



And that's as far as into that post as I'm going to get. Looks like KS shared the Kool-Aid.


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Last edited by Litwitlou on Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:47 am
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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
ant wrote:
Moral superiority has been endemic with the left, particularly for the last several years. It manifests itself through identity politics mostly. African American and Hispanic people become the white man's socio-political mascot mostly during times when democrats are attempting to re-seat themselves in positions of power. As a man of color, I have never bough into it.

Unlike Litwitlou, I think this is a serious business to think about. If only because our current Presidential Wannabe rose to prominence on a reaction against this moral superiority. It gets into all kinds of twists and turns and kinks in the human psyche.

I think most white liberal inclusivity and celebration of diversity is legit. (I would, wouldn't I? Well, okay, but I do.) Not only does the "we-them" mentality not make sense to those of us who grew up working class and were able to move to higher social strata, thus demonstrating that opportunity is available, but I feel genuinely distressed about the things my culture did that were evil. We may legitimately claim public education and industrial mass production and lots of Nobel prizes, but we also have the Trail of Tears and Tulsa and Lord Jeffrey Amherst who sent smallpox blankets against native Americans. These things can't be erased, but just as if I had done a great wrong myself, I would like to do what I can to redeem our legacy.

And that's where, IMO, the twists begin. There is a real danger of making people of color into "mascots" as Ant said. That is, they are just playing a role in our little internal drama. The symbolism of doing good things becomes more important than getting to know people, and treating everyone with dignity, and insisting on rules that treat everyone the same. Surely it's not as bad as those who busily "other" people, treating them as symbols for purposes of hostility and scapegoating, but it is still not where people need to be. As a matter of my own spiritual health, I need to be asking myself if I am still seeing a person as a person of color more than as their own individual self.

This can easily get much worse, as in all the angst over who gets to go to what school. People in my liberal slice of the community can still obsess over living in the right neighborhoods and seeing to it that their schools are, not just good or helpful, but "the best." And if the collateral damage in this fight for position happens to land on people of color, then too bad. No hard feelings, right? Even if "the right neighborhood" is defined heavily in terms of skin color.

I see quite a bit of bickering among progressives about just what it means to be an "ally". I don't know how many people remember the safety pins after the last election. I understood them, but viscerally resented the public virtue signalling and the implied "us/them" endorsement. There are more serious and challenging problems to making America a true opportunity society than just taking a public pledge not to lynch anyone. Does being an ally just mean refusing to otherize people, or does it mean getting involved in #BlackLivesMatter (or some other process of identity communities standing up for themselves) and letting people of color be the leaders? My limited take on this is to look for opportunities to genuinely change things, to be my real self with others even if that means my privilege sometimes clumsily steps on other people's toes, and to be honest about calling out injustice if I see it going on. (That's harder than it sounds - in Africa I was routinely hustled to the front of the forever-long lines because, as a white guy I was obviously powerful and dangerous and nobody wanted to have me be offended by what Africans put up with. But trying to refuse got me nowhere, except, thank God, at the hospital).

ant wrote:
I suspect there are countless men like me:. . . spends most all of his free time alone without feeling needy or lonely,. . .but never goes out and purchases a semi automatic weapon to shoot up a synagogue.
Yes, thank God. Most men who are alone don't go nuts, and do find some ways to interact with other people. But it makes sense to me that more loneliness leads to more crack-ups, and I think we are looking at that. One reason there is so much poison on the internet is that the alienated people can indulge their motivated reasoning and stroke their own egos without actually having to interact with people's faces and voices and personal histories.

Interestingly, I have seen as much nastiness from women (or at least people claiming to be women) as men.

ant wrote:
We are more connected than ever because of our technological advancements, and yet are becoming more isolated.
Sherry Turkle's Alone Together (2011) touches on our march toward technological isolation brilliantly. I highly recommend it.
Thanks, I will look at this.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
This exchange between Harry and ant (aka ruggedly handsome) has a feeling of getting somewhere, which is nice to see these days!



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
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If only because our current Presidential Wannabe rose to prominence on a reaction against this moral superiority.


Trump's win was largely because he flipped the Rustbelt Hilary and the Democrats presumptuously thought was in their back pocket to stay. The "blue collar whites" wanted assurances that jobs would be created by a new administration because of the threat of technology's ability to replace them. Trump promised jobs while Hilary did little to woo the flyover states.

Trump's presidency was not a reaction against some ambiguous accusation of moral superiority. It was, more specifically, a call for practicality, problem solving, and solutions for the blue collar concern of disappearing Midwest jobs. Subsequently, the left has been attempting to dominate the narrative that Trump's rise to power is all about white supremacy, destruction of all that is "good," a quest to install a dictatorship, the destruction of freedom, and every other apocalyptic dystopian scenario you can think of.

A large part of taking back political power is to sound the red sirens and spread fear. Frankly, some of us were in fear for the entire 8 years of the Obama Administration because we were essentially at war the entire time. Also, some of us even organized small anti immigration rallys that NEVER got the publicity we see today. I attended a "Stop The Deporter in Chief Obama " rally several years ago in Los Angeles. Honestly, I don't recall seeing one white man in attendance. Now why is that? Because the immigrants that were deported by Obama's Administration should have felt better about it because he was not a white man?


Quote:
I think most white liberal inclusivity and celebration of diversity is legit.


I won't entirely disagree with you re the above because I do believe there's always the exception. Yes, there are some very genuine caring people.
However, I think the question "do most white liberals genuinely 'celebrate' diversity by actually demonstrating it?" is best answered by people of color.

I live in the very liberal state of California, in one of the most liberal cities in the country - Los Angeles. I have a Latino friend who has a Phd in psychology from Texas A&M.
He's shared with me experiences of overt discrimination at his place of work by self professed white liberals.

I have a childhood friend (from Yucatan) that owns a house cleaning business. His clients are all in very liberal West Hollywood and West Los Angeles. He has had the police called on him several times when he arrived early at job sites. Naturally, the large percentage of the houses he cleans are owned by white people.

My boss at work is a black man. He's originally from Texas (a strongly conservative state) but has lived most of his adult life in California. Interestingly, he says, without question, conservative Texans were more honest and treated him better than some of the treatment he's experienced personally and professionally in very liberal Los Angeles. I believe him.

Generally speaking, from my experience as a native of Los Angeles, white liberals are not particularly friendly toward people of color. Personally, that has never bothered me.


Quote:
Not only does the "we-them" mentality not make sense to those of us who grew up working class and were able to move to higher social strata, thus demonstrating that opportunity is available, but I feel genuinely distressed about the things my culture did that were evil. We may legitimately claim public education and industrial mass production and lots of Nobel prizes, but we also have the Trail of Tears and Tulsa and Lord Jeffrey Amherst who sent smallpox blankets against native Americans. These things can't be erased, but just as if I had done a great wrong myself, I would like to do what I can to redeem our legacy.


My recently deceased uncle did lots of work for many years with native American Indians that always somehow take a back seat to Mexican undocumented workers social issues.
The white man's distress about the evils committed against Native Americans is self cathartic. It serves no purpose for the victims of the past, and for those that suffer to this day. The Dakota Access pipeline is just one example of a white liberal mealy mouth failure. Where were all the national mass demonstrations for our Native Americans? Where was the moral outrage?


Quote:
I see quite a bit of bickering among progressives about just what it means to be an "ally".


Right.. bickering and overthinking changes nothing. No offense, but I suppose the American Indian will have to be satisfied with the white man's genuine distress, and his attempt to reconcile in his heart of hearts the evils that took place a few hundred years ago, while little is done for them in the present.


Quote:
I understood them, but viscerally resented the public virtue signalling and the implied "us/them" endorsement. There are more serious and challenging problems to making America a true opportunity society than just taking a public pledge not to lynch anyone. Does being an ally just mean refusing to otherize people, or does it mean getting involved in #BlackLivesMatter (or some other process of identity communities standing up for themselves) and letting people of color be the leaders? My limited take on this is to look for opportunities to genuinely change things, to be my real self with others even if that means my privilege sometimes clumsily steps on other people's toes, and to be honest about calling out injustice if I see it going on. (That's harder than it sounds - in Africa I was routinely hustled to the front of the forever-long lines because, as a white guy I was obviously powerful and dangerous and nobody wanted to have me be offended by what Africans put up with. But trying to refuse got me nowhere, except, thank God, at the hospital).


We're on the same page... it means getting involved. Not sure about #BlacklivesMatter though, for a few reasons.. That's a different topic though. I've had some great conversations about it with my boss.


Quote:
One reason there is so much poison on the internet is that the alienated people can indulge their motivated reasoning and stroke their own egos without actually having to interact with people's faces and voices and personal histories.


It's the perfect breeding ground for your neighborhood sociopath in training.


Quote:
Thanks, I will look at this.


Sherry Turkle is Harvard trained. I love her her work.


These are some difficult issues to air out. I know you know that. You discuss them very well. I admire how you express yourself.


Thanks for taking the time to go a little further than some.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
DWill wrote:
This exchange between Harry and ant (aka ruggedly handsome) has a feeling of getting somewhere, which is nice to see these days!

My thought exactly. Sorry I'm not participating these days, but this is an interesting thread. Very civil too!


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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
ant wrote:
Quote:
If only because our current Presidential Wannabe rose to prominence on a reaction against this moral superiority.


Trump's win was largely because he flipped the Rustbelt Hilary and the Democrats presumptuously thought was in their back pocket to stay. The "blue collar whites" wanted assurances that jobs would be created by a new administration because of the threat of technology's ability to replace them. Trump promised jobs while Hilary did little to woo the flyover states.
I agree with this when discussing "Trump's win" in the 2016 national election. One of the main explainers why states flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 was the job loss issue, and I think it was the key one. I am not sure the swing voters really thought anybody could protect them from technology, but they knew NAFTA had hit hard in the late 90s and continued to drain away manufacturing, and the Chinese import influx had become an even bigger threat.

We went through a similar panic with Japan in the early 80s, but Japan's population is less than a tenth of China's.

ant wrote:
Trump's presidency was not a reaction against some ambiguous accusation of moral superiority. It was, more specifically, a call for practicality, problem solving, and solutions for the blue collar concern of disappearing Midwest jobs. Subsequently, the left has been attempting to dominate the narrative that Trump's rise to power is all about white supremacy, destruction of all that is "good," a quest to install a dictatorship, the destruction of freedom, and every other apocalyptic dystopian scenario you can think of.
When it comes to his rise from one of many Republican candidates to the only alternative to Ted Cruz, I don't think an urge to practicality played much role. We had Kasich, we had Jeb Bush, we had Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina, all of whom had much stronger claims to practicality. In particular with his deliberately outrageous rhetoric, the fact that voters moved toward him rather than away from him over it was a clear sign they were reacting against judgmental moralism. It's true some people thought anyone that rich must be a problem-solver and a capable executive, but there were plenty of reasons to doubt that from his record, and no lack of coverage of them even on Fox News.

On the reaction by the left, I am more inclined to agree with you. Make no mistake, I do think the way the Republican party has rolled over (e.g. on rule of law) in fear of being "primaried" by his supporters is a very serious development, and if they keep the House, will lead to much more authoritarian government. But for the sake of internal battles, many Democrats have been eager to equate Trump with racism, anti-Semitism and Putinism, and they have distorted the picture in the national election in an effort to do this. As a result, instead of focusing on the places and people who are hurting, Dems are fighting over how radical to be. "Piercing their tongue," as one pundit put it in response to the anti-Kavanaugh swarms.

ant wrote:
A large part of taking back political power is to sound the red sirens and spread fear.
Well, I have no doubt which end of the spectrum has been more dedicated to spreading fear in the last 25 years. Its effectiveness is limited, though, relative to actual information, strategizing and implementation. Turnouts have been so low that firing up the base has been a viable strategy, especially in the primaries, relative to trying to appeal to reason and problem solving. And of course when one party declares their entire strategy to be obstructing any success for the other party, that kind of gums up the practicality works.

ant wrote:
Frankly, some of us were in fear for the entire 8 years of the Obama Administration because we were essentially at war the entire time.
Sorry, I don't understand this.
ant wrote:
Also, some of us even organized small anti immigration rallys that NEVER got the publicity we see today. I attended a "Stop The Deporter in Chief Obama " rally several years ago in Los Angeles. Honestly, I don't recall seeing one white man in attendance. Now why is that? Because the immigrants that were deported by Obama's Administration should have felt better about it because he was not a white man?
Anti-immigration or anti-deportation? A bit confusing. But as I said on the other thread, I don't think liberals are against borders and for immigration, for the most part. I don't remember any big issue about the amount of deportation, and it would have been hard to make a case that it represented racism, which is maybe why white liberals didn't make a fuss about it, (more or less what you suggest).

ant wrote:
Quote:
I think most white liberal inclusivity and celebration of diversity is legit.

I won't entirely disagree with you re the above because I do believe there's always the exception. Yes, there are some very genuine caring people.
However, I think the question "do most white liberals genuinely 'celebrate' diversity by actually demonstrating it?" is best answered by people of color.
I think that's a really good point. Just as we should not take Dear Leader's posturing for truth, so we should not trust people's posturing as morally virtuous. Harvey Weinstein made feminist flix, for pity's sake. I have a little trouble with the idea that most white liberal inclusivity is sham and caring is "the exception" but that just reflects my view and the crowd I hang with (which is very mixed racially, but that's Geneva).

ant wrote:
I live in the very liberal state of California, in one of the most liberal cities in the country - Los Angeles. I have a Latino friend who has a Phd in psychology from Texas A&M.
He's shared with me experiences of overt discrimination at his place of work by self professed white liberals.
Californians don't get redistribution, especially Southern Californians. L.A. is the home of the libertarian left. As long as the porn industry is not threatened, Los Angeles knows it will be okay.

I don't mean to be flip. I fully believe the stories you refer to are a reasonably accurate view of things there. But you should have some awareness that Los Angeles liberalism is heavily social and environmental, and much less a matter of economic concern for the less privileged. Bill Clinton cemented California's Democrat status for national elections by endorsing free trade, but it was already moving that way as a reaction to the Evangelical Right. So when you observe racist liberals (perhaps sometimes due to implicit racism, but overt seems quite likely to be part of the mix) I don't find it strange at all.

ant wrote:
He has had the police called on him several times when he arrived early at job sites. Naturally, the large percentage of the houses he cleans are owned by white people.

My boss at work is a black man. He's originally from Texas (a strongly conservative state) but has lived most of his adult life in California. Interestingly, he says, without question, conservative Texans were more honest and treated him better than some of the treatment he's experienced personally and professionally in very liberal Los Angeles. I believe him.
Those are valuable observations. If you notice, most of the bizarre police callings for "mowing lawns while black" and "sitting in Starbucks while black" have been North of Mason-Dixon or West of the Mississippi.

On the other hand, construction of racist systems, like the voter suppression in Georgia and Texas, and the system in Ferguson, Missouri for squeezing money out of black people for minor traffic violations, seem to belong to a different category of social phenomena. I am guessing that racism is gradually fading in Texas, where many people moved in from outside and where strong traditions of military service have exposed many to a system that did not tolerate racism or segregation and everybody was the better for it. Even so I would bet your boss came from a big city or from West Texas rather than from Waco, Brownsville, Beaumont or other smaller places in East Texas.

ant wrote:
Quote:
I feel genuinely distressed about the things my culture did that were evil. We may legitimately claim public education and industrial mass production and lots of Nobel prizes, but we also have the Trail of Tears and Tulsa and Lord Jeffrey Amherst who sent smallpox blankets against native Americans. These things can't be erased, but just as if I had done a great wrong myself, I would like to do what I can to redeem our legacy.
My recently deceased uncle did lots of work for many years with native American Indians that always somehow take a back seat to Mexican undocumented workers social issues.
The white man's distress about the evils committed against Native Americans is self cathartic. It serves no purpose for the victims of the past, and for those that suffer to this day. The Dakota Access pipeline is just one example of a white liberal mealy mouth failure. Where were all the national mass demonstrations for our Native Americans? Where was the moral outrage?
I saw lots of moral outrage, but mainly on facebook posts. I think you are spot on about this. My distress does no good for anyone unless it translates into action, and most of the time it doesn't do that. That's on me. I do think it represents a resource that can be tapped, however. The goal, as I see it, is to do so constructively and realistically, without fantasies of having "the answer."

ant wrote:
No offense, but I suppose the American Indian will have to be satisfied with the white man's genuine distress, and his attempt to reconcile in his heart of hearts the evils that took place a few hundred years ago, while little is done for them in the present.
No offense taken. The Canadians are doing a little better, but when it comes to giving up real, tangible things for the sake of justice, most people are not interested. I am no paragon myself. Our friend, half-Cherokee and half-Navajo, shrugs and needles us from time to time. He has no illusions.

ant wrote:
We're on the same page... it means getting involved. Not sure about #BlacklivesMatter though, for a few reasons.. That's a different topic though. I've had some great conversations about it with my boss.
I'm interested if you want to share about it. I have read a lot about it from a distance, and tend to filter it through the lens of history. The Rodney King incident (in L.A.!) brought it to the attention of a lot of us, but I had heard a few scary things about police behavior before that, in Minneapolis and Denver (plus all the horrors of the Jim Crow era in the South). It seems police are improving their professionalism considerably, with a nudge from body cams and dash cams, but there is still a lot of knee-jerk discrimination out there in law enforcement.

ant wrote:
These are some difficult issues to air out. I know you know that. You discuss them very well. I admire how you express yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to go a little further than some.
Thanks for the kind words. I have certainly appreciated your honesty and straight talk also, and I like to think some of my respect for you goes back farther, with e.g. the discussion about Galileo some time back, and your awareness of emotional intelligence.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
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When it comes to his rise from one of many Republican candidates to the only alternative to Ted Cruz, I don't think an urge to practicality played much role. We had Kasich, we had Jeb Bush, we had Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina, all of whom had much stronger claims to practicality.


I completely disagree.
The political zeitgeist was that the politicians you listed did not represent practicality. Rather, they represented "business as usual." Hence, their message did not resonate with people that were essentially desperate for change - likely radical change. Radical change does not always necessarily mean bad.
Mind you, I am not attempting to justify the underlying reasons that caused people to rationalize Trump would steer the business of politics in a more suitable direction. I'm attempting to practice the principle of intellectual charity with those I may not entirely agree with.

Quote:
But for the sake of internal battles, many Democrats have been eager to equate Trump with racism, anti-Semitism and Putinism, and they have distorted the picture in the national election in an effort to do this. As a result, instead of focusing on the places and people who are hurting, Dems are fighting over how radical to be. "Piercing their tongue," as one pundit put it in response to the anti-Kavanaugh swarms.


I think you're correct here. And, in my mind, ultimately that can only be a sign of desperation. Which is one of a handful of reasons why the democratic party has been such a turn-off of late. At least for me. The message from the mouths of desperados is to be scrutinized with an abundance of caution.


Quote:
Well, I have no doubt which end of the spectrum has been more dedicated to spreading fear in the last 25 years.

Quote:
Its effectiveness is limited, though, relative to actual information, strategizing and implementation. Turnouts have been so low that firing up the base has been a viable strategy, especially in the primaries, relative to trying to appeal to reason and problem solving.


I don't think one side has a monopoly over the other when it comes to spreading a culture of fear. Fear mongering tactics go back to Machiavelli. And, it works, to be honest, with or without the confirming data. Why? Because when "your guy" says you should be very afraid, the most common response is to believe your guy simply because he's YOUR GUY. The same guy that's in your confirmation bias bubble.
The turnout has been low because the left has been in power for most of the decade. They are just now being aroused to do something about all this "evil and injustice" when ironically a lot of these same evils have been going on under the care of their chosen administration (ie see my posts on the neglect of immigrant children by the Obama Admin).


Quote:
Sorry, I don't understand this.


I'm surprised.

It's been about 9 (?) since Obama's promised an end to military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We're still involved.

Our citizens do not understand what it means to be at war unless a formal declaration of war has been declared against us. But if the community you live in with your wife and children experienced the every day reality of foreign military occupiers in your neck of the woods, or drone strikes killing the neighbor you just spoke to last week, the first hand flesh and blood experience would likely convince you a war was taking place that with real casualties connected to it.

We were at war with "other people" for the entire 8 years of Obama's presidency.

Look at the final drone casualty tallies courtesy of "The Drone President"

542 Total drone strikes

3,797 estimated killed

324 estimated civilians


https://www.cfr.org/blog/obamas-final-drone-strike-data


What were those people in your eyes, casualties of politics, or casualties of a war? If China drone striked my neighborhood because they believed a threat to their national security resided there, I'd think we were at war.


Quote:
Anti-immigration or anti-deportation?


Anti deportation of long time residents. sorry.. that was confusing.


Quote:
I don't mean to be flip. I fully believe the stories you refer to are a reasonably accurate view of things there. But you should have some awareness that Los Angeles liberalism is heavily social and environmental, and much less a matter of economic concern for the less privileged. Bill Clinton cemented California's Democrat status for national elections by endorsing free trade, but it was already moving that way as a reaction to the Evangelical Right. So when you observe racist liberals (perhaps sometimes due to implicit racism, but overt seems quite likely to be part of the mix) I don't find it strange at all.



That's interesting. I'll have to give this some more thought.


Quote:
Even so I would bet your boss came from a big city or from West Texas rather than from Waco, Brownsville, Beaumont or other smaller places in East Texas.


Nope.. small town in Texas


Quote:
the discussion about Galileo some time back, and your awareness of emotional intelligence.


I'll refresh my recollection.

Thanks



Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:19 pm
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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
ant wrote:
I completely disagree.
The political zeitgeist was that the politicians you listed did not represent practicality. Rather, they represented "business as usual." Hence, their message did not resonate with people that were essentially desperate for change - likely radical change. Radical change does not always necessarily mean bad.
Well, you might be right. Many of us have not known what to make of the "either Sanders or Trump, but not the old guard" part of the electorate, rejecting business as usual. I have never been convinced it was that big, but I could be persuaded of 10 percent of the voters being in that category, and that's far from nothing.

I'm going to resort to my usual conclusion, which is that more than one thing was going on.
ant wrote:
I'm attempting to practice the principle of intellectual charity with those I may not entirely agree with.
Generally worth the effort, in my experience.

ant wrote:
Quote:
"Piercing their tongue," as one pundit put it in response to the anti-Kavanaugh swarms.

I think you're correct here. And, in my mind, ultimately that can only be a sign of desperation. Which is one of a handful of reasons why the democratic party has been such a turn-off of late. At least for me. The message from the mouths of desperados is to be scrutinized with an abundance of caution.
We have a very interesting friend who said, before the 2010 surprise sweep, that Obama should have concentrated on getting the economy straightened out instead of going for the ACA while the Dems had the votes. I sometimes wonder. Coverage for pre-existing conditions, which requires mandated high-cost policies to work, is now accepted by the electorate in general. But at the time it was easy to scare people with "death panels" and get everybody riled up about it.

The party is really not desperate. They are close to locking in 50 to 55 percent of the electorate in the Trump re-alignment. A divided government is quite capable of producing pragmatic compromise as a way of avoiding either party making itself look worse. Rather the "intellectual wing" based in universities, who tend to see their mission in life as tearing down -isms such as racism and homophobia, are throwing a little temper tantrum. Over the next four years the issue of global warming will be more and more salient and the suburbs be more and more fed up with McConnell-style obstructionism, and you will see the Republicans become quite desperate. They hope to hang on to their tax cut like the Dems hung on to Obamacare, waiting til it becomes acceptable, but the math is not in their favor.

The interesting question will be whether a Democratic House and a Republican Senate can pass a budget. Stay tuned for more entertainment.


Quote:
I don't think one side has a monopoly over the other when it comes to spreading a culture of fear. Fear mongering tactics go back to Machiavelli. And, it works, to be honest, with or without the confirming data. Why? Because when "your guy" says you should be very afraid, the most common response is to believe your guy simply because he's YOUR GUY. The same guy that's in your confirmation bias bubble.

Agreed.
ant wrote:
Quote:
Sorry, I don't understand this.

I'm surprised.
It's been about 9 (?) since Obama's promised an end to military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We're still involved.
Okay, I think I get what you were saying. Not sure why you said you were afraid because of it. All volunteer army, and all that. I'm not too surprised that Obama could not extricate us from Afghanistan. I think everyone is at least a little afraid that the next ISIS or Al Qaeda will breed there if we let the Taliban back in power. We are basically out of Iraq. If not for ISIS, we would be completely out. But it does represent one of his promises that he may not even have intended to keep.

ant wrote:
What were those people in your eyes, casualties of politics, or casualties of a war? If China drone striked my neighborhood because they believed a threat to their national security resided there, I'd think we were at war.
I would expect most people think the intended targets were actual threats to America, and that the collateral damage was unavoidable. I am somewhat skeptical of the whole campaign, but I feel glad that I can trust my military not to be attacking, say, human rights advocates or journalists. Not such a big ask, really, but these days I am trying not to take basic stuff for granted.



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Post Re: The threat from loneliness
Harry Marks wrote:
David Brooks, at the New York Times, is definitely on my wavelength. It has been a long time since one of his columns captured my take on things as effectively as this one: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/opin ... ssion.html In this view, it is not Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Dear Leader who are fanning the flames of division, it is the loneliness of men.
Reading Finding Purpose in a Godless World made me think of this thread. I am now reading Lewis's chapter on ethics and empathy, where he reflects on the roles of chemical imbalances and social drivers in mental health. I'm sure Australia and the US have much in common in this regard, with a steadily expanding atomisation of individual identity due to the collapse of traditional models of local community interaction.

In the past people dealt with their immediate neighbours because they had to. Abandonment of human contact seems to be a frequent result of living in atomised virtual reality. Lifestyles today often provide no opportunity for what Lewis calls 'emotional synchrony and mood convergence', except in the virtual realm of electronic communication. It seems people are physically training themselves into forced isolation. That cannot be healthy.


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