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Political Strife and Societal Decay are Caused in Part By Treating Feelings as Valid Reasons for Social Constructs

Each of the following four things is not like the others.  But too often we assume some or all of them to be one and the same.  This misunderstanding is a major cause of partisan rancor.

  1. The psychological profiles of liberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism, consisting of things like
    1. Personality traits like openness or orderliness
    2. Cognitive styles like Platonic idealism or Aristotelian empiricism
    3. Moral foundations
  2. The feelings, emotions, and intuitions each of us experience in response to the things we see in the social world
  3. The ideologies of liberalism and conservatism, their tenets, and their sacred values
  4. The principles, practices, and social structures necessary for civil society

Feelings, emotions, and intuitions are real.

Every individual deserves the dignity of respect and should not be dismissed.  All of us are created equal, and in this sense each of us is equally valuable.

The principles, practices, and social structures empirically proven by human experience to work – in which “to work” means “to create the greatest amount of personal autonomy and quality of life, health, happiness, and prosperity for the greatest number of people” – are sometimes at odds with our feelings, emotions, and intuitions, and even at times with the tenets and sacred values of our ideologies.

The problem is that many of the proven principles, practices, and social structures necessary for happy, healthy, human society are in direct conflict with the feelings, emotions, intuitions, and even the ideologies and sacred values, that follow from some psychological profiles.

And when those conflicts occur, the people whose feelings are opposed by the necessary ingredients of civil society may feel disrespected and dismissed.  They may feel that their sacred values have been violated.  They may lash out in anger and even in violence.  They may no-platform, or disinvite, or shout down people who advocate the necessary ingredients of civil society.  They may even act out their anger and hurt feelings by rioting in the streets, destroying property, and assaulting people who they believe contribute to their hurt feelings.

The proven, necessary, ingredients of civil society are, in a nutshell, the following:

  1. Negative liberty
  2. Process-based liberty, equality, justice, and fairness.
  3. The home, or the family, as the basic unit of human existence, and of human society, and as the primary object of care and compassion.
  4. Government power as a necessary evil, and therefore the necessity to separate it into different centers for different purposes, and the setting against one another of the centers of powers
  5. The purpose of government is to protect rights, and enforce the processes

The feelings, emotions, intuitions, and ideologies, which follow from some psychological profiles rest, in a nutshell, in the following:

  1. Positive liberty
  2. Outcome-based liberty, equality, justice, and fairness
  3. The individual as the basic unit of human existence, and of human society, and as the object primary object of care and compassion.
  4. Ggovernment power as a force for “good,” and therefore its consolidation and concentration into a single center in order to best achieve good.
  5. The purpose of government is to protect individuals, and enforce equal, or “fair” outcomes

Political strife happens when…

…the feelings, emotions, intuitions, and ideologies of Positive Liberty, because of human respect and dignity and the innate desire to treat every person, are treated as if they were as valid in the discussion of the necessary ingredients of civil society as the ACTUAL necessary ingredients.

Societal decay, degradation, and normlessness happen  happen when the feelings, emotions, intuitions, and ideologies of Positive liberty become public policy and the law of the land.


2 thoughts on “Political Strife and Societal Decay are Caused in Part By Treating Feelings as Valid Reasons for Social Constructs

  1. “All of us are created equal, and in this sense each of us is equally valuable.”

    Different people employ different rhetorical tactics. For some, fidelity to truth and defensible logic are important, maybe even amounting to core moral values-beliefs in their own minds. For others, painting pictures with less concern for fact and logic is more important. What a speaker is trying to do can vary. Some will distort or reject objective truth and reasonable logic to advance lofty social ends or for personal advantage. Most everyone has their own facts and logic to some degree.

    Assume, for the sake of argument, two competing politicians. One doesn’t much care about facts or logic and relies heavily on the art of BS to brilliantly and effectively persuade hearts and minds. This one is great at talking to the elephant. The other talks more to the rider and is more chained to the boring old fact & logic Albatross. If the two politicians were arguing for basically the same things, e.g., assume both are moderately conservative and advocate very similar policies, would both of them be equally valuable? If they are both equally valuable, then it would seem that fidelity to objective truth (when it exists) and defensible logic have no relevance in affecting a politician’s value.

    Differences in IQ, personality traits, intellectual strengths and weaknesses, and differing personal moral constraints on behavior all seem to be real. Those differences usually begin to appear early in life. Are we really created equal and thus equally valuable? We’re certainly not all the same.


    Posted by Germaine | March 16, 2017, 10:51 am
  2. By accepting the Left-Right/Liberal-Conservative framework, you are, by definition, engaging in linear, one dimensional thinking. There are aspects of BOTH left and right that cloud the critical reasoning skills of their adherents and obstruct our ability to solve complex problems of the real world.

    The reality is both Conservatives and Liberals have consistently failed to improve the way we govern ourselves. Further, they BOTH use exactly the same excuse — it’s 100% the other guy’s fault or what I call MAD – mutually assured distraction.

    Don’t take my word for it, read Hayek’s brilliant essay “Why I’m not a Conservative” and see why he and Popper thought linear thinking was not up to the task of solving problems. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/articles/hayek-why-i-am-not-conservative.pdf

    If you are still thirsty for epistemological refreshment, I also recommend Hayek’s acceptance speech to the Noble committee.


    Posted by tomrossman2017 | March 4, 2017, 2:47 pm

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