3 3

Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives; great Ted Talk! a little under 19 minutes long

MikeInBatonRouge 8 Nov 18
You must be a member of this group before commenting. Join Group

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


"Good people can disagree" - Jesus in The Walking Dead.

Then there's the idea attributed to Hegel that truth is the sum of different opinions.

I think the problems arise, not so much theoretically (in the abstract), but in how yin/yang can be applied to real-world problems. I think Jordon Peterson would argue that the right's compulsion towards order is a basic social necessity while the left's propensity towards change should be effected only within the right's hierarchical order.

brentan Level 8 Nov 18, 2018

I’ve come away none the wiser: and somewhat frustrated therefore. So we need to not make those moral for and against judgements. We need to step out of something or other though pragmatically not sure what that is. Sure there’s psychology about why people are the way they are. That’s really not novel at all. But the moral ‘so what’ is the gaping hole here.

And somehow’in this world which is hurtling towards war, huge pestilential disease and destruction I can’t imagine that we need anything other than moral judgement. Or if we do then what is it?

OwlInASack Level 8 Nov 18, 2018

I definitely DO make moral "for and against" judgments. I did not read that as the point of the tedx talk. I judge the falseness of arguments and of alternative facts and of red herring fear-based, scape-goating social issues used by mega-corporation lobbyists to manipulate farmers, small business owners, and working class voters alike (not to mention evangelical White Xtians) into voting AGAINST their own economic interest. I judge all of that.
But the point is to remember behind all the perceptions and questionable reasoning, regular people on the other side from me of political issues DO have some valid worries, and I stand no chance of convincing anyone to change their position if I forget that.
....and yes, it is also good to remind myself I don't know everything, even though I tend to think my opinions are logical and right. Don't we all think that?

@MikeInBatonRouge Well absolutely: for me though this is one of the foundation differences between left and right. As a leftie, I know I will frequently be wrong, I count my absolute certainties as weaknesses, and I measure myself on how often I've changed my mind about something important to me. That doesn't mean I know nothing (as is often claimed): it means I recognise that knowledge is rarely complete.

I am very nervous of anything that leads us right now towards those calls for politeness and respect for eg. We are well beyond that. The people indulging themselves in climate change denial do not deserve respect and in fact, giving it suggests that there is a discussion to be had. It is a morally humble position to accept the climate science.

That doesn't mean I have to go out of my way to be rude or violent. But I owe no respect or deference to those currently fucking the world. And I've stopped giving it.

I think moral humility might look like knowing ones own boundaries. It definitely shouldn't look like less outrage right now.

@OwlInASack I agree with you if I interpret your meaning. I differentiate between the actors manipulating levers of power to Fuck us over(they deserve swift and blunt condemnation and opposition) ...and those millions of conservative "neighbors" not paying enough attention, who are being duped by them. Assertiveness is essential. But insulting people out of hand serves little purpose other than to feel good to us at the moment (and I confess to occasionally venting in such a way, too).

@MikeInBatonRouge I think you are too accommodating. 'Not paying enough attention' could also be 'selfishly indulging themselves with catastrophic consequences'.

I think the point is that we are constantly required to maintain a polite demeanour and participate in 'debate' with folks who've inflicted on us Trump, racism, sexual assault as normal, a total corruption of the judiciary, voter suppression, etc. I'm not suggesting that there's any point in being deliberately rude. But there's also nothing about people who've inflicted this on us that requires and kind of decency on our part. More important than worrying about that stuff, we should just carry on pointing out the consequences of what they've done without worrying if they'll be offended...

@OwlInASack I think we are saying much of the same things but with different emphasis. The "basket of deplorables" are a hopeless case and deserve everything we can throw at them. But if we are secular-ly "holier than thou" with everyone who voted Trump, or brexit, or whatever, we will have done nothing to change any of their votes for the better, and for some likely will piss them off and encourage them to double down to spite us, even as they realize their initial votes might have been mistakes.

@MikeInBatonRouge @MikeInBatonRouge

I think what I'm saying is that I no longer care if I am accused of being almost anything - including holier than thou - by the right. Those are exactly the tactics that they have used so successfully to mute us, to stop us from pointing out their moral depravity. We don't want to upset after all. I understand this well: I'm British. Not upsetting 'nice' people is in our DNA.

But it's a charade, a faux-promis. This is exactly what they do to stop us in our tracks. I'm not going out of my way to upset anyone. But if I insist on pointing out that racism is unacceptable, voting for Trump is unacceptable, fascism is something my grandfathers fought in Germany to defeat so its disgusting that privileged, wealthy selfish people are welcoming back across the globe. I will point that out and no longer aim to be polite. After all: demanding that we are polite while they support fascism is a little unbalanced.

And nothing is going to change their minds anyway. Being polite has failed. So lets stop that shit and start telling it as it really is.

@OwlInASack re. "....nothing's going to change their minds." Those are the Deplorables, and I agree. I also know, however, there is a sizeable group of waffling, uninformed and gullible people who are often swayed by scare tactics, even though their main motives are NOT malice toward anyone. Those are the people I want to reach, not because I admire them, but because they vote, like it or not, and I don't want to presumptuously assign individuals to motives before they have had a chance to reveal that.
I acknowledge there are an appalling number of deplorables.

@MikeInBatonRouge This from PZ Myers today - a really timely post on the subject of tone...

Most of us recognized this problem long ago (who else remembers the “tone wars” on ScienceBlogs?), but it’s good to have a good summary of the problem with emphasizing politeness.

*"When used as a political rallying point, appeals to civility are often a trap, particularly when forwarded in response to critical, dissenting speech. Sidestepping the content of a critique in order to police the tone of that critique—a strategy employed with particular vigor during the Kavanaugh hearings, and which frequently factors into hand-wringing over anti-racist activism—serves to falsey equate civility with politeness, and politeness with the democratic ideal. In short: you are being civil when you don’t ruffle my feathers, which is to say, when I don’t have to hear your grievance.

Besides their tendency to be adopted as bad faith, rhetorical sleights-of-hand, calls for civility have another, perhaps more insidious, consequence: deflecting blame. It’s everybody else’s behavior, they’re the ones who need to start acting right. They’re the ones who need to control themselves. In these instances, “We need to restore civility” becomes an exercise in finger pointing. You’re the one who isn’t being civil. Indeed, the above NPR survey explicitly asked respondents to identify who was to blame for the lack of civility in Washington, with four possible choices: President Trump, Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Congress, or the media. Whose fault is it: this is how the civility question tends to be framed."*

Just remember, Nazis can be civil. It’s not how they say it that matters, but what they say.

@OwlInASack "Sidestepping the content of a critique in order to police the tone of that critique" is not what I am advocating. Civility does not mean sticking our heads in the sand about lies, distortions and bigotry. It DOES mean remembering to stay focused on calling out the bullshit of the conman and the dishonesty of his rhetoric and not allowing ourselves to be distracted by name-calling of everyone who was duped by his con. Racism, misogyny, and xenophobia do not get a pass, but conservatives' fears of economic vulnerability or of being displaced in the job market and will remain compelling motivations for them voting, and we are better served sticking to real issues and hammering the falsehood of the con rather than allowing demagogues to keep spinning the narrative as "us vs them" winner and losers scenarios. As Michael Moore said recently, you should tell your conservatove brother in law at the holiday table that when your side wins at the ballot box, the HE too is going to be helped, even though he does not yet believe that.


This begs us to think. It is not passive but suggests we can better fight for needed social change with a healthy dose of moral humility.

But what is ‘moral humility’? What does it look
like each morning when I brush my teeth and put my clothes on?

@OwlInASack Perhaps it means taking our own outrage with a grain of salt - realizing that we're capable of overlooking relevant issues when we make judgments. I'm prone to making that error because so much about the present state of affairs outrages me. Although I try to step back and analyze whatever judgment I'm making, sometimes my outrage overwhelms my capacity to be objective. Trying to work on that.

@OwlInASack what is moral humility? ...a good question! I am certainly as opinionated as anyone, and not about to apologize for that. To me, it is a practice of reminding myself not to be too quick to dismiss the concerns of the other side. (That Doesn't mean accepting their alternative facts) I don't always understand them, but the better understanding I can gain of their concerns, the better able I will be to speak persuasively to them, as well as to factor those expressed concerns into my own understanding of policy solutions to societal problems.