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21 September 2006 @ 09:54 am
Finally a Liberal Writer Who Sees the Problem  
This link about the state of US politics was brought to my attention by pbristow (from the UK, no less.)

I've often said that the reason the Democrats have had trouble getting things together is that they have a misunderstanding over what the debate is about. This article uses some studies about cognition and frames of reference as applied to political viewpoints to try to define just what the differences are between "red" and "blue" states, and why they aren't being made obvious.

I don't agree with everything in it - while it tries to be objective it is written by someone who admits his biases are liberal, and he makes some assumptions about conservatives that I don't believe are completely true - but it is the first thing I have seen to approach the matter in a constructive and positive way.

Leading the Democratic party to better control of their perceptions and unifying their identity is not a bad thing at all, especially for those of us who see many of our values being shut out by a Republican party we used to believe in (long ago in a political climate far, far away...)

This quote in particular stands out:

It’s comforting to think that we only want what’s best for everybody, and that the only reason people oppose us is because they’re stupid. But it’s not true.

Could changing this attitude mean a return to real political discourse? Whoa, I need to have a lie down.

Thanks, Paul!
 
 
Current Mood: thoughtfulintrigued
 
 
 
Phil Parkertigertoy on September 21st, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Bill!
The linked article is easily the most significant political article I have read this year. I really need to scrape together the time to write some in-depth comments about it. I quibble over some of the details, but I think the basic argument is sound. I don't think it is a complete explanation of the political crisis, but I think it will help me a lot in refining my own understanding of the situation.
Bill Roperbillroper on September 21st, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
It's definitely taking a good run at the problem. I tend to disagree with him on the subject of the "social safety net", because I actually don't think that conservatives in general have a problem with what they might call "charity". But that would be another long post...
Alanpatoadam on September 21st, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
Fascinating!

I, too, have often wondered why, on a mixed bag of unrelated issues like abortion, the war in Iraq, and gay marriage, liberals and conservatives consistently agree among themselves and disagree with each other.

I, too, was once a registered Republican, back when the Democratic party was the one that had waged a pointless and unwinnable foreign war, and the one that piled up obscene budget deficits.

Ericacatalana on September 21st, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
Interesting article, even if I want to jump up and down on him and explain that if you believe that everyone must be tolerant you are not a moral relativist.

Sorry, but it only takes one universal moral principle to make you an objectivist. (A weak objectivist, granted, but still an objectivist.) Sloppy use of term like "moral relativism" are exactly why I end up with people making the same stupid mistakes over and over in my classes.

Okay, I'm better now. *grin* Aside from that, it was a very interesting article.
markbernsteinmarkbernstein on September 21st, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Very, very well done. The difficulty, as good as Muder's suggestions are, will be in the implementation. It's going to be hard to re-establish any sort of real dialogue, especially since both parties have reasons to not want their bases to truly hear and understand the other view.

So let's start here. As a Negotiated Commitment kind of guy, I think he characterized my view pretty well. What are the "assumptions about conservatives that [you] don't believe are completely true"?
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on September 21st, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Much as I'd like to, I just don't have the time today to go into a huge amount of detail (what a great thing to do at the next con we're at, though...)

I can say at minimum that his assumptions about conservatives and safety nets are a bit harsh. The disagreement is really about the size and whether the government should provide most of them, not about whether long-term safety nets should exist for the poorest in society.
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Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on September 21st, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
That's right, I should better have said "the way they are perceived" instead of "their perceptions".
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on September 21st, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
Of course, I think the Democrats' perceptions of the electorate and the opposition need adjusting as well, which I think was the entire point of essay.
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