Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Socials and the stubbornness of political problems

There isn't a problem that can't be solved by discussion, investigation of facts and making compromises. Yet there are awful lot of persistent political problems, many leading to bloody wars. Why?

The simple social explanation is that you can't change your opinion without becoming a traitor. Hell, you are considered a traitor for simply talking to the "evil" opposing party members. Agreement is very important for social people. Anyone who disagrees or criticizes them is observed hostile. Friends always agree, even when they are wrong. If you are a simple guy, your opinion won't change much anyway, so you have little reason to make your relatives and friends hate you for the sinister crime of mentioning facts.

If you are a political actor, having good standings with your party members isn't just a matter of sociality, it's the matter of re-election and having readers for a journalist/opinion leader. So even if you are positive that your party line is wrong, you join, simply to keep your salary. In a democracy - and even in most dictatorships - there is money to be made as never-winning opposition leader. So why lose this status for nothing? Because that's the trick: even if you'd damn your career to speak the truth, you'd achieve nothing. Your party would simply replace you with a "true believer" and everything would keep going on.

My prediction is that Climate Change Denial will go on until the sea takes coastal cities, Hillary supporters will claim that the voters who voted for Obama twice but not for Hillary are secret KKK members and Syria will remain a place of shooting for a long time, because no one will say "yes, I was at least partially wrong and the solution is somewhere between my position and the opposition". Such approach might solve the problem, but lose him his job. And the latter matters more.

I'd like to point out that this isn't because of the inability of socials to see errors in their ways. It's because of their inability to face their less intelligent friends who are unable to see the same errors. While Joe may be able to say "the Iraq war was a bad idea" or "maybe NAFTA wasn't the wisest thing of the century", he is not able to suffer Jack calling him a "cowardly beta male" or a "populist Bernie dog who secretly voted for Trump".


Provi Miner said...

compromise, and admitting a mistake.... hmmm interesting thoughts. so lets see what we get for um compromise.

First off whom ever makes the deal 90% of the time will be the appeaser and within a very short time the acceptor will take advantage of the deal and will rewrite it more to their benefit.

Lets take an example after WWI the Washington treaty was signed, for the oddest of reasons the allies forced their own member (japan) to be treated as loser. While not a catalyst it was very much an enhancer for WWII. What about the 73 paris treaty we forced the south to accept bad terms they didn't last long. Same for Iraq and Afghanistan. We all know the story in both cases we forced a compromise and it back fired. Do you think assad won't point to those two instances and say um not so fast. Or what about forcing the Egyptian military to oust a leader and allow the botherhood to step in? how did that work. Compromise can work but only when both sides are fairly equal and willing to call it off on rain.

Lets take a look at your supposed "climate denier's" first off I have never met one or heard one. What I have heard and met is a lot of folks who laugh and say "oh my god the climate is changing and here I thought the earth had a stable climate for 4 billion years or so" of course the climate is changing anyone who is against that is actually against nature. How much is man made? I don't know no one will. Example there is historical evidence of a huge lake that covered most of wisconson and minnasota. OMG how could that happen... would you believe it was beavers(their ancestors actually).... Yeah we are the only ones able to make the world different... the problem with the climate folks is they give us way to much credit we are not really that good. Look at north Europe 5 centuries of effort and they still can't stop flooding during bad storms and folks want me to believe that we are the primary driver behind a changing climate? Most likely we have held change back for the last 50 years or so. I remind you "hockey stick" yep not happening. I remind you "more violent, more frequent extreme weather" no not really the uptick in numbers is we actually count stuff that does nothing where as before we never did. a bad storm in the middle of the Atlantic pre 1970 was not named nor really remarked upon. More damage sure, more morons and slackers living in bad area's.... Hey I got a great idea lets build a town 10 feet below the banks of a river put up a dyke and pray it holds (it never does). Will the sea rise you bet it will. Will it get hotter yep but it will also get a lot colder, most likely Europe will see another "mini" ice age while the rest of us cook. Did you know in north Africa you can find whale bones 100 miles inland... why cause it was a sea at one time (gasp that can't be there where no humans to alter the climate back then). Is man a threat? yes are we "THE" threat no not by a long shot between a building super virus and building climate adjustment we a long way down the threat list. Oh here is another did you know that animals went extinct pre modern man? yep we even have fossils to tell us we are not the big bad hunters of all time (nature is). When you hear about a wild fire burning down half a million hectars you can blame man for not allowing natural burn offs for the last 50 years. Man is good we are not that good and those that think we are... well they will be in for rude shock at some point when it turns out we are not much more than a bug on the winshield.

Steel H. said...

Humans aren't leopards. We do not have sharp claws, teeth, strength and agility to be solitary predators (and our reproduction is a mess). The only way our species survives and thrives is by getting together and forming groups/tribes/organizations/institutions and generating synergy. Sociality is not just important, it is everything.
Second, resources are zero-sum and never enough. To have more of something (prime real estate, minerals, water, clean air, energy, jobs) here you must take it from somewhere else, and there will be less of it over there (see thermodynamics). And you could always have more.
This means life is a constant foreverwar for resources, at any level (atomic/cellular/multi-cellular/social/institutional). In the old days (of Beowulf) this was settled with armies, axes and bloody conquest. In today’s cushy society we can’t chop the heads of our competitors, so we use nagging – propaganda, gas-lighting, fake news, protesting, etc. This is why these debates are “stubborn”. 100% of them are not a bunch of philosopher kings trying to uncover some truth, but informational warfare over resource pie. One paradigm benefits one group, another benefits another. The wage gap, black lives matter, trade, immigration, automation global warming, you name it.
Sociality is not irrational. It is a very rational (if subconscious) weapon in the battle for the resource pie. It is in fact the main weapon of homo sapiens, from which all our weapons derive.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of people cling to their opinions, kicking and screaming and moving goalposts in order to hang onto something they really really really want to be true.

They just need to remember that screaming something over and over does not make it true

nightgerbil said...

Too simplistic as your leaving out idealists, visionaries and "men of principle" wether we would discuss winston churchill who campaigned for confrontation with germany even if it led to war in the 1934-38 when "all men" considered such a thing a travesty, nigel farage today who led his populist (and politically suicidal: he has no future in main stream british poltics and our establishment totally reject him and refuse to allow him a sniff of power) anti eu party to success, Trump even who made immigration and the wall such a talking point in US politics, where previously the whole republican attack had focused on obama care, benghazi and the Iran deal.

Theres always people willing to say the unsayable and be brave. The question to my mind is why they are only listened to when the situation has detoriated to such a dire mess that the common wisdom no longer has answers.

maxim said...

All of this hinges on the assumption that you already know wrong from right.
For example, climate change is actually a topic where there at least as much evidence against it as for it. So everyone is picking and choosing the kind of evidence they believe in. I personally believe that while climate change is indeed going on, it is not a process that can be stopped or even influenced by current levels of anthropogenic influence. So all suggestions to pay copious amounts of money to people that claim they will fix the climate change are basically hoax.

Same for Trump obviously being a clown. Hillary for obviously being a satan worshipper etc. We don't actually know Trump is not a clown and Hillary is not going to bed with an eldritch tome. We just choose to believe it.

Obviously, if you choose the wrong kind of evidence, you are the enemy. Not because you are wrong or right, but because you are willfully choosing something i chose against.

And, i repeat, the only reason we are even talking choices is because the truth is not yet well and truly established.

You may be correct that it just might be the case that losing a couple of coastal cities to climate change is the only way to actually establish the truth. That's the nature of the beast, sadly.

Hanura H'arasch said...

@Provi Miner, maxim: I love how you guys immediately proof Gevlon's point. In any case, here's a nice diagram which shows the merit of "the climate has changed before".

Unknown said...

There is no compromise when we are both hungry and there is only one loaf of bread on the table. The bigger man eats, the smaller stays hungry and no amount of discussion is going to change this fact. This is how it is and this is how it's supposed to be.

If we were serious about climate change there would be nuclear power plants being built everywhere. This is the best, tested and ecological way of generating energy, yet everybody opposes? The Germans, leaders in "green energy" have pretty much decommissioned all of their nuclears.
Oh, by the way, main reason we can't really go green is socialism. Yes, socialism. Renewable energy (solar, wind) has very high initial cost but very low running cost. It pays back after rather long time. Only, with socialist governments printing money the inflation is so high that the savings on running costs never exceed the opportunity loss of investing in solar (to understand it better: if you borrow money to build solar power station, the interest on your loan will be higher than the cost of your competitors buying coal for their dirty energy)

Tithian said...

Theres always people willing to say the unsayable and be brave. The question to my mind is why they are only listened to when the situation has detoriated to such a dire mess that the common wisdom no longer has answers.

Because Pain is the ultimate teacher of the social, stubborn moron. He will not accept someone else being right, or does not have the capacity to understand the value of someone else's ideas, so he will ignore any pleas to (for example) not go into needless debt, or get a stable job, or not jump into a cage with lions. But he will understand (in most cases) being unemployed, starvation or having his arm bitten off. In some cases even that will not work though, as some people are stubborn enough to always blame the 'other' for bringing him down.

maxim said...

I love how you just parrot your favourite ideology vendor instead of giving an actual answer :D
You are also proving Gevlon's point, by the way.

tweell said...

Hanura, you're not so bad at 'proof' yourself. Ooh, a comic strip using obviously false information should change their minds!

Dude, have you never heard of the medieval warming period?

Provi Miner said...

@Hanura, your chart is misleading it outsizes the most recent sample if you were to take an ice age and break it down you would find decades and century's of "warm weather" but it doesn't show on your chart cause of the surrounding temps over a long period of time mask the highs and lows. Your chart misleads by characterizing the last 10 years on a scale of tens of thousands of years. To properly show that chart you would have to be consistent in your time line use. 3 cm = X year always. Redo your chart like that and see what you find I suspect you will be very surprised. did you know that some GW scientist have decided regan killed our best chance to stop GW when we forced the end of pollution that led to "acid rain" turns out that those chemicals are natural GW gas attractors and when they came down they brought the CO2 with them. Funny how that works we think we are doing a good thing but really are just unleashing the monster behind the door.