Welcome to Brad's Sandbox!
What do you see? Some people see two faces looking at each other. Other people see a vase.
The famous Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach developed a test that used images similar
to this one to analyze a person's personality. I think we can safely say that, at this point
in our history as a country, Democrats and Republicans look at the same data and walk away
with opposite conclusions. Politics has become psychological.
|Logical Postivism||For scientists. Also known as Logical Empiricism. This is scientific truth—facts that can be reproduced by anyone, anytime. See Vienna Circle. See Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.|
|Scientific Paradigms||For physicists. Even with scientific facts, scientific truth is elusive. Perception affects even scientific hypotheses and conclusions. See The Structure of Scientific Revolutions>.|
|Social Sciences||For social scientists. See Chomsky vs. Skinner. To what extent can you apply the hard sciences approach to the social sciences? See Language and Mind. See The Blue and Brown Books.|
|Consensus||For liberals and conservatives. Debate and agreement. See News Flanks. See Sonny's Utopia.|
|Moral Relativism||For hippies and Trump supporters. The further left and the further right you go, the more perception becomes reality. Empirical proof not needed. See https://bradfordharrison.github.io/Against_Hierarchy.pdf. See The Idea of a Social Science.|
|Faith||For monks, priests and preachers. A priori truth. See Critique of Pure Reason. See The Bible.|
Since 2015 I have been very actively debating conservatives about Trump. I'm a liberal.
I have spent a lot of time in CNBC's comments sections (before they were discontinued),
on Redstate.com, on Fox News's comment sections, and on Quora. I was banned from Redstate.com.
Quora moderation regularly dings me. The Fox News comments sections have become an insane waste
of time. No one is convincing the other side of anything. We are talking right past each other.
I have debated about as far as you can with folks, but it wasn't until a few days ago that
I realized how futile my efforts truly are: the conservative with whom I was debating finally
said, "You and I come from different world views. We even see the facts differently."
He was right! MSNBC and Fox News report on the same "facts" with opposite conclusions. Almost
every data point about the economy is contested. President Trump can utter the most outrageous
exaggerations and conservatives won't call him on them if there is even an inkling of truth.
Conservatives focus on the inkling of truth, while Democrats focus on where he diverges from
the truth. These behaviors are just like looking at the picture above.
I've concluded we have entered a glass "half full" or "half empty" world where political reality
is perceived rather than revealed. The only way consensus is reached is by voting. Our future as
a country is based on whose perception gets the most votes (as well as the integrity of the voting system).
Perception is reality.
Experience impacts perception. The only method that can be used to determine exactly how experience impacts perception is by data analysis — correlate people's backgrounds with their beliefs.
In every lie there is a little bit of truth. Some people focus on the little bit of truth. Others focus on the lie.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. -George Orwell
Each paradigm will be shown to satisfy more or less the criteria that it dictates for itself and
to fall short of a few of those dictated by its opponent. -Thomas Kuhn
What people generally fail to understand about communism is that Marx insisted that a country go through capitalism before it transitions to communism. This has never happened. The USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela all went straight toward communism from agrarian and feudal economies, and thus ended up as authoritarian dictatorships. China has in fact regressed back toward capitalism from communism, mostly out of necessity (there was hardly any "means of production" for Mao to usurp!). China has a "command" capitalist economy within a pseudo-communist state. The theory is that a capitalist country should slowly transition to socialism, and then to communism. So truly the world has never seen the sort of "scientific" communist state envisioned by Marx and Engels (though neither of them was any good at explaining exactly what that state would look like). Communism emerged from the ideas of the Enlightenment and has suffered horrible misinterpretation and application for some 200 years.
1. Capitalists don't clean up after themselves.
2. Communism failed.
3. Socialism is a propaganda term used by the right. The right conflates socialism with government services paid for with taxes.
4. Sustainable capitalism is the only viable path ahead.
5. I used to be a utopian socialist, and then a democratic socialist, but that sector of the graph above just isn't feasible.
6. A credible neoliberal democracy is the best we can hope for.
My website newsflanks.com
crunches data to identify what I call "revelations." Revelations are the intersections, the overlap, where people with otherwise widely differing views do in fact agree. They are the ultimate truths. There are questions where there can be no direct empirical verification, but by voting we can find the truth that filters through each voter's personal analysis of his experiences. Otherwise, if the question is so removed from empirical verification that it can be answered only with pure opinion, we must pass over the question in silence.
In every lie there's a little bit of truth, and everything depends on whether you focus on the lie or on the little bit of truth. The truth speaks for itself. The problem is hearing it through the lies.
Human beings are capable of dreaming up the most amazing cosmologies, legends and myths. And that's fine! The problem comes when they let their cosmologies, legends and myths interfere with their abilities to see the truths that affect us all. As a relativist I don't judge, but as an empiricist I do. As an empiricist, I distinguish between opinions that affect others' basic ability to survive and prosper, and what I call "victimless values." As a relativist, I don't judge about victimless values—think whatever you want. But as an empiricist, I know that clearly some values are destructive, and consensus is the only route to find those values and eliminate them from society. It's also important to realize that a good vote requires a diverse group of voters. Social paradigms vary in the same way Kuhn's scientific paradigms vary. Both result in a progressive transition to more truthful and useful scientific hypotheses and voting outcomes.
There are really two realities in our lives: the true, empirically verifiable, observable, and reproducible reality, and the human reality where human foibles and talents create and evolve unprovable worlds. But the two realities intersect. Community and society must be driven by empirical realities, while human-driven fantasy, conspiracy, and cultism have no place in that. However, like Kuhn's paradigm shifts, the overlap drives change.
Every one of us exists in the two worlds. The empirical world consists of our shared experiences in the world "out there." Scientists, doctors, lawyers, and many others work in that world, but they don't necessarily live in that world. Second, there is the world of unique human behavior based on ego and opinion. We all must live in that world to some extent in order to function and thrive in society. Sociopaths leverage that world to achieve their goals. We are all sociopaths to some degree, or we will get exploited and perhaps destroyed in a competitive society. People don't always live according to the empirical and shared facts, but law ensures that they do to some degree, or they are penalized. Voting and the passing of laws must occur in an unbiased environment as free from the second reality as possible. It is an unverifiable reality, but some of it will certainly creep into voting and the passing of laws. However, that must be minimized to have a society that works—one that is not in a continuous state of flux.
Voting has the distinct ability to reveal the social empirical truths that affect us all. Voting is the only path toward a sustainable and meaningful future.
The Great Right-Wing Mind Fuck
The radical right in America today is warping the minds of enough Americans to get power far beyond where average Americans actually stand politically. This is primarily being done via the right-wing conspiracy media bubble, shown below on the right side of this graphic:
The propaganda, funded by massive right-wing dark money and media ownership/sponsorship, is creating a fictional view of the world in Trump supporters and others. They then project this false reality on empirical reality, hallucinating their truth. But the worldview is patently false, and I can prove it. The biggest problem America faces today is this group of brainwashed fanatics.
1. The Death of Democracy and the American Dream. The rise of the GOP Cult leveraging archaic mechanisms specified by the Consitution, resulting in the return of slavery to America. The mechanisms were included in the Constitution to appease the slaveholders, and include the Electoral College and the Senate. Now they have come back to haunt us.
2. The rise of the plutocracy/oligarchy, and the rule of the rich. Dark money and the Citizens United ruling.
3. The rise of neo-liberalism, the military-industrial complex, and the corporatocracy. The resulting destruction of the natural environment and monetization of society and lifestyles. The commercialization (destruction) of lifestyles.
Why is America so right wing now?
4. The radical right-wing conservative media bubble & the Great Right-wing Mind Fuck of 2022.