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 utopian or "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.
Democratic socialism is the first step toward moving from capitalism to socialism, and with FDR we already saw that it works. Presumably we can keep marching toward a state of pure communism and democracy ("The Sweet Spot"), where there is no private property or money. Marx was wrong in some ways, but right in others. One thing he really missed was that capitalism is mostly flawed because it just simply won't jibe with environmentalism - but how could he have known about the environmental devastation that lay ahead? If you destroy the nest you have nothing left. I remain optimistic for the future.
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.
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.