[FoRK] Why Won’t They Listen?,‘The Righteous Mind'

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Apr 5 14:01:05 PDT 2012

On 4/5/12 10:21 AM, Bill Kearney wrote:
> Change works better gradually, and usually in small quantities. Evolution makes that clear.  Changing one or two aspects of 
> anything is usually a lot more likely to succeed than trying to jam a dozen of them all together at once.  Yes, it can happen that 
> way, but not as often.
> This doesn't immediately help someone disenfranchised by the status quo, but few things happen fast enough to accomplish that.
> One failing a lot of 'rational' folks seem to make is ignoring the masses inability to change too many things at one time.  And to 
> resist the temptation from using insulting or otherwise destructive rhetoric against them in the process.  Calling things painful 
> or pointless does more to harm the process of change than to help it.  Sure, the underlying premise of pain or pointlessness may 
> be true, but waving the red flag in front of the bull doesn't calm it down.  If anything it further entrenches bad behaviors.
> So it comes as no surprise to read of Haidt's perspective.  There's some sense to it, at least from reading that NYT article.
> Personally I've met far more conservative people with open minds than any professing to be liberal.  Not for lack of exposure, to 
> be sure, as I generally dislike participating in anything arrogant enough to call itself "conservative".  But many of the more 
> liberally inclined people I've dealt with seem fixated on change for it's own sake, with little more than thinly disguised 
> contempt for the needs/perspectives of those they claim to oppose.  Thus it's no surprise how little traction their contempt gets 
> them, or how easily it's exploited.  Not that this is a good thing, as the opportunities for gradual change keep getting lost, 
> further widening the gulf.

Definitely people are on each bandwagon for impulsive, arbitrary, or shallow reasons.  Some people just want to screw with other 
people.  Some are bored and just want change for change's sake.

Beyond those cases, when progression is necessary (because it is inevitable, to stop *ism, etc. including general efficiency), it is 
no excuse that the gap is too big when people actively avoid keeping up for long periods of time.  It is not the fault of moderns to 
expect others to be at least modestly modern when they themselves have been actively evolving, for seemingly good reason, far beyond 
that level.  At some point, it's the social equivalent of a high school drop out complaining that an expert is going to fast and 
speaking in big words.  It is not (usually) the fault of the educated person that someone uneducated is uneducated.  While it may be 
"taste" what each group does on Sunday afternoon, it is heavily influenced by knowledge, capability, and general cultural type/level 
(where "level" is not quite the right word).

Not everything is like that, but there is some of that in a lot of these cases.  Some of it is local culture wide, which makes it 
hard to evolve.

That said, "rational" folks have a responsibility of finding ways to bring others along.  Some of that may be nice and conciliatory, 
but some of it probably should be in-your-face aggression.  Sometimes, that's what you need to engender respect or even to register 
at all.

> -Bill
> On 4/5/2012 12:26 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> The only real question is how painful the pointless struggle is
>> going to be.

More information about the FoRK mailing list