I was thinking about this anyway but this morning's French sneering that people support Trump because of the media they consume and the utterly horrifying response to Pelosi's desire to set up a panel to deem her political opponents psychologically unstable sharpened my thoughts.
Are you able to state why it is that people who hold political positions opposite to your own do so? Not merely being able to state what those positions are fairly and accurately on the terms that your opponent understands them but *why* your opponent believes it. Can you do it?
Can you do it without falling back on invective? Republicans are full of hate and are selfish and greedy and care for nothing by themselves and money. Leftism is a mental disorder and if you're on the Left you are a lazy coward who wants Big Daddy government to take care of you.
Can you explain why it is that someone on the Right wants the border enforced without screaming racist? Can you explain why it is that someone on the Left wants to make nuns provide contraception coverage without screaming religious bigot? Because it's vital to do so.
People far smarter than I can explain the evolutionary psychology for viewing those outside the group as Other and completely dismissing their beliefs. All I can say is that it appears to me to be hard wired for humans to do so and it leads to destruction.
Why is it important to do so? First, so that you continue to view the opposition as that, as opposed to as the enemy. Because when it tips from opposition to enemy, that's when things start nosing about the let's get sporty camp. I'd really rather not go down that road, thanks.
More importantly, if you do not know why someone believes what they do on their own terms, you cannot change that person's mind. Let's use me as an example. I am implacable that the Administrative Procedures Act is an abomination before the eyes of God and man. Why is that?
Because I believe that the right of the individual citizen is primary, that the government should exist to and only to the extent necessary to enforce and protect the rights of the individual and no further, and that power must be checked constantly and ruthlessly.
Thus process arguments about how we live in a complex society and it is not reasonable to expect Congress to pass bills for everything and that the administrative state is necessary in order to function are arguments which I ignore entirely. I will never be persuaded by that.
Does anyone really think calling people racists is going to persuade them to change their minds? Do you think telling someone you are mentally ill for holding your views is going to make them want to listen to a word you say? Really? Do you really think that? Seriously?
If the goal is to get people to support your views, even if it is for a short term win on a specific issue, you need to be able to frame the argument in a manner that appeals to that person. This is some of the simplest psychology out there. And yet it seems to be beyond people.
The current feedback loop, and by current I mean the last 50 years or so, appears to be strengthening the language in order to shore up the walls of the group rather than attempting to comprehend the view of the Other to persuade them into your camp. This is not good.
I do think far too many people mistake explanation with acceptance. It is possible to explain any number of positions and why people hold those positions while finding the positions themselves completely wrong. Comprehension does not mean acceptance.
My point, to the extent I have one, is that hurling invective, which I do with gleeful abandon and enjoy immensely, is not going to persuade anyone of anything other than what a bitch you are. But if you want to persuade, learn what it is you are persuading people to think.
My goal on Twitter is to get dopamine and snark with pretend internet friends. Also I like the sound of my own typing. I don't pretend otherwise. I'm just a random anon spewing into the ether. But for those who want to persuade? Try understanding why people think like that.
Besides, once you know why someone thinks like that, you can then use that as leverage against them. What? You didn't think I was typing all the above out of the goodness of my soul shaped cavity did you? Learn the weakness. Then exploit it. Because the Other is human too.