Jump to content
Political Discussion Forums
Metaphysics_of

The Limits of Hate and the Post-Modern Gamble

Recommended Posts

The Limits of Hate and the Post-Modern Gamble

For lack of a better introduction, I will start with a rather unrelated proposition that I will loosely connect via some transitioning to the subject of this writing. The US became a "nation" under FDR. Despite the inequalities of the era, it was the formalization of the notion that each citizen is a participant in a government that acts not solely for the facilitation of living, but for the advancements of collective national interests. Since then and continuing on to this day, the "public good" has been at the center of political discussion in American politics. The forces of political patronage and laissez-faire ideology were no longer the predominant talking points of politicians. National values, identity, and public wellbeing were debated in presidential contests, the national vision of the winner becoming the national vision of the nation for the foreseeable future. Although a winner take all system, national visions were indeed national and at least attempted, whether truthfully or not, to be universal to every citizen. That formality is gone.
In the mid 1990s, with all of the strategic architecture in place from the Reagan revolution, conservative strategists came to a realization. Perhaps it was due to the neoliberal ideologies at the time as this realization also arose in the field of behavioral economics, but regardless of the reason how, conservative strategists came to the ultimate conclusion that their political power was best acquired by adopting a strict win/loss strategy. Of course, there is no big surprise in this realization. It is common sense in any game. What is unique in this approach, is the use of a certain behavioral economic approach in this political strategy. 
The key flaw in market/realist theory that is often pointed out by thinkers such as William Foster Lloyd, Garrett Hardin, and Elinor Ostrom, is the tragedy of the commons in which the overwhelming incentive for each actor to exploit the resources of a system will lead to the collapse of the system itself and the loss of all actors. Key take away for the current stream of thought: in a purely competitive system no actor has incentive to act for the common good. An example more specific to the following thinking: in behavioral economic theory, similar to the motivation of acquiring voters for a political party, there is NO increase in number of customers for a business that compromises its business objectives and there is NO loss in number of customers for a business that doubles down on its business objectives. Research done for "megabanks" such as Bank of America (pardon me for forgetting the source here) have shown that no added transparency, no added personalization, no added benefits will persuade potential customers not interested in participating in a "megabank" from becoming customers. Similarly, no cut of benefits, no decrease in customer satisfaction will cause an existing "megabank" customer from leaving said "megabank". Core principle of behavioral economics: consumers are driven just as much by affect as they are by utility. 
This is quite the paradigm shift when applied to conservative strategy. By doubling down on conservative ideology, conservatives can better rally support and hardline their agendas through congress while knowing that they will not lose their moderate voters. They can forgo the public good and play a game of absolutes to liven conservative voters and pull right leaning moderates with them. Well, this is partisanship 101. At least it was until Donald Trump proved even the public good of morality need not be maintained under this strategy. In response to the threat right wing absolutism poses, we have seen the rise of left wing absolutism; the left's rallying of their own base. Thus the normal distribution that should represent the spectrum of political beliefs has become bimodal; pulled to either end by each extreme. In this game of absolute ideology, there is not just null benefit from moderation, there are negative consequences as moderation becomes a betrayal of the extreme.
With these assumptions in place, there is no competitive disadvantage to fueling hate, not just for the other party but one's own by continuing to pull deeper dissatisfied moderates. Each side will not lose voters and will only serve to increase the likelihood of voter turnout. This is the postmodern gamble. When the actors are solidified, it is the faith in institutions by the nature of their inertia. Be it the case of a party or a business that need not care for the public good, this strategy of maximizing competitive advantage while alienating non consumers and promoting internal dissatisfaction relies on the faith that the institution can bear the brunt of the following instability; that the order that forms society, built upon hundreds of years of constructivist norms, somehow is order in and of itself. It is the gamble that the system itself that has become disembodied from human wills; that the structure that has led to these competitive motivations has long since ceased to be human organization and has in some way become structural fact of our environments; a "natural" mechanism of human operation in and of itself. I mean this not in the popular notion that people have "accepted the way things are". I put forward the postmodern premise that it is not the acceptance of norms, it is the understanding of institutions as the nature of society; that the mechanisms of civilization are perceived as the physical laws of nature. To invoke a popular postmodern case, I allude not to the understanding of racism as systematic; I conclude that the "racial lens" itself is a facet of society; integral to it, that components of society such as race are perceived as the operating mechanism itself. It is the perception that these norms themselves are the origins of thought, not the system of logic that controls thought, that is the heart of this premise. 
The question of who is responsible for the common good is not a question of political science but of the political process. When we expect the public good to be stable in and of itself; that it is the truth of our environment, and we assume it can fend for itself while we pollute it with the products of exploitation for personal gains, at some point the public good, the "Mother Earth" of this comparison, or in this case, the fundamental faith and agreement in the social contract that originally formed a nation, dissolves under the weight of those who assumed it could bear the weight of strategic instability. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Metaphysics_of said:

The Limits of Hate and the Post-Modern Gamble

For lack of a better introduction...

Wow.  The 40% of that post that I understood was brilliant.

So you're saying that the tragedy of the commons here amounts to political players mining faith in public institutions until one day it will suddenly collapse.  If you read Jared Diamond's book "Collapse" you will recognize that if you replace "institutions" with "big stone statues" then this is exactly what happened with Easter Island.  

Basically you are predicting street violence on an order of magnitude larger than is happening today, likely later this year.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I appreciate and understand the premise, FDR did not unite America for many of the social and economic injustices that remain to this day in varying degrees, still driving unrest and upheaval.   As an example, a 1960's America was hardly "united" for the common good.    Stability is a very relative state of mind and existence depending on the vantage point.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In short, everyone loses in the zero-sum game.  This is very old political philosophy that underpins Hegel and later Marx:  The slave is freer than the master because the slave is actually in the world doing the work and knows what can and cannot be done.  The master's identity is mediated by the slave, so the moment we lapse into any major class distinction, those at the top are imperiled.  That's why it's important to set up our policy to maximize human freedom for all.  If the accumulation of capital by one person or group reduces the freedom of the workers, we have social conflict.  That's what the protests are about.  Race is a red herring.  Yes there have been acts of racism and a tradition of racism, but our current public policy isn't racist.  What is problematic involving race is that a disproportionate amount of the poor are minorities.  The big conflict today is between those with pandemic privilege (the ability to buffer themselves from the impact of restrictions and the disease) and those who must work with few protections, living in more crowded environments, in poorer areas, due to lack of opportunity that is a legacy from past injustice.  So, governments have a range of options to deal with this, from trying to make financial reparations, even if the current generations didn't cause the economic woes that were set in motion many generations ago, to essentially removing government supports for the less privileged and allowing everyone to compete with what they have in a "free market".  Of course we know that both extremes are untenable.  Such a completely laissez-faire "free market" will inevitably allow the strongest (especially those born into privilege and those with the greatest talent) to accumulate the most wealth fastest.  The tear it all down reparations argument is essentially communist redistribution from the wealthy, no matter how self-made the wealthy are, to those who have the least, including those who may do no work and contribute nothing to the common good.  We know that healthy government is not zero-sum and must work in the middle.  The debates now should be about which policy formulas float all boats and create the most opportunity for all without trouncing on freedom and property.  Not easy.

I would suggest that identity politics are mostly a waste of time after government and company policy has set in motion fair non-racist policies, which is almost universally the case today.  People who talk about systemic racism when a system has non-racist policies and that system actively tries to root out racist bad actors are playing the dangerous game of discerning "unconscious bias", essentially reading people's minds and passing judgement on them.  Instead of launching inquisitions with inquisitors who are empowered to find fault in organizations where there is no clear racist behavior beyond that of a rare bad actor, a much better use of time and money would be to develop policies that create opportunity, boost immunity, and model successful behaviours.  While it's important to get a well-rounded, realistic perspective of heroes, simply getting rid of heroes or models is not the answer.  That's the work of cultural Marxists and nihilists.  However, people will latch onto such movements if they become desperate and feel that they lack opportunity.  So yes, there is a social commons that has to be protected just as there is an environmental one.  Squeeze people too much and fail to help them in desperate times like the one we're in is asking for more trouble. 

Edited by Zeitgeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But if repairing the social fabric is paramount, wouldn't that include symbolic steps and superficial fixes, if those fixes are perceived as social mending ?  

In fact, it doesn't matter what people are fighting about at this point - just making them stop would shore up the damage to the social commons.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/3/2020 at 5:04 PM, Michael Hardner said:

In fact, it doesn't matter what people are fighting about at this point - just making them stop would shore up the damage to the social commons.

Which is why it is interesting to see one party fanning the anti-social flames.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

Which is why it is interesting to see one party fanning the anti-social flames.

What a ridiculous statement.  I guess you would be in favour of banning the Democrat party then ? If you can't see both parties being part of this you don't understand the OP at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

What a ridiculous statement. 

Oh I'm so sorry  offended you.

Quote

I guess you would be in favour of banning the Democrat party then ? 

What a ridiculous supposition. You do that a lot. A trademark of leftist thought is to project your reactionary fears on others.

Banning the party? Don't be an asshole. How about calling them out for what they are.
Banning the party.

Your own response actually typifies the problem. You take a persons comment and extend it to absurdity. Perfectexmple of what's wrong today with people's patterns of thinking. But then, you are likely just another typical product of multimedia society.

 

Quote

If you can't see both parties being part of this you don't understand the OP at all.

Oh dear, you really love the OP so much don't you. Practically gushing over it. Sorry that I came in here to this sacred place, where only lofty high-level intellectuals like yourself are welcome.

Will you tell me to leave now?

Your reaction also proves you are a liberal. I see no need to find equivalence here. It's completely fair to call it like it is. I see people instigating and commiting violence on one side. Their leaders are not calling for calm and dialogue, but their speech sounds like general political hooey. On the other they are calling for civil law and order.

So now you tell me, is there any problem with my statement? The truth should be repressed?

It's all our fault now, when the left wants to remain sanctimonious and above reproach.

50 years of predominantly liberal leadership brought us here. These problems didnt occur yesterday.

So, Lefy-Boy, I say OWN IT.  You people are actually mainly to blame, but the way you prance around here like some celestial princess, you'd think your feet never even touch the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

1. Oh I'm so sorry  offended you.

2.  You take a persons comment and extend it to absurdity.  

3. Oh dear, you really love the OP so much don't you. Practically gushing over it.

4. Sorry that I came in here to this sacred place, where only lofty high-level intellectuals like yourself are welcome.

5. Your reaction also proves you are a liberal.

6. I see people instigating and commiting violence on one side.

7. It's all our fault now, when the left wants to remain sanctimonious and above reproach.

8. 50 years of predominantly liberal leadership brought us here. These problems didnt occur yesterday.  So, Lefy-Boy, I say OWN IT.  You people are actually mainly to blame, but the way you prance around here like some celestial princess, you'd think your feet never even touch the ground.

1. You didn't offend me.  Why would you think that a ridiculous statement would 'offend' me ?
2. It was already absurd to blame one party for fanning the flames.  I just took it to the natural conclusion: one party is the problem, so ban it.
3. I thought it was much better than the partisan gruel you served up, yes.  I don't know why it upsets you so much that I responded as I did.  I guess I offended you.
4. If I didn't think you were capable of better then I wouldn't criticize your posts.  You really seem hurt.
5. Small 'l' liberal - YES.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism That is: liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before law.
6. Yes, you don't see fault on the other side - you already said that. 
7. And why you want to call me 'the left' based on the fact that I have said both sides are to blame... a mystery.  I didn't say it's all "your fault"... You are really howling here...
8. Multiple levels of name calling blubbering, blaming 'liberals'... Not sure what I did to offend you, but I still like you and if I didn't think you were posting to I would put you on 'ignore'.

Have a better day...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...