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The Western World's Grand Narrative


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This arises from a couple of discussions I've seen online. It relates to what was called the absence of a 'grand narrative' in the West. One of the things I was watching was a lecture by the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who talked about how people were happier, and worked better when they had a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. He talked about how soldiers were willing to make sacrifices, to do heroic, even suicidal things in order to move forward, to win, because even if they died, the unit, the fight, would carry on and succeed. By being so strong a part of a group they were willing to make sacrifices they never would otherwise.

In that respect, the lack of any 'grand narrative' in Western society is an explanation for how we find ourselves at a loss of purpose. We've booted out religion as a narrative, and largely cast away any sense of nationalism, too. In fact, schools now teach our young to be ashamed of their country's past, rather than take pride in it. Our leaders (if I may use this technically but not actually true description of them) tell us nationalism is a bad, even dangerous thing.

So what is there to be a part of which is greater than ourselves? What vision do our western societies have? What is the ambition, the project, the goal? There doesn't appear to be any. And in fumbling about for one we get groups on the Left (mostly) coming up with things like social justice to make all people equal (regardless of merit), like massive environmental changes to fight global warming at whatever cost(and regardless of the negligible results), like ambitious economic changes to redistribute wealth.

The Right mostly isn't doing this, at least in part because much of the Right still has religion as a narrative/purpose. And also because conservatism does not really go in for huge changes, being well aware of how easily you can damage a well-functioning system with ham-handed and poorly thought out new policies. In a system which is working relatively smoothly, a huge change is much more likely to make things worse than better. Then, too, the Right still has more of a sense of nationalism as another grand narrative/sense of belonging.

What we need and lack is some kind of grand narrative and purpose for people who have none. People need a sense of meaning in their lives beyond going to school to get a decent job, to acquire stuff, to save for retirement, and die. Religion used to serve that purpose, then nationalism. Now there's nothing to give people a sense of belonging to something greater. And a lot of people are adrift because of it.

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3 hours ago, Argus said:

1. So what is there to be a part of which is greater than ourselves? What vision do our western societies have? What is the ambition, the project, the goal? There doesn't appear to be any.

2. And in fumbling about for one we get groups on the Left (mostly) coming up with things like social justice to make all people equal (regardless of merit), like massive environmental changes to fight global warming at whatever cost(and regardless of the negligible results), like ambitious economic changes to redistribute wealth.

3. The Right mostly isn't doing this, at least in part because much of the Right still has religion as a narrative/purpose. And also because conservatism does not really go in for huge changes, being well aware of how easily you can damage a well-functioning system with ham-handed and poorly thought out new policies. In a system which is working relatively smoothly, a huge change is much more likely to make things worse than better. Then, too, the Right still has more of a sense of nationalism as another grand narrative/sense of belonging.

4. What we need and lack is some kind of grand narrative and purpose for people who have none. People need a sense of meaning in their lives beyond going to school to get a decent job, to acquire stuff, to save for retirement, and die. Religion used to serve that purpose, then nationalism. Now there's nothing to give people a sense of belonging to something greater. And a lot of people are adrift because of it.

1. Yes, the philosophers have been talking about this since the 18th/19th century.  How can humanity survive nihilism ?  
2. I find it strange that you start out seemingly looking at our collective lack of meaning, and then quickly disparage a group that has found something meaningful.  But ok.... let's see where you go next.
3. Readying between the lines... you use qualifying language "mostly" "in part" "much of the.." "does not really" "relatively smoothly".  It feels like there may be some doubt that the current project will continue successfully. 
4. Well I agree that it's needed.   But what will it be ?  I see lots of opportunities for people to pursue meaningful lives, helping others and creating beautiful things for example.  The first step would be to articulate a sense of purpose, and a culture of selflessness to me would be a great place to start.  I see materialism as a dead end, and endless acquisition doesn't solve the problems we have.  Nor does negativity and finding fault in everything about our culture.  We need to build out a culture of positivity, caring and doing things... and a new class of leadership to foster it I think.


Food for thought.

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37 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. Yes, the philosophers have been talking about this since the 18th/19th century.  How can humanity survive nihilism ?  

I think we had grand narratives in the 18th/19th century. Plus, things were a lot less economically comfortable. When you're working your ass off just to get enough food for yourself and your family, and to keep yourselves alive, there's less time to ponder anything else. That's especially so when almost everyone was a firm believer in religion and nationalism.

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2. I find it strange that you start out seemingly looking at our collective lack of meaning, and then quickly disparage a group that has found something meaningful.  But ok.... let's see where you go next.

I wasn't disparaging them so much as pointing out that they lack any sense of purpose more than the Right, because many elements of the right still have nationalism and religion. Lacking both, they are seeking some other purpose, some other way to join as a group to form some kind of a sense of being a part of something important.

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3. Readying between the lines... you use qualifying language "mostly" "in part" "much of the.." "does not really" "relatively smoothly".  It feels like there may be some doubt that the current project will continue successfully. 

Yes, in part. Not every conservative is religious. I'm not, for example. And yes, things aren't perfect in society. But they're closer to perfection than anything in history. Thus it's much easier to screw it up than improve it. I think too many  people fail to realize there has never been a time in history or a place in history when society was as good as it is now. And that this need not continue. We only have to look at China or Russia or other autocratic countries to see that.

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4. Well I agree that it's needed.   But what will it be ?  I see lots of opportunities for people to pursue meaningful lives, helping others and creating beautiful things for example.  The first step would be to articulate a sense of purpose, and a culture of selflessness to me would be a great place to start.  

A culture of selflessness is not going to happen because we are instinctively selfish, always seeking to improve our lives. The only time we seem to go beyond that is if we feel we're a part of a group. I think we lack a sense of brotherhood, though, a lack of a sense of belonging to something bigger, better and more important than ourselves. American conservatives have that sense, which is one of the reasons they're going batshit at seeing it fading away. Canadians have had less and less of a sense of belonging over the past few decades as our leaders, by design, chip away at what unites us for fear of offending anyone.

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13 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. I think we had grand narratives in the 18th/19th century. Plus, things were a lot less economically comfortable. When you're working your ass off just to get enough food for yourself and your family, and to keep yourselves alive, there's less time to ponder anything else. That's especially so when almost everyone was a firm believer in religion and nationalism.

2. I wasn't disparaging them so much as pointing out that they lack any sense of purpose more than the Right, because many elements of the right still have nationalism and religion. Lacking both, they are seeking some other purpose, some other way to join as a group to form some kind of a sense of being a part of something important.

3. Yes, in part. Not every conservative is religious. I'm not, for example. And yes, things aren't perfect in society. But they're closer to perfection than anything in history. Thus it's much easier to screw it up than improve it. I think too many  people fail to realize there has never been a time in history or a place in history when society was as good as it is now. And that this need not continue. We only have to look at China or Russia or other autocratic countries to see that.

4. A culture of selflessness is not going to happen because we are instinctively selfish, always seeking to improve our lives.

5. The only time we seem to go beyond that is if we feel we're a part of a group. I think we lack a sense of brotherhood, though, a lack of a sense of belonging to something bigger, better and more important than ourselves.

6. American conservatives have that sense, which is one of the reasons they're going batshit at seeing it fading away. Canadians have had less and less of a sense of belonging over the past few decades as our leaders, by design, chip away at what unites us for fear of offending anyone.

1. Yes, but the philosophers knew where this was going.  "God is dead" and so on.  They knew that once nihilism took root, we'd be in the kind of crisis you describe.
2. Interesting.  Well, my response is that I see meaning in BOTH sides.  Nationalism, Religion, and Humanism - helping people overcome poverty and abuse...  Please don't critique my framing of their overarching purpose as I am only guessing.
3. Agreed, except to say that things are also better in China and Russia now than before.  And of course I would never live in those places.
4. If we are 'intrinsically selfish' what happened to that in those past times you talked about ?  I think the answer is that we are also intrinsically tribal and there are ways to make selfishness subordinate to the tribal reaction.  We're doing it now, with varying degrees of success, with our pandemic response for example.
5. Ah ok, you got there anyway.  Yes I think I said that above and you said a culture of selflessness isn't going to happen.  Maybe you are one of those people who likes your own ideas more than others' ?  I don't know.
6. Well, ok but the manifestation of "going batshit" itself seems pretty immature but I don't know.  I feel this kind of thing is actually impossible to capture and quantify as it's so subjective.  I wouldn't even trust a poll to capture it well.  That said, part of me thinks that it could just... go away... and that the lens of social media is making everybody hate this era that you describe as being better than any other time.  
 

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Ever since the republics of Athens and Rome, the West has been a champion, albeit an imperfect one, of individual rights and freedom of thought. This has led to such things as the rule of law, democracy, capitalism and science - no mean feats by any yardstick. Disagreements over how to tackle our many environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss etc. and the more trivial one of PC culture should be seen in a much longer context of extraordinary contributions to human advancement. Certain aspects of religion have been overtaken by events but it still has value as an expression of our culture and norms. The Western model continues to offer something worth emulating to the world. 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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14 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:


4. If we are 'intrinsically selfish' what happened to that in those past times you talked about ?  I think the answer is that we are also intrinsically tribal and there are ways to make selfishness subordinate to the tribal reaction.  We're doing it now, with varying degrees of success, with our pandemic response for example.
5. Ah ok, you got there anyway. 

We are NOT doing it now. We are, in fact, doing the exact opposite. The pandemic response in east Asia was an indication of their feeling of togetherness/tribalism, of societies which pull together against danger. Canada has suffered more deaths than all of East Asia, including China (if you believe their figures which I don't). But even absent China Canada has several times more dead than the 400 million odd people in the rest of East Asia combined. They took necessary steps which our governments rejected because they felt people would be angered by them. For example, our government developed an app for your phone which would help you and them know when uninfected people were near infected people. It offered this up diffidently, with assurances as to privacy protection. And the vast majority of Canadians said "Naaah." You don't get a choice in South Korea or Taiwan or other such places. They also gave their health ministries full access to immigration information, something we won't do for privacy concerns. There are all kinds of things they did we can't do.

Further, our governments, here and in other countries like the US, are deliberately separating us into separate tribal groups according to our identities, races, genders, sexual preferences, religions, etc., and according many of them special privileges in hiring and education, in government loans and regulations. As Jonathan Haidt has said many times, we are instinctively tribal. We group together to protect ourselves and to fight other tribes. Those we identify as not being of our tribe can be seen as a threat to us, and we respond accordingly.

14 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:


6. Well, ok but the manifestation of "going batshit" itself seems pretty immature but I don't know.  I feel this kind of thing is actually impossible to capture and quantify as it's so subjective.  I wouldn't even trust a poll to capture it well.  That said, part of me thinks that it could just... go away... and that the lens of social media is making everybody hate this era that you describe as being better than any other time. 

Do you disagree it's better than any other? Find me a better one. I think the US is further down the road to separating according to identity group and sympathy for the idea of a hierarchy of importance and oppression. Lebron James famously once said in an interview he hated White people when young, because he grew up in an inner city area with almost no personal experiences with them. What do Black people in similar neighborhoods feel about white people now after years of the mainstream media drumbeat that all whites are racist and that white police are gleefully gunning down black people in the street out of nothing but raw racism? And how do Whites in the US, guilty of no crime or action feel about being constantly labelled by the progressive media and now government as racist oppressors?

I see zero sign that things are going to go away. In fact, Biden's allegedly moderate government seems to be wholly focused on identity politics to the exclusion of all else. Almost every new announcement seems couched in the language of identity. It's as if what Douglas Murray has said is correct, and both sides revel in provoking, taunting and getting revenge on the other side.

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15 hours ago, Argus said:

I wasn't disparaging them so much as pointing out that they lack any sense of purpose more than the Right, because many elements of the right still have nationalism and religion.

Why does nationalism and religion provide a more acceptable sense of purpose than seeking fairness and compassion for everyone, in your mind?  Don't conservatives and religious people want that as well?

Left leaning moderates (which most of us are) certainly have a sense of purpose in believing that everyone has a place, is entitled to respect, fair treatment, a place to live, enough to eat and enough income to sustain that bare minimum.  How is trying to achieve that in our society, and even worldwide, not a valuable purpose? 

I don't know of a single person among my left-leaning friends who doesn't think Canada is the best country in the world, even while acknowledging our less than stellar performance at times, historically and in the present. I expect left-leaning moderstes in other countries feel the same.  How is that not nationalism, even is less militant than the attitude that "my country may never be criticized nor acknowledge the ugly facts of our country."?

My sense of purpose and what is right for the country I love is no less acceptable or valuable than yours.  

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Just now, dialamah said:

Why does nationalism and religion provide a more acceptable sense of purpose than seeking fairness and compassion for everyone, in your mind?  Don't conservatives and religious people want that as well?

Social justice is not about seeking fairness. It's about hatred and vengeance. It's about punishing people for incorrect thoughts and beliefs. It's about giving preferential treatment to 'tribes' which the SJW types consider more deserving.

Just now, dialamah said:

I don't know of a single person among my left-leaning friends who doesn't think Canada is the best country in the world, even while acknowledging our less than stellar performance at times, historically and in the present.

I have never seen or heard a Left leaning person or group say anything good about Canada. Instead, all we hear are a litany of grievances and denunciations about every aspect of our history, our ancestors, our present behaviour, and how horrific a place Canada is for anyone not a white straight male to live. Left leaning individuals seem to believe Canada is the most racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and islamophobic society on Earth, not just now but ever. Well, except for the US, which is their 'great Satan'.

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13 hours ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

1. Ever since the republics of Athens and Rome, the West has been a champion, albeit an imperfect one, of individual rights and freedom of thought. This has led to such things as the rule of law, democracy, capitalism and science - no mean feats by any yardstick. Disagreements over how to tackle our many environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss etc. and the more trivial one of PC culture should be seen in a much longer context of extraordinary contributions to human advancement.

2. Certain aspects of religion have been overtaken by events but it still has value as an expression of our culture and norms. The Western model continues to offer something worth emulating to the world. 

1. Agreed.
2. "Events" like the 100-years war   😀   Sure. I also agree.

But these things are like the rules of the game, not why we play...

 

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50 minutes ago, Argus said:

1.  Social justice is not about seeking fairness. It's about hatred and vengeance. It's about punishing people for incorrect thoughts and beliefs. It's about giving preferential treatment to 'tribes' which the SJW types consider more deserving.

2.  I have never seen or heard a Left leaning person or group say anything good about Canada. Instead, all we hear are a litany of grievances and denunciations about every aspect of our history, our ancestors, our present behaviour, and how horrific a place Canada is for anyone not a white straight male to live. Left leaning individuals seem to believe Canada is the most racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and islamophobic society on Earth, not just now but ever. Well, except for the US, which is their 'great Satan'.

I didn't use the words "Social Justice" in my post, so why did you define my words that way?  In any case, the definition of social justice is "justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society."  The habit of the extreme right defining "social justice" as you just did simply muddies the water.

I can agree that some elements of the left are extreme; I do not support that just as I'm sure you don't support the extreme elements of the right.  Do you?

Defining the "other side" as it's most extreme elements  is not debating in good faith.

2.  Really?  Because all I hear from conservatives generally is that Canada is a kind of shithole, full of people who only want short term gain, don't think of the future, who have no idea what the issues are and are selfish, thoughtless and stupid.  I don't believe that attitude really defines the attitude of most conservatives in Canada, thankfully, and so while moderate conservatives may have different ideas than I do, I'm certain they are driven by pride in our country.  No left-leaning person I know thinks Canada is the most " racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and islamophobic society on Earth"; many of us do think we could all do better.  Wanting to be better does not mean 'everything is the worst'.   You wouldn't think a company who made $1,000,000.00 in profit last year has to make the same this year, because doing better  means they were worthless, useless and the 'worst ever' last year.  So why should a person who wants their country to be better must therefore hate that country and consider it the worst country ever?

Why do you define everything in extremes?

 

 

Edited by dialamah
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Pew Research finds that 98% of Canadians support gender equality - a social justice issue.  Again, this includes conservatives; it's not just a 'lefty' thing.

This 2020 poll reveals that 70% of Canadians support greater acceptance of LGBTQ; 80% support doctor-assisted dying; 51% support abortion at any stage of pregnancy; 49% only in the first two trimester, unless there is risk to mother; 60% think we should keep god/religion out of public life.

There's a lot of support among Canadians for improving "social justice" in our society.  This includes moderate conservatives as well as lefties.  Moderates of both the left and the right are the majority in this country, and our goals are more closely aligned than posts such as your opening post would have us belief.

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1 hour ago, dialamah said:

I didn't use the words "Social Justice" in my post, so why did you define my words that way? 

Because you were replying to my statement about what the Left is seeking in identity politics and social justice.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

In any case, the definition of social justice is "justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society."  The habit of the extreme right defining "social justice" as you just did simply muddies the water.

No, the problem is the definition you used to be interpreted to excuse almost everything from Communism to extreme racial and gender prejudice in hiring and promotion for preferred identity groups. I am all for equality of opportunity. The Left seems more and more inclined to requiring equality of results.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

I can agree that some elements of the left are extreme; I do not support that just as I'm sure you don't support the extreme elements of the right.  Do you?

Defining the "other side" as it's most extreme elements  is not debating in good faith.

But I was describing how we are being divided into tribes. And that is not the 'far left'. That is government policy. More and more policies are designed to give preferential treatment to preferred identity groups while others (mainly mine) are repeatedly castigated as responsible for their failings. Progressive media like the Globe and Mail are constantly writing articles (paid for by the government) about the woeful state of existence of natives, of blacks, of women. And in every case the responsibility for that woeful state is that of the evil white males.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

2.  Really?  Because all I hear from conservatives generally is that Canada is a kind of shithole, full of people who only want short term gain, don't think of the future, who have no idea what the issues are and are selfish, thoughtless and stupid. 

In describing voters who vote for parties which denigrate Canada and whose only platform is giving people free stuff I regard that description as accurate. The majority of Canadians either don't vote at all or vote Tory, however.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

No left-leaning person I know thinks Canada is the most " racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and islamophobic society on Earth";

I can't recall you ever saying anything good about Canada. In fact, every single time I say something bad about some other country you seem eager to rush forward and point out Canada's inadequacies.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

Wanting to be better does not mean 'everything is the worst'. 

Being conservative is all about wanting to be better, to improve efficiency and effectiveness of institutions, but with a care to not throw caution to the winds and damage existing institutions with half-baked ideas. Our education system would be one such institution woefully damaged by left wing ideological experiments.

1 hour ago, dialamah said:

Why do you define everything in extremes?

What have I describe which would be out of place with the policies of the Trudeau government? This is a man who said, and said proudly, that Canada is not a nation, and has no central, unifying core identity. He and his party clearly believe in equality of result rather than opportunity. And he goes around apologizing for what a shitty country we are, even going to the United Nations and telling them we practiced genocide.

So if such views are extreme why do they come from our prime minister?

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1 hour ago, dialamah said:

Poll finds 90% of Canadians are patriotic; more women than men are proud of Canada.  I bet these aren't all conservatives, btw.

They answer the way they believe they're supposed to answer. But when you ask them why, the best they can come up with is universal health care.

And the issue is how much group loyalty, how much of a sense of brotherhood people share, how strongly supportive they are of asserting Canada's place in the world, of feeling a sense of belonging with others who are Canadians and for some sort of central theme of what Canada means. And given we're not teaching anything good about our past, only bad, there's increasingly going to be very little in the way of common touchstones for Canadians to believe in.

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1 hour ago, dialamah said:

Pew Research finds that 98% of Canadians support gender equality - a social justice issue.  Again, this includes conservatives; it's not just a 'lefty' thing.

Again, it's how you define it. I define it as equality of opportunity. The Left wants equality of results, regardless of merit.

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There's a lot of support among Canadians for improving "social justice" in our society.  This includes moderate conservatives as well as lefties.  Moderates of both the left and the right are the majority in this country, and our goals are more closely aligned than posts such as your opening post would have us belief.

It's all how you define 'social justice'. Not a lot of Canadians define it the way the political Left does.

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22 minutes ago, Argus said:

But I was describing how we are being divided into tribes

When I think that the majority of Canadians, left or right, hold similar views in regards to social issues, I think that brings cohesiveness to our society.  When I see moderates post here, I feel kinship with them.  

When I see posts like your opening one - as MH pointed out, disparaging one side and using extremes to do define that side, I see that as encouraging diviseness and reducing the cohesiveness of our society.  That is dividing us into tribes.  

Pointing out our similarities brings us together and can help us reach solutions.  Harping on differences and using hyperbole and generalizations to define the side you don't agree with promotes tribes.  That works for both sides, me included when I've done that.  

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I believe the 'narrative' needs to be common to be strong.

We had a narrative irrespective of religion, at one point, but also people were generally religious so that was indeed part of it.  I am not religious in the classical sense, however I think that religious people obviously and religion specifically is part of the narrative.  

The narrative could be improving our lives and helping each other as we find meaning in this life.  Maybe not as catchy as the pursuit of happiness but also a lower bar for success I think.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Argus said:

But I was describing how we are being divided into tribes

When I think that the majority of Canadians, left or right, hold similar views in regards to social issues, I think that brings cohesiveness to our society.  When I see moderates post here, I feel kinship with them.  

Pointing out our similarities brings us together and can help us reach solutions.  Harping on differences and using hyperbole and generalizations to define the side you don't agree with promotes tribes.  That works for both sides, me included when I've done that.  

1 hour ago, Argus said:

1.  Again, it's how you define it. I define it as equality of opportunity.

2.  The Left wants equality of results, regardless of merit.

3.  It's all how you define 'social justice'. Not a lot of Canadians define it the way the political Left does.

1.  So we agree.

2.  Do they?  I think "the left" largely believes that equality of opportunity will lead to equality of outcome.  Same goal, different approach - the "left", broadly speaking, wants to guarantee the opportunity; the right, broadly speaking, does not believe that guaranteeing even an opportunity is necessary.

2.  That's the result of the sell job engaged in by certain elements of our society.  I'd define them as very right wing religious types. 

Examples are people who claim that "the left" supports children changing their gender and third term abortions 'just cause.'  Those are fringe beliefs, as far as I can tell, and do not reflect the values of most leftists.  But they're regularly trotted out by a certain group as proof of how bad "leftists" are.  Most leftists and rightists agree that kids should not change gender and that third term abortions are/should be the result of very serious health issues.  The left trusts people to make such determinations themselves; the right thinks it must be legislated because people are untrustworthy.  Same goal, different methods.

If the majority of Canadians agree, broadly, on what a society should strive for, how does it help to tell yourself, and anyone who'll listen, that the extreme views of the minority represents the other side in it's entirety?  

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44 minutes ago, dialamah said:

When I think that the majority of Canadians, left or right, hold similar views in regards to social issues, I think that brings cohesiveness to our society.  When I see moderates post here, I feel kinship with them.  

I do not regard you as a moderate. And I doubt you regard me as one either.

44 minutes ago, dialamah said:

Pointing out our similarities brings us together and can help us reach solutions.  Harping on differences and using hyperbole and generalizations to define the side you don't agree with promotes tribes.

Which is what the Liberal government has been doing for five years now.

44 minutes ago, dialamah said:

2.  Do they?  I think "the left" largely believes that equality of opportunity will lead to equality of outcome. 

If that were true they would not support affirmative action programs, would not be pushing government to mandate companies put larger numbers of women and minorities on their boards. The government of Canada would not, despite exceeding their own goal for the percentage of preferred identity groups already employed, be talking about bringing in stricter rules to increase their numbers and get them promoted. It would not be advertising job opportunities which exclude white applicants. Universities would not be giving preference to minority or female candidates either for students or faculty positions, or lowering their SAT requirements for them.

44 minutes ago, dialamah said:

Same goal, different approach - the "left", broadly speaking, wants to guarantee the opportunity; the right, broadly speaking, does not believe that guaranteeing even an opportunity is necessary.

Find me any conservative organization which wants unfair, non-merit hiring. Universities now have a majority of females in almost every course, and a majority of females overall. Yet the left continues to zealously pursue the one area where males are the majority, STEM, by giving women preferential opportunities to apply for classes and actively going out into the community to persuade girls to apply. No such opportunities are offered men even in fields of study where women make up 75% of the average class size.

44 minutes ago, dialamah said:

2.  That's the result of the sell job engaged in by certain elements of our society.  I'd define them as very right wing religious types. 

Like Justin Trudeau? He has made it clear that it is equality of results he demands, not opportunity.

 

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3 minutes ago, Argus said:

I do not regard you as a moderate. 

That's a choice you've made and has  nothing to do with my actual views.  I've noticed that when I express an opinion that isn't what you expect, you accuse me of lying.  So, you've made the choice to cast me as something I'm not.

6 minutes ago, Argus said:

If that were true they would not support affirmative action programs, would not be pushing government to mandate companies put larger numbers of women and minorities on their boards.

That is equality of opportunity.  Unless you think "old boys club" isn't a thing.  Or that people aren't 'biased' preferring people that look, speak, and believe the same as them - but you've already made the case that tribal bias is a natural part of human behavior. 

Anyway, that tribal bias is exactly why women and minorities have historically been overlooked for things like serving on boards and why white men have historically maintained power of our institutions.  

12 minutes ago, Argus said:

Find me any conservative organization which wants unfair, non-merit hiring. Universities now have a majority of females in almost every course, and a majority of females overall. Yet the left continues to zealously pursue the one area where males are the majority, STEM, by giving women preferential opportunities to apply for classes and actively going out into the community to persuade girls to apply. No such opportunities are offered men even in fields of study where women make up 75% of the average class size.

Now, this I agree with to a certain degree - and I've said so before.  There does need to be more focus given to the way in which societal and gender role changes affect men.  Because it certainly does affect them.  

17 minutes ago, Argus said:

Like Justin Trudeau? He has made it clear that it is equality of results he demands, not opportunity.

You mean, assigning women so that there is equal male/female representation in his government?  Or is there something else?

If it's just the way in which he's set up his government, it could be that the women he selected were equally as or more qualified then the men he didn't select.  

Historically, women have been overlooked in favor of men: the assumption you continue to make is that men have always been chosen on merit.  As we know, due to our tribal bias, a roomful (or boardroom or government) full of men is going to be more comfortable with bringing in more men; how can you guarantee that the men selected were always more qualified than available women, always selected on merit?   

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1 hour ago, dialamah said:

That's a choice you've made and has  nothing to do with my actual views. 

It has to do with your rather strident defense of illiberal Islam and the 'whataboutism' you raise whenever it or any foreign country is criticized. And don't pretend you think I'm a moderate either.

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That is equality of opportunity.  Unless you think "old boys club" isn't a thing.  Or that people aren't 'biased' preferring people that look, speak, and believe the same as them - but you've already made the case that tribal bias is a natural part of human behavior. 

You know, the Globe had multiple articles about bias against women in the legal profession the other day, and how they're not paid as much as men and don't get up to the top rungs as often as men. You know what they didn't mention? That on average women work 500 hours less a year than men. Same goes for female doctors. And I'd imagine it also goes for other businesses. Men, especially on the top end of the spectrum, are insanely more competitive and aggressive than women and will devote their whole lives to getting ahead. That's why men make more than women and why they're promoted more often. Not gender bias.

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You mean, assigning women so that there is equal male/female representation in his government?  Or is there something else?

That's certainly part of it. But he's made it clear he wants women and minorities pushed upward and promoted and appointed without regard to merit.

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Historically, women have been overlooked in favor of men:

Historically women didn't work. So you can't make that comparison. Women only started entering the professions in sizeable numbers in the last fifty years or so. And as I pointed out, they don't work the long hours men do and they don't aggressively pursue promotion like some men do.

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the assumption you continue to make is that men have always been chosen on merit.  As we know, due to our tribal bias, a roomful (or boardroom or government) full of men is going to be more comfortable with bringing in more men; how can you guarantee that the men selected were always more qualified than available women, always selected on merit?   

Clearly no one can make that guarantee towards anyone. And it's true that men would have been unlikely to want to select women, or Jews, or minorities for such high positions in the past. But it's also true there were almost no women, few Jews and virtually no minorities available for such positions. Two thirds of visible minorities are immigrants and most of the rest are their parents, there were almost no women professionals and there have always been comparatively few Jews.

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18 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I believe the 'narrative' needs to be common to be strong.

We had a narrative irrespective of religion, at one point, but also people were generally religious so that was indeed part of it.  I am not religious in the classical sense, however I think that religious people obviously and religion specifically is part of the narrative.  

The narrative could be improving our lives and helping each other as we find meaning in this life.  Maybe not as catchy as the pursuit of happiness but also a lower bar for success I think.

When they talk about a 'grand narrative' they speak of being part of something you can take pride in. Nationalism works for that, but it requires a sense of shared vision and common touchstones to establish a sense of comradery. 

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15 minutes ago, Argus said:

When they talk about a 'grand narrative' they speak of being part of something you can take pride in. Nationalism works for that, but it requires a sense of shared vision and common touchstones to establish a sense of comradery. 

"Nationalism" needs to include vision, touchstones and I would also add purpose.  Empty nationalism is meaningless.  Nobody is better than somebody else because of where they were born, there has to be more to it like what that country values, what they strive for, the journey forward.  That's a story.

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41 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

"Nationalism" needs to include vision, touchstones and I would also add purpose.  Empty nationalism is meaningless.  Nobody is better than somebody else because of where they were born, there has to be more to it like what that country values, what they strive for, the journey forward.  That's a story.

The whole purpose and point of nationalism is to convince people their nation is special and superior. That's what gives them a sense of pride. I would agree there needs to be a vision, which gives purpose, but we've lacked politicians with vision for decades. We elect small, self-serving people.

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