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Thread: Sympathy for the Ignorant

  1. Top | #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Are we to look at Trump's apologists as all the same? Brand them all as mentally defective deviants with no redeeming value? Is 42% of America genetically incapable of reason? If the problem is a genetic defect rather than cultural that allows someone like Trump to undermine our democracy then it's probably pandemic to the vast majority of the human species. Come to think of it, you might actually turn out to be right.
    That's exactly what I'm suggesting we not do. Whether the source of the problem is cultural or genetic, if inner-change is outside of a person's control then we should realize that they're not deviants, and that we're not served by labeling them as such. That's the point. If someone doesn't choose who they are with deliberate intent, then there is room for understanding that the result is a combination of uncontrollable inputs, rather than finger-pointing and anger.

    But it's not a genetic defect - Trump supporters or similar are quite capable people - they just have a low propensity for reasoned thought.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Are we to look at Trump's apologists as all the same? Brand them all as mentally defective deviants with no redeeming value? Is 42% of America genetically incapable of reason? If the problem is a genetic defect rather than cultural that allows someone like Trump to undermine our democracy then it's probably pandemic to the vast majority of the human species. Come to think of it, you might actually turn out to be right.
    That's exactly what I'm suggesting we not do. Whether the source of the problem is cultural or genetic, if inner-change is outside of a person's control then we should realize that they're not deviants, and that we're not served by labeling them as such. That's the point. If someone doesn't choose who they are with deliberate intent, then there is room for understanding that the result is a combination of uncontrollable inputs, rather than finger-pointing and anger.

    But it's not a genetic defect - Trump supporters or similar are quite capable people - they just have a low propensity for reasoned thought.
    Sorry my mistake. I thought you said that genetics is the cause. My worry is that when applied broadly to a particular segment of society it sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    ...
    So the question is - if someone is by normal definitions a bad person, but has no intellectual capacity to be something different, does it make sense to look down on them? And is there an alternative, positive way to approach such a person?
    I maintain it's by education and exposing them to alternative ways of thinking. IOW, change the inputs. BTW when you call them "bad" people it sure sounds like you're looking down on them. I'm either getting conflicting signals or I'm just plain ignorant.

  3. Top | #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post

    Sorry my mistake. I thought you said that genetics is the cause. My worry is that when applied broadly to a particular segment of society it sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    ...
    So the question is - if someone is by normal definitions a bad person, but has no intellectual capacity to be something different, does it make sense to look down on them? And is there an alternative, positive way to approach such a person?
    I maintain it's by education and exposing them to alternative ways of thinking. IOW, change the inputs. BTW when you call them "bad" people it sure sounds like you're looking down on them. I'm either getting conflicting signals or I'm just plain ignorant.
    Genetics may be the cause, or a part of the cause, but whether it's genetic, cultural, or a combination of both (probably this), the situation is the same - people with a low propensity to do, believe, or feel otherwise. I'm not calling these people bad, what I'm doing is calling this out as a common perception, and that it may be a mis-perception.

    And I agree with you - exposing them to alternative ways of thinking in a way that works is the only recourse. Emotions don't need to be involved.

  4. Top | #44
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post

    Sorry my mistake. I thought you said that genetics is the cause. My worry is that when applied broadly to a particular segment of society it sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    ...
    So the question is - if someone is by normal definitions a bad person, but has no intellectual capacity to be something different, does it make sense to look down on them? And is there an alternative, positive way to approach such a person?
    I maintain it's by education and exposing them to alternative ways of thinking. IOW, change the inputs. BTW when you call them "bad" people it sure sounds like you're looking down on them. I'm either getting conflicting signals or I'm just plain ignorant.
    Genetics may be the cause, or a part of the cause, but whether it's genetic, cultural, or a combination of both (probably this), the situation is the same - people with a low propensity to do, believe, or feel otherwise. I'm not calling these people bad, what I'm doing is calling this out as a common perception, and that it may be a mis-perception.

    And I agree with you - exposing them to alternative ways of thinking in a way that works is the only recourse. Emotions don't need to be involved.
    Partly it's my problem. I interpret words like sympathy and empathy in a non-emotional, Asperger's sort of way. To me empathy is the ability to understand what someone is thinking through commonality of experience as well as body language and the rest. And sympathy is taking that and recognizing the need to help each other as fellow human beings. Empathy is neutral, in my way of thinking, as to how it gets applied. In my view even Trump has empathy. He's actually extremely empathetic, but employs it in manipulative and intentionally evil ways. But I don't think many of his followers are that way. Not at all. Emotions are valuable though in that they're a window into one's subconscious. And the subconscious is the well-spring of reason.

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