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Thread: Why are both the left and right terrible at accepting opposing viewpoints?

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    Why are both the left and right terrible at accepting opposing viewpoints?

    These days I consider myself a bit of a centrist politically, maybe left of center, but for the most part a centrist. For the most part I hope for the human condition to be improved, but at the same time I recognize that reality is messy, and that achieving this goal is complicated. Where usually those on the right and left present issues like there is only one correct way of looking at things. They believe they are righteous and moral, and the opposing side is always vehemently wrong, without trying to seek common ground and find the most valid argument. But in many political issues there actually are two sides to the story. A few examples:

    Women's rights
    Left - We should seek out gender equality. True.
    Right - Sometimes the left's claims are unfounded, and we should be mindful of meritocracy and innate interests. True.

    Nationalism
    Left - In good conscience we should help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - We can't help too much or we will suffer ourselves. True.

    Political Philosophy
    Left - We should organize our government to help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - If we interfere too much we'll cause more damage than good. True.

    You'll notice that right in the center of these issues there's a middle way which recognizes that these issues don't have to be an either/or binary, that both sides can be correct to some extent, and in some ways. And yet when we approach political conversation these issues are always presented as mutually exclusive.

    My question is why? Why do most of us seem incapable of accepting viewpoints that fundamentally oppose our own?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    These days I consider myself a bit of a centrist politically, maybe left of center, but for the most part a centrist. For the most part I hope for the human condition to be improved, but at the same time I recognize that reality is messy, and that achieving this goal is complicated. Where usually those on the right and left present issues like there is only one correct way of looking at things. They believe they are righteous and moral, and the opposing side is always vehemently wrong, without trying to seek common ground and find the most valid argument. But in many political issues there actually are two sides to the story. A few examples:

    Women's rights
    Left - We should seek out gender equality. True.
    Right - Sometimes the left's claims are unfounded, and we should be mindful of meritocracy and innate interests. True.

    Nationalism
    Left - In good conscience we should help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - We can't help too much or we will suffer ourselves. True.

    Political Philosophy
    Left - We should organize our government to help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - If we interfere too much we'll cause more damage than good. True.

    You'll notice that right in the center of these issues there's a middle way which recognizes that these issues don't have to be an either/or binary, that both sides can be correct to some extent, and in some ways. And yet when we approach political conversation these issues are always presented as mutually exclusive.

    My question is why? Why do most of us seem incapable of accepting viewpoints that fundamentally oppose our own?
    Your "right" positions are not right, they are already the centrist position putting qualifications on the leftist position. In fact, they are essentially classical liberal ideas that acknowledge the value of the left position and the injustices they aim mto correct, but balance it with trying to protect individual liberty and acknowledge evidence-based realities complicate what the end goal should look like and what methods of getting there will preserve important principles in the long run.

    The actual "right" positions are:

    Women are inherently inferior in many ways including management and leadership. Their proper role is child rearing.

    Those in need of help got there because they are lazy, and giving them any help only rewards that trait.


    Note that these actual right positions are false and shouldn't be part of a compromise. And yes, many millions of Republicans and conservatives continue to hold these views.

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    The examples are simplified and generalized to the point of being nonsensical. You've marked things as true, but are they? Are those positions fairly attributed?

    There are cases where I can think of opposing priorities which aren't always given consideration. For example, as I encountered the debate on fossil fuels in Canada for much of my life, it was hard to find a lot of people who could simultaneously entertain that both environmental concerns and job loss concerns were both deeply meaningful issues. While they shouldn't have been mutually exclusive considerations, they sort of became that way. I do find more people leaning toward the middle on this issue now, but it feels like too little too late.

    In general, though, I am less concerned with people accepting opposing viewpoints. It often doesn't make sense. What I really wish could happen is people spend more time understanding and addressing arguments people are actually making. My most significant pet issue over the last decade has been trans rights as a matter of self-interest, and honestly the lion's share of my time 'debating' and discussing with people is explaining they are arguing against points pretty much no one is making.

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    In large part it is strawmanning too. Write any of the above, from either left or right, and the right or left will presume you disagree with their point. You can see that on this very forum all the time. The worst of it is when people even go far as to say "what you really think is..."

    As for why people do this, probably a mixture of ego and confirmation bias.

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    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Politics is not an aesthetic game or a meeting place for diverse views. It's a struggle for who in society gets to wield power over whom. The more you care about "accepting opposing viewpoints" rather than roundly defeating them, the more you prop up whatever the dominant viewpoint happens to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Politics is not an aesthetic game or a meeting place for diverse views. It's a struggle for who in society gets to wield power over whom. The more you care about "accepting opposing viewpoints" rather than roundly defeating them, the more you prop up whatever the dominant viewpoint happens to be.
    Spoken like a proponent of Midnight Moscow Mitch politics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    These days I consider myself a bit of a centrist politically, maybe left of center, but for the most part a centrist. For the most part I hope for the human condition to be improved, but at the same time I recognize that reality is messy, and that achieving this goal is complicated. Where usually those on the right and left present issues like there is only one correct way of looking at things. They believe they are righteous and moral, and the opposing side is always vehemently wrong, without trying to seek common ground and find the most valid argument. But in many political issues there actually are two sides to the story. A few examples:

    Women's rights
    Left - We should seek out gender equality. True.
    Right - Sometimes the left's claims are unfounded, and we should be mindful of meritocracy and innate interests. True.

    Nationalism
    Left - In good conscience we should help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - We can't help too much or we will suffer ourselves. True.

    Political Philosophy
    Left - We should organize our government to help as many people as we can. True.
    Right - If we interfere too much we'll cause more damage than good. True.

    You'll notice that right in the center of these issues there's a middle way which recognizes that these issues don't have to be an either/or binary, that both sides can be correct to some extent, and in some ways. And yet when we approach political conversation these issues are always presented as mutually exclusive.

    My question is why? Why do most of us seem incapable of accepting viewpoints that fundamentally oppose our own?
    Your "right" positions are not right, they are already the centrist position putting qualifications on the leftist position. In fact, they are essentially classical liberal ideas that acknowledge the value of the left position and the injustices they aim mto correct, but balance it with trying to protect individual liberty and acknowledge evidence-based realities complicate what the end goal should look like and what methods of getting there will preserve important principles in the long run.

    The actual "right" positions are:

    Women are inherently inferior in many ways including management and leadership. Their proper role is child rearing.

    Those in need of help got there because they are lazy, and giving them any help only rewards that trait.


    Note that these actual right positions are false and shouldn't be part of a compromise. And yes, many millions of Republicans and conservatives continue to hold these views.
    Reminds me of this which I just stumbled on

    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 01-21-2020 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Added nfsw tags for images

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    Because Moore-Coulter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Politics is not an aesthetic game or a meeting place for diverse views. It's a struggle for who in society gets to wield power over whom. The more you care about "accepting opposing viewpoints" rather than roundly defeating them, the more you prop up whatever the dominant viewpoint happens to be.
    If your views are not completely shared by the majority in your society, then the only way you can accomplish "roundly defeating them" is via violent authoritarian oppression. And most of the time, one's views are not fully shared by the majority, thus compromise is required to maintains anything resembling a free democratic society. In fact, by definition, any "progressive" will not represent the majority. Sure some views are so extremely wrong that the goal should be to defeat those who hold them. But that is accomplished by compromise and acknowledging the valid points of those with whom an alliance creates a democratic majority.

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    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elixir View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Politics is not an aesthetic game or a meeting place for diverse views. It's a struggle for who in society gets to wield power over whom. The more you care about "accepting opposing viewpoints" rather than roundly defeating them, the more you prop up whatever the dominant viewpoint happens to be.
    Spoken like a proponent of Midnight Moscow Mitch politics.
    Russiagate is just Qanon for liberals and you prove it with everything you post

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