How America Lost Her Mind

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How America Lost Her Mind

Postby John Galt » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:49 am

TLDR: boomers

TLDR, extended: in the 60s the boomers caused america to have a nervous breakdown and we haven't recovered. the internet enabled the boomers to make peddle their own truth about everything. religiosity has blossomed again and found it's place on the crazy right

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... nd/534231/

Even the social critic Paul Goodman, beloved by young leftists in the ’60s, was flabbergasted by his own students by 1969. “There was no knowledge,” he wrote, “only the sociology of knowledge. They had so well learned that … research is subsidized and conducted for the benefit of the ruling class that they did not believe there was such a thing as simple truth.”

Ever since, the American right has insistently decried the spread of relativism, the idea that nothing is any more correct or true than anything else. Conservatives hated how relativism undercut various venerable and comfortable ruling ideas—certain notions of entitlement (according to race and gender) and aesthetic beauty and metaphysical and moral certainty. Yet once the intellectual mainstream thoroughly accepted that there are many equally valid realities and truths, once the idea of gates and gatekeeping was discredited not just on campuses but throughout the culture, all American barbarians could have their claims taken seriously. Conservatives are correct that the anything-goes relativism of college campuses wasn’t sequestered there, but when it flowed out across America it helped enable extreme Christianities and lunacies on the right—gun-rights hysteria, black-helicopter conspiracism, climate-change denial, and more. The term useful idiot was originally deployed to accuse liberals of serving the interests of true believers further on the left. In this instance, however, postmodern intellectuals—post-positivists, poststructuralists, social constructivists, post-empiricists, epistemic relativists, cognitive relativists, descriptive relativists—turned out to be useful idiots most consequentially for the American right. “Reality has a well-known liberal bias,” Stephen Colbert once said, in character, mocking the beliefs-trump-facts impulse of today’s right. Neither side has noticed, but large factions of the elite left and the populist right have been on the same team.


...

Each camp, conspiracists on the right and on the left, was ostensibly the enemy of the other, but they began operating as de facto allies. Relativist professors enabled science-denying Christians, and the antipsychiatry craze in the ’60s appealed simultaneously to left-wingers and libertarians (as well as to Scientologists). Conspiracy theories were more of a modern right-wing habit before people on the left signed on. However, the belief that the federal government had secret plans to open detention camps for dissidents sprouted in the ’70s on the paranoid left before it became a fixture on the right.

...

By the 1980s, things appeared to have returned more or less to normal. Civil rights seemed like a done deal, the war in Vietnam was over, young people were no longer telling grown-ups they were worthless because they were grown-ups. Revolution did not loom. Sex and drugs and rock and roll were regular parts of life. Starting in the ’80s, loving America and making money and having a family were no longer unfashionable.

The sense of cultural and political upheaval and chaos dissipated—which lulled us into ignoring all the ways that everything had changed, that Fantasyland was now scaling and spreading and becoming the new normal. What had seemed strange and amazing in 1967 or 1972 became normal and ubiquitous.


we're dealing with this fallout today. we have doublespeak all over the place. political correctness everywhere. we have to respect people's supposed truth as coming from different places. i have to say that i as a white man cannot know whatever it is a black woman knows. the struggle is real, and i can't use that term without it being cultural appropriation, and i must be vilified for it. the absolute insanity of truthiness has consumed america, and it's consuming the whole world

Not all lies are fantasies and not all fantasies are lies; people who believe untrue things can pass lie-detector tests. For instance, Trump probably really believed that “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years,” the total falsehood he told leaders of the National Sheriffs’ Association at the White House in early February. The fact-checking website PolitiFact looked at more than 400 of his statements as a candidate and as president and found that almost 50 percent were false and another 20 percent were mostly false.

He gets away with this as he wouldn’t have in the 1980s or ’90s, when he first talked about running for president, because now factual truth really is just one option. After Trump won the election, he began referring to all unflattering or inconvenient journalism as “fake news.” When his approval rating began declining, Trump simply refused to believe it: “Any negative polls” that may appear, the president tweeted at dawn one morning from Mar-a-Lago, “are fake news.”

The people who speak on Trump’s behalf to journalists and the rest of the reality-based world struggle to defend or explain his assertions. Asked about “the president’s statements that are … demonstrably not true,” the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway asked CNN’s Jake Tapper to please remember “the many things that he says that are true.” According to The New York Times, the people around Trump say his baseless certainty “that he was bugged in some way” by Obama in Trump Tower is driven by “a sense of persecution bordering on faith.” And indeed, their most honest defense of his false statements has been to cast them practically as matters of religious conviction—he deeply believes them, so … there. When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at a press conference about the millions of people who the president insists voted illegally, he earnestly reminded reporters that Trump “has believed that for a while” and “does believe that” and it’s “been a long-standing belief that he’s maintained” and “it’s a belief that he has maintained for a while.”

Which is why nearly half of Americans subscribe to that preposterous belief themselves. And in Trump’s view, that overrides any requirement for facts.

“Do you think that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?,” David Muir, the anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, asked Trump in January.

“No,” he replied. “Not at all! Not at all—because many people feel the same way that I do.”


it's a great article chronicling our descent into madness. are there solutions?

What is to be done? I don’t have an actionable agenda, Seven Ways Sensible People Can Save America From the Craziness. But I think we can slow the flood, repair the levees, and maybe stop things from getting any worse. If we’re splitting into two different cultures, we in reality-based America—whether the blue part or the smaller red part—must try to keep our zone as large and robust and attractive as possible for ourselves and for future generations. We need to firmly commit to Moynihan’s aphorism about opinions versus facts. We must call out the dangerously untrue and unreal. A grassroots movement against one kind of cultural squishiness has taken off and lately reshaped our national politics—the opposition to political correctness. I envision a comparable struggle that insists on distinguishing between the factually true and the blatantly false.

It will require a struggle to make America reality-based again. Fight the good fight in your private life. You needn’t get into an argument with the stranger at Chipotle who claims that George Soros and Uber are plotting to make his muscle car illegal—but do not give acquaintances and friends and family members free passes. If you have children or grandchildren, teach them to distinguish between true and untrue as fiercely as you do between right and wrong and between wise and foolish.

We need to adopt new protocols for information-media hygiene. Would you feed your kids a half-eaten casserole a stranger handed you on the bus, or give them medicine you got from some lady at the gym?

And fight the good fight in the public sphere. One main task, of course, is to contain the worst tendencies of Trumpism, and cut off its political-economic fuel supply, so that fantasy and lies don’t turn it into something much worse than just nasty, oafish, reality-show pseudo-conservatism. Progress is not inevitable, but it’s not impossible, either.


embrace truth. take a deep breath and say it with me: catilyn jenner only thinks he is a woman.
Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience. -- Theodore Roosevelt
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby spacemonkey » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:56 am

The left does not understand what finite is. Finite is not going to change what it is just to suit their agenda.
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby exploited » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:01 pm

A good war or plague would probably straighten things out. Nothing makes truth more valuable than trying to survive.

This reminds me of a "discussion" I had on Reddit the other day. The topic was abortion. The usual arguments were trotted out, and I wasn't really interested in engaging until somebody said this (paraphrase):

"Abortion doesn't matter because fetuses aren't human life."

Now... Come on. Obviously a fetus is human life. It is both human and alive, and thus, human life. You might argue that a fetus lacks personhood but to say that a fetus isn't human life is just outright false. 100% incorrect. A total denial of basic biological reality.

I got downvoted into oblivion by people claiming to be speaking scientifically while denying that a fetus is human life. How can that mentality exist? Was kind of frightening to be honest.
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby John Galt » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:32 pm

yup. it's both sides. i can't say that i am not blameless myself, but i endeavor at this point to separate whether or not something is true or false from arguments on whether or not something should or shouldn't be done.

fetuses are really human life and climate change is really happening.

it's hard to get around truthiness. this is basic human biology to stop threats. changes in society and culture (60s to today) have broken down rationality and here we are, where emotions are running everything. conspiracy theories running wild all over the place are just another form of faith... faith that things are preordained by some higher power, be it god or the cabal of texas oil interests that killed JFK. we need to reject this, and call people on their shit.

yeah you're right truthiness runs anything political on reddit. hell, even the science subreddit has it sometimes. it's a damn shame. but the only way forward is to speak against it so others might as well
Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience. -- Theodore Roosevelt
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby Saz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:37 pm

exploited wrote:A good war or plague would probably straighten things out. Nothing makes truth more valuable than trying to survive.

This reminds me of a "discussion" I had on Reddit the other day. The topic was abortion. The usual arguments were trotted out, and I wasn't really interested in engaging until somebody said this (paraphrase):

"Abortion doesn't matter because fetuses aren't human life."

Now... Come on. Obviously a fetus is human life. It is both human and alive, and thus, human life. You might argue that a fetus lacks personhood but to say that a fetus isn't human life is just outright false. 100% incorrect. A total denial of basic biological reality.

I got downvoted into oblivion by people claiming to be speaking scientifically while denying that a fetus is human life. How can that mentality exist? Was kind of frightening to be honest.


Because you neglected to mention the difference between an embryo and a fetus. First 8 weeks are still embryo.
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby Saz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:38 pm

I have other thought on this as well but shit to do atm. Healthy me is very very active
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby exploited » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:01 pm

Saz wrote:
exploited wrote:A good war or plague would probably straighten things out. Nothing makes truth more valuable than trying to survive.

This reminds me of a "discussion" I had on Reddit the other day. The topic was abortion. The usual arguments were trotted out, and I wasn't really interested in engaging until somebody said this (paraphrase):

"Abortion doesn't matter because fetuses aren't human life."

Now... Come on. Obviously a fetus is human life. It is both human and alive, and thus, human life. You might argue that a fetus lacks personhood but to say that a fetus isn't human life is just outright false. 100% incorrect. A total denial of basic biological reality.

I got downvoted into oblivion by people claiming to be speaking scientifically while denying that a fetus is human life. How can that mentality exist? Was kind of frightening to be honest.


Because you neglected to mention the difference between an embryo and a fetus. First 8 weeks are still embryo.


Makes literally no difference. An embryo is also human life.
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby Saz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:08 pm

Of course it does. Your actual point should have been that he misused the term fetus, he meant embryo. Its a common political issue and most people agree that past a certain point its life, before a certain point, its not. This is consistent with the embryo/fetus distinction. Instead you made a point that is technically true but which omitted critical contextual information. You are correct but need to communicate better
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby Saz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:14 pm

exploited wrote:
Saz wrote:
exploited wrote:A good war or plague would probably straighten things out. Nothing makes truth more valuable than trying to survive.

This reminds me of a "discussion" I had on Reddit the other day. The topic was abortion. The usual arguments were trotted out, and I wasn't really interested in engaging until somebody said this (paraphrase):

"Abortion doesn't matter because fetuses aren't human life."

Now... Come on. Obviously a fetus is human life. It is both human and alive, and thus, human life. You might argue that a fetus lacks personhood but to say that a fetus isn't human life is just outright false. 100% incorrect. A total denial of basic biological reality.

I got downvoted into oblivion by people claiming to be speaking scientifically while denying that a fetus is human life. How can that mentality exist? Was kind of frightening to be honest.


Because you neglected to mention the difference between an embryo and a fetus. First 8 weeks are still embryo.


Makes literally no difference. An embryo is also human life.


I didn't actually read what you wrote. You are an idiot.
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Re: How America Lost Her Mind

Postby exploited » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:18 pm

Saz wrote:Of course it does. Your actual point should have been that he misused the term fetus, he meant embryo. Its a common political issue and most people agree that past a certain point its life, before a certain point, its not. This is consistent with the embryo/fetus distinction. Instead you made a point that is technically true but which omitted critical contextual information. You are correct but need to communicate better


Perhaps he meant embryo, perhaps not - it doesn't matter, because an embryo is also human life. Indeed, human life is created the moment the egg and sperm do their thing. We can test this simple fact of biological reality by going through the following exercise:

1. Is it alive? Yes.
2. Is it a donkey, cow, dolphin or spider, or any other type of species or genus or family? No.
3. Is it human? Yes.

Thus, human life. Not hard. Not even remotely controversial. Simple biological fact. But the problem is that the entire pro-choice movement, for some reason, have created these utterly ridiculous and arbitrary concepts that have no logical basis, in an attempt to avoid having to say that abortion ends human life.

It annoys me because the strongest argument for pro-choice has always been pragmatic. Which is to say "Yes, this embryo or fetus is human life, but I value certain other things more than human life." This is an honest opinion and it is rational and makes sense. We do these calculations all the time - for instance, when we make war on people, what we are really saying is that "We value these particular assets or principles more than human life." Or when we decide to pull the plug on Grandma. You value her comfort more than her agonizing life.

So, as a pro-choice person, this is what I would say: "Abortion is ending human life, and ending human life is morally wrong. But creating life that will suffer or be maltreated is as wrong or worse than ending life before it is even aware of itself. And the logistics of preventing abortion also create greater moral wrongs than abortion itself."

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