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The polarization of America is breaking my heart

Discussion in 'GatorNana's Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by lacuna, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    I think a lot of religious people think many personal choices should be limited (whether they are on the left or right of the spectrum), so I think it probably does fall into their larger view of how to manage society. I've known left-leaning religious people who want to ban guns, violent video games and pornography (as well as abortion), it absolutely fits in with their (what I would regard as authoritarian/nanny state) world view.
     
  2. Trickster

    Trickster Premium Member

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    You're right to the extent the extremes in any political party want to tell others how to live their lives. I think most Americans are tolerant, however. Abortion is a highly emotional and, thus, inflammatory issue. I understand both sides and usually - today being an exception - avoid the issue. I must say, though, I have trouble understanding single issue voters who refuse to see the larger dangers.
     
  3. OaktownGator

    OaktownGator Guardian of the GC Galaxy Moderator VIP Member

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    Certainly there are plenty that cheat on both sides of the aisle.

    But there is only one person on either side who has made lying and cheating his day in / day out Standard Operating Policy.

    And who is now conducting a govt wide purge of everyone who won't fully support him in covering up his lying and cheating.
     
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  4. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    These aren't extremists by any means, they are just merely culturally conservative, with economic and racial views that aren't barbaric . And at least in attitudes about "democracy" personal freedom and law and order, Centrists tend to be far more authoritarian in their views than people that may be considered more ideological, or passionate about social issues.
     
  5. Trickster

    Trickster Premium Member

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    Interesting. Can’t say I agree. I can Say I’m off to see a spring training game. Cheers!
     
  6. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    That hasn't been my experience. In my experience the people towards the edges are the ones who are more likely to be so convinced they are right that they need to use government force to make others live according to their beliefs. Centrists are more likely to live and let live.
     
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  7. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    I'm specifically recalling this article, and I prefaced my comments with "matters of democracy, personal freedom and law and order"

    Opinion | Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists
     
  8. lacuna

    lacuna The Conscience of Too Hot Moderator VIP Member

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    The premise is disputed in this American Enterprise Institute article.

    The problems with that study saying centrists are most hostile to democracy | American Enterprise Institute - AEI



    A recent opinion piece by David Adler in the New York Times makes the highly questionable claim that “Centrists are hostile to democracy, not extremists.” OK. I’ll bite.

    Unfortunately, this work suffers from several fatal flaws. Here are a few:

    1) It makes a bold claim of democratic decline without defining democracy, citing evidence, or giving scope conditions.
    This supports my observation of groupthink among some scholars in this space. No matter how bad things are perceived to be, there is actually evidence of a twenty year global expansion of democracy.

    2) Survey data are notoriously terrible, and they have to be put in context.
    Things happen over time that have immediate, short-term public opinion effects. One cross-section is not enough to draw a reliable inference. Arguably, a “centrist” — whatever that actually means — in 2008 (a year from which some data is used in the piece) is very different from one today.

    3) What exactly is a centrist?
    Adler’s categorization of “extremists” and “centrists” is highly questionable. For example, using a scale of 1 (“left”) to 10 (“right”), 3 through 8 are assigned to the “center-right, center, and center-left.” As a result, a full 81% of close to 50,000 respondents in Europe in 2008 are identified as “centrist” or some variant thereof. Meanwhile, a remarkable 10% are dropped from the sample entirely because they responded as “Don’t Know” — excluding a group larger than either of the extremes (9.6% are categorized by Adler as “far-right” and 9.4% as “far-left”).

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The AEI article points out the "center" is defined by the extremes, and evidence has long shown that people with the most extreme views will often identify as moderates, centrists, or “leaners” in surveys of all kinds.
     
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  9. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    Are Centrists Really Most Hostile to Democracy? - Quillette

     
  10. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    Personally I agree that centrist is a slippery term, but honestly that makes the findings less suspect IMO. I think a lot of people consider themselves moderate or centrists just because they think of themselves as reasonable or not extreme, even though in many ways they are not. The main thrust of their objection seems to be a "no true Centrist" fallacy.
     
  11. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...and-extremists-are-more-hostile-to-democracy/

     
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  12. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    The flawed assumption of the centrist paradox

     
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  13. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    Quillette is a great example here. The publication thinks of itself as sort of a "reasonable" place of discussion of sensitive issues for people who may object to the extremes of political partisanship but they basically dabble in race science and entertain reactionary ideas as worthy of discussion. Perfect example of people who regard themselves as a sort of sane center actually pushing what I would regard as ideas hostile to democracy (whether its race based IQ non-sense or libertarian leaning economic ideas). You could say they fall victim to their own critique of people not being able to self-identify correctly.
     
  14. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    What errors did Lemoine make in his analysis?
     
  15. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    Their main issue seems to be that people are bad at self-identifying. So basically either you take a 'No True Scotsman' approach to this debate or you take people at their word. If people who claim to be moderates are actually simply ideologically confused people who want to present a veneer of reason to others, then maybe that's actually what a moderate is IMO. I'm not really convinced that a moderate is simply a person who has done a Solomon's Baby and perfectly split the difference between two poles.

    As for one of their other questions: Why would a moderate support authoritarianism? Because they prize stability and order and want to limit the range of ideas that are considered in the realm of the politically realistic or acceptable. Like if you support the electoral college as a model to prevent certain political outcomes (i.e. popular democratic ones), then I'd put you in a camp that is authoritarian. If you say "science" or "experts" should inform our decisions rather than their popularity or benefit to a broad set of people, then that puts you in the authoritarian realm. I'm guessing they don't see it that way, but ultimately much of what we view as extreme or not is quite subjective (outside the obvious stuff of "lets do genocide" or "behead millionaires in the public square" - but even that gets into a debate about rhetorical style vs. actual policy preferences). A lot of the people that are regarded as extremists are simply regarded as such because of their rhetorical style, and Trump is a great example. In many ways, a rather conventional Republican president policy-wise but one who's rhetorical and management style is that of an autocratic extremist. Is extremist a rhetorical style or is it a set of policy goals? Or both?
     
  16. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    Lets take the premise of the thread "the polarization of America." I think how you think of that as a problem (or even if you think it is one), and how you might address it would say a lot about your tendencies toward authoritarianism. Which isn't to say an authoritarian would just say "lets violently suppress dissent" - an authoritarian might also say "the university administration really needs to stand up to these damn college kids protesting and stop coddling them, expel or discipline them if they start acting up."
     
  17. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    Or, as several of these researchers have done, we look at how they vote instead of where they say they are on the scale. If people are bad at self-identifying, look at their actions instead of their words. And when that is done, we find that it isn't centrists who are the most hostile to democracy.

    Which leads to the interesting questions of why do people who are not in the center choose to self-identify as being in the center, and what is the center really?
     
  18. wgbgator

    wgbgator Tiny "Boop Squig" Shorterly Premium Member

    Wouldn't that be more useful in a parliamentary system where people can vote more in line with their policy views? If you vote Democrat, that sort of covers anyone between Bloomberg, a nice example of a centrist nanny-state authoritarian, and Bernie Sanders, a person who is pro-democratization to the point of saying prisoners should be able to vote and workers should have a say at their workplace, but some people nonetheless label as an 'authoritarian' simply because he appears angry sometimes and has a populist pitch.
     
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  19. mutz87

    mutz87 #stayingtf@home VIP Member

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    He makes some fair points about defining centrists, but his second point is dubious at best. There is wide variation in terms of data/suvey validity. To broadbush all as *notoriously terrible* wildly distorts the issue. It's also not true that cross-sectional data are not enough to draw inferences. The devil is in the details--the particular survey, the questions, and the rigor of the sample, and appropriateness of the methodology must be considered. That said, all data/methodology come with multiple limitations. Impossible not to.
     
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  20. Claygator

    Claygator GC Hall of Fame

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    Proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, just how spot on Lacuna’s original post was.

    But you are incapable of getting it.