Forums - Politics Discussion - The Challenges of Political Discourse

I wanted to talk about the challenges of political discourses, and there are a bunch of them.  Hopefully this discussion will go down well.  I don't think this discussion will be particularly productive, but it's an interesting and insanely complex subject that is driven by complexities of the brain that we have some ideas about, but we don't have a firm understanding of it.  I have a couple of categories of issues on my mind, but feel free to add some of your own.

Perceptions: people see what they want to see/what they are conditioned to see.

I noticed something interesting when I saw a couple of people sharing the same news article on facebook in completely different friend groups.  What I saw was that the people responding came to the same erroneous conclusion.  The article was about a legal immigration event, and several people came to the conclusion the article was about illegal immigration.  

This isn't about a media source feeding false information, but rather that the people reading made some assumptions that to them satisfied their understanding of the article.  

Ultimately people don't read carefully, and they may come to the wrong conclusion if things aren't spelled out.

Media Bias: People who are writing for any source of media will always have their personal biases, they'll also be subject to the previous issue that they'll tend to see what they want to see.  Both of these things mean that even when the person is trying to be honest, they'll still manage to mislead people.  They're not intentionally trying to lie to people, but that's the end result.  

It's made even worse when you add in the factor that there are some people who do intentionally lie.  People who have benefactors who want their interests protected.  

Partisanship:  People often give the benefit of the doubt to people they agree with.  If you're conservative, and Donald Trump says X, and Obama says X, chances are pretty good that you'll give Trump the benefit of the doubt and you won't give Obama that benefit of the doubt. You'll say Trump was tired that day, and that's why he said something dumb.  And you'll say it's proof Obama is dumb.  Stuff like that.  Sometimes people really do deserve the benefit of the doubt, sometimes they don't.  Because people really do get tired and say dumb things, and additionally there really are dumb people out there that don't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Not everyone is partisan, but a lot of people are.  

Combination: Media bias can lead to perceptions.  If you watch enough X media, you'll start to have your opinions form by X.  This isn't an evil intention. It's literally just what your brain does.  You take in information, your brain changes somehow due to that information, and it continues from there.  For example I've often seen conservative commentators complain that Hollywood is trying to change your opinion on things like gay marriage.  And they'll back it up by showing that some movie led to a greater acceptance of gay marriage.  The reality is no, that's not Hollywood mind control going on.  That's a natural process your brain undergoes.  Again, you take in information, your brain chemistry and wiring changes, you can come to different conclusions.  It has nothing to do with Hollywood or anything else.  Your brain starts doing that, when it becomes a brain.  And it continues doing that until you die.  

The point here is that all the previous factors don't just work in isolation.  They feed into each other.  

The even worse thing is that everyone is affected by these factors and more to some degree.  There are ways to make some of these factors less impactful, but even still it ultimately makes it difficult to have an truthful conversation.  Because even if everyone is acting honestly, you can still come up with incorrect conclusions.  And those conclusions can lead to even more incorrect conclusions.  

The point here is that it's impossible to have a factual, truthful political debate.  We're imperfect creatures, even if everyone was being honest.  

So what can be done about this?  



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"The point here is that it's impossible to have a factual, truthful political debate"

That's not true. It absolutely is possible to have a factual/truthful political debate. The reasons they usually aren't is because their speculative about future events (eg. what should be done) and thus it's impossible to be factual/truthful because nobody knows with certainty how the future will unfold and there's not a thing that can be done about that. Or because they're about subjective matters (eg. who's better? Is x a good/bad person? etc.). I think a lot of people debating those things don't want them to be factual/truthful, although if they did then you could just make it more specific rather than so vague (eg. Trump's a better president than Obama in terms of the economy since the national GDP grew by an average of 1.7% per year during his term compared to only 0.9% per year under Obama (*imaginary up situation/figures)). Then you could move onto discussing the reasons why that happened and any extenuating circumstances. It certainly isn't impossible to have a discussion like that, even if most people just want to shout "my guy is better than your guy".



Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

the-pi-guy said:

The point here is that it's impossible to have a factual, truthful political debate.  We're imperfect creatures, even if everyone was being honest.  

So what can be done about this?  

All the categories you've touched on are the same ones as in gaming/sales discussions, but there's no reason to have such a defeatist attitude.

Something that greatly helps discussions of any kind is one or more designated persons who keep them on track by pointing out things like questionable sources, the falsity of supposed facts, partisanship, intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy. Such persons are called moderators.

It's very much possible to have good debates between opposing views when both sides have mutual respect for each other because both know that the other side acknowledges facts instead of dismissing everything that goes against it by default. The problems begin to arise when people who do not respect facts take over discussions, because at that point it's not about being reasonable and rational anymore. That's why moderators are needed to identify such people and put them in their place.

The impossibility of having factual, truthful debates only materializes if moderators fail to draw clear lines. If a moderator treats every participant the same across the whole spectrum of potential participants, then facts begin to lose their meaning. For example, if a moderator treated climate change denial with the same respect as recognition of the climate changes and the influence of the human species on climate, then the result would be a debate where facts and fiction are on equal ground.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

This is a gaming forum. Most people here are born and bred fanboys. That extends to politics. You won't have an objective conversation.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

the-pi-guy said:

The point here is that it's impossible to have a factual, truthful political debate.  We're imperfect creatures, even if everyone was being honest.  

So what can be done about this?  

Transhumanism. We can all hook our brains up to the internet and become human-robot hybrids in the year 2039.

(And you said this wouldn't be a productive discussion.)



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Jumpin said:
This is a gaming forum. Most people here are born and bred fanboys. That extends to politics. You won't have an objective conversation.

It's also a sales forum though, which would suggest people that like numbers and statistics congregate here. It's absolutely possible to have an objective conversation with those kinds of people.

That said, you don't really want to have a fully objective conversation. That would be boring and pointless. A conversation about subjective opinions which are backed up by objective facts is the real goal, is it not?



Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

I’m inclined to agree that proper debate is almost impossible as it will quickly devolve into identity politics.

Major media outlets have largely moved away from neutral journalism and push a noticeably left wing narrative. In my opinion, it means the silencing of conservative opinions or worse, lumping conservatives with alt-right groups to immediately discredit and shame people into silence. Look no further then college campuses to see this effect.

I believe your ideas and merit of your logic should always take precedence over virtue signalling and identify politics



 

 

sales2099 said:
I’m inclined to agree that proper debate is almost impossible as it will quickly devolve into identity politics.

Major media outlets have largely moved away from neutral journalism and push a noticeably left wing narrative. In my opinion, it means the silencing of conservative opinions or worse, lumping conservatives with alt-right groups to immediately discredit and shame people into silence. Look no further then college campuses to see this effect.

I believe your ideas and merit of your logic should always take precedence over virtue signalling and identify politics

Well if Republicans actually stood up for something besides the rich that prop them up then maybe there would be some good news stories to provide to the public.  About the only thing they stand for are campaign donors and anti abortion.   You can throw fiscal conservative out the window.

Maybe you conservatives should vote more for Libertarians than vote for a party that is a shell of it's former self.  There hasn't been a good Republican since Theodore Roosevelt.



sethnintendo said:
sales2099 said:
I’m inclined to agree that proper debate is almost impossible as it will quickly devolve into identity politics.

Major media outlets have largely moved away from neutral journalism and push a noticeably left wing narrative. In my opinion, it means the silencing of conservative opinions or worse, lumping conservatives with alt-right groups to immediately discredit and shame people into silence. Look no further then college campuses to see this effect.

I believe your ideas and merit of your logic should always take precedence over virtue signalling and identify politics

Well if Republicans actually stood up for something besides the rich that prop them up then maybe there would be some good news stories to provide to the public.  About the only thing they stand for are campaign donors and anti abortion.   You can throw fiscal conservative out the window.

Maybe you conservatives should vote more for Libertarians than vote for a party that is a shell of it's former self.  There hasn't been a good Republican since Theodore Roosevelt.

I’d argue they stand for the working class and above, because they wouldn’t be in power if they only supported the rich and generally support a solid economy where as Democrats support green initiatives that ultimately hurt the economy. And plenty democratic nominees receive donations from billionaires and corporations with their own interests. 

Republicans are by no means perfect, but I see them as a lesser evil then an increasingly extremist far left Democratic Party. And like the thread is about, republicans welcome open discourse where as Democrats silence it. 



 

 

sales2099 said:
sethnintendo said:

Well if Republicans actually stood up for something besides the rich that prop them up then maybe there would be some good news stories to provide to the public.  About the only thing they stand for are campaign donors and anti abortion.   You can throw fiscal conservative out the window.

Maybe you conservatives should vote more for Libertarians than vote for a party that is a shell of it's former self.  There hasn't been a good Republican since Theodore Roosevelt.

I’d argue they stand for the working class and above, because they wouldn’t be in power if they only supported the rich and generally support a solid economy where as Democrats support green initiatives that ultimately hurt the economy. And plenty democratic nominees receive donations from billionaires and corporations with their own interests. 

Republicans are by no means perfect, but I see them as a lesser evil then an increasingly extremist far left Democratic Party. And like the thread is about, republicans welcome open discourse where as Democrats silence it. 

Yes I always somehow knew that not supporting min wage increase with inflation was somehow looking out for low wage workers.  Or the needless Iraq war that only caused death and chaos.  That was better than spending money here on infrastructure.  Or the tax cuts that went to the rich and they are supposed to trickle down on us while powering that amazing 2.1 growth.  Or that we shouldn't have access to healthcare unless we work our ass off for shit plans that carry a high deductible if you ever dare try to use it. Or the promotion of heavy sentencing for minor drug offenses to fuel the private prison industry. Or the willingness to cut social programs while pumping even more money into military never asking for proper audits or assuming there is no waste going on in the military.

Those are all good examples of looking out for the middle and lower classes.