As an imaginary politician, I care deeply about the environment, affordable housing, universal healthcare, maintaining a robust economy, the value of work, and the “American Project”: the idea of unity in diversity as we work together for the common good. Then I chill the passion to develop specific policy goals and proposals. And I make sure my proposed policies do not become an end in themselves but are easily scaled back, revised or reversed if they don’t work.
How to turn the Other Side into cartoonish villains? Let me count the ways …
In 1960, food, clothing, housing, healthcare, and transportation accounted for 86% of household spending. That left just 14% for everything else. In 2017, food, clothing, housing, and healthcare accounted for 73% of household spending… Progress has been made.
There is no natural connection between being pro-business and anti-environment. Nor natural connection between embracing gender fluidity and advocating for a more generous social welfare system. Nor between being a fiscal conservative and an evangelical Christian. These political orientations are correlated in the US, not because they “naturally” go together but because the American system of government favors a two-party system, which is turn favors broad coalitions. This is not the case in European countries with strong multi-party traditions, where you find much greater mixing of political views than in the US.
….These requirements pretty much rule out testing the UBI (Universal Basic income) before implementing it. In other words, claims about the UBI could not be subject to a process of scientific verification. It’s either all-or-nothing. Ya gotta take a leap of faith and just do it.
…Kate Manne introduces the word “himpathy” to describe “the inappropriate and disproportionate sympathy powerful men often enjoy in cases of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, homicide and other misogynistic behavior.”
The feeder streams of happiness include:
Personal initiative is a proactive and goal-oriented mindset, characterized by long-term focus and persistence in the face of obstacles and setbacks. Such a mindset is action-oriented, planful, and anticipatory: quickly turning goals into actions - with back-up plans ready just in case.
Should the fact that “experts” say something be enough to believe it?
Having more power makes it easier to lie, cheat, steal, inflict pain, or otherwise engage in bad behavior. …Having less power means being at the mercy of someone more powerful. …Being at the mercy of another person means feeling one cannot get away from them, because they have something one wants badly and that something is not readily available elsewhere.
Empathy is also associated with ingroup bias and outgroup antagonism. One is more likely to feel the joys and sorrows of some people more than others, especially if they’re the same ethnicity.
Moral outrage makes ends absolute: This must stop! That must happen! No ifs, ands, or buts…. Governing wisely is about setting priorities, a process that assumes scarcity: the principle that valued ends require scarce resources with alternative uses.
In its original Founding-Father sense, happiness was akin to felicity, a kind of well-being that comes from living a purposeful and productive life. Today we would call that sense of well-being flourishing. …So what does a government need to do to create conditions conducive to flourishing? Put differently, what does a government need to do to increase the sense of control and self-efficacy of its citizens, allowing them to pursue purposeful and productive lives?
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around the idea of being a machine with free will. It would be easier if we expanded our understanding of machine and shrank our notion of free will.
Some in the medical community take a “wait and see” approach to the disease of climate change. They’re aware of computer models predicting a dangerous worsening of the patient’s condition but note that other models are not nearly so gloomy. These doctors point out that most treatments carry their own risks, so it’s best just to monitor the patient closely for the time being…However, most in the medical community acknowledge the patient will probably get worse without some sort of intervention. But many physicians aren’t convinced the prognosis is dire without aggressive treatment and so opt for a conservative approach to managing the patient’s condition. …Yet other doctors are convinced that without aggressive measures this climate change disease will inevitably progress to painful debilitation and possible death.
For those who want to understand the Other Side better, a few do’s: …Strive to be humble about your own grasp of the relevant facts…
And a few don’ts: Mindread – that is, ignore the other side’s expressed thoughts and motivations in favor of what you consider their “real” thoughts and motivations. …
What’s a technocrat? Admirers would say someone who approaches problems and challenges with the mindset of a scientist or engineer, seeking out information from credible sources, confronting their own ignorance, changing their minds when the evidence calls for it, taking disagreement seriously, and gladly accepting criticism to avoid error, because they devoutly wish to get it right. …What’s an ideologue? …
“…industry, self-reliance, frugality, self restraint or control, modesty, temperance, fortitude, cheerfulness, civility, compassion, and respect for the property of other persons.” Jean M. Yarbrough, author of American Virtues: Thomas Jefferson on the Character of a Free People.
What would be the opposite of these virtues?
When people say that political differences boil down to differences in values, they’re often implying an unbridgeable gulf between their side and the other side. And so we have the increasing polarization and breakdown of communication between Democrats and Republicans. After all, if you don’t care about the same things, what’s the point in talking to each other?
For instance, in one Pew research survey, just 53% of those under 30 who initially identified as Republicans or leaned Republican consistently remained with the party over four subsequent surveys.