Harden Not Their Hearts (or Minds)

 

As states and localities figure out how to proceed on COVID-19, I’ve noticed a framing of the argument that I think is a mistake, at least at this point on this particular issue. The framing I’m seeing is one of liberty vs. tyranny. Stay at home, wear a mask, follow the arrows in the grocery store aisles, and so on. As someone who largely agrees with those who think the benefit of staying home is far outweighed by the economic damage, those skeptical that wearing a mask will do much, and those disdainful of traffic signs for stores, are using framing will harden the hearts and minds of the people on the other side.

Immigration restriction comes to mind. When someone tells me that I hold my positions because of racism, despite my having laid out my actual reasons, then my heart and my mind closes. There is no conversation anymore, there is no compromise, there is only strife. War. Pick your issue — abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, whatever. When my interlocutor insists that I want to impose racism, control women’s wombs, or see people die, I stop caring what they say because they obviously don’t care what I’m saying. I stop listening to them because they’re obviously not listening to me. When that happens, there is no way we can have any sort of exchange or even come away with a mutually agreeable plan. On the other hand, people can and do change minds when we’re actually talking about the same things and not mischaracterizing others. At least we understand each other and can continue with love and trust.

When we frame the current issues as loss of freedom or as tyranny imposed, I think we harden hearts and minds in the same way. As I talk to people and interact on Facebook, etc., I see it happening. I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety. The same way those opposed to restrictions tune out those who insist that they care more about greed than people’s lives.

If we treat others as people much like ourselves, if we accept their arguments on their own terms instead of insisting on some characterization that no one actually shares, if we stick to the actual issues on which we are at odds then I think we can continue to change minds and to improve our understanding of our fellow citizens. Is this still an emergency? What is the goal now? What is the cost of the measures suggested? What is the expected benefit? What is the time frame? Sticking with these, I think, is far more effective and healthy than a framing that they would find baffling at best and outright disingenuous at worst.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    People on the right (that detest tyranny) have to understand that people on the left are driven by fear and emotion.  Thus, arguments based on principles and liberty fall on deaf ears.  The Left likes control and fears liberty.   

    In this situation, a persuasive argument is that more people are killed by lockdowns than opening to a cautious populace.  Don’t accept the dollars for grannies argument, remind them that killing babies in the womb is entirely about economics and personal liberty.  Turn it back to trusting individuals to do the right thing to minimize the loss of life.  A complicated trade-off requires millions of individual choices.

    • #1
  2. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I am not trying to win an argument and I don’t care about their opinion.

    As far as I am concerned, we are not to any meaningful extent countrymen.  All bonds of fellowship have been broken.

    • #2
  3. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Ed G.:

    When we frame the current issues as loss of freedom or as tyranny imposed, I think we harden hearts and minds in the same way. As I talk to people and interact on Facebook etc, I see it happening. I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety. The same way those opposed to restrictions tune out those who insist that they care more about greed than people’s lives. 

    If we treat others as people much like ourselves, if we accept their arguments on their own terms instead of insisting on some characterization that no one actually shares, if we stick to the actual issues on which we are at odds then I think we can continue to change minds and to improve our understanding of our fellow citizens. Is this still an emergency? What is the goal now? What is the cost of the measures suggested? What is the expected benefit? What is the time frame? Sticking with these, I think, is far more effective and healthy than a framing that they would find baffling at best and outright disingenuous at worst. 

    Amen, Ed. G.!  Thank you for saying this. All well said, particularly these passages. 

    On a side note, it is painful to hear people on all sides of the issues lob insults at one another.  I keep my head down most of the time, but still get struck in the crossfire. I don’t know why people can’t opine on a subject without saying something harsh to others who hold a different view. 

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    People on the right (that detest tyranny) have to understand that people on the left are driven by fear and emotion. Thus, arguments based on principles and liberty fall on deaf ears. The Left likes control and fears liberty.

    In this situation, a persuasive argument is that more people are killed by lockdowns than opening to a cautious populace. Don’t accept the dollars for grannies argument, remind them that killing babies in the womb is entirely about economics and personal liberty. Turn it back to trusting individuals to do the right thing to minimize the loss of life. A complicated trade-off requires millions of individual choices.

    I’m driven by fear and emotion, too. I fear authoritarian control and like for us to live free. Maybe a good way to live free, and to communicate that value, is in our choices of what we find interesting to talk about with others.

    Edit: I’m thinking of putting that to the test and getting back on Facebook, after over 5 years away.

    • #4
  5. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    I am not trying to win an argument and I don’t care about their opinion.

    As far as I am concerned, we are not to any meaningful extent countrymen. All bonds of fellowship have been broken.

    That sounds like an overreaction to me. I’m talking about family, friends, neighbors. If not mine then yours. If not yours then mine. If you’re not trying to win an argument, then what is it we’re doing? What are you calling for then? War? No government?

    I’m a conservative; not a libertarian and certainly not an anarcho-capitalist. I think emergency management and plague response is square within government purview. We have a disagreement over whether we’re dealing with plague and over the specific responses. I get that, but disagreement about those things is not the same as tyranny; it’s just unavoidable differences that we need to manage through. I think arguing about veracity, effectiveness, and costs are far more reasonable things to argue about and likely far more effective at getting us to move in the direction you want to move in. You may say bonds of fellowship have been broken, yet we live in the same communities under the same governments. We have to find a way to sort out differences, and I think we already have a darned good system for exactly that. Using that system is not tyranny; losing out in that system is not tyranny. Keep persuading, and be sure to vote.

    • #5
  6. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Ed G.:

    When we frame the current issues as loss of freedom or as tyranny imposed, I think we harden hearts and minds in the same way. As I talk to people and interact on Facebook etc, I see it happening. I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety. The same way those opposed to restrictions tune out those who insist that they care more about greed than people’s lives.

    If we treat others as people much like ourselves, if we accept their arguments on their own terms instead of insisting on some characterization that no one actually shares, if we stick to the actual issues on which we are at odds then I think we can continue to change minds and to improve our understanding of our fellow citizens. Is this still an emergency? What is the goal now? What is the cost of the measures suggested? What is the expected benefit? What is the time frame? Sticking with these, I think, is far more effective and healthy than a framing that they would find baffling at best and outright disingenuous at worst.

    Amen, Ed. G.! Thank you for saying this. All well said, particularly these passages.

    On a side note, it is painful to hear people on all sides of the issues lob insults at one another. I keep my head down most of the time, but still get struck in the crossfire. I don’t know why people can’t opine on a subject without saying something harsh to others who hold a different view.

    The negativity has me wanting to avoid even Ricochet.  Never in all my years here have I felt that way. 

    • #6
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    The people on the right are driven by fear and emotion too. Just up about different stuff.

    • #7
  8. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    If you’re not trying to win an argument, then what is it we’re doing? What are you calling for then? War? No government?

    Largely I have settled on nonbelligerent noncooperation.

    • #8
  9. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    I am not trying to win an argument and I don’t care about their opinion.

    As far as I am concerned, we are not to any meaningful extent countrymen. All bonds of fellowship have been broken.

    That sounds like an overreaction to me. I’m talking about family, friends, neighbors.

    My family is pretty good.  My friends, less so.  My neighbors range from okay to horrible.  When somebody tells me that the US was founded solely to promote slavery and that my country is the worst country in the world, then it is true that the bonds of fellowship have been broken.

    For the record: my country has done things that I cannot support.  But I cannot find any country of significance that cannot be described the same way. So the lefties that tell me we are uniquely awful (and there are lots of those) are in a position where there is nothing we have to say to each other.

     

    • #9
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    People on the right (that detest tyranny) have to understand that people on the left are driven by fear and emotion. Thus, arguments based on principles and liberty fall on deaf ears. The Left likes control and fears liberty.

    In this situation, a persuasive argument is that more people are killed by lockdowns than opening to a cautious populace. Don’t accept the dollars for grannies argument, remind them that killing babies in the womb is entirely about economics and personal liberty. Turn it back to trusting individuals to do the right thing to minimize the loss of life. A complicated trade-off requires millions of individual choices.

    One problem I see is that so many people on the Left would never agree with   you that they desire control. (While I totally agree with you: yes, the Left desires governmental control.) Rather than simply desiring their politicians to offer up requirements that force all of us to be unconditionally loving to  our fellow man, and of course as long as someone somewhere says “Fire!” or “Illness” then the Lefties view  that it is not that we are giving up our rights to liberty. Rather we are being encouraged to become more spiritually involved as we grow and understand the need to continually show how loving and caring we are.

    Yesterday I went off and paid a business I owed money to.  The young progressive lady working there started to tell me that while we mask our lower faces, we pull in so much more spirituality through our eyes, the seat of our souls,  than before the restrictions. She continued: that these restrictions all contain a huge spiritual potential for spiritual growth. I wanted to barf, but when such a type of argument has infected someone’s brain, I now know to stay quiet. I have already endured three years of being called a racist; I don’t relish the idea of spending the next 3 years being told I am some hideous antiCosmos-love-beings lowlife.

    • #10
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Headedwest (View Comment):
    So the lefties that tell me we are uniquely awful

    Are like the righties who say you’re uniquely good. You guys are two sides of the same coin, imho. 

    • #11
  12. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    From Lincoln’s temperance address:

    . . . .When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.

    My dad was a Lincoln reader and he taught me that very often arguments can be avoided by instead asking questions – as you did at the conclusion of your post. Think how many times you’ve reconstructed a better reply in your head AFTER the discussion. Questions are kind of like seeds that way – and there is no argument to “win.”

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Ed G.: I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “temporary” and “emergency.”  The original “15 days to flatten the curve” was temporary.  That period ended on or around March 31.  We’re now about 6 weeks past that point.  I’ve heard that around 35 million people have lost their jobs.  We have Great Depression level unemployment.

    So I don’t see these as temporary restrictions.  I see them as temporary insanity.

    In the meantime, the evidence has become overwhelming that: (1) there’s nothing we can do to stop the spread of this disease, and (2) the risk for healthy people under 65 is negligible.  But people are still advocating what they call “temporary emergency” restrictions.

    When do they end?

    • #13
  14. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Ed G.: I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “temporary” and “emergency.” The original “15 days to flatten the curve” was temporary. That period ended on or around March 31. We’re now about 6 weeks past that point. I’ve heard that around 35 million people have lost their jobs. We have Great Depression level unemployment.

    So I don’t see these as temporary restrictions. I see them as temporary insanity.

    In the meantime, the evidence has become overwhelming that: (1) there’s nothing we can do to stop the spread of this disease, and (2) the risk for healthy people under 65 is negligible. But people are still advocating what they call “temporary emergency” restrictions.

    When do they end?

    Fair enough, and I largely agree. Part of what got me to post was dissatisfaction I’ve seen at making compromises to open back up. Like wearing masks. I think the framing is important, both to me as I relate to friends, family, and neighbors, and to actually persuading people to my way of thinking. I think your questions here are good ones, and helpful ones. What they don’t do is insinuate that someone who answers them differently than you is a tyrant wanting to take others’ liberty.

    • #14
  15. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    I also believe that for the most part, there is not enough discussion of all the various parts of our society that are injured by the lockdowns. The Swedish doctor Geisulke (Sp?)was saying that when Norway locked down, they lost some of their experienced doctors and nurses as they were older and had families who they needed to take care of. But in Sweden the experienced medical personnel were still able to drop the kids off at day care or school, so there was no institutional crisis of having only the least experienced people on hand inside the hospitals.

    Some of the reports coming from med personnel in NYC reflects this very thing. If you have young kids and there is to be no intermingling of one family with another, so child care was not possible. Then the medical people will then stay home if possible, as they can’t leave young kids home alone.

    So then you have a situation where someone needs dialysis and the nurse is so new to that line of work he or she doesn’t do it correctly and the patient who was already in crisis is now even more worse off.

    • #15
  16. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Ed G.: I see people who favor continued temporary emergency restrictions simply tuning out those who insist that favoring such a thing is really about imposing tyranny or is really about being so weak that they’re willing to give up liberty in exchange for false safety.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “temporary” and “emergency.” The original “15 days to flatten the curve” was temporary. That period ended on or around March 31. We’re now about 6 weeks past that point. I’ve heard that around 35 million people have lost their jobs. We have Great Depression level unemployment.

    So I don’t see these as temporary restrictions. I see them as temporary insanity.

    In the meantime, the evidence has become overwhelming that: (1) there’s nothing we can do to stop the spread of this disease, and (2) the risk for healthy people under 65 is negligible. But people are still advocating what they call “temporary emergency” restrictions.

    When do they end?

    Fair enough, and I largely agree. Part of what got me to post was dissatisfaction I’ve seen at making compromises to open back up. Like wearing masks. I think the framing is important, both to me as I relate to friends, family, and neighbors, and to actually persuading people to my way of thinking. I think your questions here are good ones, and helpful ones. What they don’t do is insinuate that someone who answers them differently than you is a tyrant wanting to take others’ liberty.

    No but some of those who are answering the questions differently are willing allies of the tyrants who do want to take our liberty. I find it easy to separate people on the other side of me out. If someone is wanting precautions taken due to a matter they are personally involved in, such as they are at the store so they can buy their elderly aunt her groceries, that person has my respect.

    The political dilletante who FB friends me in order to let me know that any normal loving person would be willing to endure lockdowns for a year, to save even one life, is so pathetically morally and politically incoherent that I will happily smirk at them all I want.

    • #16
  17. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Ed G.: As someone who largely agrees with those who think the benefit of staying home is far outweighed by the economic damage, those skeptical that wearing a mask will do much, and those disdainful of traffic signs for stores, are using framing will harden the hearts and minds of the people on the other side.

    Don’t care.  Harden your heart.  Since this lockdown can’t go on, it won’t go on.  Time is on our side.  It’s time to go for herd immunity.

    Those that are truly vulnerable, they have to take responsibility for themselves and ask for help where appropriate (e.g. grocery deliveries).  They do have to self isolate.

    For the healthy, the sooner they catch and dispose of this, the quicker we go on with our lives.

    I’ve heard lots of war analogies about this virus.  Here’s another one.  We’re on the beach, and we’re getting shot at.  You can hunker down on the beach and increase your odds of dying, or you can move on through the bullets and increase your  odds of living.

    Our odds are actually not that extreme.  But it’s time to move on.  Get this over with.

    • #17
  18. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Ed G.: As someone who largely agrees with those who think the benefit of staying home is far outweighed by the economic damage, those skeptical that wearing a mask will do much, and those disdainful of traffic signs for stores, are using framing will harden the hearts and minds of the people on the other side.

    Don’t care. Harden your heart. Since this lockdown can’t go on, it won’t go on. Time is on our side. It’s time to go for herd immunity.

    Those that are truly vulnerable, they have to take responsibility for themselves and ask for help where appropriate (e.g. grocery deliveries). They do have to self isolate.

    For the healthy, the sooner they catch and dispose of this, the quicker we go on with our lives.

    I’ve heard lots of war analogies about this virus. Here’s another one. We’re on the beach, and we’re getting shot at. You can hunker down on the beach and increase your odds of dying, or you can move on through the bullets and increase your odds of living.

    Our odds are actually not that extreme. But it’s time to move on. Get this over with.

    Al I really dont understand. I want the same things as you. So let’s argue for those things. Calling others tyrants is counterproductive. Or do you think that is the best way to get us where we want to go? 

    • #18
  19. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Al I really dont understand. I want the same things as you. So let’s argue for those things. Calling others tyrants is counterproductive. Or do you think that is the best way to get us where we want to go? 

    Actually, I’m not a part of the “calling them tyrants” crowd, though there have been obvious instances of overreach.

    My frustration is with a society that not only consents to these restrictions but is strongly in favor of them.  That is starting to break, as people start to realize the cure is worse than the disease, and that the virus is not as bad as as they were made to think.

    The truth is, our politicians are followers in this mess.  The public demanded this, and they demanded the lockdown continue even after the curve was flattened enough to where the hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed.  There was plenty of politicians who were reluctanct to do this, but finally went along. 

    None of our politicians were statesmen in all this. 

    • #19
  20. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    None of our politicians were statesmen in all this. 

    I’ll step back and give Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota, the statemanship award.

    • #20