We Win, They Lose (Or How I Learned To Love The Fireworks)

 

Ronnie had a way of getting to the point, didn’t he? Further, he was correct much more often than he wasn’t. Betting against America is folly, and I suspect it’ll stay that way for some time. This isn’t to say keeping that our republic will ever be an easy task, but losing it is harder than most seem to think. Perversely, the assumption that our best days are overlooks like one of a few topics that enjoy a bipartisan consensus. (I mean… C’mon, man!)

It may be more exact for us to call ourselves the “United Freaking States of America.” I suppose we’ve always been so, and I don’t see why there’s anything wrong with us staying that way. In fact, I think there’s everything right with it. The “we” and the “they” in the battle for freedom is complicated, it’s led to we fighting us a lot. Some of it’s been necessary, some less so. But considering that, even in our supposedly better days, we’ve called the French allies, it occurs to me that we’re doing alright.

I always liked the answer Tom Wolfe gave in an interview on Uncommon Knowledge. He was asked about Henry Luce’s “American Century,” and his thoughts on the tragedy that this has maybe come to an end. Roughly speaking, Wolfe said he didn’t see any reason why Luce’s century wasn’t just the first of many American centuries. It would appear he saw something in messy scraps that break out often in our polity. To that, I say, “Right on, Wolfe!”

What about They?….

Before the Chinese were limited in their worldly contributions to producing cheap plastics and viruses of all sorts, they had the greatest civilization on Earth. That’s what it remained, on and off (but mostly on), for nearly two millennia. They began their decline when they decided that the rest of the world had nothing to offer them. The “we” and the “they” were simpler for most of human history, but the Ming dynasty committed, what has since been deemed, the greatest blunder in all of it. As a result, the Christian West ate their lunch, and I can’t really blame them for not getting over it.

But even though they slid, slowly at first and then precipitously, they haven’t fallen off the map entirely. This despite their suicide attempts. America – being awesome as usual – tried to help. They took it without any plans on returning a single favor. Was it a mistake? Probably, but it depends. The “we” and the “they” is always complicated with America, and it’s possible we’ve got more friends abroad than we know. (I can safely say that most Cubans like us.)

Now that they’ve gotten what they want from us, they’d like to eat our lunch. The stars may appear to be aligning for Xi: has there ever been a time when the West seemed happier to surrender its lunch money, without so much as a fight? T’would appear so… But I don’t think it’s true.

I can’t speak for Europe, but America ain’t all that soft. Her citizens are giddy for a fight, perhaps a little more so than we should be. Overall the political scene looks like a perpetual “Come at me, bro!” standoff, but when I turn off the news and step out of the house, I find that we get along just fine.

The enemies within and without can land an occasional sucker punch, but after that, all they can do is run away or take a beating, ‘Murica-style! If there’s anything that worries me about America’s true enemies, it’s that they understand something that her allies don’t fully: crisis and opportunity are one and the same. What makes me confident, though, is that ideologically speaking they’re selling sparklers while we’re selling mortars.

Ice cream Joe can run his mouth about playing sucker-punch (with drones) like our enemies do. They can read into it all they’d like, but it won’t tell ’em much about the American character. We’re not stupid, nor weak. We really do prefer peace and prosperity, but don’t make us stop the car and put our boots on the ground! The petulant children of the world (whether Chinese, Iranian, Russian, or so-called American) will never get us down.

Fireworks can blow up your hand but properly used they light up a dark sky. They used to bug me, but they sure are purty. Is anyone up for a roman candle fight?

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Samuel Block: Now that they’ve gotten what they want from us, they’d like to eat our lunch. The stars may appear to be aligning for Xi: has there ever been a time when the West seemed happier to surrender its lunch money, without so much as a fight? T’would appear so…. But I don’t think it’s true.  

     I can’t speak for Europe, but America ain’t all that soft. Her citizens are giddy for a fight, perhaps a little overly so. Overall the political scene looks like a perpetual “Come at me, bro!” standoff, but when I turn off the news and step out of the house, I find that we get along just fine.

    The stars aren’t aligning for Xi. It’s a plan, and it’s quite far reaching. I’m not as optimistic as you are, although I would very much like to believe those things about our “fight”.

    I don’t see it. Look around at people cowering before a virus, taking ridiculous ineffective steps. Believing the alarm the corporate, China-addled media pumps into their skulls. Our blue-hair transgendered discontents are not gonna be the greatest Generation that gave us Reagans contemporaries. Our intel agencies thoroughly politicized and the overt take-over of our military is near complete with Milley bending the knee before the Woke Whatevers. It’s freakin’ pathetic. I could go on, but it’s too depressing. 

     

    • #1
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Franco (View Comment):

    Samuel Block: Now that they’ve gotten what they want from us, they’d like to eat our lunch. The stars may appear to be aligning for Xi: has there ever been a time when the West seemed happier to surrender its lunch money, without so much as a fight? T’would appear so…. But I don’t think it’s true.

    I can’t speak for Europe, but America ain’t all that soft. Her citizens are giddy for a fight, perhaps a little overly so. Overall the political scene looks like a perpetual “Come at me, bro!” standoff, but when I turn off the news and step out of the house, I find that we get along just fine.

    The stars aren’t aligning for Xi. It’s a plan, and it’s quite far reaching. I’m not as optimistic as you are, although I would very much like to believe those things about our “fight”.

    I don’t see it. Look around at people cowering before a virus, taking ridiculous ineffective steps. Believing the alarm the corporate, China-addled media pumps into their skulls. Our blue-hair transgendered discontents are not gonna be the greatest Generation that gave us Reagans contemporaries. Our intel agencies thoroughly politicized and the overt take-over of our military is near complete with Milley bending the knee before the Woke Whatevers. It’s freakin’ pathetic. I could go on, but it’s too depressing.

     

    Sorry, but it seems you are believing what the MSM is shoveling out every day.

    • #2
  3. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Franco (View Comment):
    I don’t see it. Look around at people cowering before a virus, taking ridiculous ineffective steps. Believing the alarm the corporate, China-addled media pumps into their skulls. Our blue-hair transgendered discontents are not gonna be the greatest Generation that gave us Reagans contemporaries.

    But the Greatest Generation didn’t grow out of good soil. The blue haired youngsters are useless, but they aren’t my generation, just an insignificant, ineffectual part of it.

    I like Christopher Lasch’s distinction between optimism and hopefulness.  The former believes the world will get better, the latter believes in the goodness that’s here, despite the evidence to the contrary.

    I’m not saying we can’t lose, I’m just not betting on it. I never really met the Greatest Generation. I can’t wait on them, either. I know my peers. They’re rough around the edges, but I see some potential.

    • #3
  4. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    It’s going to be tough. At home we have problems. Universal internet access and network power laws have generated a tech oligarchy. A political uniparty has collectively decided to remove itself from the popular will and rule unilaterally. The last two generations of children of the middle classes have been miseducated to be vapid, ignorant, and shallow. The underclass, left to fester with material support and infinite tolerance, is barbarized.

    These conditions support each other to some degree, and it might be necessary to fix them all to fix any one of them. Ok, we could do that, but … we have a powerful foreign adversary with ties to our uniparty. 

    • #4
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    This is a terrific post. I’m twice the age of the author (probably closer to 2 1/2 times his age) and I endorse his viewpoint. 

    • #5
  6. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Thank you for this post because I think it is easy to talk ourselves into despair.  I vacillate between thinking America is done and thinking we’ve been through these turbulent times before.  Just watched the documentary “1971”.  Violence, drugs, discord, Vietnam.  You name it.  The American psyche took a hit in Vietnam, that is sure, and the misery years of the  1970’s are still seared in my mind when it just seemed to be one hit after another.  The mood of today reminds me of the mood of the 1970’s.  

    But what is different this time?  There is no greatest generation moderating the extremes of youth.  Sports, entertainment, the press, large corporations now even the military did not define half the country as extremists.  For the first time in my life, I do not feel free to speak what’s on my mind in public. In America. I no longer have any pride or loyalty to American brands.  If the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB all folded tomorrow, I would not care.  If Hollywood never produced another movie, I would not care.  I never in a million years thought that I would become so much of a cynic. I loved all those things but I don’t anymore.  I feel disconnected from the country in a way I never thought possible.  

    But then the hopefulness in me comes out.  Pandora’s box shut before despair was loosed upon the world and I have no business giving into it.  So far, despite the Dems attempts to blow up our system of government, the system is holding and you may be right that losing a Republic is harder than we think. And deep in my heart, I still think freedom wins over repression.  A big argumentative, open society wins over an orderly, closed one.  So I am going to hang on until the 2022 elections.  If the usual pattern holds, and the Republicans regain some of the branches of government, I think we will continue to be America.  

    • #6
  7. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Barfly (View Comment):

    It’s going to be tough. At home we have problems. Universal internet access and network power laws have generated a tech oligarchy. A political uniparty has collectively decided to remove itself from the popular will and rule unilaterally. The last two generations of children of the middle classes have been miseducated to be vapid, ignorant, and shallow. The underclass, left to fester with material support and infinite tolerance, is barbarized.

    These conditions support each other to some degree, and it might be necessary to fix them all to fix any one of them. Ok, we could do that, but … we have a powerful foreign adversary with ties to our uniparty.

    Agreed. Very tough.

    But what little education I had was mostly on half-truths and falsehoods. I didn’t grow up in a vaguely liberal household, I was raised a progressive the way children used to be raised Christian. And my Dad was smarter, and less snobby, than most of the people raising their children this way nowadays.

    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet. Young people are desperate for something tangible. This is why Jordan Peterson became an overnight sensation. He seemed trustworthy to kids who don’t trust anything. (Their parents got divorced, their teachers are manipulative and the kids they hang out with are bad friends.)

    With all that, we still have to sell them something worthwhile. The left sells grandiosity to privileged brats, and guilt to the rest of them. They don’t have much in their deck, but even though we have more, we’ve forgotten how to play our hand.

    But there are some hopeful signs: I remember when JP Sears was a liberal poking fun at the “ultra-spiritual” vegan scene that he was attached to. He was one of a number of open-minded progressives on YouTube that spoke up against the early waves of low-tide wokeness. A few years later, with the tide getting higher, these guys are conservatives now with much larger followings. The only thing missing is adult supervision.

    • #7
  8. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Thank you for this post because I think it is easy to talk ourselves into despair. I vacillate between thinking America is done and thinking we’ve been through these turbulent times before. Just watched the documentary “1971”. Violence, drugs, discord, Vietnam. You name it. The American psyche took a hit in Vietnam, that is sure, and the misery years of the 1970’s are still seared in my mind when it just seemed to be one hit after another. The mood of today reminds me of the mood of the 1970’s.

    But what is different this time? There is no greatest generation moderating the extremes of youth. Sports, entertainment, the press, large corporations now even the military did not define half the country as extremists. For the first time in my life, I do not feel free to speak what’s on my mind in public. In America. I no longer have any pride or loyalty to American brands. If the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB all folded tomorrow, I would not care. If Hollywood never produced another movie, I would not care. I never in a million years thought that I would become so much of a cynic. I loved all those things but I don’t anymore. I feel disconnected from the country in a way I never thought possible.

    But then the hopefulness in me comes out. Pandora’s box shut before despair was loosed upon the world and I have no business giving into it. So far, despite the Dems attempts to blow up our system of government, the system is holding and you may be right that losing a Republic is harder than we think. And deep in my heart, I still think freedom wins over repression. A big argumentative, open society wins over an orderly, closed one. So I am going to hang on until the 2022 elections. If the usual pattern holds, and the Republicans regain some of the branches of government, I think we will continue to be America.

    I’m glad you liked it, Goss! I’m inclined to think I owe y’all more than you owe me. I really do believe we can win. And if it comes to it, I’ll go to war for this strange country of ours. I still don’t know how to shoot, but at least I know what I’m fighting for. I suspect 2022 might render the point moot, for a while anyway.

    But I guess we’ll see.

    • #8
  9. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is a terrific post. I’m twice the age of the author (probably closer to 2 1/2 times his age) and I endorse his viewpoint.

    It’s been a comfort having you in my corner these last few years, Gary. Thanks!

    • #9
  10. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    • #10
  11. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Don’t be surprised seeing this posted on a memes+ thread on July 4.

    • #11
  12. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    • #12
  13. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental  and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you.  But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative.  So they are denying their inner conservative selves.  They need to come out.  That may be a great campaign for Pride Month:  Come out Conservatives!

    • #13
  14. Sam Thatcher
    Sam
    @Sam

    Ice Cream Joe. That’s an epithet worth keeping.

    • #14
  15. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    That’s fair. Pain and loss helped me along, too. I’m still mostly around liberals – you guys are the conservatives I know. It still took me a long time to come around fully, though. By the time I was 20, I’d decided I didn’t want to vote for Obama, but it took about five years to realize I had left the faith and was willing to vote Republican. 

    When I tell people I work here, I’m lucky when the temperature drops and lips get pursed; but sometimes I take licks. (Not the best social move I’ve ever made.) I’ve gotten pretty good at landing the shots I need to, without letting them get me too angry. I’ve been pretty surprised at how receptive people are over time. Only a few have basically told me to f- off and die. Meh

     

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    When Confirmation Bias meets Cognitive Dissonance.

    • #16
  17. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    • #17
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following.  I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    • #18
  19. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones. 

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones.

    And with social cancel culture and unfriending friends IRL many people show that their concept of “friends” was rather shallow.

    • #20
  21. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    United Freaking States of America.

    I like that. A lot.

     

    • #21
  22. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones.

    And with social cancel culture and unfriending friends IRL many people show that their concept of “friends” was rather shallow.

    Is there any evidence that personality type characteristics, introvert/extrovert for example, affect how individuals go initially? I’m thinking group affiliation as a desirable for an individual may have an effect. And then where an individual derives value for authority and judgements will have an effect.

     

    • #22
  23. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones.

    And with social cancel culture and unfriending friends IRL many people show that their concept of “friends” was rather shallow.

    Is there any evidence that personality type characteristics, introvert/extrovert for example, affect how individuals go initially? I’m thinking group affiliation as a desirable for an individual may have an effect. And then where an individual derives value for authority and judgements will have an effect.

    I think all those things are correlated with orientation, but I’m not sure about influence. Measurable traits are probably downstream from the choice, in some sense. I’m not sure how it comes about, but some children develop an objective orientation while most develop a subjective one. 

    By “downstream”, I don’t necessarily mean temporally. This is a very difficult subject to talk about; most of it is upstream of language.

    • #23
  24. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones.

    And with social cancel culture and unfriending friends IRL many people show that their concept of “friends” was rather shallow.

    Is there any evidence that personality type characteristics, introvert/extrovert for example, affect how individuals go initially? I’m thinking group affiliation as a desirable for an individual may have an effect. And then where an individual derives value for authority and judgements will have an effect.

    I think all those things are correlated with orientation, but I’m not sure about influence. Measurable traits are probably downstream from the choice, in some sense. I’m not sure how it comes about, but some children develop an objective orientation while most develop a subjective one.

    By “downstream”, I don’t necessarily mean temporally. This is a very difficult subject to talk about; most of it is upstream of language.

    I suppose the fact that many people who go Left initially and then later move Right lends some support to my thesis. Your comment on objective and subjective orientation is interesting. I have been thinking about my own inclination to never stray from a set of principles of right behavior(mostly dealing with interaction with other human beings) I have put together over time and what are the forces that hold that together. Objectivity versus subjectivity or relativity might be a part of that. Even where we see today’s exhortations to follow the science, this is in play.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    All it took to win me over was a good economics professor, a film critic that got picked up by National Review and stumbling upon Ricochet.

    Then you’re one of the natural people of the right. Most people are naturally of the left. Don’t let your own experience fool you – once they’re out of early childhood, the only thing that can save them is pain and loss.

    I suspect that many people think they are naturally on the left because it fits the self image they want to have as compassionate and non-judgmental and right now the pressure for that to be your identity is all around you. But when I see how my leftist friends actually run their families and their personal lives, many of them are really rather conservative. So they are denying their inner conservative selves. They need to come out. That may be a great campaign for Pride Month: Come out Conservatives!

    Agreed. I suppose we’ll have to help them discover themselves. People love discovering themselves!

    Or do they love discovering that they have an ardent following. I think the social perks for leftism drive a lot of the leftist activity.

    I think your right. It’s weird how many people will pick a sea of terrible friends over a couple good ones.

    And with social cancel culture and unfriending friends IRL many people show that their concept of “friends” was rather shallow.

    Is there any evidence that personality type characteristics, introvert/extrovert for example, affect how individuals go initially? I’m thinking group affiliation as a desirable for an individual may have an effect. And then where an individual derives value for authority and judgements will have an effect.

    I don’t know the answer specifically, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the fiery outrage from the left is a result of professional “brainwashing”; we call it media bias and cancel culture, but its techniques are apparently devised and orchestrated at a higher level than merely the media companies that produce the brainwashing “room” or environment.

    Given that presupposition, I would think that some personalities (maybe half?) are very susceptible to brainwashing, but that most all personalities are at least mildly susceptible.  I find that I (and many others) have used the official “linguistic programming” words such as “gender”, “hate”, “trans-” and “-phobic” in the authorized (NewSpeak) way, at least as a short-hand to get to the points I want to make.  This is I think an example of the breadth of the psychological programming.

    So to your question, I think the readiness of people to break long-standing friendships is not so much a matter of personality type as the susceptibility and effectiveness of the news and social media programming.  Orange Man Bad, you know.

    • #25
  26. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Is there any evidence that personality type characteristics, introvert/extrovert for example, affect how individuals go initially? I’m thinking group affiliation as a desirable for an individual may have an effect. And then where an individual derives value for authority and judgements will have an effect.

    I don’t know the answer specifically, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the fiery outrage from the left is a result of professional “brainwashing”; we call it media bias and cancel culture, but its techniques are apparently devised and orchestrated at a higher level than merely the media companies that produce the brainwashing “room” or environment.

    Given that presupposition, I would think that some personalities (maybe half?) are very susceptible to brainwashing, but that most all personalities are at least mildly susceptible.  I find that I (and many others) have used the official “linguistic programming” words such as “gender”, “hate”, “trans-” and “-phobic” in the authorized (NewSpeak) way, at least as a short-hand to get to the points I want to make.  This is I think an example of the breadth of the psychological programming.

    So to your question, I think the readiness of people to break long-standing friendships is not so much a matter of personality type as the susceptibility and effectiveness of the news and social media programming.  Orange Man Bad, you know.

    I’m thinking that much of this starts very early in what we can now see as indoctrination in public education. The process of teaching young children not to be judgmental, particularly as regards the behavior of their peers, and then in the teen years subject them to the influences of social, entertainment, and news media that is all far Left, provides a good “brainwashing” environment. This causes much action to defeat traditional religion. Experience with objective facts may break some of this down but it can be difficult. We need a lot of failures that hurt people in order to change minds. I think maybe we are seeing some of this in the recent migrations out of New York and California. It doesn’t really take a deeply logical mind to finally realize that one cannot construct a set of principles governing right behavior when using subjective or relative criteria. Those built that way cannot withstand the pressures of time and experience.

    • #26
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I’m thinking that much of this starts very early in what we can now see as indoctrination in public education. The process of teaching young children not to be judgmental, particularly as regards the behavior of their peers, and then in the teen years subject them to the influences of social, entertainment, and news media that is all far Left, provides a good “brainwashing” environment. This causes much action to defeat traditional religion. Experience with objective facts may break some of this down but it can be difficult. We need a lot of failures that hurt people in order to change minds. I think maybe we are seeing some of this in the recent migrations out of New York and California. It doesn’t really take a deeply logical mind to finally realize that one cannot construct a set of principles governing right behavior when using subjective or relative criteria. Those built that way cannot withstand the pressures of time and experience.

    Everything you say is true.  But I’m thinking of a different facet of this phenomenon.  I have read, years ago, that Facebook was funded in part by DARPA (or somesuch federal program); and that facebook actively used psychological techniques early on (I think aided by the government) to hook people on the technology, with thumbs-up buttons, and friending buttons, and share features.  These were iirc thought to give a momentary pleasure (and as it is commonly said, a small dopamine rush) — nonetheless the whole experience was (it has been said) designed to be “addictive”.

    Secondly, I have read here and there that, I think, the CIA has a computer program that is capable of creating millions? of artificial accounts and links to social media users that manipulate thumbs-ups and friending, and audience following features, and send short predetermined phrases to manipulate users sentiments and choices as a propaganda tool.  This was said to be used prior to the 2020 election.

    I have difficulty just blaming the canceling, raging, vindictive Left (however prevalent they may or may not be) on accidental contact with unguided social internet conversations, memes, and picture sharing on facebook, instagram, and others.  And given the allegations of government resources being employed, and the one-sidedness of the media propagandizing, I tend to think it’s a larger picture of deliberate government manipulation of people’s psychology and actions.

    I might be right, or wrong, or half-right, but I think it better explains the scope and severity of the phenomena that we are seeing.

    The underlying psychological personality traits that make people less or more subject to this is something that I have little to no insight into at present.  Certainly being educated to think independently, and being raised to believe in and emulate Biblical morality, would be a confounding factor to the easiness of being propagandized; if there is nothing to unwash, implanting new character traits is doubly easy.

    • #27
  28. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Everything you say is true.  But I’m thinking of a different facet of this phenomenon.  I have read, years ago, that Facebook was funded in part by DARPA (or somesuch federal program); and that facebook actively used psychological techniques early on (I think aided by the government) to hook people on the technology, with thumbs-up buttons, and friending buttons, and share features.  These were iirc thought to give a momentary pleasure (and as it is commonly said, a small dopamine rush) — nonetheless the whole experience was (it has been said) designed to be “addictive”.

    Secondly, I have read here and there that, I think, the CIA has a computer program that is capable of creating millions? of artificial accounts and links to social media users that manipulate thumbs-ups and friending, and audience following features, and send short predetermined phrases to manipulate users sentiments and choices as a propaganda tool.  This was said to be used prior to the 2020 election.

    I have difficulty just blaming the canceling, raging, vindictive Left (however prevalent they may or may not be) on accidental contact with unguided social internet conversations, memes, and picture sharing on facebook, instagram, and others.  And given the allegations of government resources being employed, and the one-sidedness of the media propagandizing, I tend to think it’s a larger picture of deliberate government manipulation of people’s psychology and actions.

    I might be right, or wrong, or half-right, but I think it better explains the scope and severity of the phenomena that we are seeing.

    The underlying psychological personality traits that make people less or more subject to this is something that I have little to no insight into at present.  Certainly being educated to think independently, and being raised to believe in and emulate Biblical morality, would be a confounding factor to the easiness of being propagandized; if there is nothing to unwash, implanting new character traits is doubly easy.

    I’m with your theory 100% and here’s why: money and power. Facebook wants money and government wants power. All of what I said before was already in place before this facebook/government cooperation. I think the government side is wholly Democrat with some Republicans who don’t really know what’s up.  The remaining question is what is the Communist/Marxist role in this?

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    I’m with your theory 100% and here’s why: money and power. Facebook wants money and government wants power. All of what I said before was already in place before this facebook/government cooperation. I think the government side is wholly Democrat with some Republicans who don’t really know what’s up.  The remaining question is what is the Communist/Marxist role in this?

    This raises a point that has been interesting me.

    I’ve been wondering which side is really in control: the Soros-Basel/ Schwab-WEF, European socialist faction? or the Xi-CCP Chinese communist faction.  Or both.  After all, for example, it seems that the West was most adversely affected by the Chinese virus (and economically at least this hasn’t been particularly good for the Chinese) and this may not be a bipolar purely antagonistic East/West occurrence.  And Gates, who is heavily invested in the Chinese virus, is associated with the European faction.  And in fact, the US was working in tandem with the Chinese faction regarding the virus.

    Instead it seems to me, vaguely, that Xi is possibly a high level functionary (similar to what is rumored to be the case with Biden) and that the model Xi is employing in Communist China is the accepted plan of the European faction for the US (as well as all English-speaking countries).  It is almost as if, perhaps going back as far as Nixon, that China itself is the chosen tool to equalize economic power around the world — in fact this end was rumored to be the case more than forty years ago, with China’s involvement in Viet Nam.

    Is there really a binary conflict between European globalist socialists and Chinese hegemonic communists?

    • #29
  30. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    I’m with your theory 100% and here’s why: money and power. Facebook wants money and government wants power. All of what I said before was already in place before this facebook/government cooperation. I think the government side is wholly Democrat with some Republicans who don’t really know what’s up. The remaining question is what is the Communist/Marxist role in this?

    This raises a point that has been interesting me.

    I’ve been wondering which side is really in control: the Soros-Basel/ Schwab-WEF, European socialist faction? or the Xi-CCP Chinese communist faction. Or both. After all, for example, it seems that the West was most adversely affected by the Chinese virus (and economically at least this hasn’t been particularly good for the Chinese) and this may not be a bipolar purely antagonistic East/West occurrence. And Gates, who is heavily invested in the Chinese virus, is associated with the European faction. And in fact, the US was working in tandem with the Chinese faction regarding the virus.

    Instead it seems to me, vaguely, that Xi is possibly a high level functionary (similar to what is rumored to be the case with Biden) and that the model Xi is employing in Communist China is the accepted plan of the European faction for the US (as well as all English-speaking countries). It is almost as if, perhaps going back as far as Nixon, that China itself is the chosen tool to equalize economic power around the world — in fact this end was rumored to be the case more than forty years ago, with China’s involvement in Viet Nam.

    Is there really a binary conflict between European globalist socialists and Chinese hegemonic communists?

    There is certainly a big difference in the ethnic/racial makeup of the Chinese compared to the Western globalist socialists. The aspect that has always turned me completely off to socialism is how those in power always turn to extermination of dissidents. Either of the two groups we are dealing with will eventually go there.

    • #30
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