Wednesday, April 07, 2021

War on Sensemaking, V

The video James recommended is marvelous, as far as I've gone, about 30 minutes.  As there is a "V" there, I assume there is a I-IV, though I haven't seen them.


I've been saying these things for a long time, but he says it much better, and with broader perspective and better support.  For example, when he says that the George Floyd incident was merely a trigger, and something was going to set off violence, I had thought this myself, but I dared not say it because I couldn't think of supporting evidence - and I have to have at least something in support to post, even when I am largely blue-skying or thinking out loud.  I was think more along the lines that being cooped up by Covid was the water building up behind the dam, which was worse for liberals because they couldn't even complain that loudly, as it was their "side" who was imposing things and they felt obligated to support that.  As you see, that's a plausible idea, but what did I have to support it?

Schmactenberger ties it to unemployment as an historical driver of unrest. That rang true immediately, even more than "being cooped up." The latter might be a powerful additional force, especially for those who have jobs.  If you personally don't have a job or other clear role in society, then your automatic conclusion is "Something is wrong with this system." From the outside that looks like suspect logic, but all of us in that situation would have strong incentives to see things that way. But being cooped up might be even more powerful among the employed group, who don't have some obvious reason to kick about the "society," and thus decide to signal that you feel sorry for people who have it worse.  That is a mix of kindly and selfish motives.  

I will note one further thing.  He contrasts QAnon and Antifa and their unreasoning tribalism rather evenhandedly. In his contrast between the two existential visions (this was just before the election) he makes similar evenhanded statements about the left and right entering the election with suspicion that the future of the Republic is at stake, and the other side is preparing to steal the election. I think from his further statements that he does not think those are quite equal, but he wants to bend over backwards to be fair, and I think that is admirable and worthy. But I will say quite openly that even if the idea that the Deep State is trying to pivot us to China is over-the-top, there is a lot more evidence for that extreme idea than the belief that Donald Trump is trying to install a tyranny with a  family dynasty. Other than the seemingly capable Jared Kushner having an important job, I see no evidence for the latter. Ann Coulter said she's going to miss President Kushner - okay, a little bit fair - but what else you got for family dynasty?

Update: I forgot. An enormously important point he hits early is that training in the ability to argue either side of a proposition is educationally necessary. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we required advocates to demonstrate their understanding of their opponents' position? Mr. President, can you summarize Mr. Biden's position on trade with China, and then say why you think this wrong? It still works even if the opponent is incoherent. Well, Mr. Biden said on the one hand last March that he favors "X," but recently he has said "Y," so I'm not quite sure.  But I think he leans toward greater engagement with Chinese companies and less public criticism of their government.  Here's why I think that would be disastrous.

Further Update:  The presenter has some odd and unevidenced ideas (Neurohacker) which I do not subscribe to.


Aggie said...

Listening to Episode I now (from 2019):

Thank you for the find, it's an interesting thought vector. It's difficult to find any biographical information on this guy, aside from what has been packaged by his own web presences, which all cross-reference each other. I wonder what his background is?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I had the same thought. I admit it makes me a touch suspicious. Still, he has a solid POV that he has clearly thought about from a couple of angles and has interacted with a network of others about. That's something.

james said...

I wondered who he considered his target audience. His word choices are natural in certain environments, but not very effective for a general audience.