Ten Commandments of the Right

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Ten Commandments of the Right

#1  Postby pelfdaddy » Mar 09, 2020 3:53 am

As a former evangelical whose political beliefs have shifted gradually leftward since realizing there is no God, I notice that many contributors to this forum simply cannot fathom the intractable stubbornness of the American Right. "How can they think this way, and why do they never seem to learn?" is the general sentiment. Having been just such a person (who eventually did change his mind) I thought I could be of help.

As a young man, I believed three things-as though from birth-that I carried about as basic operating principles:

a) Christianity is true, and is the only path to salvation, the source of blessing for individuals and nations who obey its precepts, the source of condemnation for those that do not.
b) Freedom is the natural condition of Mankind, the state to which we all belong, which we all seek, and which necessitates the limitation of government.
c) Capitalism is the only correct economic system, and libertarian private property rights the highest principle and the source of all prosperity, without which only privation can follow.

Picture if you will a triangle, the corners being this triad of principle dogmas, which many if not most Americans are taught, and have come to accept not through informed historical perspective, but through childhood training by sheer repetition. Now place at the center of that triangle a fourth derivative principle:

d) America is the greatest nation on Earth.

This triangle of points, with its central entity, gives rise to a decalogue of assertions which describe the relationships between them, ten statements that for many Americans are merely common knowledge to be recited without blush or hesitation...

1-Christianity is the essential spiritual expression of God's nature.
2-Freedom is the essential political expression of Man's nature.
3-Capitalism is the essential social expression of the Laws of nature.
4-Christianity is compatible and interdependent with Freedom.
5-Christianity is likewise compatible with and mutually dependent upon Capitalism.
6-Ditto for Freedom and Capitalism--you cannot have one without the other.
7-The USA is the greatest nation in world history because...
8-America is Christian.
9-America is Free.
10-America is Capitalist.

These ten assertions are the supporting rigging that holds up the edifice, dogmatically believed and rarely questioned. They are national articles of faith in that merely to question or criticize any part of them is to be disloyal, a blasphemer, and possibly an agent of some foreign power. They are the narcotic behind the blank stare, the education that feeds the ignorance, and the reason for the mystifying behavior that you observe.

At the age of forty-two, I began to ask myself uncomfortable questions and to place a high premium on objectivity as a cherished principle. It has taken me eleven years of questioning my former values to finally reach the conclusion that...

The above ten statements are false.

It feels weird. But I'll be alright.
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Re: Ten Commandments of the Right

#2  Postby Macdoc » Mar 09, 2020 4:09 am

:cheers: :thumbup: :clap: ,,you will :coffee:
Travel photos > https://500px.com/macdoc/galleries
EO Wilson in On Human Nature wrote:
We are not compelled to believe in biological uniformity in order to affirm human freedom and dignity.
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Re: Ten Commandments of the Right

#3  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 09, 2020 10:50 pm

The older I get, the more I realise how much of belief (of all kinds) is socially created rather than logically determined.

I watched an interesting lecture by Hugo Mercer about the psychology of conspiracy theorists the other day. The idea was the so much of it is about proving group loyalty by basically ostracizing yourself from the rest of society with more and more ridiculous statements. He also talks about how cult of personalities in places like North Korea then become more extreme over time, and that the ridiculous claims about Kim Jong-il actually took a while to emerge as the things you have to say to prove membership and loyalty get more and more extreme over time.

It's also why knowing one political view of a person can allow you to pretty accurately predicted a whole host of other viewpoints. If I know an American is a pro-gun Christian, I can probably predict with some accuracy that they'll be a climate change sceptic, be against affirmative action, be pro-life, be against nationalized healthcare, etc. And similarly, if I know that an American is a vegan who puts their preferred pronouns on their Twitter description, I can probably accurately guess that they are vaguely anti-capitalist, pro-choice, pro affirmative action, pro nationalized healthcare, pro gun control, etc. There's no intrinsic reasons why those political views should go together (indeed, often views that are popular in certain circles seem contradictory) except that those are the accepted social values of those groups. It is often more personally harmful to go against the prevailing views of your community than it is to simply accept them, particularly in the less diverse areas. This then goes hand-in-hand with seeking out news sources that reflect those values. Similarly, it seems that one way to gain social status and prove loyalty in such communities is to become more and more extreme. As a young man in particular, the primary motivator in life is building status in whatever community you happen to be part of or have attached yourself to, and in a small town in America, there might only be one option.

And experiment that Mercer points to is a logical puzzle that about 10% of people get right (but most are very confident that they get right). He then demonstrates that given time to discuss their reasoning with other people in the room, eventually the whole classroom will arrive at the correct answer, showing that argumentation and reasoning can overcome my-side bias and good arguments will eventually win out. However, he also points out that if everyone in the classroom initially gets the question wrong, this discussion session will only make them more confident in their wrong answers. Therefore there is clearly a danger in getting all of your arguments from people who agree with you, and yet that's arguably what most of us do most of the time.
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