1. How we decide, is who we are.
2. There is a totality of difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’.
And now, RFNJ rule number 3:
3. Everyone assumes that everyone else thinks, just like they do.
I confess, English doesn’t lend itself very well to the description of RFNJ rule number 3. It’s probably easier to say in German. But since I don’t speak German and my brother’s German vocabulary is limited to the kinds of things you’d read in deciphered East German military broadcasts, let me shed a little descriptive light in my native tongue.
The idea is that when you try to understand the thought processes of others, you assume incorrectly, that their basic process of weighing facts and evidence against their own insecurities, fears, and other feelings, is basically the same as yours is. We all assume that others all see the same things in the same light as we do, and are trying to accomplish the same things with their proposed solutions to the same problem. This is very much not the case, and is complicated by the fact that although we may be trying to accomplish very different things, we often use the same words to describe them.
This rule applies to all humans across the political spectrum, and is the cause of much misunderstanding across the political divide. It is the error that is the source of the view for conservatives that liberals are ‘stupid’, and for liberals that conservatives are ‘consumed with hate’. Liberals, as we know, don’t think the way conservatives do. Stated in purely relative terms and speaking about the average liberal vs. the average conservative, liberals are much more emotionally driven in their thought processes than conservatives are. Conservatives meanwhile, can be accurately described as being colder and more analytical than liberals. So conservatives worry much more about ‘being’ right while liberal worry about ‘feeling’ right.
Take the relatively unemotional example of tax rates. Liberals have often said that they would be willing to raise tax rates on the rich even if it means less revenue for the government. Thinking in the way they do, and weighing their own feelings of fairness against the prospect of reduced revenue for the government, they still come down on the side of their own feelings. Liberals don’t like the rich because they envy them. And they know their base don’t like them either. So for them it’s a simple decisions about what’s ‘right’ in spite of the negative outcome of less revenue.
Conservatives meanwhile, are not so emotional. They see the issue of taxation as the means by which the government is funded and are interested much more in efficiency than their feelings about the rich. Feelings never even enter into the equation for them. They look at the reduced revenue and conclude that regardless of the emotion of the people making the decision, since the effect is negative the idea is negative. For them it’s equally straightforward.
The fun part comes from the analysis of those positions by celebrities, and the news media. To the conservative, the liberal solution to the tax rate issue clearly looks ‘stupid’, while the liberal view of the conservative position looks like ‘hatred of the poor’. The rich have more than the poor and to the liberal this seems ‘unfair’ on its face. It therefore requires no further analysis of the issue as far as they’re concerned.
Which brings me to the issue of the day. I write this the day after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention. and to listen to the media this morning, America, or at least the Republican party is now a group of people consumed with ‘Hate’ from sea to shining sea. We hate illegal immigrants, blacks, the poor, women, and anyone who is uneducated enough to misunderstand RFNJ rule number 2. This should tell you something about the political leanings of those celebrities and news media types. It should also tell you that the person you’re speaking to will NEVER be persuaded by facts, evidence or rationally derived statistics. If you don’t touch them emotionally, you will never change their mind about anything.
To conservatives of course, those people all look like ‘idiots’ though clearly some of them must not be. A cynical man might think that one of the benchmarks of the Democrat party (to which these people all but universally belong) is the intentional manipulation of the emotions of their supporters who cannot understand RFNJ rule number 2, and are instead pulled hither and yon in their life decisions by how they feel that particular day. (I myself am just a cynic, but I leave you to form your own conclusions.)
But regardless of how you feel about the character of the Democratic leadership, there are many decent, honorable well intentioned liberals in America who truly do want what’s best for the country. They are just confused about which mental processes they should rely on to arrive at proposals to achieve those goals. To them, relying on anything but their fear of violence, their insecurity about their lack of success with money or dating or whatever, is deeply and fully 'wrong'. Disagree with them and they will become angry in the exact degree to which they are ego invested in that view.
And doing so today will almost certainly result in you being called out for your ‘hatred’ of someone or something. It’s quite astounding really how the ego investment of liberals in their emotionally defensive worldview, will allow them to rationalize connections between totally differing situations in order to meet their first rule of politics which is that all proposed solutions much first and foremost ‘feel’ good to the proposer. Opposing inefficient tax policy is hatred of the poor. Supporting the right of police to defend themselves against violent criminals is 'hatred of blacks'. Supporting the free market for determining wages or opposing government intervention in privately negotiated contracts is 'hatred of women', supporting enforcement of our borders and laws is 'hatred of illegal immigrants'.
So this election cycle will be one where any conservative should be prepared to be called out for their ‘hatred’. And when this happens to you, I hope you can keep in mind that the person who is accusing you of this is not talking about your hate (which they don’t actually know the first thing about) they are simply projecting their own emotionalism onto you. They are assuming that your decision is driven by exactly as much emotion as their decision, and nothing more.
We should also remember that if they are under the age of 40, this probably isn't their fault. We have been trained in the academy since the 60's to believe that subjective feelings 'should' be more important than intellectually rigorous thoughts when deriving social policy. Generations of American have been sold a bill of goods by Academics who have built the entire philosophies of Gender and Racial studies around that basic principle, and they have long since infected ever other discipline of study. It's a miracle if a kid can get through that onslaught of indoctrination without being a little muddle headed.
So at best, try to be patient. At worst, I'd suggest trying to scare them or some other emotionally driven argument. Neither will probably do any good, but there is really no sense in getting worked up over the accusations of someone who doesn't understand these basic differences. Just remember that the accusation is inevitable, and says far more about the motives of the accuser than it ever will about the accused. As I see it, by the terms that liberals have defined we not only should be America the Hate-iful, but right now we quite desperately need to be. And the mark of a real leader is doing what must be done, even when you aren't liked for doing it.