Wednesday, August 10, 2016

- The Road To Political Perdition

I like this Kathy Shaidle piece. It touches on something I think is a deeply resonant issue in today’s world.

The fact of the matter is that personality typing has been discredited. It’s not stable, which is to say it changes over time. It’s also categorical thinking applied to what are in effect a series of distributions. For instance, my own personality falls very near the line between ENTJ and INTJ. I’m something between an extroverted intuitive thinking judger and an introverted intuitive thinking judger. Where I am on the line depends on how I’m feeling when the test is taken, but I usually end up slightly on the extroverted side. I’m slightly more field marshal than architect. But the big division in our culture falls in the area of the third characteristic the T vs F. This is the difference between thinking and feeling.

I’m far more on the T side – so much that the variance of own personality never comes close to touching the F side. Guys like John Derbyshire might not have an F side. He’s an outlier on that score as are many mathematicians. But the vast majority of people are closer to the line on it, and about 30% are dominant in 'feeling' vs 'thinking'. So when they are taught by people who are far over on the feeling side, they never learn to engage the T portion of their personality. Feeling, is much easier you see. It requires fewer calories. And if you can get by without ever having to expend those calories, why would you bother?

Instead, you’ll choose careers where feeling is enough to get by on. You’ll go into social work or marketing, or teaching gender studies. You’ll focus on areas which don’t fall subject to much in the way of quantitative assessment. You’ll live in fear of the day that the ‘numbers guys’ show up to tell you that you’re doing everything wrong. And you’ll continue to proclaim that feelings should be held in the highest regard when it comes to determining the ‘real story’.

I’m convinced that the right and left of our culture – Republican vs. Democrat is largely a function of the T vs F dynamic. By ceding academia to the F types, we’ve abandoned generations of kids to never understanding the world in any real and verifiable way. We’ve taught them to be the kind of people who are easily manipulated, and quick to anger and frustration when the world continues to stubbornly defy their vision of perfection.

But there is another aspect to the politics thinking. Feelings can be easily manipulated. They can be tugged hither and yon by others who may be more gifted at expression. Democrat leaders are masters at this. And without a developed T component, the vast majority of kids have been left with no defenses to that manipulation. This has happened on the right as well as the left. Obama is as much like Hitler as Donald Trump could ever hope to be in this regard. He says things elegantly, and designed in just the right way to manipulate the masses of his adoring followers. They don’t think. They don’t want to think. They only want to ‘feel’ that he’s doing the right thing as much as they want to ‘feel’ that Donald Trump is proposing the wrong one. The inverse is true among the strongest Trump supporters.

How do we fix it? I’m not sure we can. These personality types are unstable and subject to change, but to inspire people to change them requires necessity. Millions of people would have to be forced by personal hardship to change the way they process information. And any policy that willingly subjects them to that hardship will be struck down as utterly politically unpalatable. I’m not talking camps and ovens – no one wants that. I was thinking more along the lines of a re-imposition of personal accountability and denying people who rely exclusively on others for their bread and butter to do things for themselves.

But we’ll never see it. We’ll continue on this path until we can no longer continue on this path. The F types demand it, and the government has no intention of making them ever feel bad. We're on the road to perdition, paved with good intentions. And so long as we value uninformed opinions as highly as informed ones (or as we have lately, even more valuable), nothing about that will ever change.


Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I don't consider personality typing to be discredited at all. Using it worked out pretty well for me. When my wife and I were still dating, we both took a series of tests. Per the tests, our personality types meshed well and 12 years later, this has proven to be the case.

Personality type do change over time. I started out as an ISTJ and now test as an INTJ. Every test I took put me borderline between the S and N. the I, T, and J portions haven't budged though.

I also found out I was not alone in really disliking stuff as a kid that I was supposed to like (i.e. birthday parties). Turns out I was a typical for a kid with a hard 'I' in their personality type.

chess said...

One of my old partners wife did this testing... About halfway through an alarm went of when my test said I was Unabomber 2..I quit being a doctor at age 50(now 62) I now live out in the woods,Cant see a neighbor. .Hate humans. Also recently purchased a 1975 typewriter. Half the time I piss outside because as a man I like to piss outside.My test was spot on.Go figure .

chess said...

and the playing field getting more level everyday

Muzzlethemuz said...


Muzzlethemuz said...

...And on a more serious note,

"Millions of people would have to be forced by personal hardship to change the way they process information..."

I think it's coming. Western dependence on highly evolved supply chains, far removed from the means of production, practically invites it. My feeling is regardless of whether it's Hillary or Trump, there is a particular momentum building right now that I see going critical by 2020 due to a number of variables in play.

I'm sure the RFNJ crowd is well aware of the various open source stories circulating... virulent bacterial strains that defy antibiotics, a little lower on the radar, ongoing radioisotope theft globally. N. Korea being given the time and space to perfect their nascent nuclear and delivery program, EMP's, etc. A little less sexy but very much on my radar is California's mining of the Central Valley's groundwater supply, fruit basket of planet Earth, effectively a non-renewable resource due to ground subsidence and limited recharge in a drying climate.

The writing is on the wall fellas. Maybe if we'd back off the population growth we'd buy ourselves a little time. Not that it matters when huge swaths of the population are incapable of processing information correctly. We keep pouring fuel on the fire. We'd be getting off light with just a regional EMP of a several kiloton magnitude and a limited event such as that might restart things in a more rational direction without too much disruption, say several months to a year of 19th century living conditions. The permutations of where things may go are endless and the CNN types simply have no conception that we're standing on a precipice.
I like your thinking Chess. Very much there myself.

chess said...

Muzz I have thought the same thing about an EMP. When we were doing some nuke testing after WW1 The US set off a small nuke size of Original one. They were something ?900 miles out in south Pacific from Hawaii.When it went off in upper atmossphere it wiped out all the electrical bs in Hawaii. Those guys had no idea what they had done.It wouldnt take much for a small nuke centered directly above me in west St Louis Co. towipe out most of US transformers cell phones etc. $ days and no fresh friut etc. I argued with a friend that about August 1st when its ?100 out would be the best time.NYC with no a/c. I can only imagine the streets in 3 days.Mob rules.Winter would make no sense because you can dress warmer
If it isnt N.Korea or Iran it will be a major CME from our own loving star.

MikeCLT said...

Despair not, gentlemen. We have been through much worse before. Of course we were a better people then.