The struggle is real.
‘If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom.’
Tension Force is the name I give to the innate push and pull between progressives and conservatives. Physical tension force is a physics concept and can be pictured as the area of rope between teams playing tug of war. In a well-matched tug-of-war, that area doesn’t shift very much but that stability is reached by both teams trying their hardest to win.
Tension force is homeostasis achieved through intense opposing forces. If one of our teams wins the political tug of war it’s guaranteed to be a bad or even disastrous moment for society. One party systems have ugly results.
There are psychological patterns that are consistently reliable predictors of a progressive or conservative view on politics and culture. The personality test used to measure and correlate this connection is the famous Big 5 Test. Here is a quick visual to explain what is measured and the characteristics that typify scoring high or low.
These are the outcomes that populate our country with Progressives and Conservatives:
- High scores in conscientiousness trended conservative on both economic policy, (favoring hard work and organization) as well as social policy (strict adherence to traditional social norms).
- High scores in openness trended progressive on economic policy (favoring new programs and interventions) as well as social policy (favoring complexity and novelty).
- High in agreeableness leaned progressive on economic policy (wanting to help the disadvantaged) and but conservative on social policy (the desire to maintain harmony and traditional relationships).
- High scores in neuroticism leaned progressive on both (oh, shut up).
- High levels of the extraversion trait had no significant effect on predicting a person’s policy position but correlated strongly to being fun at parties.
Although nurture and socialization are certainly a part of shaping these political tendencies, the people nurturing you are your closest relatives and the culture you are being socialized to is the one they have chosen to live in. The matrix seals neatly around you. There’s bound to be a genetic relationship to these scores, and tests significantly confirm that. So every population produces a balance of people apparently fated to be in one camp or the other. Either group can be principled and logical, but those principles and logic are canalized by personality presets. Whatever play is in the system waxes and wanes with important societal upheavals and movements.
The consistent percentages of people born with these traits and concomitant beliefs is the underlying, invisible homeostasis that creates the Tension Force around us. As we plead with the other side to see reason or curse each other for hopeless blind idiocy we can take some comfort in the idea that humanity absolutely requires this struggle. Tension force is how we weigh the balance between the past and future, between tradition and reform.
However, technological change has dropped us into a new and unfamiliar medium for connection and communication. The new medium so completely separates us from engagement with the other side, that each side has become LIKE a one-party country unto themselves. The area of Tension Force has become the weak spot, attacked by opportunistic infections.
The situation makes us “fish in a barrel” for those aiming to divide and conquer us, then gather riches from the ruins left behind.
(I’m talking about Putin you idiots!)
- LinkedIn feels like a pyramid scheme that lacks ambition.
- I just slept 4 hours and must teach 4.5 hours today. There’s got to be a miserable little story problem in there somewhere.
- “Simplistic” doesn’t mean simple. “Over exaggerate” is redundant. Stop it.
- It turns out people who hate government make it worse when they participate.
- In the near future, every combination of English words will become an ironic catchphrase.
- Enjoy being slightly bad from time to time or your goodness will get all dusty and wrinkled.
- The three stages of grief getting into cold water: 1. Ankles 2. Genitals 3. Shoulders.
- “Doing good” never rises above undoing a “bad”. Every “good guy” in every story returns the situation to neutral; normal is good.
- When social justice people overshoot the balanced restoration of good, their polarity shifts, and their work becomes a bad to be undone.
- What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question? (stolen, I just love it.)
- Crappy days average five hours longer.
- Conservatism wants to stop time & change at the perfect moment. The range from moderate to reactionary is measured by how long ago they position the golden age.
- Greet each new day as if it were your last, filled with tearful remorse.
- “Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” — Christopher Hitchens
- I’ve begun making artisanal ice in my own freezer using free-range water I collect by hand with a silver thimble. A quick stir with a sprig of lemon thyme and voila! Prices upon request.
- The “normal” economy is disappearing fast. It’s time to make decisions about how much we value people when they are out of work and there isn’t a goddamn thing for them to do.
- Ayn Rand fiction is “Twilight” set in a childish political framework.
- Put the Christ back in “Jesus Christ, I can’t believe I’m related to you!”
- I hate it when introspective thoughts talk smack about me.
- If a business becomes so wealthy and powerful that it can influence the direction of government, it is no longer a part of the “Free Market”.
- Why can’t we just redefine our government’s relation to health care as a Costco style buying club? It isn’t socialism, it’s organized consumerism. But if it lowers corporate profits it’s communism.
- With great power also come great opportunities for dating.
With President Trump!
We know he never tells the truth about anything but lying doesn’t get to the root of what is wrong with everything he says. Under every lie, there is a deeper shade of bogus. This is the KungFu of duplicity and misdirection, The bullshit magic of bullshit smoke and bullshit mirrors. And this is the first draft of something I admit is incomplete for now.
“Bill McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations, who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment (Trump’s attacks on the news media )is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime,” Wallace said, as Trump interrupted him to call the former top commander a “Hillary Clinton fan and an Obama backer”.
- Irrelevant conclusion: Irrelevant conclusion, also known as Ignoratio Elenchi (Latin for an ignoring of a refutation) or missing the point, is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may or may not be logically valid and sound, but (whose conclusion) fails to address the issue in question. “Your attacks on the media are dangerous for America!” “Hillary Clinton!”
- Ad Hominem: Rather than refuting an opponent’s argument the person attacks the individual instead. This can be directed towards their character, morals, intelligence, reputation or credentials. The main thing to remember is that they are not addressing the actual argument being presented but relying purely on feelings and prejudices to win their case. Guilt by association is the specific Ad Hominem fallacy here. “Your attacks on the media are dangerous for America!” “This guy likes Hillary Clinton!”
“Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has signed up for the open borders, and it’s a bill, it’s called the ‘open borders bill.’ What’s going on? And it’s written by, guess who? Dianne Feinstein,” Trump said Oct. 6 in Topeka.
- Strawman: Substituting a person’s actual position or argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position of the argument.
- Alternative Truth: (also, Alt Facts; Counterknowledge; Disinformation; Information Pollution) Ths is pushing your Strawman so hard that he turns inside out. You can’t lie if there aren’t any facts!
“Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and they can get away with it… I’m a big believer, tremendous believer in freedom of the press. Nobody believes it stronger than me. But if they make terrible, terrible mistakes, and those mistakes are made on purpose to injure people … then yes, I think you should have the ability to sue them.” Trump in 2016
- Inconsistency: A person commits the fallacy of inconsistency when he or she makes contradictory claims. “I fully support a free press and it must end now!”
Evil forces in high places around the world profit from the state of our disunion and spend untold millions in dark money driving bigger and bigger wedges though our connecting tissue. There was a time when our representatives represented us, not only the 1%. There was a time when our representatives actually cooperated across the gap of tension force and occasionally accomplished things of value. There was a time when they could even be considered “the loyal opposition”, by wiser heads on both sides. This apparent golden age didn’t seem unusual at the time. Civility and non-partisan action laid the foundation for a government machinery that worked reasonably well. Metaphorically the opposition was close enough for conversation.
Every action taken since those days to separate us and inflame hatred for the opposition, from the “Southern Strategy” to “Citizens United” to “Birtherism” has been paid for by the wealthiest elites, commanded by the least principled men in power, and soldiered by easily manipulated conservatives from the middle to lowers classes. Progressives have struggled in reaction to this relentless movement but weren’t equally responsible for it. There was no mighty ocean of money flowing down to raise the boats of economic and social reformers. Politicians and PACs have fundraised through whipping up outrage but that is a weak, secondary force.
The forces behind the money and organizations that are bent on dissolving America are Ayn Rand-loving, representative-government-hating oligarchs. They’ve been fuming since Franklin Roosevelt took practical steps to lessen our suffering. They want full control with only a tissue of government for the sake of appearances. Primarily they want an end to the incessant pursuit by the American public of their own well being. They want to cover us in a skin of their engineered economic parasites so that we may spend our lives working harder and longer to give them more of everything we have.
Trump kept the book ‘My New Order,’ a collection of Hitler’s speeches on his night table for years.
It all starts to seem a little too on point.
“I support anyone’s right to be who they want to be. My question is: To what extent do I have to participate in your self-image?”