Read the title of this article again.
Now, how are you feeling right now? Odds are you either identify with the title and clicked because you are looking for continued information on how our society’s decay is being fostered by the “liberal elite" Or perhaps you clicked because you felt attacked somewhat by the title and are curious as to what grievances I have against liberalism.
The fact that we feel first and tend to think later is a growing problem in an age of opinion pieces and partisan politics. Regardless of your position, our tendency to focus on an “us vs them” mentality and focus on victory in argument instead of substance is damaging to say the least. I often see arguments online or even in person that seem exceedingly hostile. When one takes issue with a certain political position or view others see this and tend to assume that individual is aligned with a certain set of political views and that there is no middle ground. Just because someone disagrees with another person on a particular issue does not mean that there isn’t room to work and come to a more equitable consensus.
This divide is further compounded by the way technology is continually isolating us from one another. When one clicks on an article from a conservative news site such as Fox News on social media sites such as Facebook, there are algorithms that take note of this fact and will continue to show that person conservative viewpoints. The same goes for more liberal leaning news sources. The major issue with this isolation is that it isn’t conducive to any productive debate. When different sides do encounter each other, the debates are often short and both sides usually walk away without really trying to understand the other.
Some of my friends are quick to discount the opinions of individuals who support Donald Trump purely because of that simple fact, but that is just as ignorant as those individuals who discount views just because they are left leaning. Often people aren’t exposed to the real reasoning behind another person’s views. A white man from a small majority white town who lost his job to outsourcing may not see the drug war and mass incarceration as a major racial issue and instead may wonder “why can’t those people just follow the law.”
Unfortunately, if that individual would enter into a discussion with that viewpoint, he or she may find themselves a subject of ridicule rather than a person in need of education. Pair these misunderstandings with a host of other types of cognitive bias and you have a recipe for disaster.
I see it all around me, people not thinking of a middle ground or other solutions, but only focusing on winning an argument, prevailing over the other side. I recently encountered an individual I am familiar with complaining about those who use welfare effectively leeching off the state and how they need to get a job, probably trying to get a rise out of me and having me argue the position of how the state needed to support those less fortunate.
This was not an uncommon occurrence. I could see it in his eyes, he was waiting to attack me for defending the state and being a bleeding heart liberal. He was surprised when I postulated the alternative idea that we should be focusing on automation of all professional tasks and that having everyone in a state working constantly should not be a necessity at all of the modern era, that universal basic income could help everyone to thrive while employment in a secondary economy for non automated tasks could be voluntary and not compulsory.
He seemed confused as I explained my ideas not knowing how to attack them. People often attack and dismiss ideas instead of collaborating to find solutions these days. Taking sides is often the worst way to help solve a problem together. It is not enough to look side to side on this issue, one must also look above and behind to see the real reason for divide. Who is profiting off of the war between right and left? Those who own media corporations make a pretty penny shaping the minds of their viewers on the right and the left.
In fact someone is profiting off of you reading this article right now. Whenever someone says “The left”, “The Conservative right”, “Liberals” or any other generalized mass of people to make their point, it often means they are not saying something of substance and are instead trying to score a victory for some other end. I hope this article helps people to be more mindful about the danger of conflict and opposition in trying to solve the problems of the modern world, I am eager to hear your opinions about this ongoing problem and what you all have seen in your daily lives pertaining to this issue.