The Left/Right Divide
#1
Quote:Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 11 April 2010 08:56 am ET

The health care bill may be passed, but the road to reform certainly painted a polarizing picture of America. From a six-hour summit that failed to sway a single Republican, to shouts of "baby killer" and Tea Party protests, politicians and the public seemed to be from different planets.
Psychologically speaking, perhaps they are, say experts, who weigh in on the reasons behind the seemingly endless acrimony these days over a slew of issues, from gay marriage to abortion.
The reasons are many-faced, involving deep-seated personality differences, contrasting moral views, polarized political parties and today's 24/7, tell-it-all-in-great detail media, all of which prevent liberals and conservatives from seeing eye-to-eye, experts say.

And at the end of the day, these divisions could explain why we can't all just get along. with others.

In a broad sense, they boil down to:
  • Harm/care: People are sensitive to suffering and have negative feelings toward those who are harmful and cruel. They value kindness and compassion.
  • Fairness/reciprocity: A history of cooperation means humans have evolved a sense of fairness and reciprocity, leading to altruistic actions.
  • Ingroup/loyalty: People place moral value on those who do what's good for the group; are loyal to the group; and dislike disloyal members.
  • Authority/respect: Humans tend to respect authority and tradition.
  • Purity/sanctity: The idea that we view our bodies as sacred. This idea ties into religious views about the body and human actions.

Studies have shown that liberals tend to care only about harm and fairness when considering whether something is moral or not, said Peter Ditto, a professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine, who is involved with Haidt's research. In contrast, conservatives have a more traditional moral structure, and tend to care about all five morality factors, he said.

The rest of the article can be found at (at least while the link is still valid):
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.livescience.com/culture/political-division-psychology-health-care-100411.html">http://www.livescience.com/culture/poli ... 00411.html</a><!-- m -->

In part, the rest of the above article points to The Media as the prime division makers between “left” and “right” minded people. The article suggests that it is they, the media, who are largely responsible for dividing this country (the US and other heavily media influenced countries) to the kinds of polar extremes of viewpoint that we see today. I would even go so far as to say that the media may even be responsible for dividing this nation, and the rest of the civilized world, to such extremes that our way of life, and living, is in dire jeopardy of being ripped asunder… but that just might be my paranoid mind at work.

Regardless of what my views are, I suspect that this writer of this article pointing fingers at the media for contributing to the great divisions between the right and the left might be justified. For example, how many times have Walt and I debated global warming and we both end up using different source materials, from oppositely slanted media sources, to support our cases? Walt is totally convinced by his sources, while my sources seem far more logical to me. I tend to trust the sciences more; Walt tends to trust science about as far as he can throw a Mac truck.

In today’s heavily media influenced world, perhaps it does boil down to the type of media that we listen to, and trust, that molds us, and our views on life and the universe. Because the media has become such a big a part of most everyone’s life today (or at least for those of you reading this), it may be true that our chosen forms of media shapes our views and beliefs even more than our families do.

By the way, Walt and I are good friends… at least I think so. Even though our views are often at opposite ends of the political spectrum, I value his friendship. I miss debating with him now that he is busy with his college studies.

By the five categories list in the quoted article above, it is clear that I am more liberal than conservative. I do feel that the first two categories on that list are, by far, the most important. I also feel that “Ingroup/Loyalty” can be, and often is, taken too far and is even detrimental to a global civilization. Back in the cave days of humanity, in-group/loyalty was essential for survival, but today, I feel that in-group/loyalty (aka patriotism) is a prime source of conflict and distrust that prevents, or greatly hinders, a well functioning world culture.

In this age of instant communications, and global travel, I feel it is essential that we all learn to let go of our excessive levels of patriotism and become grouped and loyal to the entire planet of humanity, not just to our sports teams, cities, states, and countries. After all, no matter how many resist this fact, we are all in the same group, you know, the one called, “humanity.” Yeah, I guess this kind of thinking is what makes me more liberal minded than some.

If we, The People of Planet Earth, want to evolve past this current planet-bound stage, and become, The People of the Milky Way Galaxy, we are going to have to learn to live and work together much better than we do today. I cannot see any way that humanity will survive for even the next hundred years on our current culturally divided path. We really do need to find ways to reduce the divisions between us, and perhaps, if we can reshape our media, and how it influences us, we would stand a much better chance of achieving much greater things than building that next great sports arena… and that fleet of bombers.


MACJR
"I reject your reality and substitute my own." Adam Savage of the MythBusters
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#2
Over the more recent years, I have become far less political. I tend not to talk, debate, or rant about politics as much as I once did.

Why?

Because my growing distaste of both the left, and the right. I am no longer able to support either party, because I now feel they are both bad for these United States, and the future of this country. I feel that both political parties are blindly (or deliberately) leading us to disaster. Disaster for the average American citizen anyway. The rich plan to do just fine, no matter what happens. However, the rest of us will be left scrounging around in the dirt, while our once great nation falls to ruin.

Both the democrats and the republicans are pure poison to the future of this nation. As long as they are still in power, or even just one of those party is left in charge, there is no saving this country, unless both of those political parties stop their destructive behavior, and find a more centered way of being. If we do not restore a more centered government, there is no good outlook for this country, and with extremists in charge of both the left, and the right sides of each political party, there can be no center, or peace, for this country as a whole.

Can these to polar opposite political parties return to a more centered way of being? I doubt it. Things have gone to far to the extremes, and they have divided this nation too deeply.

The only way, it seems to me, that we can escape this deep division between political parties, and remove the deep division dividing this country in to so many fractured parts, is to get rid of both current political parties, and start over with a new political party. Fine, have a left and a right, but make both the left and the right more centered. NO EXTREMISTS ALLOWED!

Extremism tends to lead to war and conflict, not a smoothly functioning system.

Anyway, that is how I feel today. I cannot in good conscience vote for either party anymore.

MACJR
"I reject your reality and substitute my own." Adam Savage of the MythBusters
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