Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fool's Gold

One problem with sociologists and poli-sci wonks trying to explain various "phenomena" is that it lets idiots off the hook, absolves them for accepting responsibility for being gullible:
But Brendan Nyhan, professor in the department of government at Dartmouth College, says that expecting the average voter to walk around with a head full of statistics is unreasonable.

"I'm sympathetic to people who don't know the facts, I think they're being let down by the media and politicians," he says. "I don't expect people to follow the latest crime statistics.

"People are drawing what are unfortunately reasonable inferences from the information they're hearing and seeing which unfortunately exaggerates the prevalence of crime and crime statistics."
Well, that's on them, then, isn't it? I don't think anyone expects anyone outside the world of academics and professional statisticians to be instantly conversant with arcane numbers and esoteric data. The expectation is:  This person is running for the leadership of your country, and they presented this as fact. Is it true, is there an informational source that I can check on The Google in 60-90 seconds? It doesn't matter if Drumpf or HFC says it, it can and should be checked out. Jesus H. Christ, people, this is not that fucking difficult.

The real problem is, as one might expect, illuminated by none other than waddling beignet Newt Gingrich:
But Newt Gingrich, one of Trump's allies, said stats don't matter as much as feelings "The average American does not think crimes is down; does not think they are safer," Gingrich told CNN. "Liberals have a whole set of statistics that theoretically may be right, but that's not where people are. People are frightened."
[emphasis added]

There ya have it, it's all about how people feel, not how things really are. You tell them that they are orders of magnitude more likely to die from their diet, their vices, their bad driving, someone else's bad driving, and they don't wanna hear it. For this sort of person, I think it's more than just a basic inability to comprehend simple math, it's a need for drama, for conflict. Their emotion-based understanding of the world ties directly into their emotion-based value system, faulty assumptions bolstering flawed arguments. Sad!

You can't reach these people on this basis, but you can reach them on the other major thing that haunts them every day, and should be in the wheelhouse of any decent Democratic politician:  economic insecurity. Don't make excuses, don't push or even accept blame, don't talk about how globalization lifts up people in Third World countries.

Some guy in Indiana who's watched his job get outsourced and his town dry up doesn't give two fucks about someone in China or Bangladesh or Malaysia or any other place he'll never visit or see or want to go within five thousand miles of. He wants to know who's going to step in and right the situation for his community, his city, his state.

And the one area where I agree with Drumpf's rhetoric -- as empty as his proposals really are -- is that that is the way it's supposed to be. There have to be politicians and parties who do at least something for the working-class dog, who step up in the smoke-filled room to the transnational merchant princes who own everything, and say, Look, you greedy motherfuckers. How much is enough?

This is supposed to be the forte of the Democrats, and here is where the opportunity lies, where Clinton-Kaine will stand or fall. I mean, as long it jibes properly with the feewings of the frightened, low-info mice of the American electorate.

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