Someone at Twitter asserted that it is strange that on the same network (Fox News) that host of one show (Tucker Carlson) is strongly against the present level of US involvement in Ukraine, while the host of the show in the next time slot (Sean Hannity) is strongly supportive of that involvement and would like to see it accelerated…and that the very same people are probably watching both shows!
Have we really reached the point at which people expect to be marinated solely in political views that are 100% in conformance with their own?…and that those individual political views solidify immediately, with no interval for persuasion, reflection, or discussion?
21 thoughts on “I’m Surprised That He is Surprised”
OTOH, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised…I’ve observed in other spheres a declining % of people who are willing to consider viewpoints other than their own: investing sites, for example, where quite a few people seem to react with hostility toward any challenge of the wonderfulness of a stock they own.
I tend to agree with Tucker but it is significant that Fox, much derided by the left, is willing to host both sides. Where else do you get two views that disagree?
Does it matter what the people who watch Fox News, or even the entire population of the United States, think? The Political Class is going to do whatever it decides to do — and we peons will just have to pay for it and suffer the consequences.
Isn’t “Democracy” great?
Indeed. It has turned out that democracy is perhaps the best way to control a population. Keep em’ dumb, feed them lies and they will do what you want.
I’m sure many autocrats are reconsidering their methods of government. ;)
They are surprised because it never occurred to them that their opponents weren’t just following lockstep what they were told. Only they, the special, were capable of independent thought.
And that of course brings up the CS Lewis quote from “That Hideous Strength” by Miss Hardcastle, head of the secret police, explaining to the bright and educated new recruit about convincing the populace that the NICE meant them nothing but good. “Why you fool, it’s the educated reader who CAN be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.” (1942!)
A few general thoughts.
Back when I was in school we had a professor who ran a (very long) longitudinal study and the relationship between party ID and voting. His two conclusions were that party ID was fixed early life and that it provided the best predictor of voting behavior. It wasn’t as if voters weren’t capable of making a rational decision regarding candidate choice, see Reagan Democrats, it was that in the absence of extraordinary circumstances they would revert to party ID (which had become part of their identity) Think about how people vote in down-ballot races where they have no clue about the candidate or their views.
I haven’t seen the formal work on the subject but it’s pretty clear that the early formation of political and social views is also critical. This is theory that underpins progressive/revolutionary theories of education since at least Dewey. We expect people to become conservative over time, as they gain more responsibility in areas such as personal finance and family, but the amount of movement along the ideological spectrum is going to be dictated from their start from. Tin regard to the viewpoints of the millennials and Gen-zers, you have entire generations of young people whose views are out-of-sync with older people. You may see that as a problem, others see it fantastic. This is a problem for future generations because not only will Gen-Z and Millennial remain more Left over-time but their presence will ensure that any future generation will have limited movement as well. That is if you assume, as I do, that a major factor in assimilation and ideological movement is dictated by the larger culture; as Gen-Z and Millennials displace the older generations there will be fewer conservative institutions to provide guidance for assimilation.
So how does that affect your tweeter? I would be interested in knowing his or her age because what I have noticed is that with the Gen-Z/Millenial generations, social and political viewpoints have become more unipolar among individuals, or if you like more tribal. If one holds certain public views on say transgender or BLM then then you can predict with reasonable accuracy their views on topics regarding economics or foreign policy. That integration is reinforced by the dominant society’s depiction of any opposing viewpoints is not only illegitimate, but as identified with Deplorables. Go read the N.S. Lyons essay on media and class (https://theupheaval.substack.com/p/of-course-npr-and-the-bbc-are-state) Also look and see how many Left viewpoints are depicted by symbols and flags; Pride Flag, Ukraine Flag, BLM posters especially as lawn ornaments in places like Bethesda or Westchester County.
Such public displays are not only expressions of personal views but also act as expression of acceptable views. If you want to be part of the cool kids table, part of the ruling class (even if only emotionally) these are the totems and adherence must be complete. That’s why DEI sessions take on the form of a Maoist struggle session, that’s why for many on the Left one must not merely accept certain precepts but actively affirm them. Everyone must be in lock-step, ask those favored radical feminists like Martina Navratilova or J.K. Rowling what happened when they opposed certain aspects of transgenderism or socialists like Glenn Greenwald who opposed government oppression of free speech even in regard to Deplorables. Face it such a worldview is intoxicating for a wide-range of groups; the technocracy will have power and prestige as well as the feeling they are on the right side of History and the DEI/HR/AntiFa/Pink-haired shock troops will have both the frisson of revolution and power that their lack of competence would never otherwise allow. For everyone else, adherence is merely a life hack that one must do just to get along in life.
We also see the world through the language we use and the cognitive biases that entails. We on the Right have a hard time really understanding the Left because we cannot understand the internal structure of the language they use. The Left also sees the Right through their own linguistic lens via projection; that’s why they see us thinking in mindless lock-step with one another or acting to impose authoritarian methods because that’s how they see the world and themselves. They can’t imagine any space between Hannity and Carlson because they would never allow that space among themselves.
At some point soon, the public version of this enforced conformity will burn itself out and go into a brief remission; after all it’s only for so long one can eat its own. However as Lyons has pointed out, there is an integrated (almost totalitarian) worldview among the ruling class that underlies all of this and is not going away; people are not going to let go their favored place in society. We may laugh at those who cannot believe that there is diversity on the Right regarding Ukraine, but those on the Left are in disbelief because no such diversity is allowed.
Mike…”So how does that affect your tweeter? I would be interested in knowing his or her age because what I have noticed is that with the Gen-Z/Millenial generations, social and political viewpoints have become more unipolar among individuals”
Unfortunately, I didn’t bookmark the tweet, and I don’t think it’s someone I follow, just something that showed up.
His two conclusions were that party ID was fixed early life and that it provided the best predictor of voting behavior.
My Chicago Democrat family was outraged when I voted for Nixon in 1960 and told them about it. However, I was in college and had taken an economics course. That would not happen today as colleges, including the one I graduated from, are unrecognizable now. I feel sorry for kids in college. They are being taught nonsense. Even 15 years ago, my youngest was taught that “The Silent Majority” of the 60s were “white people who refused to accept the Civil Rights Act.” No mention of Viet Nam or Nixon. That was on her study guide for the final exam in “US History Since 1877.”
hannity has a smaller cohort of the audience, because he has become too predictable, like o’reilly used to be without the loofah) tucker always has an original twist to this crazy bearded spock universe, even if the themes are constant, about power politics economics and history,
I say this as someone who found him pretensious when he previewed the daily caller at the 2009 CPAC
Notions of “dissent” and strategies for dealing with it are based on good, old information-warfare principles and projection. In fact, more than information warfare it’s about using information, beliefs, and customs to define one’s group in relation to outsiders and to police deviations from those beliefs as heresy subject to expulsion. This is probably older than civilization itself and we’re all subject to it as an almost limbic response
I am sure that leftists would be horrified to know that their belief system stretch back to the Stone Age but since their belief systems often take the place of religion they are more susceptible to it because it is less recognizable. The Left views all of its beliefs being the latest and greatest as part of the progress of History and the very fact that that there is unanimous opinion on their part regarding this makes it so; everyone agrees because it the obvious thing. This closing of ranks (I would call it interlocking fields of fire, the Air Force guy across the street calls it a box formation from WW II) means there is internal dissent that contradicts the accepted dogma because by definition any dissent gets you expelled from the group and sent off to MAGA-land. You can be like J.K. Rowling and hit every part of the Left bingo card, but miss on transgender and off you go. Ukraine is another addition to the bingo card.
The projection part I mentioned above, it’s just normal for us to assume everyone sees the world in the same way we do. I am sure it baffled the tweeter that 2 media personalities (on Fox!) could actually differ on an important part of dogma; such things are just not seen on CNN or Washington Post
The reason I asked about age is that older leftists tend to follow the plan but are pretty cynical about it since they realize it’s just crap. Buy them a drink and they’ll sit back and pour out their vitriol about the laptop class. The younger Millennials and Gen-Zers though, they really believe to their core about this. The fun thing is to point out to them how their behavior is more akin to the 2nd Century purging of the Gnostic heresy rather than as a real intellectual movement, the mixed look of bafflement and horror is priceless.
My lefty friends used to point out–as if playing the ultimate trump card–that “Obamacare” originated in a report by the Heritage Foundation (IIRC).
I.e., how could conservatives and Republicans be opposed to it, a product of conservative/Republican thinking? Made no sense to the hivemind.
Needless to say, I was not impressed. They also used to curse the historically terrible budget deal of ’08 (?)–the one that was passed over the nay-votes of Republicans. Because, you see, it was so awful only because a lot of awful stuff was included to attract their votes . . .
At 70, I may not live long enough to see the inevitable collision of Reality and Anti-Reality, but based on historic precedent Reality will win after a bitter struggle. But only for a few generations at best.
One thing I observe about media..especially television and radio…is that they will obsessively focus on one thing that is hot and ignore everything else. Even when the hot thing has just happened and little information is known about it…and a rational person would just wait a day or three for more clarity to emerge…they spend hours interviewing various experts about what *might* have happened. Meanwhile, other things that are about to blow up go uncovered.
In effect, they are converting high-bandwidth communication channels into low-bandwidth ones. The actual information conveyed over a typical cable news channel over a day could probably be handled by an old-line 50 baud teleprinter circuit. (about 6 characters per second)
obamacare was designed by lefties like schakowsky’s spouse creamer and pushed by that hack name escapes me now, who was first hired by romney, ( i used to have that name on the tip of my tongue) most journalism might as well be written by AI, at this point, it is so artificial,
David, great comment.
One thing I observe about media..especially television and radio…is that they will obsessively focus on one thing that is hot and ignore everything else.
Maybe the “Daily Mail” will finally publish the trans shooter’s “Manifesto.” The UK newspapers have much more news about US politics.
Also, the ‘bandwidth’ problem becomes more severe as more government functions…and more of the culture in general…become national rather than local matters.
I second the suggestion of following the foreign press. Their shibboleths and no-go zones are different from the ones that constitute and delimit American political discussion.
I think most of us are old enough to remember when CNN first burst onto the scene in the 1980s. Imagine 24/7 news channel, no more waiting until 6:00 PM to learn what happened in the world.
A teacher once told me, it’s funny that no matter what happened in the world today the newspaper always has the same number of pages and the nightly news is always the same number of minutes. CNN and the other cable news It’s the same with CNN and the others, but now not only do they have to generate enough content to fill the air 24/7 but now being available 24/7 they need to give you a reason to tune in throughout the day. Thus everything is breaking news from Joe Biden falling down the stairs to Donald Trump sending out a mean tweet. Everything is turned up to 11.
It’s funny too because the randomizer during this morning’s workout kicked out Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry”
So to me it’s in large part due to the format. 24/7 news, like social media, is a great tool but it does have deleterious effects on the larger social sphere. I have learned, maybe, not to distrust but to take with a grain of caution, people who run Fox or CNN constantly in the background. Afterall if they are not in politics (which means they are inherently untrustworthy), what’s the point? To find out the world ended? What good would that be? By then it would be too late to do anything and just like having car and house insurance, you should already have stocked enough supplies and ammo to survive it.
Agree with Mike’s comments but would challenge the analogy to the purging of the Gnostic heresy. I tend to think modern progressives ARE the gnostic heresy.
“Maybe the “Daily Mail” will finally publish the trans shooter’s “Manifesto.” The UK newspapers have much more news about US politics.”
That will depend a great deal on the shooter’s bust size and the availability of pictures with lots of cleavage.
Network TV news used to be 15 minutes until about 1963
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