The Box, and how it relates to democracy

Published January 3, 2017

“Does thin-slicing affect the divide between our political parties in America?” (Lang, p48)

My last blog post strives to prove the benefit of being comfortable with the math behind big issues.

In comparison to all immigrants, only a very small percentage are terrorists. In comparison to all gun wielders, only a very small percentage are murderers. [In comparison to all conservatives, only a small percentage would wish death on a liberal, and vice versa.]

Performing the math behind all these truths, including the example from the last post, does not mean I am excusing or accepting of terrorism, murders, or violence. These are all issues that need addressed – and are addressed, constantly, by people much more knowledgeable than me.

What the math does is that it allows us to take an honest look at the sources of these issues. It allows us to dissect blanket statements like: It’s not the religion, or the race, or the association with a particular category, that makes the terrorists, murderers, and others perpetuating violence who they are. Yes, there are higher correlations between certain religions and terrorism lately, at least with what I’ve read, and there are higher correlations between categorized races and violence, at least in America, and at least from what I’ve read, but that does not mean those respective religions and races are the source. (You know I’ve already addressed this, so please allow me to move on.)

But I’m not saying that all we need to do to prove all jeeps aren’t gray is to find one orange one. My point is more that the overwhelming percentage are orange, if we’re willing to take an unbiased look at the math.

I’m also not saying that we need to use the mathematics to allow everyone to freely move about from country to country simply because terrorism and violent crime are low compared to those not involved in either. Nor am arguing to let everyone own a gun simply because murders are low in comparison to all gun owners.

So let’s just give all immigrants automatic weapons! That was a bad attempt at a joke. Besides, from what I’ve read, not for a few exceptions, immigrants that aren’t citizens can’t own guns, let alone automatic weapons.

I’m not well-versed on politics, so my assessments above could be inaccurate. I looked up what it means to be liberal or conservative, concluding that I’m liberally conservative more than I am conservatively liberal. Conservatives believe in limited government intervention. A goal of my book is that we can all improve within, which could be argued as policing ourselves. At the same time, I am fighting (metaphorically, of course) for equality for all (something that clearly puts me in a liberal playing field, from what I’ve read).

Frankly, my political position means nothing, regardless my reasons. I already revealed in an earlier post who I voted for, and the emotional reasons I revealed as my X factor have nothing to do with politics.

And, as you know, I didn’t address politics in my book. If I did, I would probably come off no more intelligent than a rock that bakes in the sun all day refusing to move while complaining about the heat. If that’s personification, then, if rocks don’t complain, kindly explain to me how they make little progress on movements and, if there is any progress, it’s always reserved to getting kicked around.

The relationship between the box and democracy is that we don’t seem to be focusing on working together much. I’m not talking about one party controlling everything. If you look at statistics since 1900, control [of both branches and presidency] has happened quite a bit. While war does seem to be a common theme during these times, the two major world wars seemed to have started during Democratic control. My source follows: Balance of Power

Maybe I’m not close to reality here (I am self-diagnosed with general psychosis), but if you spend 30 minutes on social media, witnessing the divisive nature of Twitter wars or Facebook confrontations, or spend an hour watching the news, it seems to me that the principles of a two-party system (each keeping the other level-headed) have been lost among the cacophony.

What happened to just having a respectful dialogue with a goal of compromise? I haven’t yet read a book explaining that communication can be successful while judging, demeaning, or bullying the opposition. Even in books that seem to serve to scare us into community (e.g. The Holy Bible, The Noble Qur’an), the overall theme seems to have inspired millions to work together.

So maybe the answer isn’t reading one or two books. (Millions claim that, and that hasn’t done much for us.) Maybe it’s reading 1 or 2 books per week, and then getting comfortable enough with educating ourselves to the point of reading no less than 150 books annually.

I’m an idiot, meddling into topics I’m still ignorant on. Idiot or not, the observation that the average American is not reading books seems pretty accurate to me. Thousands of scholars are still telling us the importance of listening, empathizing, understanding, and anything else that is opposite to thin-slicing, and I think they have been telling us these things for quite some time.

But we aren’t reading the books telling us these things. We’re too busy berating one another on character, using a delusion of “power” to “one-up” our “opponents,” when the truth might be closer to us all being human, fallible and flawed, and only able to make great strides with collaboration.

 

BLang – just another human, one of over 7 billion

 

References:

Lang, B. (2016) The World from Outside Its Box. Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing.