Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Naive Realism

       Remember what was dubbed by the media as Bush Derangement Syndrome after George W. Bush squeaked by in his presidential victory in 200 and reelected in 2004? Bush Derangement Syndrome was an intense and irrational hatred of Bush 43 alleging he was corrupt, stupid, greedy, racist and every other stereotypical epithet thrown at conservative by members of the political left with less than stellar critical thinking skills. The epidemic at the time count as the tragedy. The current purple-faced rage against the impending presidency of Donald Trump is the farce.
      Do not get me wrong. Observing the Trump Derangement Syndrome contagion has been amusing. On election night alone, the political left went from crowing over the first woman president to increasing discomfort over how well Trump was unexpectedly doing to full blown meltdowns as he won the White House. Even the absurdity of the subsequent riots were entertaining, if for no other reason than the mobs were full of professional protesters engaged in the outrage of the moment. Especially since said outrage was over losing a free and fair election. So you can probably see how one could consider Trump Derangement Syndrome a fare.
       It is not all about Trump. The political left turned it ire on Trump's supporters early and often. (Which is also how many of them vote, but I digress.) These attacks are nothing new, nor is the type confined to politics. I spent quite a bit of time in the late '90's immersed in Christian apologetics, and the motif is much the same. Many discussion devolve from a legitimate difference of opinion to trading insults as excuses for opponents' belief.
       There is a term for this in sociology. The belief someone disagrees with you because he is stupid, mentally ill, or morally degenerate is called naive realism. I would say it I prevalent in politic. Then I would extend its prevalence to the internet. Finally, I would just declare it is everywhere people are. It is a natural result of the human desire to never be wrong. If there is a disagreement, there must be something wrong with the other person.
       The problem is often no distinction is drawn between knowledge and intelligence. Knowledge is what one knows. Intelligence is the capacity to learn knowledge and understand it. One can be a genius in one's field of knowledge and poor in another. Witness Dr. Ben Carson. He was a brilliant neurosurgeon, but believed the Egyptian pyramids were built as grain silos. At least he did not believe the pyramids were intended as UO landings sites. There is a difference between one being wrong, and being wrong and you are stupid because one is wrong.
       The best way to avoid falling prey to naive realism is to avoid discussing politics and religion. If you cannot resit, you will have to grow a thicker kin. Either way, take heart when subjected to naive realism, it often means your opponent has run out of intelligent counter arguments. So there is that.   

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