Happiness and Political extremism


#1

Heres an article that some of you might find interesting / funny:

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/the-politics-of-happiness-part-5/


#2

wooo! guess I’m not an extremist although for some reason people tend to label me as such. I read the article, and I don’t ‘hate’ people with opposing views as mine. Although I have met my share, I would have assumed they were terribly unhappy people, because things are never how an extremist wants them to be.

man, I NEVER want to be like these people! I’ve met objectivists (if you’ve never met one, or don’t now what they are, consider yourself lucky), God these people are insane! I’ve heard some say things like “I’d never marry someone who wasn’t an objectivist” and hinting that they’d never be friends with someone who wasn’t. They talk about completely surrounding themeselves with ‘like minded’ people as a good thing!


#3

For some reason that reminds me of Morrisey, I remember him on TV saying he could never be friends with someone who ate meat. I guess I can see why, but it seems a little extreme to me.
I argue about politics with my brother all the time :smiley:


#4

It isn’t that they want to be surrounded with like-minded people, it’s that they consider those who don’t hold their political viewpoint to be, with full knowledge and awareness, acting in an evil manner.

Similar situations:
Conservatives who don’t want to associate with drug-users.
Christians who don’t want to associate with atheists (and vice-versa).
Vegetarians who don’t want to associate with meat-eaters.

In each situation, the first person doesn’t want to associate with the second not because of their actions so much as because they believe the other person knows better. An objectivist who rejects people who are not themselves objectivists is doing it because they believe the people in question know better.

If anyone doubts my point, try these two approaches.
First approach: “I believe but I’ve heard you disagree. Can you tell me why?”
Second approach: “I believe , and I’m proud of it.”

The first statement obviously invokes ignorance. The second implies knowledge. It implies that you’ve studied X and come to the conclusion that it’s the correct thing to believe. If you say to an objectivist, “I believe in socialism, and I’m proud of it,” what they hear is, “I’ve studied the issue and in spite of this study, have adopted an evil position.” If you say to a vegetarian, “I eat meat, and I’m proud of it,” what they hear is, “I’ve studied this issue and in spite of this study, have adopted an evil position.”

To say that it’s a matter of surrounding yourself with like-minded people is not a full understanding of the situation.


#5

ha ha ha ha ha :laughing: yes, that’s a good explanation, objectivists (LITERALLY) believe any given socialist is morally corrupt! And why are extremists happier? Do they feel good that they’re superior to the rest of the people (because they’re not evil)?


#6

I confess that I believe some socialists are morally corrupt, where the rate of moral corruption is higher than the rate in the general population. I’m nowhere near as extreme as a student of Objectivism would be in this regard though; Hanlon’s Razor is important to remember. Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance.

I think you’re right about extremists feeling good about not being evil. They have certainty, and more than certainty, they have (drumroll, please) JUSTICE on their side.

Personally, righteous fury can actually be fun. I don’t (can’t) indulge too often though. I just don’t have the necessary levels of ironclad certainty.