moral, rational people with very different moral conclusions

November 5, 2020
There is a lot I think Sam Harris is wrong about, sometimes dangerously wrong, but this is at least a thought provoking juxtaposition:
It's like one of those magic eye illustrations, where you're starting at a random dot stereogram, forever, and then finally the embedded 3D image just pops out. And this picture of Trump's appeal is really best understood in comparison with the messaging of his opponents on the Left; that's how you can see it in stereo. That's how the image finally pops up.

So taking the Trump half of this picture: one thing that Trump never communicates - and cannot possibly communicate - is a sense of his moral superiority. The man is totally without sanctimony. Even when his every utterance is purposed towards self-aggrandizement, even when he appears to be denigrating his supporters, even when he's calling himself a genius, he is never actually communicating that he is better than you, more enlightened, more decent... because he's not. And everyone knows it. The man is just a bundle of sin and gore, and he never pretends to be anything more. Perhaps more importantly, he never even aspires to be anything more. And because of this - because he is never really judging you, he can't *possibly* judge you - he offers a truly safe space for human frailty. And hypocrisy. And self-doubt. He offers what no priest can credibly offer: a total expiation of shame. His personal shamelessness is a kind of spiritual balm.

Trump is Fat Jesus. He's "Grab-Them-By-The-Pussy" Jesus. He's "I'll Eat Nothing But Cheeseburgers If I Want To" Jesus. He's "I Want to Punch Them in the Face" Jesus. He's "Go Back to your Shithole Countries" Jesus. He's "No Apologies" Jesus.

And now consider the other half of this image. What are we getting from the Left? We're getting exactly the opposite message. Pure sanctimony. Pure judgement. "You are not good enough." "You're guilty, not only for your own sins, but for the sins of your fathers: the crimes of slavery and colonialism are on your head" And if you're a cis-, White, heterosexual male, which we know is the absolute core of Trump's support? "You're a racist, homophobic transphobic Islamophobic sexist barbarian. Tear down those statues and bend the fucking knee."

It's the juxtaposition of those two messages that is so powerful.

Sam Harris podcast #224
I think the Left's message is subtler than that; it's not that the current day White Folk are responsible for their forefathers sins; but they might be responsible for not recognizing the benefits they continue to enjoy FROM those evils, generations after; the way society sets itself up and digs deep furrows for its constituent groups that are nearly impossible to escape from. Responsible for not seeing those furrows as something worth fighting against. Responsible for not recognizing that this nation is - in an ongoing way - not living up to its ideas of Liberty and Justice For All- that Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has preconditions of equitable opportunity that are not being met.

It's rough. I know as I clash on Social Media that I carry some of that holier than thou, but I try not to. More so than many of my fellow lefties, I try to give every outlook the benefit of the doubt, and see what are the difference in starting assumptions that are leading moral, rational people to very different moral conclusions.
I think--and this is the commonly accepted view in political science and economics--that [the majority of people voting for reasons that have to do with identity, not ideology] is a result of perverse incentives - it's just not worth voter's time to know things unless they're interested in politics--unless it's their hobby or job.
This ties in to the idea that a voter needs to be reconciled with their individual vote only mattering as part of a larger trend/demographic, without losing that emotional energy to keep at it.