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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Yes feelings matter and no, being upset doesn't make you right either

Yes feelings matter and no, being upset doesn't make you right either

           Convoluted title, I'm sure you'll all agree... yet it's the least original way I found to pass my message and catch the eye. Today's article is to address the ''feelings don't matter'' argument, often used by a certain type of people... mainly those who oppose social justice types and feminists. Whenever one of those feminists or SJW tell them ''You are really mean'', ''This really hurts my feelings'' or ''You won't convince anyone with that tone and insults'' the anti-feminists and anti-SJWs will inevitably answer: ''Your feelings don't matter'' ''Feelings don't matter'' or ''Logic over feelings''.

Usually, given my stances on feminism and social justice, you would expect of me that I take the anti-SJWs defense... Well not this time. Don't get me wrong, there is a point in what the anti-SJWs are saying, but there is also a point to what the SJWs and feminists says. First there is a misunderstanding here. The anti-camp is usually saying ''feelz don't matter'' in answer to an emotional appeal or just their opponents reacting emotionally, however, they don't get that they are no longer arguing over an argument, which must be answered with logic, but to someone's personnal emotions. Emotions are a tricky thing. We are all different and can be upsetted by anything... some faster and easier than others. Before, I would have said ''so what? Their feelings STILL doesn't make them right!''. I do think that, but I don't believe this attitude is helpful anymore.

 Someone once taught me ''It doesn't matter how someone got sad, or if their feelings makes no sense to you, what matters is that right now, that person is sad, and that's your fault. You should be more empathetic'' And you know what... I understand. I doesn't matter if ultimately you have the best arguments, or that you feel their reaction is a diversion from the debate or that you yourself are angry: someone was hurt, by you. And the feminist or SJW you were arguing with is right, you can use all the logic and facts in the world, if you can't win the heart of your opponents you'll never win them over. In fact, that's part of why social justice and feminism are so popular: the people that are spreading those ideas... they really care about people ( or at least looks like they do). They convince people by being kind and supportive with them, by stirring up feelings of outrage and rightfulness over the injustices they perceive. Whether or not you can prove to them those injustices are either exagerated or made up is irrelevant if you can't replace this anger or sadness with something of your own. If the recent american elections haven't taught anyone that people's feelings are more important to convince most people than using logic, then I don't know what could. 

Yes, in an argument, logic is more important than feelings, but when someone is hurt and is telling you about it, using it as a defense, they are no longer arguing with you. They just told you that you hurt them in their deeply held beliefs, It's like if you just killed their pet. They don't care about your logic at that point. You may feel annoyed and angry yourself that your argument is being highjacked by someone's tears, but there is always a another chance, given that you didn't alienate that person by your insistance. And if that person is your friend or family, is it worth it? Worth it to ruin your relationship over an argument you won't win anyway because of their current emotional state? I don't think so. That's why when I argue with someone and I start upsetting them... I'll apologize. I'll concede minor points. If you really want to win an argument, don't let the debate slip into butthurt territory, for neither of you.

 People wonder why I got so good at arguing. Simple, I remember that I'm arguing with human beings, not robots, books or myself. I'm not arguing only over facts and logical arguments, I'm also arguing against someone's beliefs, someone's values. I remember that before winning the argument, I must show that I can win them over as a person. That I'm not as bad as they might imagine because we disagree and they think anyone with my opinions is a bigot. The best politicians, I'm sure you noticed, are charismatic, not philosophers or scientists. They charm people, they don't persuade them. And when someone is starting to feel upset? Calm down a bit, be more gentle, remember that you too have buttons that can be pushed. Maybe yours are harder or more obscure, but they still exists. Be empathetic, because that's the only way you can convince some people: not by being the smartest person, but the nicest person. May seems like cheating for you ''why would I use emotions? That's fallacy play, that's not how you should argue.''. Then don't hesitate to intertwine some logic in your emotional appeal. Sure, you don't like using emotions, I get it, but that's the only way some people will be willing to listen to your logic. If they just open to you, and agree based on logic, not feelings, does it matter that much you had to use emotions to achieve it? Not really. Feminists and SJWs are more empathetic than their opponents, yet their opponents are more pragmatic and do have many facts backing them up. If the social justice folks are mainly there because of feelings, and are not open to listen to your logic because their guard is up, you just need to lower that emotional shield, and that logic has no opposing logic from them to face. You know you'll win on a battle of wits, but have you forgot their hearts?  I mellowed a lot this time it seems. I just thought of all of this because of my depression. Often people are insensitive, myself included, to others' sufferings. But like I said before, It doesn't matter why someone is feeling bad, they'll think about the legitimacy of their feelings after it passed, for now, they need conforting. Just... just remember that even if you are political ennemies, they are not necessary bad people. They believe in what they believe is the right thing, and so do you. So no need to launch a tear bomb. Overall, empathy is a quality that I wish more people tried to get, as for SJWs and co, I wish they extend their sympathy to everyone... not just specific minorities and oppressed groups. So that's all for today, I expect lot of backlash, but I stand by what I said. Maybe I'll explain myself better another time. I don't know. Anyway, see you later -KeLvin

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why Trump won: complacency and the fear of the other.

Why Trump won: complacency and the fear of the other.

Trump won. To many people this sounds surreal. President Trump. Sounds so weird. That TV show host billionaire in the top 200 of the richest people alive? How could he be the 45th president of the United States? Everyone has their own answer... but I barely heard what seems to be the most obvious one: Hillary's voters were so sure she would win, that they were complacent.Seems obvious, only a third of americans voted. Only half of the eligible voters voted. That's some heavy voter apathy there. How much do you want to bet that many of those who didn't vote were Hillary supporters that thought she didn't need their vote because ''It's impossible that Trump would win''?Oupsies. Seriously though, she DID win the popular vote... by less than 1%. Yep, that's pretty close, so doesn't matter much that the electoral college went against her, the popular vote was pretty much a tie already. I wonder why the U.S still have the electoral college, such a farce that institution, but oh well who am I to say that, Canada has the ''party guideline'' policy, where members of a political party can't speak or vote against their leaders decisions without punishment... No democracy is perfect right now. Still, it's amazing that Trump won. Amazingly terrible or great, that's your perspective, but still amazing. 

    I began thinking he could actually win a week or two before the elections. Hillary's campaign was a mess form the start, given that she ( according to most people) rigged her candidacy over Bernie Sanders, the candidate democrat's voters actually liked the most, and that she had a... complex political history to say the least. Lies, swinging positions that mysteriously match the popular position of the day, professionnal mistakes, using her personal email address instead of a secure governmental one, the fact she's not as charismatic as Michelle Obama or Bernie Sanders, the fact she's an establishment candidate, even though she tried to deny it... A lot of tangible things went against her. And Trump? Well, his political history is almost a blank slate, he barely involved himself into politics before. He was one of the first ''birthers'' conspiracy theorists, pushing Obama a lot to release his birth certificate ( which he did). He is a business man, so he obviously had ties with politics, since politics and economical actors are still unfortunately way too close nowadays. But other than that, no one knows what Trump the politician would or could do. Everyone knows his public persona by now: a man entitled by a sense of superiority, that believes he's smarter than most and that his money entitles him to women and respect... A man that believes torture works, and that we should kill the families of terrorists (that include innocent children), a man that is undoubtetly xenophobic, if not racist. He's doesn't seems homopobic though, given his ''I'll protect you from Islam'' speech, but then why did he choose Mike Pence as vice president then? Pence is openly against homosexuality, and financed electroshock ''therapy''... He is one of the rare people that still believes you can pray the gay away. Needless to say, Trump is a wild card, while Hillary was an highly predictable establishment candidate, Trump is an unpredictable old man (the oldest president ever elected at 70, and one of the rare elected without the popular vote but only the electoral college approval). 

Do I think he'll be the worst president ever? No. Do I think he'll be one of the worst? Probably. 
Many says he won because Americans are dumb and racist and mysoginists etc... And while it certainly explains some part of the vote, assuming all his supporters are bigots is just incredibly condescending and unrealistic. It's just isn't statiscally probable. And think about it, if half or a third of Americans were racist bigots, I doubt there would have been as much positive changes against racism. And no need to remind everyone of Obama. Speaking of him, you should know that many of Trump's voters are ex-Obama voters, the statistics are undeniable. As hard as it can be to admit for those disappointed by the results, Trump's triumph has more substance to it than "Americans are evil". 

So what did he do that changed the heart of ex-Obama voters, police officers (they apparently voted en masse for him), many leftists and the moderate right?

Well let's start by looking at each demographic. 

The rich: they would have been satisfied either way. No, seriously. As long as they are able to pay terrible wages, crush unions and have advantageous trade deals... They don't care. Hillary was more pro-union and for raising the minimal wage, but also supported terrible trade deals for the workers, great for the capitalists. Trump was pro-employer, and opposed raising the minimal wage, but he is also protectionnist which annoys multinational companies even if it please local producers.

The poor: mainly for Hillary, even if those tax cuts by Trump were attractive to many. I looked at Hillary plans, and she planned more for the poor than Trump, so if she lost poor voters it was unrelated to their economic status I think. Many may have voted Trump because they think immigrants stole their jobs or something.

The middle class: the center of all political campaigns. The most divided of demographics. Hillary attracted many middle class voters with her policies regarding healthcare and education, the promise of clearing students' debt, and more policies that help the middle class. However, Trump's tax cuts are like any tax cuts attractive to voters and since he said he'll be kicking back illegal immigrants, many assumed this would mean more jobs. Probably not the kind of job the middle class want though... Again, Hillary had the economic advantage, Trump won the middle class on other issues and topics.

Now for the dreaded identity politics...

Men: Mainly voted Trump, studies suggest men tend to be more right leaning than women. And many men voted Trump due to identity politics being quite hostile towards them. Let's be honest, the feminist "the patriarchy exists and all men are in it" propaganda is annoying to many non misogynistic men. Being blamed for all the evil in the world tend to get on the nerves of many average men. Yes, there is still sexism nowadays, but blaming all men with the excuse "systemic sexism include all men, all men profit from it" is alienating them. They feel like any of their achievements is somehow unwelcome because feminists say it's not their own successes but them cashing in on the patriarcal privileges. Many feel left out. They try to point out issues affecting them? "Why are you pointing out men's issues? Men are backed up by the patriarchy! Men already have all the resources and attention! You just want to drain resources from the organizations that help women! What? Men accounts for most cases of homelessness,suicides and work-related deaths and you think that it's not fair that most resources allocated for those issues focus on women while it's men that are the most affected? Women have it worse! You hate women! Women need more resources even if they are less affected because they don't have the support of the patriarchy them! And when they are affected, it's worse for them anyways! No I don't have evidence of this!" Ahem, so understanding why men weren't turn on by Hillary Clinton feminist friendly campaign is not difficult. Sure you want to make women feel confident enough to do whatever they want in life, but don't make the men who are successful or want to be to feel they do not merit their accomplishments because you so much want to help women... You don't help someone paint their house by buying them paint and then breaking their brushes.

Women: Mainly voted Hillary (some just because she is a woman,sigh), though a surprising amount voted Trump. I understand why Hillary got more votes. Trump said and did disgusting things regarding women. Sure his campaign manager is a woman, but that doesn't excuse the things he said. You can talk all you want about "vote on policies not his personality" but his personality is just repulsive to most women, and I completely gets why. The " I grab them by the pussy" thing was not gross because of the grab their pussy part, after all if a woman consent to this there is nothing wrong... It was gross because of the "when you are rich and famous as I am, they let you do it, I don't even ask" part. He was literally bragging about sexual assault/harassment there while feeling entitled because of the power his money and celebrity grant him. Gross on many levels. Given his obviously loose attitude towards women, many wonders if he'll be able to uphold measures to protect them from discrimination. Only the future will tell I suppose... 

"People of color"(still hate that term) and Hispanics: voted Hillary for the most part, but Trump couldn't have won if he didn't have a surprising amount of them as supporters. Why did he get so few non-white voters? Because of the stupid shit he said regarding Mexican illegal immigrants... Obviously. Saying that "Mexico is not sending their best, they're rapists , drug lords and criminals" did shocked most Hispanics. Most immigrants are legal, yes even most Mexican immigrants, so implying they are all monsters didn't help. And made Mexicans quite mad. That and that wall shit. Way to go to make Mexico your friend Trump. Way to go. And even amongst illegal immigrants, most are non violent and are not drug lords. Most are just illegal workers, working for shit illegal wages. Plus did he forget many are the children of illegal immigrants? Do you think they want their parents or themselves to be deported? While they only have an American citizenship and can't be deported with their parents? What about all the orphans it would make? Trump alienated Hispanics and Black voters for his xenophobic/racist views 

Muslims:. Hillary. Trump said he would ban Muslims and openly criticised islam, enough for most of them to ditch him.

White people: that's where Trump got the most of his lost votes from other categories. He simply did what Hillary didn't: cater to them. Hillary most adamant supporters, mostly progressives, keep talking about systemic racism, and like systemic sexism be all men, they blame all white people with the excuse that they are all indirectly racists because they allegedly all profit from the system. Of course many answer that this is false, but they aren't talking of the same things. Their definition of racism is different. Progressives think it's "prejudice+power" and institutionalized. Those who disagree says it's simply prejudice and foremost individual. But since they rarely talk about the fact that they both agree that individual prejudice and institutional prejudice are bad, that they simply don't agree on calling prejudiced black people racists if they discriminate against white people (because of their different definitions), they alienated each others. Hillary support for Black lives matter ironically hurt her more than it helped her. Most people don't disagree with the intent of BLM: discrimination is bad and should be avoided, they disagree with their actions. Rioting and looting your city is not a good way to protest the stereotype that black people are all thugs... Just saying. The outright anti-cop stance of the movement also scared many voters. Cops didn't like to be portrayed as racist tyrants, when most of them aren't. Black cops in particular felt really hurt to be lumped with the rest of their colleagues as racists. Plus by overusing the word racist, they are devaluing it, I said it before, the best way to normalize a behavior or idea is exposure. If you are constantly exposed to non perverted gay folks, you might come to stop fearing them, they will become normal in your eyes. Same thing here. Keep saying racist for trivial reasons, and people will start believing actual racism is also trivial. Why do you think white nationalism is on the rise? By insisting on differentiating people by races and privileges, you are not trivializing races and diminishing tensions, you are reinforcing the concept that races are a thing, that there is differences based on it. Don't be surprised then that many start believing the stereotypes and feel that black people are their enemies if you show hostility towards them because of their white skin... Racism towards white people only cause more racism towards black people. The racial division is a sad reality, and both sides are reinforcing it. The moral high ground the left took was simply too high for many voters, so they turned to the other option, Trump. Sure, he might be more traditionally racist, but when the soft bigotry of the left towards white people scare them, they turn to someone who appeal to their fears. That's basically what this election was about:fear. Clinton voters feared Trump, Trump voters feared Clinton.

Now let's get out of identity politics and talk issues.

Economy: Hillary main victory, she nailed that topic, even if many trusted Trump because he is a businessman, she had better policies overall. The job creation was won by Trump, but that's because of his immigration policy.

Immigration:Trump main victory, he spoke against illegal and legal immigration, refused to take in refugees, and said he would ban Muslims from entering the country. Like I said fear is the main component of both candidates campaign, and Trump was better at reassuring voters than Hillary. Hillary focused on people fearing Trump, but forgot to reassure her voters with enough policies. Trump reassured all those voters that fear terrorism, Islam and getting their jobs "stolen" by illegal immigrants. His ideas are ridiculously simple, bad and expensive, but people didn't care, at least that was some ideas to solve the issues that Americans care about. Better than nothing some thought. I think those fears are exaggerated, but Trump taped into it perfectly. Hillary acted aloof on that topic. She scared the voters that feared immigrants and Islam, instead of reassuring them. I think it was an accident though. Bad communication. And Trump called out fundamentalist Islam more than Hillary, and most people know it's a problem, so they didn't like that she played dumb on the topic. 

Scandals: not a political issue to me, its just gossiping and mutual slandering, but it can influence voters. Both had sexual scandals, except that Hillary scandals were not about her but Bill Clinton. Those seems to have had only a small influence. Even the email thing didn't hurt Hillary that much. Trump sexual scandals did alienate many women.

Human rights: both are terrible on that topic. Both used to oppose gay rights, and their sudden public change of heart seemed hypocritical. Both also chose to ignore the human rights abuses of other countries. Hillary turn a blind eye to the Middle East, Trump to Russia. Voters knew that neither really cares, they just pretend to.

International relations: both are terrible, again. Hillary did best with first world nations (and the middle East), except Russia, with her terrible comments that seemed really warmongering... Trump did worse with first world countries (hence all the headlines in the world shocked by his victory), better with countries like Russia and the middle East. So alienate most countries, or only the most powerful ones. Yep, that's shit. 

So my closing thoughts... The right is rising In first world countries because of fears. Fear of terrorism, Islam, the left radicalization, the fear of economic stress, fear of globalization, fear of each others based on skin color or religion, etc. Donald Trump is tapping in those fears. Exploiting them. If you don't like the fact that the right is rising, then the left should think of reassuring words, because the moral panic that followed Trump victory only reassure his voters that they made the right choice , that all leftists are just crazy, intolerant assholes and racists toward white people. Unfortunately, Trump victory has more to do with the left failure to be reasonable and reassuring, than "all Right wingers are evil and bigots". Things are not as simple as that.
 Let's hope the left take the opportunity to improve itself, and that the right realise Trump is not their savior. The rise of the alt-right, Neo-Nazism and white nationalism worries me, and if the left doesn't deradicalize, it could get worse. The left need to let go the identity politics, or the Donalds Trumps of this world may become the norm for our world leaders... A scary future indeed. Meanwhile sleep well and see you next time -KeLvin