June 12, 2017
The Mysterious Cause of Division
Finding the Key Word
I generally stay away from partisan politics on this site and will delete political posts unless they deal with a metaphysical principle or will be of strong majority interest to the group.
I will definitely delete posts that focus on attacking and belittling the other side. Mindless name calling in particular is not welcome.
Once we take away the focus of emotional attack, bias and one-sided thinking we, as metaphysical thinkers, are left with looking at some of the spiritual principles that actually play out in the world of politics. This seems to be something that few have the mental capacity to be able to accomplish as the two sides are at each other’s throats with the greatest intensity since the American Civil War.
When I was younger the advice was to not discuss politics or religion at the dinner table or an otherwise friendly gathering. Now politics and religion seem grouped under one tent so most any discussion of religion doesn’t result in seeking to understand a religious view, but the politics of it.
For instance, if Islam is brought up then there will be no intelligent discussion of its doctrine, but will turn to the political implications of the religion.
If Christianity is brought up the discussion will lean toward whether this is a Christian nation, or abortion, or LGBT rights.
If Jesus is mentioned the discussion may tend toward whether he was a socialist and would have supported various social programs. Or would Jesus take in all the refugees and illegal immigrants?
Many listening to the sharp division of views and the very strong and immovable conclusions reached by each side wonder about a number of things.
First, how is it possible that intelligent people on both sides see things so differently? Why can’t they just reasonably discuss, understand each others views and reach some middle ground of agreement?
This question has even puzzled researchers and some have come up with differences ideologues have in their brains and genes that they think explain it.
It is almost amusing to look through the eyes of the two sides as to how they see each other. The idea of each as to what is right to them seems so obvious that the other side just seems to be irreparably stupid and bordering on insane to hold to the views they do.
The perplexing thing is that there are true believers on each side who are very accomplished, highly educated, have written books and created projects that demonstrate considerable intelligence.
It just seems very mysterious that two highly intelligent people can disagree so strongly on some very simple things, such as: “Should we reduce our deficit spending or not?” “Should we increase taxes or not?” “Should we increase public transportation or not?”
The answers to these and many other questions seem so obvious to various partisans who just cannot fathom why the other side sees things so differently than they do.
There has to be an answer to this illusive conundrum. What could it be?
Actually, the answer is quite simple and one word supplies the key. What is that word? Here it is:
Polarization occurs when there is more focus, attention and energy on one side of an equation than the other side. This polarization may cause the person to not see what is right in front of him staring him in the face.
The teacher in a class has the right answer written straight ahead on the blackboard. Bob is looking out the window to the left and Bill is daydreaming, looking out the window to the right. When the teacher demands an answer all that is in the head of either are the scenes outdoors that have nothing to do with the real truth.
Bob and Bill may be the smartest kids in the class, but if they keep their focus only on the left or the right they will both find the real answer to be illusive. The answer is not outside among the flowers and the trees or the lakes and the streams, but by focusing in the middle between the two extremes. The answer was right in front of them written clearly on the blackboard, but they could not see it because they were not paying attention.
The natural question to be asked now is this: What is the difference in the political polarization of the left and the right that causes them to miss the truth that is to be found at the midway point?
The Big Difference
The answer as noted lies in the keyword of polarization. The question then becomes this: What is the difference in focus of the left and the right that causes opposition in polarization?
The answer lies in the fact that our brain is composed of two halves called the left and right brain. Each half of the brain is so complete in itself that a lobotomy can be performed where half the brain is removed and the person can still function.
The left side of the brain is normally associated with the calculating, analytical, male part of ourselves while the right side is associated with the feeling, emotional, female nature.
This accurately mirrors the internal makeup that we all know that we posses. All of us possess feelings and all possess analytical and calculating abilities.
Many of us miss the message that lies inherent in the construction of the brain itself. We have two halves of the brain that focus on two different aspects, yet work together to create a functional and mentally healthy individual. Anyway that seems to have been the plan.
Unfortunately, many go against the plan that would achieve balance and place most of their attention either on the analytical or the emotional part of themselves. They therefore become polarized on the right or the left and ignore much of the feedback they could be receiving from the other half of themselves.
So we now have the nature of the creation of the problem for when an emotionally polarized person encounters an analytically polarized one and begin a dialog it will not be long before the hairs on the back of their necks will bristle with irritation. The analytical one will think the emotional one makes no sense and the emotional one will think the other has no love or concern for his fellow men.
So which is which? It should be obvious. Those on the political right are centered more in analytical thinking and the political left are more centered in the emotional. To understand them we must realize that their polarization will determine the process by which they will make decisions and decide which beliefs they will incorporate.
I can hear the objections now. One says, “I am from the left and I do lots of analytical thinking.” The other says, “I am from the right and I love my fellow men and women.”
Anyone who makes this objection was not paying attention to the meaning of polarization. It merely means you lean more on one half of a duality than the other. If your makeup causes you to lean 60% in favor of the feeling side and 40% on the analytical side then you are emotionally polarized.
No one is 100% one or the other, but just a small difference will cause most of the decision making to favor one side over the other.
For instance, I would guess that the polarization of both the Democrats and Republicans is about 60/40 favoring their side of duality.
The question that now arises is which side is polarized in the feeling/female side and which the analytical/male?
The answer should be obvious to the impartial observer. The right is polarized in the analytical side and the left focuses more on the feeling.
This explains why those on the right put a lot of attention on the business world which requires analytical thinking and those on the left excel in the creative arts which requires one to be in touch with the feeling nature. Poetry, for instance requires a lot of sensitivity toward the feeling nature and how often do you hear of a Republican poet?
Interesting studies show that the feeling nature can boost dopamine levels, a brain chemical that inspires creativity while analytical thinking is promoted by testosterone.
The difference in the way we vote illustrates the division of the left and right into the analytical/male and feeling/female polarities.
As a whole, the majority of males support Republicans and the majority of females support Democrats.
For instance, in the 2000 election, where the votes were split down the middle, Bush received 53% of the male vote and only 43% of the female. Gore received 54% of the female vote and only 42% of the male.
In the 2012 election Obama won the female vote by 12 points, 56% to 44%, over Mitt Romney, while Romney won among men by an eight-point margin, 54% to 46%.
The 2016 election saw similar results: 54% of women voted for Clinton and 42% for Trump. On the other hand 53% of the men voted for Trump compared to 41% for Clinton.
This general trend repeats itself in elections at all levels and doesn’t change that much when a female runs for office. Voters are more attracted to the polarization of the party, as a whole, than to the gender of the person running.
The media preferences give us another example. Republicans dominate talk radio; the Democrats dominate just about everything else.
Both sides complain about the domination of the other in the media, but few seem to be asking why this is the case. Democrats say that Republicans dominate talk radio because they are angry and want to let off steam. Republicans often think the Democrats control the rest of the media because they lack any moral standard and are corrupt.
Both sides are in error. The fact that 61% of talk radio listeners are male tells us that talk radio appeals to the male analytical mind, and this is the reason it is dominated by the analytical/male-polarized Republicans.
Outside of Fox News, Democrats dominate the major TV and print media. This is because the major media appeals more to the feeling nature, as well as the creative side, which also draws emotional energy.
The proof of the Democrat domination here is indisputable, as many studies have been made.
One of the most notable studies was done by S. Robert Lichter of George Washington University, and Stanley Rothman of Smith College, surveying 240 journalists from the major print and broadcast media including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report. This study was presented in their book published in 1986, The Media Elite. It found that in the presidential elections of 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976, a whopping 86% of responding journalists in the major media voted Democrat.
Then, in 2001, Rothman and Amy Black did an updated study and established that 76% of the established media voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988 and 91% for Bill Clinton in 1992.
A Freedom Forum Poll did a secondary study and found similar results in that 89% of the Washington reporters and bureau chiefs voted for Clinton in 1992 and a paltry 7% voted for George W. Bush.
So, why is it like going against a brick wall for a Democrat to succeed in talk radio or a Republican to shine in the rest of the major media? Does it have to do with bias on both sides? There is some, but that is only a small part of the answer.
The real answer is that the male-polarized Republican just enjoys talk radio and the feeling/female polarized Democrat is more attracted to the major media. Why is this?
The reason Republicans gravitate to talk radio is because they get to use the male-oriented analytical mind. The host and the callers are always mentally analyzing, arguing and debating. These are activities shunned by the female more than the male.
On the other hand, the major media offers more outlets for the female feeling and creative nature. Face-to-face emotional interviews are a huge draw for them. Is it any wonder that we hear “how does that make you feel?” over and over again on television, but not radio? The female polarization helps us understand why the feminine Barbara Walters excels, in that more often than not she brings out the female feelings in even the most hardened male figures. The big question is always, “Is she going to make him (or her) cry?”
Another big draw for the female feeling nature is that major media concentrates on creative work more than the mere analyzing of facts. Creativity appeals to the feeling nature and depends on expressing it to achieve success.
The female feeling nature uses the news and information toward creative ends and this is good in that it helps keep us entertained so we do not change the channel while absorbing otherwise dry news. It also has a negative aspect in that the media person can creatively assemble facts in a story to present a picture that runs contrary to such facts, but supports the agenda felt true by the reporter/journalist.
It matters not that males anchor most of the news programs; the overall polarization of the media is still female and oriented toward feeling, harmony and creative presentation.
It is interesting to note that Fox News is seen as Republican oriented, and this broadcast is more like talk radio than the other television media. The highest rated programs have lots of high testosterone arguments.
It is interesting to observe that Republicans attempt to explain their issues using logic. Democrats present theirs with feeling and emotionally charged words.
This is not true in every case, as members of both parties are influenced by both mind and emotion, but as a general rule it does apply.
As evidence of this, we need only look at how both sides attempt to sway the public.
Perhaps the most powerful tool of the Democrats in swaying public opinion by emotion is sound bites. By this I mean they use short catch phrases that appeal to the feelings of the people, and add little or nothing for the reasoning mind to digest. Here are some examples:
Tax breaks for the rich
On the backs of the poor
Right wing extremists
Give peace a chance
Working people (catch phrase referring to anyone on a salary that’s not a Republican)
Politics of personal destruction
Support the troops, not the war
Make love, not war
Trickle down effect (this phrase was created and used by Democrats – not a quote from the Reagan Administration as thought by the majority.)
Then the Democrats are adept at seeing catch phrases in Republican speeches and using them to their advantage:
Example: “Wither on the vine” (From Newt Gingrich concerning Medicare)
We can’t leave this list without including one of the most potent emotional catch phrases of all time. It was not for political effect, but spoken by a true Democrat (Johnny Cochran) and accepted by a large portion of the Democrats:
“If the glove does not fit you must acquit.”
Compared to the logic of a DNA match the reasoning in this phrase was very weak, but was more powerful because it had emotional punch.
Now, there are catch phrases that appeal to the mind, but these are generally non-political, such as “the grass is greener on the other side.” Members of both parties respect these type of truisms. Political catch phrases are different in that they appeal to the emotions and are used largely by Democrats.
The important point to realize here is that the Democrats are more successful with such catch phrases because they appeal to the emotions. It matters not that the phrase itself has little meaning.
The Republicans use catch phrases once in as while, but with little success. The distortion of the word “liberal” is their one great achievement, but this is one word, not a phrase. Because of their more mental polarization, they seek to explain things instead using sound bites.
This appeals to the reasoning person who has time to listen, but because so much more time is involved to make the point, the Republican is at a great disadvantage.
For instance, in an argument about spending on missile defense, the Democrat merely has to state something with “Star Wars” in it. This immediately conjures up war in space raining down upon the earth.
The Republican will counter with a long explanation as to why the missile defense is necessary – that it could lead to less war. Before he gets half his point made, the subject is changed and the emotional listener feels the point of the catch phrase, “Star Wars,” while the Republican explanation seems to be meaningless gobbledygook to him.
It may seem that the emotional catch phrase could dominate forever over the lengthy logical explanation, but talk radio and debate programs on cable TV have changed that somewhat. These programs give time for lengthy talk and reasoning, and often the person commuting in his car or doing mundane work has plenty of time to listen.
This shift in media, which gives time to see beyond the catch phrases, is one of the main reasons for some Republican domination in recent times.
Republicans generally choose their issues because they seem logical; Democrats choose theirs because they feel right. Both generally have good intentions, but often come to opposing conclusions. Because their conclusions are so different, neither can understand the thought process of the other.
As a result, Republicans see Democrats as downright stupid for supporting illogical beliefs and opinions. On the other hand, Democrats see the Republicans as mean-spirited, greedy and unfeeling for not jumping on their bandwagon.
At times, both parties see the other as power hungry in their motivations and sometimes they are right, but what else is new?
Copyright by J J Dewey
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