Saturday, December 03, 2016

Lacking A Need for Cognition

A worthy read on the demon of the hour "the low information voter". Half of Trump supporters (or so) are "deploreables", but let's face it, the other half are "stupid" -- so euphemisms are in order. The WaPo had this fine effort.

Low information voters are those who do not know certain basic facts about government and lack what psychologists call a “need for cognition.” Those with a high need for cognition have a positive attitude toward tasks that require reasoning and effortful thinking and are, therefore, more likely to invest the time and resources to do so when evaluating complex issues.
Ah, "a high need for cognition" ... or as it was put in an Israeli news source ...

But there is one overarching factor that everyone knows contributed most of all to the Trump sensation. There is one sine qua non without which none of this would have been possible. There is one standalone reason that, like a big dodo in the room, no one dares mention, ironically, because of political correctness. You know what I’m talking about: Stupidity. Dumbness. Idiocy. Whatever you want to call it: Dufusness Supreme.
 In contrast, I love the credentials and attitude of philosopher Jason Brennan:

And while I no doubt suffer from some degree of confirmation bias and self-serving bias, perhaps I justifiably believe that I — a chaired professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy at an elite research university, with a Ph.D. from the top-ranked political philosophy program in the English-speaking world, and with a strong record of peer-reviewed publications in top journals and academic presses — have superior political judgment on a great many political matters to many of my fellow citizens, including to many large groups of them.
That's really impressive. I enjoy how impressed Denzel's character is with the president of the entire drug cartel in the clip below.  If Jason got a chance to reflect on his superiority in a similar manner in the waning minutes of his life, he might have a significant epiphany on his actual worth in the real universe. I'd personally be willing to trade a thousand Jasons to ISIS for a single Marine -- and consider that our nation would be making superb deal for both ourselves, the current world, and history.

Professor Jason does start out correctly. He certainly suffers from "some" confirmation and self-serving bias -- in one of his books he suggests that "knowing people" like himself should get multiple votes, while lower classes ... like returning veterans, the people that pay the taxes to cover his university salary, and the supposed dolts in fly-over country that raise his food ought not be able to vote at all. "They are too driven by emotion".

The great twentieth century historian, Arnold Toynbee, theorized long ago that civilisations start to decline when their elite classes become parasitic. I can’t think of anything more parasitic than pseudo-intellectuals using other people’s money to write about feminist glaciology and the “whiteness” of pumpkin spiced lattes — and then being awarded more votes than returning military servicemen and women.
I'd certainly agree that uppity parasite class folks like Jason are a definite sign of civilization in decline -- but I think the rot is well set in a good deal before they show up. 

The article is worth a read -- I don't think Jason will be getting his extra votes anytime soon.

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