That just leads to the cycle of lowered and lowered standards I talked about above.
At some point, it becomes more important to win the right way, to set an example, and try to reestablish a correct standard, otherwise the entire system breaks down and @thewhaleshark can start burning down the country.
I think we agree but have a different idea of where that point is. If things were less dire then your plan is best. At this point, we do what we have to. If things become less dire then we can start working on those issues.
This relates to a more general question I have had about ethics:
If your understanding of society and psychology put you in a position to significantly manipulate people who are unaware of their vulnerability to these techniques, is it unethical to do so? Or is it unethical to act ignorantly & abide by perceived ground rules that are unspoken and unestablished?
The idea that one is vulnerable to psychological hacking is counter to the ideal of free will. I think it is too taboo for people.
People manipulate others all the time, but there’s this natural / artificial dichotomy around how it is perceived in terms of ethics. Somehow you’re innocent as long as you don’t intend / know what you are doing. But then self-ignorance essentially becomes plausible deniability. The question is seemingly simpler when speaking in terms of harm or coercion, but what about its application in more imperialistic / colonial forms.
That was the point I raised at the training I went to. If you’re starting out by telling someone a lie, trying to talk to them under false pretenses, and they figure it out like I did, it’s going to negatively impact your goal in speaking to that person in the first place.
The problem is that we (Democrats) aren’t operating in isolation.
Knocking on a person’s door and lying to him or her might not be that bad, by itself, and might be pretty high up on the metaphorical slope, but each action Democrats take in breaking the norms and ethics will only result in Republicans taking a further step down the slope. This will cause Democrats to take the next step down the slope and the cycle repeats.
I disagree with @Rym’s assertion that the slope only applies to Republicans. People are people and they will take perceived shortcuts to achieve their goals if they can.
Additionally, any amoral or unethical action Democrats take in winning an election will be held against them by Republicans, diminishing that victory’s legitimacy in their eyes.
Ehhhhhhhhhhh that’s not always the case, at least not in my experience. There are times where you enter into a discussion with an unspoken understanding of the context of that discussion.
I go to buy a car. I walk into the dealership understanding that literally every nicety offered to me is there to convince me to buy a car.
But should I begrudge someone for trying hard to sell me a car?
Similarly (and this actually touches on @no_fun_girl 's question), almost all political discussions and interactions of any sort involve some degree of attempted manipulation.
What do I mean?
When I advocate for a position, I am trying to convince someone of the value of that position, or more accurately my value as a person in their life. Doing this involves some degree of figuring out and appealing to someone’s sensibilities through a variety of manipulation techniques that vary in intensity.
Phrasing, body language, topics to discuss - we curate these based on our audience in order to make them receptive to our ideas (assuming that’s our goal - we can curate interactions to achieve other goals too) and thus reinforce our perceived social value. I might use positive language to create a feeling of agreement and camaraderie, and doing so makes a person more receptive to my ideas even if they disagree with them.
This is also true of pretty much all social interaction to differing degrees, but politics being the art of cultivating cooperation among diverse opinion-holders, it is at its most flagrant in that setting.
If I walk into a political function, I understand what’s happening there. No matter how it’s couched, the goal is for the group to reinforce its value to me. They want me to vote the way they want me to - I mean why else put in that effort?
The difference between bad manipulation and good manipulation, I think, is informed consent. If I want a car, I walk into a car dealership and consent to salesmanship because I know what’s happening.
The issue is not with a manipulative tactic, but in not having an honest meta-conversation about what politics really is in the first place.
Consent and manipulation have a very strange relationship, but it is possible to be manipulated by consent - that’s how hypnotism and magic shows work.
In order to have a good experience in politics, we have to get people invested in the idea that politics is not a dirty word, but a necessary component of consensus-building.
I generally agree with your points, but I think there’s a big difference in who initiates the conversation.
In your examples, you’re the one initiating the conversation with the car salesman. You’re the one walking into a political function. In those circumstances, your expectations are going to be different than if you’re at home on a Sunday and some random person rings your doorbell.
Edited to add: By initiating the conversation with the car salesman, by walking into that political function, by agreeing to the hypnotism, or by viewing the magic show, there’s a level of implied consent to the manipulation going on. That implied consent might not be there if you haven’t initiated or agreed to the conversation, or if the conversation was started under false pretenses.
I still don’t agree - well, OK, I agree that what George is talking about is a dirty trick, but where I disagree is that this is necessarily bad. So maybe I disingenuously initiate the conversation, but steer it into an agreeable direction; maybe the icebreaker was rough, but the overall interaction is consensual. That depends on identifying your demographic with a goal of ultimately appealing to them.
Some conversations are consensual by nature, though initial contact may not be. If I ring your doorbell to start a conversation, but part way through you get a bad vibe, you can cut it off. This gets hairy if you’re talking to somebody who won’t accept “no,” but let’s assume you’re training your political canvassers to not be shitty like that.
Basically - I accept that it’s shady, but if everyone comes out ahead, I think most people will forgive the initial contact.
I don’t see these as distractions… I see this as patterns of behavior. Trump’s a bully, he only sees something as a win if everyone else loses. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone who doesn’t personally kiss his ass and/or gives him money.
When people use manipulative, disingenuous, and carefully calculated tactics to try to elicit specific responses I’ve always always had an incredibly negative reaction. And I had that sense even going back to pre-school. It’s always made me sick. I kinda think it relates to schizoid personality in certain ways. Every random office comment I overhear where someone acts as anything other than “themselves” grosses me out.
So I’d rather not see those tactics used. If that’s how it’s going to be, let’s just fight it out and have a proper civil war between the adults on both sides. Or if this is going to be all sports teams and bullshit, let’s do this like Robot Jox. At least then the argument isn’t which side can manipulate the pawns better, it’s who can build the better robot.