May 16, 2009

"If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity..."

"... then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible."

(Via Jac.)

17 comments:

rhhardin said...

It overlooks that the young are on the political left and the old on the political right.

There's a little more to it than strongly held beliefs.

Say experience with perverse side effects being the major effect of direct action.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Let the feelings of alienation begin!

Bissage said...

Keep your identity small.

Good advice.

Consider it done.

ElcubanitoKC said...

It leaves out reason, to a certain degree as well. It concentrates on the emotional response. It makes me wonder what his own political and religious identities are. It may explain a lot.

And not all programming languages are the same. C++ is cake compared to COBOL.

Quayle said...

I would suggest that "sexual orientation", when elevated to a core identity attribute, seems to produce the same result.

(No I'm not putting gays down.)

(Yes I'm saying that gays are much, much more, and have far greater creative and distinguishing attributes than their sexual orientation.)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Quayle, that is definitely true of some commenters around here, and quite a few other people I know as well.

traditionalguy said...

I expected some new revelation about people, but all that article said was disengage. Camus and Sartre already did that existential bit 60 years ago. And everyone learned as a child never to bring to religion and politics at the family dinner. I respectfully dissent: The Passion in people comes out thru religion and politics and love. Never ban them. Self expression of people's passions is healthy, even if it scares the stable authority structure.

JAL said...

Yeah, from what I see here there are some people for whom their political beliefs ARE their religious beliefs. It used to be the religion of AntiBush. Now it is the religion of HopeAndChange v. 1984.

It certainly seems if one can keep the discussion above the I-say-you-say layer, that it might be a more reasonable and civil discussion.

But -- chicken / egg?

Is Graham assuming one's identity is something apart from his/her religious beliefs? And I suppose political beliefs?

Which one informs the other more? Or less? Or at all?

I do think religious beliefs tend to be more transcendant, if you get my drift.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know the real reason these discussions go nuclear, but I think the authors argument misses it. I have no religious identity but, I like religion. Regardless, I still easily get into arguments about it.

This statement by the author is telling " There are certainly some political questions that have definite answers, like how much a new government policy will cost.".

Is there anything less definate?

elHombre said...

Then it struck me: this is the problem with politics too. Politics, like religion, is a topic where there's no threshold of expertise for expressing an opinion. All you need is strong convictions.

The people of the left who comment here, young and old, believe that their strong convictions equate with expertise on virtually all topics.

'Nuff said. LOL

traditionalguy said...

We are social beings and our religions and their faith in the scriptures telling us our goodness in God's eyes is all a part of being a descendant of a chain of men since creation. There is an intellectual component that is "taught" to these truths, but that basic knowing is open to the slow minded and the Mensa people who are not too proud to recieve it. I agree with the comments that Politics these days replaces a faith relationship to the Father of Spirits with a relationship to the latest Greatest Leader man on TV.

elHombre said...

Nicely said.

John Lynch said...

Reinventing the wheel. Yes, if people take things personally they feel insulted by attacks on their beliefs.

You don't have to take things personally. Good trait to have, but especially if you're a creative type. Your work is not you.

ricpic said...

No one gives a flying fuck about my identity. They don't know what they're missing, the poor deprived bastids.

Theo Boehm said...

I show you suffering, and the end of suffering, but you don't need the Buddha to tell you that. Paul Graham just sliced a little bit off and did it.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

But I have convictions, and I have reasons why I have reached them.

I don't have to argue them. People don't have to agree. I can't stand people telling me I'm wrong and stupid, though, b/c I disagree with them.

Theo Boehm said...

"I once had convictions, but the Governor's pardoned me."
—Groucho Marx