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View Diary: Making the Case (108 comments)

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  •  It's hard to change a "true believer" (6+ / 0-)

    I have been dealing with a similar situation, one in which the other person has deeply ingrained beliefs to the point where evidence matters less to him than facts.  I can present fact after fact, calmly or aggressively, and none of it matters.  He persuades himself of what is good and right, and it does not matter if the world presents us with new, relevant information.

    It is very frustrating.

    It is at times like that when I recall Steven Colbert's brilliant, snarky comment at the White House Correspondents Luncheon where he said:

    "The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will."

    It is important to understand that there are people who really are like that.  We need to keep pressing the case in the hope that most people are not like that.  Be nice, of course, but be firm, and keep bringing up the facts.  Converting one person at a time is progress.  Just remember what Bush's popularity was after 9/11 and how long it took to drop down to where it is now.  It takes a while to get reality into people, but eventually it does seem to happen.

    •  and, to be fair, WE are like that, too (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christin, alicia, AJsMom, maizenblue, JG in MD

      we are stubborn in our beliefs.

      Strong conservatives believe they are correct, and we are deluded. Just like we think they are.

      Why should we assume that they will listen to and consider our ideology, if we won't listen to and consider theirs?

      Just sayin'

      I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

      by land of the free on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:55:06 AM PST

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      •  The difference is facts (4+ / 0-)

        Beliefs are fine.  Beliefs that consistently fly in the face of demonstrable facts are a problem.  If one cannot produce facts, then it is probably unreasonable to expect to change someone's position.  If one can produce facts, and they consistently refute a position, then I'm not sure what to make of someone who maintains that position.

        What I do think is that in the absence of facts, I agree with your comment.  But I hope that one ENORMOUS difference between progressives and conservatives is that progressives are willing to adjust how they view the world as new information is presented whereas I do not see the same level of willingness from the true believers on the conservative side.

        (Of course, that could just be me.)

        •  facts certainly help... however, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          merrinc, JG in MD, bfitzinAR

          while I agree that facts often are supportive of many of our core beliefs, facts can't prove everything.

          There are some core beliefs we have that also cannot be proven by facts. For example: the abortion issue. Anyone can focus on the "facts" that support their personal belief. I've found that when I've had heated discussions with conservatives on this issue, they've been surprised to learn that I think abortions should be extremely rare, and I've even been able to get some to agree with me that we should put our efforts into preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, instead of demonizing those who elect this procedure (most always under great sadness and distress), and demonizing those who provide this important medical care.

          Another example is about gay marriage. Some people have a strong religious conviction that gay relationships are wrong. I can't "prove" that it is right - sure, I can talk about how in nature, homosexual relationships are normal, and I can talk about historical questions of who wrote the bible, and also mention sections of the bible that society has deemed incorrect (like stoning your wife, who is your property). But, I can't "prove" to someone who has a strong religious conviction (I won't call it "morals", since I think opposition to gay marriage is actually immoral!) that gay marriage is good for society. I can, and have, had success explaining how, if two people love each other so much that they want to publically commit to spending their lives together - especially with the strong social stigma they face - they must TRULY be in love, must TRULY want to face whatever difficulties they have as a partnership for the rest of their lives. That type of discussion actually works.

          While I tend to agree that liberals are more open-minded and curious about the world than our conservative counterparts, conservatives see us as wishy-washy and lacking conviction.

          It's all in how you view it.

          Sometimes, it's a good idea to consider how THEY see our ideology.

          My point is that arguing doesn't open minds. Presenting facts may help, but actually being willing to listen and communicate can help break down barriers. If we want them to listen and be considerate of our opinions, we have to do the same thing.

          Why should they listen to us if our ears are shut?

          I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

          by land of the free on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:35:40 AM PST

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    •  And it's seen as a virtue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JG in MD

      It is important to understand that there are people who really are like that.  We need to keep pressing the case in the hope that most people are not like that.

      And the horrid thing is that being like that is currently touted as a virtue - to not change your beliefs in the face of new information or experiences. If you do that, you're not an intelligent person evaluating and reconsidering, no no no! You're a FLIP-FLOPPER! (By that definition, all scientists are flip-floppers.)

      Huh. That explains why science is so anathema to these people. It might require them to - horror! - change their minds, and we can't have that.

      "These are the kind of people who see blood on their hands and claim it's just a sunburn." - SuzieQ

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:13:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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