Phil Friedman

6 years ago · 4 min. reading time · ~10 ·

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Self-Delusional Class Identification: Voting in America Today

Self-Delusional Class Identification: Voting in America Today

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Ausings With an Ed

Self-Delusional Class Identification

Voting in America Today



Preface:  My main intellectual hero has always been Eric Hoffer, author of "The True Believer" and "Reflections On the Human Condition". Hoffer was no panty-waisted, ivory-tower theorist, but instead a product of the American working class, at times himself a migrant worker and longshoreman.  His Elite-versus-Counter-Elite framework for understanding political affinity and action has always struck me as insightful to the core. And although what I am about to propose to you is not derived directly from anything in Hoffer's thought or writing, it does, I believe, grow out of his distinctive political Weltanschauung.

The result of the latest U.S. Presidential election still perplexes a lot of people.  Never mind the discrepancy between the electoral and popular votes, or even that the "losing" candidate actually carried the popular election by approximately three million votes. What has so many reeling, particularly the more analytical pundits, is the question of how in the world someone like Donald Trump managed to cobble together and hold together a voter coalition sufficiently large to win the even just the Electoral vote. 


Text Copyright © 2017 by Phil Fnedman — All Rights Reserved
Image credits Phil Fnedman, Google Images. and FreeDigitialPhotos net


The answer, I suggest to you, is in the effect social and economic class has on the way people vote.

But not in the way some presuppose. Forget upper class and middle class. And lower-middle, middle-middle, and upper-middle class. As well as lower, and even working class. Indeed, forget every class up your ... well, never mind that. The point is traditional class distinctions, as they related to how people vote, are meaningless. Why?

Before we answer that question, let's agree there are identifiable class-specific interests attached to every socio-economic class in every society. These interests have to do with social status, power, money, and so on. And with the acquisition, expansion, and retention of that which Hoffer referred to as "whatever there is to have."

It makes sense that getting what there is to have and protecting that which one has (class-specific interests) are prime vote drivers in societies with systems of representative government. So, you would think that you can predict how the majority of voters in a given socio-economic class will vote. Wrong!

However, it is not because people fail to vote according to class-specific interests. And it is not because they misperceive what those class-specific interests are. 





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The hitch-up comes in, I submit, because most people do not vote in accord with the interests specific to the class of which they are actually a member, but instead, in accord with the interests of the class of which they want to be a member.

It is why people who were clearly suffering from lack of basic medical and dental care stood up during the U.S. Presidential campaign and cursed against the concept of universal healthcare ― on the basis that it is not the responsibility of the wealthy to pay for healthcare for the poor.

It is why people with annual family incomes of less than $100K, oppose raises in the income tax rate for people with annual family incomes in excess of $5M. And continue to do so, even when it is clear from the proposed legislation that the taxes of families with annual combined incomes of less than $250K will not face an increase.

And it is why people who voted for a candidate who promised to get rid of the "insiders" in Washington continue to support the man who is replacing those Washington insiders with insiders from the same financial sector that robbed and looted this U.S.'s coffers just a few years ago.

It's because they identify with the wealthy, the upper class, and not with the class of which they are actually members. Indeed, I suspect, that many may subconsciously harbor the fantasy that someday they  too will be wealthy and when they are, they don't want to be underwriting the cost of healthcare for the poor. Or paying income taxes at a higher rate.



Sometimes, a small fact that is right in front of you can redically change what you see, once you notice it. 

Some might say that this Theory of Self-Delusional Class Identification is only splitting semantical hairs. But I don't think so. 

Once you take notice of the phenomenon involved, you realize you cannot infer how people will vote from their socio-economic circumstances, and that, more importantly, you need first to determine what socio-economic class they feel themselves to be part of. 

And, I would add, you also gain some understanding of how it is that the current U.S. President got elected.    ― Phil Friedman


Author's Notes:  This piece is not really a political statement although in a couple of places I do give in to the temptation to quip my personal dislike for the former-POTUS-now-seeking-re-election. Consequently, while you are more than welcome to post your comments and criticisms, please save us all a lot of time and potential aggravation by refraining from partisan diatribes. I will generally not answer them, except if you are particularly offensive, I may shoot back a devastating retort or two.

On the other hand, if you found this post interesting and worthwhile and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my other socio-philosophical writings, you're invited to take a look at the following:

"On the Limits of Free Expression"

"On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth"

"Self-Ascription, Self-Certification, and Snake Oil"

As well, feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post. 

And when you get a chance do indeed read some Eric Hoffer, it may just put political struggle into a new perspective for you.

About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.





Phil Friedman

6 years ago #50

Thanks, Todd. I grew up among working-class people. And what I observed, at times, when it came to politics, there was a kind of Stockholm Syndrome operating. Like the loyalty of some communities to the corporations who provide them with jobs, but who at the same time keep them completely tied up by means of the "company store."

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #49

Aaron, I have no argument with anyone who did not like Clinton " ... because she was "more of the same" and had a serious issue with perceived honesty/transparency ...." And I have no argument with those who, as a matter of conscience, decide not to vote, rather than vote for one of two unacceptable choices. Indeed, at one point in my life, I went into self-imposed ex-pat exile from the U.S. because of disagreement with government action in Southeast Asia. What I take issue with is those Sanders supporters and others who thought they were accomplishing something by not voting *this* time. Because this time the very survival of the Republic as it has existed was at stake, and I did not -- and still do not -- believe that we have the luxury of remaining aloof on the basis of conscience. For there was and is too much at stake and never before has the danger been so great. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #48

Aaron, I think my postulate holds because what we see in the results of the election are voter actions that are completely inconsistent with the *realities* of socio-economic class membership. For example, what working class member in his or her right mind votes for Trump, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and whose idea of the world is derived (by his own admission) from television programming? However, beyond that, how do they keep supporting someone who represented himself as a reform-Washington, populist, but has done nothing but appoint upper economic class members to key positions in his administration. Because many of those who voted for Trump and who continue to support him don't identify with the socio-economic class to which they actually belong, but with the upper classes of which they would like to be a member. It's similar to the issue in ethics. I submit that almost all people (except for sociopaths and psychopaths) want to do what's right; they just misjudge what that is. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #47

I see your point, Aaron. And certainly a lot of "living beyond one's means" is the result of mis-identifying ones economic position -- or maybe not caring. But I think the cases I'm considering are somewhat different from those youpoint to. Think of it more like this, if you will: A home owner whose house is valued at $150 K votes against a real estate tax exemption increase from the first $25K in value to the first $50K in value because the increased exemption will increase the relative burden placed on the owners of houses values at $1M and and up. The home owner in question is voting in accord with the interests of an economic class, just as we might expect. It just so happens he is protecting the interests of a class (owners of $1M plus houses) of which he is not a part. What I am saying is that people do tend to vote along class lines, just not the lines of classes of which they are actually members. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #46

That works for me, Ian. Please not that I did include a link to the full paper By Böhm, so anyone interested can easily read it in its entirety. You know when my teenage daughters want something, they are fond of telling me, "Dad, you're not listening." I tell them I AM listening, I am just not agreeing. FWIW, my experience is that many people who complain that others are being judgmental really mean that those others are not being pursuaded by them. Thank you for reading and for the dialogue.

Ian Weinberg

6 years ago #45

Phil, Bohm's review of dialogue is extensive. Your single paragraph summary does not do it justice. On the note of 'justice', some thoughts in response: To judge - to form an opinion or conclusion in the context of one's own subjectivity Judgemental - censorius, condemnatory, disparaging. I was indeed referring to Bohmian dialogue, which cannot occur in the face of judgementalism since by its very nature, the latter stymies the free flow of information. Implicit in the concept ' a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us' is sensitivity and respect for the participants. Conversely, 'discussion' is the airing of one's personal views without necessarily respecting or exercising any sensitivity towards the other participants. In this situation the unilateral promotion of own ideas is invariably driven by or drives, competition, ' the object of the game is to win or to get points for yourself'. From here it is a short jump to hostility which inevitably suppresses our reasoning centres (see neuropsychology: The activated amygdala suppresses the pre-frontal cortex) thus compromising the potential for ' a flow of meaning in the whole group, out of which will emerge some new understanding'. I do believe I have now said all that I wish to say on this subject, in this context.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #44

Yes, Ian, we have, indeed, had this discussion before. And I continue to resist your attempt to morph Bohm's concept of "Dialogue" into your term "Non-judgmental" -- because your term carries connotations that Bohm's concept does not. To wit, in "On Dialogue", ( ) David Bohm says: “I give a meaning to the word 'dialogue' that is somewhat different from what is commonly used … A dialogue can be among any number of people, not just two. Even one person can have a sense of dialogue within himself, if the spirit of the dialogue is present. The picture of image that this derivation suggests is of a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us. This will make possible a flow of meaning in the whole group, out of which will emerge some new understanding. It's something new, which may not have been in the starting point at all. It's something creative. And this shared meaning is the 'glue' or 'cement' that holds people and societies together … Contrast this with the word 'discussion', which really means to break things up. It emphasises the idea of analysis, where there may be many points of view. Discussion is almost like a Ping-Pong game, where people are batting the ideas back and forth and the object of the game is to win or to get points for yourself. Possibly you will take up somebody else's ideas to back up your own - you may agree with some and disagree with others - but the basic point is to win the game. That's very frequently the case in a discussion.” Continued … Pt II

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #43

Ian – Pt II I agree with Bohm that the ultimate objective is or should be "dialogue" in accord with his definition of the term. And I agree that we should avoid "discussion" -- in his sense of the term, for intellectual exchange should not be pursued as a game in which winning is paramount. However, I reject Bohm's hijack of the term "discussion" based on his examination of the etymology of the two words, and submit that "discussion" is in common parlance most often if not always used as a synonym for Bohm's "dialogue". I also reject your conflation of "dialogue" with "non-judgmental" because I also submit that the goal of all dialogue is judgment, although in the ideal case, it is the reaching of common judgment embraced by all parties to the dialogue. And I find that the connotations you add with the term "non-judgmental" confuse the issue. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. My best to you.

Ian Weinberg

6 years ago #42

Phil Friedman We've had this discussion before without a satisfactory conclusion , so I'm going to raise the issue again. Non-judgmental engagement reflects the concept of 'dialogue' as defined by the physicist David Bohm. It denotes a mode of communication where the participants consciously transfer their perspective into the subjectivity of 'the other'. From this state of rapport, issues are more efficiently and comprehensively dealt with. Establishing this state of rapport is much more important in the electronic media where other modes of more subtle/subliminal communication are absent. Freedom of speech is to be encouraged, for that is the only way that reason can be supported, but within a space of sensitivity and mutual respect. Otherwise we spiral into animosity and hostility which physiologically destroys rapport and reason.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #41

For the record, I really meant it when I said in this piece that it is not intended to be a political diatribe, but simply an analysis of why some people voted as they did, directly opposite to their own best self-interests. And I regret the intrusion by political posturing into the discussion. However, I also want to point our the wrong-headedness of accusing those who choose not to respond to such posturing of violating the principles of free speech. Everyone has the right to speak freely, but nobody has the obligation to listen. The current POTUS appears to take umbrage at the fact that some people continue to disagree with him across many fronts, but I am personally at a loss as to why he should expect otherwise. The last time I looked he was President of the United States, not the CEO of USA, Inc. And he is not empowered to fire the electorate. Thanks to all for your patience and forbearance in what has turned out to be a boisterous conversation.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #40

Ian, I understand what you are saying. But I'm not sure that it is either possible or necessary to be non-judgmental. It is only to be realistic and honest with ourselves. Trump won the election because he carried the electoral vote. Clinton carried the popular vote by about 3 million. And all that is that. But the U.S. has a tri-branch form of government and the President is not an absolute ruling monarch. The U.S. Constitution enshrines and protects freedom of political speech and expression, so nowhere in the U.S. political system is it written that dissent must cease simply because someone was elected. And what we need to guard against is the morphing of Trump's movement into Fascism. Something that Eric Hoffer pointed out is all too easy to happen, given the nature of "True Believers". Thanks for joining the conversation.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #39

Well, Jim, you make some predictions that are hard to disagree with. I guess the question is whether those who think the "movement" led by Trump is populist in nature as he claims, continue to "truly believe" in the face of all countervailing evidence. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #38

You are absolutely correct, Neil, that "The missing thing in this particular instance seems to be a lack of critical analysis which would surely show that the biggest problems came from the unfettered power without responsibility enjoyed by the largest commercial and financial entities." However, what is missing in the case of those who backed our current POTUS is some measure of empathy for our fellow human beings, which measure is needed in order for people to, as you say, "[act] against their own narrowly defined best interests." Thank you for joining the conversation.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #37

Thank you, Joyce, for saying so-- one toolhead to another.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #36

Thank you, Bill, for saying so. Which, BTW, is really what a lot of this is about. Namely, being free to say what we think without being threatened and shouted down. One of the lessons, I think, to draw from EricHoffer's views on mass movements populated by "True Believers" is how fast those True Believers can morph from populists to fascists, from people who want to clean up Washington and re-establish greater personal liberty to a mob that wants to kick the crap out of anyone who speaks up in dissent. Cheers, my friend.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #35

Chas, you made your choice. I have previously said I believe it was politically naive, but this post is not intended to argue that issue. This thesis of this post is narrow and has strictly to do with trying to understand how people come to vote in clear contradistinction to their own best self-interest. Thank you for reading and commentng.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #34

#57 Warren, it is the height of not only hypocrisy, but cowardice to first bluster, strut, and threaten (albeit in an obvious fantasy) violence, then adopt a "who, poor innocent me?" stance. This is what you said in #34 below: " ... I don't think you would talk like you do in a face to face encounter with me, in fact I know you wouldn't." I reiterate my observation that if the situation were reversed and it was my choice who had won, I would be gloating, not bleating about being disrespected. The last time I looked, the U.S. Constitution still protected freedom speech and political expression. Please make good on your threat in to leave this discussion. I will not again respond to your blather, and I am asking everyone to likewise refrain from doing so.

Bill Stankiewicz

6 years ago #33

Great post
very interesting perspective, indeed.

Neil Smith

6 years ago #31

Totally agree with the central point of your article. Even though it is now harder than at any time in history to move through the social class layers and become that realisation of the "American dream" many people act as though such social mobility was the norm. It would seem that some voters, and not only in the US are more interested in being a part of a "Movement" or tribe (and as you say not necessarily the one they currently belong to) than in voting for self interest. This is not always wrong per se. Many negative things including slavery, workhouses and social oppression have been changed by people acting against their own narrowly defined best interests. The missing thing in this particular instance seems to be a lack of critical analysis which would surely show that the biggest problems came from the unfettered power without responsibility enjoyed by the largest commercial and financial entities. Personally I can't see how more power and less responsibility will fix this but I have been wrong before and may well be again. Time will tell. One thing for sure is that with the US having voted for a personality who presented himself as a representative of anger at a system we are all now in a remarkably good position to see over the next four years how that personality based choice pans out in terms of actual policy effects.

Ian Weinberg

6 years ago #30

As an outsider looking in, I lament. There's got to be a way of re-establishing real non-judgmental dialogue across the lines for the benefit of all. Such a great country with a history of so much value contribution - hell guys you gotta dig deep and save the day irrespective of who's at the helm.

Jim Murray

6 years ago #29

Phil FriedmanIn a weird way you are actually pointing out that America is kind of fucked. Automation has taken most of the jobs that Trump accuses American companies of shipping out to cheaper labour markets, And they ain't comin' back. So what does the blue collar worked in America have to aspire to? Trump's infrastructure rebuilding plan (which was actually Hillary Clinton's idea which she stole from her old man) coupled with the big corporate tax breaks and the huge disaster aid the government is going to have to give to communities whose water supplies get poisoned by uncontrolled dumping of fracking wastewater thanks to de-regulation will add another 10 trillion at least to the 20 trillion national debt. And the lost goes on. Brian MacKenzie can rage all he wants about how Obama screwed up the country, but it's nothing compared to what is to come with an incompetent idiot at the helm. The quiet side of Lake Ontario is looking pretty good right about now. I doubt if I will ever set foot in America again. My passport expires this year and I'm thinking that's fine with me.

Jim Murray

6 years ago #28

Some days Brian makes a lot of sense. Other days...well he's just full of shit you know.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #27

I have, Brian, and I agree there is much in them to ponder concerning the development of totalitarian regimes. But Brian, my point is that my piece is not about that. And if you bothered to read what I actually said here, you would understand that you and I probably agree (OMG, clutching my chest!) on the dangers of mass movements composed of True Believers. Left and Right exist on a circular continuum, and when you get far enough Left or far enough Right, you find the two hard adjacent to one another. And both rely for their power on the True Believers in their ranks. BTW, a strawman is a position created to argue against which nobody in the conversation has actually taken. From one sociopath to another. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #26

Brian stop with the strawman BS. You are, or should be better than needing to argue with things that nobody ever said. Take a breath and actually read what I said in this piece (sans the snipes at POTUS, which are a personal indulgence). And if you have something to say about what I've written, feel free to say it. If not, don't expect the respect of a reply. Cheers and peace!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #25

Brian, for a guy with some intelligence and a fair measure of wit, you can sure spout some BS at times. As I said, if the positions were reversed and I was a supporter of the current POTUS, I would be gloating rather than bleating, and letting nature take its course. In my experience, noisy power-tripping is indicative of lack of assurance that one is right. Let's you and I wait to see how the anticipated new opportunities in the healthcare market work out for you. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #24

All - to quote myself, as specifically laid out above: "This piece is not really a political statement ― although in a couple of places I do give in to the temptation to quip my personal dislike for the current POTUS. Consequently, while you are more than welcome to post your comments and criticisms, please save us all a lot of time and potential aggravation by refraining from partisan diatribes. I will generally not answer them, except if you are particularly offensive, I may shoot back a biting retort or two."

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #23

Yes, Geoffrey, questioning and reflection are the antivenom to mob-think. As I said in my notes to the piece, it is not intended as a political statement, and I suggest that those who would post political diatribes should save their breath. As they probably cannot afford to divert the oxygen from their brains. My thanks to you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #22

Gerry, if you're taking the product to the IPO trough, I'd like a piece of the action. Can you cut me in as a quid pro quo for some marketing help?

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #21

Yes, Milos, politics is probably the ultimate manipulation. That doesn't seem to me reason to ignore it, but to each his own. Thank you, my friend, for commenting. My best to you.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #20

Actually Warren, I am in no way impressed by would-be verbal bullies like you. Grew up in inner-city Chicago dealing with more than you could dredge up in a hundred of your online fantasies. What is amazing to me is that if the positions were reversed, and I was one of Trump's supporters, instead of being angry about all the "pissant liberal complaints", I would be gloating and saying, "Whine as much as you want, we won. And that is all that counts." That you are apparently unable to do that, and that like your leader feel the compulsion to argue with and shut down all ongoing dissenting opinion, tells me that you and others who stand with you (including our current POTUS) are seriously deficient in self-confidence and self-esteem, not to mention having very small hands. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #19

Thanks, Gert. Mine is a very narrow thesis, but I do thinks you correct in suggesting a parallel phenomenon in marketing. Something to ponder. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #18

Warren, thank you for reading and commenting. I do know a good proctologist who could help you alleviate the type of "tunnel" vision from which you appear to suffer. I will put your vote down as one for the True Believers, who under no circumstances want to be confused by the facts. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #17

Thanks Phil Friedman, but I don't take politics seriously, since it became the ultimate manipulation. Best, Milos

Gert Scholtz

6 years ago #16

Phil Friedman While I am not close to US politics this is a very interesting take on voter behavior. Similar I would think to consumer behavior where products purchased are often in aspiration of a certain socio-economic class. Thanks for an intriguing post.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #15

Gerry, you certainly don't look ridiculous. Not saying anything about those Mad Scientist Mr. Peepers glasses, though, :-D

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #14

Geoffrey, the essence of the "True Beliver" is to believe. In something. In anything. Believe against all reason and perception. Belief becomes an end in itself. Never has this been as amply illustrated by the reactions of Trump supporters to clear factual challenges. But they do not lie because lying requires premeditation. Which requires a degree of awareness nowhere manifested by such True Believers. Thank you, Geoffrey, for joining the conversation. Cheers!

Harvey Lloyd

6 years ago #13

I agree with your limited thesis. I was attempting to broadening the scope to focus on the underlying principles of the thesis and how it has become extremely juvenile for such a sophisticated society. I thought your view of Eric Hoffer expanded on the elements quite well. I thank you for taking time to discuss this very important issue.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #12

Gerry, "Run, run, as fast as you can," said the Gingerbread Man. To which I say, but first, clear your Cookies cache.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #11

Harvey, you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, I submit that you cannot use Hoffer as an "authority" or touchstone for that opinion. One of Hoffer's core theses is that mass movements are interchangeable as far as their rank and file go. Thus, Communists could easily be Nazis could easily be Christians -- for that is the inherent nature of the "True Believer". As it relates to our society, Hoffer distinguished between "Elites" (who have almost all of what there is to have, wealth, power, prestige, etc.) and "Counter-Elites" (who are not Anti-elites because they don't want to eliminate the Elites, just replace them). The framework of Elites vs.Counter-Elites provides an almost perfect picture of the denizens of U.S. politics, in particular in the environs of Washington, D.C. I do not deny that our current POTUS marshaled a mass movement to carry him into office. Indeed, the chilling thing is that he did and -- if we give any credence to Hoffer's observations -- we could easily see his purported "Populist" movement (to my mind, falsely termed so by him) quickly morph into a Neo-Nazi or Fascist movement. All of the ingredients are there, including among the rank and file of True Believer, a self-delusional class identification with, in this case, a group of Counter-Elites who have no intention of achieving anything other than taking the place of existing Elites. My thesis here is very limited. It is simply that people identify with the interests not of the class to which they belong, but of the socio-economic class of which they would like to be a member. Which is why, I believe, we had the results we had in the Rust states in the election. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation.

Harvey Lloyd

6 years ago #10

I found this interesting: Eric Hoffer "Hoffer notes that " the resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done them but from the sense of their inadequacy and impotence." In short, the weak "hate not wickedness" but themselves for being weak. Consequently, self-loathing produces explosive effects that cannot be mitigated through social engineering schemes, such as programs of wealth redistribution. In fact, American "generosity" is counterproductive, perceived in Asia simply as an example of Western "oppression.""

Harvey Lloyd

6 years ago #9

For clarity i would say that Eric Hoffer stated, through the American intervention they destroyed the pride of Asia and by this he clarified with taking away the pride within"....patriarchal family, clan, tribe, "cohesive rural or urban unit,". America is in the same boat. I don't believe my argument represents a fallacy within a straw man argument. If it does then we could say the same concerning "social justice" I believe we are saying the same thing in some respects but coming at from two different points view. I would endeavour to say that yours is from the negative outcome of the voting where mine is more from the perspective of Americans are fed up with having special interest described in such a way that they are heathens if they don't comply. To reallocate money from the rich to the poor or "social justice" is not a solution to the problem. Makes people feel good. But many generations have used the system to their advantage at all ends of the spectrum. Reallocation will not have the intended affect everyone assumes. Poor money management and lack of personal growth doesn't happen merely because you lack money. Not to say some would not possibly benefit in this way. Most would not. People are angry at the fact a large portion of wealth is garnered by so few. But not because they have it. Merely because the government has established a system whereby its harder to achieve it. I would state this was the cause and effect that caught the political geniuses off guard.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #8

Harvey, I understand (I think) what you are saying. But pride is not what is at issue in trying to understand why people vote the way they do. Unless you believe that people take pride in being self-destructive. Moreover, you say, "The imbalance of wealth is clearly an issue that needs work, but shouldn't destroy wealth for the sake of destroying." But that is, to my mind, to created in this context a straw-man -- for nobody is speaking of "destroying wealth", only about redistributing some of it in the cause of social justice. Most of the wealth created results from certain segments of society using the social and economic infrastructure that has been created and paid for (sometimes in blood) by society as a whole. And consequently, the wealthy who control 98% of the wealth that accrues from the efforts of society as a whole, have an ethical and moral obligation to use at least a small portion of that wealth to provide a minimal basic standard of living for those in society who are less fortunate. Unfortunately, the ethics and morality of the situation are overridden by the legal system, and the wealthy control the laws, at least to the extent -- and with this I think Hoffer would agree -- that a mass movement can change the laws. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Harvey Lloyd

6 years ago #7

(Speaking about pride) "Unintentionally, the West had created this appetite, causing "revolutionary unrest" in Asia. The West had done so by eroding the traditional communal bonds that once had woven the individual to the patriarchal family, clan, tribe, "cohesive rural or urban unit," and "religious or political body."" Wikipedia on Eric Hoffer. I believe your post and view describe this very point made by Hoffer on Asia. It truly isn't a class thing it's more to the point of folks don't want government in their stuff. The imbalance of wealth is clearly an issue that needs work, but shouldn't destroy wealth for the sake of destroying. When we view the outcome from the rearview mirror then i would agree with your post. Once we look from Eric Hoffer's statement i see a greater issue that political leaders did not pick up on until it was too late. Americans enjoy their freedoms, right or wrong, they sense the freedoms are being consolidated behind special interest. Specifically they see the shell game that media is playing while it's happening. The manifest destiny of "....patriarchal family, clan, tribe, "cohesive rural or urban unit," is seen in jeopardy. This in no way implies our current potus is working to this end.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #6

Gerald Hecht, do you ever wonder what the world would be like if we all saw ourselves as we really are? Oh wait, what insanity am I speaking? This is social media. Cheers, Gerry, hope you are well. :-)

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #5

The Pythagoreans never ate beans because they believed people were reincarnated as beans, and they didn't want to eat their friends. Food for thought, don't you think? Having CDN Permanent Resident status, I am considering reincarnating myself as a Canadian -- which might well be taken as bad news by some. But it would mean that you could take me to lunch more often. Thanks, Kev, for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

6 years ago #4

It's too bad they didn't aspire to belong to the ultimate class... of being Canadian. :) Seriously Phil, there's certainly some thought fodder in this. I'm reminded of almost every (Western) 'reincarnation' story I've heard over the years. How is it that everyone seemed to have been royalty in their former life, not an everyday peasant, or blacksmith, or labrador retriever? Please note I'm not mocking reincarnation, only those who were compelled to tell me of their experience.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #3

Jim, I think being willing to share wealth all depends on the individual. Gates gives massive amounts away. Ted Turner, whose politics I never cared much for, was one of the moving forces in the Billionaires' challenge to give back to society. Yet, Steve Jobs, who walked among the uber-wealthy, couldn't have given less of a damn. Cheers!

Jim Murray

6 years ago #2

Yeah, this is an excellent elaboration of what we were talking about earlier by email. It makes a lot of sense, when you consider how many people still entertain the notion of the American Dream. Funny how the rich seem to be greedy, but then the Uber Ultra Rich (like Bill Gates) become very concerned for the disadvantaged. But I guess the American Dream is still capped at the millionaire status point.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #1

Jim Murray. Cheers to all!

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