The reason we're becoming more extreme

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7 months 4 weeks ago #374300 by Cornilion Seadragon
I agree with almost everything you said.

Local news companies are folding at alarming rates. With the news cycle now being all of 15 minutes, a daily print paper is going to be printing old news by the time people get the paper and revenue from online streams just aren't big enough for small companies targeting a limited audience to stay afloat. That unfortunately means the really big national companies are the only ones that can survive and even the small local companies that have survived are mostly just subsidiaries of the big companies now

As far as immigration goes, the fact that most illegal immigrants originally entered the country legally was true at one point in time, but continued rise of asylum seekers it's not no longer true. There are 3 ways to become an illegal immigrant: enter legally on a visa and then not leave when the visa expires (called overstays, which is the group the person you were in a debate with was referring to), cross the border at a point of entry and once across the border present yourself to border patrol and request asylum (which can only be done on US soil, so basically all asylum seekers are illegal immigrants who are apprehended at the border where they turn themselves in to request asylum), and those trying to sneak across the border. According to statements from CBP, almost everyone crossing the border illegally does so in pursuit of asylum. As far as actual numbers, I was trying to find specific numbers but not surprisingly the nature of someone being "undocumented" means that there isn't much of a paper trail on them. There are estimates done using data collected by the census, border patrol, and the IRS, but these all lump multiple groups together (apprehensions at the border includes all those seeking asylum and all those sneaking across who are caught and are per year without accounting for how many actually stay, counts from the census include those who overstayed their visa as well as those who sneak across the border successfully and are a current total not an annual number like the CBP data, total asylum seeker statistics get lumped in with refugee statistics, basically teasing out which part of each statistic is one group versus another has become extremely challenging because the reported numbers just lump everyone together in different groupings like a giant venn diagram). As far as far as the idea that these migrants are causing crime, yeah, it's certainly not true that none of them commit crimes. Any group of any size commits crimes, and the US actively deports illegal immigrants who commit crimes so we have data showing that this group does indeed include those committing crime. All the same, there's a lot of rhetoric out there that tries to categorize the whole group as a bunch of criminals and that's certainly not true either. Most of them are just trying to keep their heads down and not cause any trouble, not unlike any other group except that the stakes for getting caught committing a crime are way higher for this group. Obviously some of the people sneaking across the border are doing so as part of a criminal enterprise, so those specific groups are obviously involved in criminal activities (specifically drug or human trafficking).

To me it's unfortunate that people's perspectives change just because you put someone in front of them that shares their personal experience. Again, personal testimony is the lowest quality of evidence that exists. It can give people new insights and share perspectives that they had never thought of before, and that might shift perspectives, but unless you are only trying to prove that something has happened at least once personal testimony isn't a particularly valid source of evidence. To me the issue is more that people do change their perspective based on a single point of testimony, instead of it being an issue that people don't seek out testimony from those they disagree with. This all goes back to your point that it's not about the evidence anymore. Part of it is that people don't understand what quality evidence actually looks like, and that we're wired to be compelled by stories more than facts.

The internet persona thing is a huge issue. I suspect that's going to continue getting worse as future generations increasingly have only an internet persona or whose primary persona and interactions are online.

I would disagree that Kens and Karens are a new phenomenon. Our awareness of the phenomenon has certainly increased, but having worked retail before the term "Karen" was a thing, they've always been there. Boomers are the worst in my experience. Younger generations are usually really polite to store employees even when they're really getting the short end but Boomers will demand the world and get mad when the whole planet can't fit inside their shopping cart. The origin of the term "Karen" as a type of person is basically an entitled white middle class woman, which has itself been a thing for generations. We just see it more thanks to social media and the fact that everyone has a camera on them at all times with a feature to instantly upload any video they take to the internet.

I also agree that the issues with divisive politics are about more than money and more than just lobbyist money. That is an issue as well, but yes, the fact that they are representing party first and only the constituents that happen to be from their party is also a huge issue. In the last couple elections pretty much anyone who had a history of actually working across the aisle got my vote. Even just looking at voter turn out, though, divisive candidates get results. Only a percentage of eligible voters actually vote, so it is a lot easier to just get some of the people that weren't going to vote but agree with you to just go vote for you by riling them up about how bad the other side is than it is to convince those who disagree with you to change their mind and vote for you instead. It's also easier to elicit campaign contributions because most people probably don't donate to campaigns, only those most zealously attached to one set of ideas (or corporations who want something) do, so aligning yourself with the extreme viewpoint also aligns yourself with most donors. It's not all about money, but money is definitely a factor.

As far as the echo chambers, the disconnect between what we say online and the response to it, and the lack of discourse, 100% Yes. That's all a huge part of the problem. Honest discourse with those with other viewpoints, while sometimes uncomfortable, is a necessity, and there are fewer and fewer good venues for those types of discourses to happen. I try to seek out views I disagree with. Often I'll find my own views changing, other times I do a whole monologue in my head about what I would say to that person to explain why I disagree (though usually without the ability to actually share that disagreement with them which kind of goes back to one of your main points about how people are shielded from others disagreeing with them).

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7 months 1 week ago #374499 by Cornilion Seadragon
I just read an interesting article that talked about this topic. It blamed the commoditization of engagement (people, and more importantly companies making money from people engaging in conversations). This leads to algorithms that prioritize things that get the most engagement which are generally not the deep honest dialog.

The article also suggested that the solution is decentralization of the internet and of social media in particular, smaller communities that are both easy to moderate and where people actually know and interact with others so we're less invisible. There's an accountability when you are part of a community. (Again, it seems that the way TOTJO is set up is helpful in the pursuit of a less hostile and divided world).

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7 months 1 day ago #374578 by ZealotX
When people within a community know each other, conversations that may otherwise be stressful, don't necessarily end or even damage those relationships. They don't automatically assume the worst or go to the most negative place possible because they have a greater knowledge, awareness, and understanding of that person from many other encounters and experiences. That's something that has to be forged over time, like a katana folded and hammered over and over and therefore purified and able to withstand and tolerate any force.

When we disconnect from each other, the bonds of society get loose...stretch. The closer we are the more we're like diamond and it becomes rare that anything can come between us. However... the same has to work in the other direction for balance to be possible. That means if we allow our bonds to grow weak and people or ideas are able to use us against each other, we become weak and fragile and easily destroyed.

The internet, basically folds spacetime in a sense, Because it allows people to interact from different times and places with the potential to attract, repel, connect & disconnect. It's a great tool but if we have biases, like baggage, we bring to the table with us, that connection becomes difficult. And when people and ideas are used against the masses this simply happens on a grand scale, reinforcing those biases and disconnections, like heating air and causing it to get excited and expand, becoming more extreme and volatile in the process. 

What typically embodies that expansion and excitement is our E-motional state. Therefore, a Jedi's ability to control that emotional state (not cut it off) becomes a skill that can deescalate and cool down situations, tempers, as well as put minds at ease and see past differences.
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