A Man's Legitimacy | Girls Chase

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Chase Amante's picture

Zeison-

Ah, sorry to hear about the girlfriend. Must've been quite the trip if she knocked you out for two years. Glad to hear you've clawed your way back from MGTOW. It's never good getting burned... but once you've bounced back from a good burning you're much, much stronger.

Sounds like your views have become more politically nuanced. That tends to happen with age, reading deeply, and greater / more varied life experience. What you'll find more and more as you go down the path of being politically nuanced is you have more and more in common with people from all sides of the political spectrum, so long as they also have nuanced views. Meanwhile you'll have less and less in common with people who hold non-nuanced views, regardless their political persuasions.

I don't think we have anyone on the staff who identifies as 'alt-right', though we definitely have some guys that lean dissident right. We also have guys that lean toward the (European) left. Overall pretty much everyone on the writing staff is more or less politically nuanced though, I'd say. The guys who lean right have some left-leaning positions; the guys who lean left have some right-leaning ones. Makes you a more interesting person, and usually a more thoughtful one... but also makes you fit less well into any single ideological camp.

My personal approach to talking about ideological hot button issues is this:

  1. Start with what you agree on
  2. Display empathy for all sides
  3. Play the role of devil's advocate
  4. Never fully agree with any one side

I don't think this is just me. The friends I have with the most nuanced views in general seem to follow these same tenets. I have friends across the political spectrum, and those with the most nuanced views on both the left and the right follow these rules.

You'll notice these rules have a lot more to do with thoughtful discussion of the sides, not about the discussion of your own personal opinions. That's important when your views are nuanced. Ideological groups are exclusionary; they seek to find members who do not fully agree with them, and cleanse themselves of those heretics. If you agree with the group on 95% of things, but 5% don't, you're untrustworthy. If you agree with the group on 85% of things, but 15% don't, you're an outright heretic, or possibly an enemy disinformation agent sent in to disrupt the group by sewing doubt, concern trolling, or something else diabolical. If you agree with the group 75%, but 25% don't, you're just not even considered part of the group at that point. To avoid triggering a group's immune response, it's best to avoid stating directly contrary opinions.

Let me give you an example of how I discuss hot button issues myself with folks of various political persuasions. I'll use the European refugee crisis from 2015/6, since I've mentioned that on here in the past (usually I try to avoid discussing political opinions on GC). I was generally opposed to Europe permitting waves of young male unskilled migrants from far less developed parts of the world and viewed it as a tragedy for the continent. However, I will argue a different set of views (which are still always my own) dependent on whether I'm talking to a right-leaning or left-leaning individual.

Left-leaning:

GUY: I can't believe there are people opposed to helping refugees. Those people are just evil.

ME: Yeah, you know, I can understand the desire to want to help people fleeing from war and poverty. It's terrible to have to live in those conditions, and anything we can do to help within reason I think is usually going to be good. You have to think about things from the perspective of the people opposed to mass migration though too: usually they're the ones who end up with a bunch of people settled into their communities, and usually these are people who do not share their values, and are coming from much more violent, savage communities. When you transplant a group of people into a new community, they quite often feel like their own country within a host society, and feel less compunction to follow the same laws, and often work against the host people. The reaction of the anti-migrant people is a defensive reaction; they don't have the bandwidth to think about helping poor people; they are too busy trying to not get steamrolled themselves.

Right-leaning:

GUY: I can't believe there are people who think it's a good idea to import millions of young African and Middle Eastern men into Europe and set them loose. Those people are just nuts.

ME: I mean, I agree the way Europe went about it was foolhardy, and bad for everyone involved: the native Europeans, the migrants themselves, and migrants' homelands all suffer from it. But you need to understand Europe pre-migration: it was a continent filled with generations born in extraordinarily safe, wealthy, comfortable conditions. Everyone that everyone met there was well-behaved and law-abiding, with highly similar shared cultural norms across the continent. Europe hadn't even known war in generations, protected as it was under the American umbrella. When the Europeans saw people suffering in impoverished and war-torn conditions, they thought the best thing they could do for those people was to invite them into their homes. This is the natural and unavoidable reaction of any people that has enjoyed generations of peace and prosperity with zero exposure to war, cruelty, and savagery. It was never going to happen any other way.

In both cases, I start with what I agree on (to the left-wing guy: that we should always help people within reason; to the right-wing guy: that the way Europe went about trying to help people was foolhardy). In agreeing, I also empathize with the other guy's side.

Then I switch to the role of devil's advocate. Which is exactly what this is in most heated conversations; one side believes the other side is the devil. Pro-migration people think anti-migration people are evil hateful devils who don't care about suffering people they could easily help if they weren't so petty and spiteful. Anti-migration people think pro-migration people are evil despicable devils who are so caught up trying to virtue signal that they're willing to sacrifice their own people's lives and societies to seem like good people. In the role of devil's advocate, you humanize the other side, by empathizing with it, and getting your debate partner to empathize too.

I also never fully agree with one side. I'm not really 'on anybody's side'; I'm looking at the issue and doing my best to maintain a balanced, nuanced view. (and maybe I'm not perfect, and a thoughtful debate partner can point out a lack of nuance in some part of my view, which I'll promptly take under consideration)

My aim with all this is to move the conversation in a thoughtful, philosophical direction. I'm uninterested in discussions of:

  1. What's right or wrong, or
  2. What we should do

Both are inane and pointless, unless I am actually, say, adviser to some person with political power. Then maybe it's worth discussing what we 'should' do. Otherwise I get a lot more value out of increasing my understanding of all sides than I do arguing about proposed solutions that will never be implemented anyway, regardless who 'wins' the debate.

Anything other than this is just them stating their opinions, and you stating your opinions, and both sides are at each other's throats, demonizing one another.

Instead, what you do is empathize with your interlocutor's side, then ask him to empathize with the other side, without ever actually coming out and saying you are on one side or other. You empathize with both sides, and ask that the other party do so too.

This doesn't play well in the media, so you won't see this strategy there. The media thrives on polarization; you're either left or you're right, but either way, the other side is nuts, evil, or both. However, it's the only strategy I'll use discussing hot button issues, no matter whom I'm discussing with.

There's another reason I do this too, which is that I very, very much dislike being nailed down to one boxed-in position on an issue, or categorized as something I'm not. While I am not in favor of Europe's call to millions of migrants, I don't want to be defined as an 'anti-migrant' guy or something like that. If instead of importing a million young mostly-male Middle Eastern migrants, Europe decided to import a million young, single, female Middle Eastern migrants, I'd be all for that plan. That sounds like a pretty good plan to me. I'd visit Western Europe much more often in that case. The other way around though, not so much.

So long as you stick to the plan of:

  1. Start with what you agree on
  2. Display empathy for all sides
  3. Play the role of devil's advocate
  4. Never fully agree with any one side

... you will usually be fine.

One notable exception: and that is dealing with mobs. Once it is you vs. maybe four or more people, even this strategy is not going to be enough. Once people are in a mob, even if they are otherwise thoughtful people, their ability to be thoughtful shuts down. Instead they switch over to policing the group for heretical beliefs. They do this both to signal their conformity to the group (to secure their own place in it) and to maintain group ideological cohesion (groups function far better when everyone is ideologically on the same page). You wouldn't try to argue for gypsy rights at a Viktor Orbán rally, just like you wouldn't try to argue the merits of Englishness in downtown London. You'd simply get mobbed in either case (and possibly arrested in the latter).

The only time I think it's worth differing with a mob is if the mob is about to do something really stupid (like lynch/attack someone). In that case, maybe you speak up and sow some doubt. A little doubt is often all it takes to stop a physical attack. However, for philosophical debates, arguing with mobs is usually a no-go. Stick to thoughtful discussions with one or two other people, and avoid engaging with mobs. Mobs and politically nuanced points of view do not gel well together (as Socrates, a politically nuanced state dissident, found out).

So long as you stick with this way for debating politics, you'll find a few things happen:

  • People view you as a thoughtful individual
  • People view you as someone with balanced positions
  • People view you as largely in agreement with them

The latter is one of the strangest phenomena. I recently was in a conversation with two friends of opposed political views. I'd never said anything to either of them about my opinions than the honest truth, following the model in this comment. Both of them, when arguing a position, attempted to support his position by saying that Chase was "pretty much in agreement" with him. The truth was, there were aspects of both men's positions I agreed with, and aspects I did not fully agree with. However, while I'd discussed both what I agreed and did not agree with both, what each remembered was, in the end, that "Chase pretty much agreed with me." Which was a little funny to see (I did not wade into that part of the argument, and neither man asked me which of them I 'actually' agreed with, so I imagine both left thinking "Chase agrees with me and the other guy is wrong." Strange how that works, eh?). If people feel like you empathize with them, they will mentally note you down as "part of my group." They won't write you off as a illegitimate heretic unless/until you do something that makes them think "He empathizes with the other side; he doesn't empathize with me."

Make sure the people you talk to feel like you agree with them on what you agree with, and empathize with their position, and they usually will not view you as an illegitimate outsider, even if there are some differences.

Hope this helps,

Chase