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Sunday, August 23, 2020

In late 2016, Americans opted to have the cure be worse than the disease.

There are now 72 days left (and counting down) until the Constitutional opportunity via which to rectify the existential error.

My post the day after Election Day 2016. Then a month later. And then on the eve of January20th Inauguration Day.

No, I don't like him. Seriously, (unsurprisingly to my regulars). With ample rational reason. See also my 2018 post on the midterms. He merely wanted the title of "President," not the actual job.

We have deep trouble. On myriad fronts

If our political / cultural "disease" was in large measure that of snooty anti-populist, anti-flyover country "limousine liberalism," the "cure" of Donald Trump has garishly failed to demonstrate "efficacy." Quite the contrary.

apropos, my most recent read:

29: The Plague Year and Beyond
When the original band of intellectuals and CEOs and politicians and the very rich began pursuing their dream of hijacking the U.S. political economy and dragging it back in time to the days before the New Deal, surely none of them imagined they’d wind up here. By which I mean either the scale and durability of their victory, or with such a front man—so deranged and unpleasant and idiotic, so brazenly racist and xenophobic and misogynistic, a businessman yet so completely incompetent as an executive. Today’s evil geniuses find him embarrassing and tiresome. All they and their predecessors ever really wanted was a system permanently guaranteeing them inordinate fortunes and power, with a clubbable Bush or Romney at the helm. Over the decades, however, as they decided again and again that their ends (money, supremacy) always justified any and all means (stoking racism and other hatreds, spreading falsehoods, rousing their rabble while also rigging the system against them), it was bound to end somewhere in this horrid vicinity. In 2016, as the current generation of Fausts made their darkest bargain yet, surely some of them smelled a whiff of sulfur or heard a demonic cackle as they signed away whatever remained of their souls.

The obeisance of the rich right and their consiglieri to Trump for the last four years has exposed more nakedly than ever their compact—everything about money, anything for money—and the events of 2020 pushed that along to an even more shameless, grotesque crescendo. In early spring, when COVID-19 had killed only dozens of Americans, Stuart Stevens, a strategist for four of the five previous GOP presidential nominees but now a fierce apostate, wrote that “those of us in the Republican Party built this moment,” because “the failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party… Government is bad. Establishment experts are overrated or just plain wrong. Science is suspect.”

He could have also listed Believe in our perfect mythical yesteryear, All hail big business, Short-term profits are everything, Inequality’s not so bad, Universal healthcare is tyranny, Liberty equals selfishness, Co-opt liberals, and Entitled to our own facts as operating principles of the Republican Party and the right. During the first six months of 2020, all those maxims drove the responses (and the nonresponsiveness) of the Trump administration and its extended family of propagandists and allies and flying monkeys...


Andersen, Kurt. Evil Geniuses (pp. 367-368). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

ON DECK

Just watched an Amanpour & Co interview with Jonah Berger. Bought his new book. Stay tuned.

Reactance, Endowment, Distance, Uncertainty, and Corroborating Evidence can be called the five horsemen of inertia. Five key roadblocks that hinder or inhibit change.

Each chapter focuses on one of these roadblocks, and how to reduce it. Integrating research and case studies to illustrate the underlying science behind each roadblock and the principles that individuals and organizations have used to mitigate it.

These five ways to be a catalyst can be organized into an acronym. Catalysts reduce Reactance, ease Endowment, shrink Distance, alleviate Uncertainty, and find Corroborating Evidence. Taken together, that forms an acronym, REDUCE. Which is exactly what great catalysts do. They REDUCE roadblocks. They change minds and incite action by reducing barriers to change...


Berger, Jonah. The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind (p. 13). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

UPDATE

Finished the book. Buy it and read it. From the Epilogue:

Behavioral scientist Kurt Lewin once noted, “If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.” But the reverse is also true. To truly change something, you need to understand it.

Too often, as potential change agents we focus on ourselves. We center on the outcome we’re looking for or the change we’re hoping to see. We’re so blinded by the belief that we’re right that we assume if we just provide more information, facts, or reasons, people will capitulate.

But more often than not, things don’t budge. And by focusing so much on ourselves and what we want, we forget the most important part of change: understanding our audience.

Not just who they are, and how their needs might be different than ours, but—as we’ve talked about throughout the book—why they haven’t changed already. What barriers or roadblocks are stopping them? What parking brakes are getting in the way?

The more we learn about what is preventing someone from changing, the easier it is to help. And to realize that things aren’t as zero-sum as they may seem.

People think that, when changing minds, someone has to lose. Either they change or I’m worse off. That things are black-and-white and there are only two ways to go.

But the truth is often more complex...
[pp 221-222] 

Goes to my interest in so-called "Deliberation Science."

PERSONAL ERRATUM

Two years since my SAVR px, Aug 23rd, 2018. Grateful to still be alive, Parkinson's and all.

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More to come...

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