Brian Cohen


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The more immediate reason for why politics is the mind-killer is because politics is still a matter of life and death today. Even if it weren't, so many people still believe it is and that causes them to act in hostile ways to protect themselves from each other. And that, ironically, causes politics to become a matter of life and death for real even if it weren't already.

To clarify in case that's not clear, people are angry at and scared of each other over RECENT traumatic experiences in their personal lives which they systematically inflicted upon each other across their political divides.

That's what makes it impossible to have an intelligent and coherent conversation with them about any people and ideas which they might consider "on the other side". 

It's not just genetic evolution, like the above post seems to imply. Changes in our ancestors' genomes influenced our ancestors' behavior, and so the environmental impact of our ancestors' behavior changed accordingly. The resulting changes in our ancestors' environments led to changes in the life experiences our ancestors went through in those environments. 

Or in other words, the environment evolves in tandem with the genes of species which live in it. Just because genes are easier to track and describe than environments doesn't mean they're more important than environments when it comes to explaining phenomena in human psychology like the "Politics is the Mindkiller" effect.

Also, to say that genetic evolution is the cause of our human neighbors' behavior around politics today is like saying that the Big Bang is the cause for the existence of our planet's Moon. Technically true, but since the Big Bang caused everything else in our universe too it's not really specific enough to be especially useful when it comes to explaining the origin of OUR planet's Moon in particular.

Likewise, the environmental experiences and genes of modern humanity's ancestors caused the behavior of all of modern humanity, but that doesn't make it especially useful for explaining why YOUR next-door neighbor in particular is failing to talk and think coherently about politics.

I've tried to explain all of these exact points to other rationalists and scientists many times, but your minds tended to go funny in the head and shut down, you stopped listening and you interrupted me whenever I've tried to say all of this, and reacted with extreme hostility when I've tried to continue explaining anyway.

Politics kills your minds just as easily as everyone else's despite your admirable efforts. It's just that the issues which are most political for you are different than other peoples'.