I found a new term, “Political Motive Attribution Asymmetry” that adds to, “Confirmation Bias,” “Selective Perception,” and “Motivated Reasoning” as the reason our political problems seem to be so intractable. The term came from a Study called “Motive attribution asymmetry for love vs. hate drives intractable conflict.” Click here to see the Study.
It seems obvious to me that there are a lot of reasonable compromise solutions available to us. Yet, we seem to always end up yelling at each other, rather than work to find solutions to our problems. The Authors of the Study suggest that “Motive Attribution Asymmetry” means that:
“Adversaries attribute their ingroup’s actions to in-group love more than outgroup hate and attribute their outgroup’s actions to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. This biased attributional pattern increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability, including unwillingness to negotiate and unwillingness to vote for compromise solutions. … Understanding this bias and how to alleviate it can contribute to conflict resolution on a global scale.”
“Although people find it difficult to explain their adversaries’ actions in terms of love and affiliation, we suggest that recognizing this attributional bias and how to reduce it can contribute to reducing human conflict on a global scale.”
The current position of Senate Conservatives that they will not hold hearings on the US Supreme Court Nominee is a great example of how ideological and Political actors are willing to risk the health of their Country, because they are unwilling to make political compromises. This is just one recent example. There are unfortunately too many other world wide examples of political, economic, ethnic, and religious groups across the world rejecting solutions of mutual benefit that involve sharing power, land, or religious sites.
Why are so many conflicts so intractable when people on both sides could gain from a compromise? I lay the blame for intractability at the foot of “Confirmation Bias,” “Selective Perception,” “Motivated Reasoning,” and now the new term, “Motive Attribution Asymmetry.”
This study supports the notion that:
“A fundamental barrier to conflict resolution may be simple pessimism toward compromise. If adversaries believe inflexibility on the other side renders mutual compromise impossible, they will be unlikely to adopt seemingly rational strategies for conciliation. In other words, the perception of conflict intractability may be an independent cause of a stalemate. Here, we identify a fundamental cognitive bias that contributes to the belief in conflict intractability, and may therefore contribute to conflict spirals.”
“People will attribute ingroup engagement in conflict to love more than hate, but they will attribute outgroup engagement in conflict to hate more than love. We term this pattern the “motive attribution asymmetry.” We use the term “bias” to mean response tendency (rather than error); in this case, a tendency to attribute love vs. hate to one’s in-group to a greater degree than to one’s outgroup and to attribute hate vs. love to one’s outgroup to a greater degree than to one’s in-group.”
Motivated Reasoning is where you know the answer you want and then you line up facts to support your answer.
A great example of motivated reasoning was provided by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (See Full Story Here). He is motivated to blame liberals for the divisions in this country. He is motivated to blame anyone other than the GOP for the Caustic Rhetoric in this great country.
He said, “There’s no doubt” President Obama has helped stoke the caustic rhetoric and violence displayed at recent political rallies held by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.”
As an example Rubio cited an April 2011 Obama speech where he criticized a budget proposal the GOP. (See Full Speech Here). In the Speech Obama said the GOP’s budgeting vision “is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America.”
From that Rubio Concluded the following:
“He basically said, ‘If you agree with Paul Ryan’s budget, you don’t care about the disabled, you don’t care about the elderly, you don’t care about the poor,'” Rubio recalled. “There’s been numerous instances where he basically implies that if you don’t care with his gun control agenda than you didn’t care about the kids who died at Sandy Hook. Time and again he’s done that. There’s no doubt that he’s been a contributor to this.”
“I think all of us in American public office need to take a step back and examine ourselves and say, ‘Have we contributed to this culture that’s emerged where you literally have a country where people hate each other?'”
“We have an America where Americans are starting to hate each other. I mean, we can have policy disagreements, and they should be vibrant, but there’s got to be a limit to it. Otherwise we can’t function as a country.”
Now, just so you have a comparison, here is a recent quote from Ted Cruz:
That we’re going to have an election, and if liberals are so confident that the American people want unlimited abortion on demand, want religious liberty torn down, want the Second Amendment taken away, want veterans’ memorials torn down, want the crosses and stars of David sandblasted off of the tombstones of our fallen veterans, then go and make the case to the people.”
To me there is no comparison. But just in case you want more, here is a quote from Sarah Palin from her 2008 convention speech:
.. when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.”
And, just to pull something out of the golden oldies, here is Mitt Romney and his 47% Comments:
However, perhaps here is the best equivalent on the GOP side to Rubio’s example:
So, Rubio using the Obama 2011 speech as causing the divisions in this country is simply motivated reasoning. The divisions in this country have been exploited by our leaders long before Obama gave his 2011 Speech.
The Republicans base their entire philosophy on a number of conclusion that all the “experts” in the world would see as completely false.
- Man has had no impact on Global Warming. – 97% of “Climate Scientists” disagree
- More guns would reduce deaths by guns. – No evidence ever sited.
- Governments cannot run healthcare. – Most, if not all, developing Governments do run healthcare.
- Reducing tax on the wealthy creates a trickle down of wealth to the poor. – All direct evidence proves the opposite.
- Less regulation guarantees that the economy will be better. – the two keys words here are “guarantee” and “better.”
Even though these conclusions are not based on “facts” they have become galvanizing principles for a large group of people who have been frightened of not agreeing with them or who need guns to give them the respect/power over other people that they cannot get by any other means.
The problem is that a substantial group of people in this country see Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson as “experts.”
This is peer group/tribal mandates also linked to a culture of hatred (see the Charleston murders). These people are manipulated by power of the money from fanatical vested interested groups like the Koch Brothers.
The only way to bring reality to these groups is to break them up and/or introduce academic and culture diversity. But, since change is not a goal, conservatives have relied on gerrymandering voting districts to keep the “tribe” homogeneous (no pun intended to any other use of the prefix “homo” because we know how conservatives feel about that word.)
The challenge then for the reasonable people in our 6th District is to get the reasonable conservatives to engage in reasoned discussions about what are the best public policies for a community.
The problem, as I see it is that bad decision making is caused by confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning.
The Bush war in Iraq is a great example. The motivated reasoning was that we needed to get control of the middle east oil. The selective perception was to only see the facts that resulted in supporting the pre-supposed reasoning. And the Confirmation bias made everyone that wanted that reasoning to be valid to feel good about ignoring all the potential ways that trying to get control of middle east oil though force was a terrible idea.
Now get me wrong here, all of us are guilty, at least in some respects, of confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning to some extent. The foundational point for me is that I think that the “tendency toward” or the “amount of” confirmation bias, selective perception, and motivated reasoning one carries into their decision making is normally distributed within a population. Some people have a lot of it. Others have just a little. (And I think the amount of this tendency to believe people like Limbaugh would be correlated to intelligence – but that would require research to prove.)
The point is we need to build a decision process that, while helpful to fighting the evils of Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, is not focused on their particular form of evil. The evil I am trying to fight is the evil of thinking your right when the facts clearly tell you something else.
I am trying to find a way to focus and filter all the information available to us so that we can reach the best decisions – independent of the specific decision we are trying to make.
I can show you a fact on how the Dems and the GOP are different. The Republican Candidate for office in Georgia must sign a “Loyalty Oath” to the National GOP Platform. The Democratic Candidate for office does not.
Here is the Fact: The Official Georgia Qualifying. The source is the official is http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/2014_qualifying_information_packet
Here is the Doc in our Cloud: https://ga6thdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Georgia_2014_Qualifying_Guide__Forms.pdf.pdf
Take a look at the page below taken right out of the Official Georgia Qualifying Docs
There is only 1 difference between the Democratic Candidate and the Republican Candidate – The “Loyalty Oath.”
When you take a look at the two qualifications the only difference is that the Republican must commit to a “Loyalty Oath” to the National GOP Platform.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG FOR THE GEORGIA 6TH DISTRICT.
Our representative in Congress must never put a national platform before the Georgia 6th District.
Three months after I graduated from college and following a summer journalism fellowship at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, I had my first interview for a full-time newspaper reporting job. It was in Wilmington, N.C. The managing editor of the newspaper picked me up at the airport and after a quick lunch, he dropped me off on Front Street, the historic main thoroughfare along the banks of the Cape Fear River. He told me to go find a story.It was a Friday afternoon in late August and I had to report and write the story by 5 p.m. I had never been to Wilmington before and I didn’t know an
Source: Wanted in College Graduates: Tolerance for Ambiguity | Jeff Selingo | LinkedIn
In a recent Opinion piece in IJReveiew, our Congressman Tom Price, offered yet another vague response to one of most important social issues of our day; how do we achieve a healthy community? He clearly offers no solutions to achieving a healthy community. As is expected, because he either has few specifics (other than hating on Obama) or doesn’t know enough specifics, he is content to just sow fear.
However, at the end Tom Tom Price issued a challenge. I think it is a great challenge and I think we should work to meet it.
Here is what Tom Prices said:”
It’s time to get real about advancing positive solutions. That will only happen if the American people lend their voices and support to those policymakers who are willing to take on the entrenched defenders of a broken status quo. And that will only happen if folks engage in an honest and open dialogue about these challenges.
So let’s get to it. Let’s restore the trust for all generations.
I completely agree with our Congressman Tom Price.
I am extremely interested in”
- advancing positive solutions.
- lending my voice and support to those policymakers willing to take on the entrenched defenders of a broken status quo.
- engaging in honest and open dialogue about these challenges.
- most of all, like you, I am very interested in restoring trust for all generations.
I agree Tom, let’s get to it.
I offer this website the platform to “get to it.”
This website, the Ga 6th District, is structured to facilitate honest and open dialog.
For example, Tom Prices is a Doctor. Tom Price has a lot information he can share with the community. He teach the community about how to run a Doctor’s office. He could teach us the economics of a Doctor’s office. Tom Price could teach us a lot about the healthcare economics, current healthcare systems and their influence on the 6th District, and medial information on what are the best ways to stay healthy.
And there are others in our community that can add information and value to the community to find and advance positive solutions.
The goal, as you say, is to advance positive solutions.
I propose we use our 6th District Learning Community as the platform to discuss the potential action plans to move forward.
The 6th District will publish its own suggestions for solutions to achieve the goal of a healthy community.