Friday, October 17, 2008

Clever Horses And Accurate Polls

Fascinating article today from Zombie about Clever Hans, political polling, normative conformity and the potential effect that behavior from the likes of this fellow will have on voters in the upcoming US Presidential election.

Zombie's essay includes a recreation of the Asch experiment, and it reminds me ever so much of listening to people at work talking about politics...:


4 comments:

Dag said...

That first link was excellent, a bit time-consuming, but excellent and worth my time. I've been raging against "Conformity Hippies" for ages now, and it's wonderful to see someone else come up with a brilliant exposition of the concept for me.

In part, the Covenant Zone meetings we have weekly are a way to expose the scam that is Left popularity. We do that simply by sitting openly, proclaiming by our presence that we object to the conformity and the fear of "not fitting in."

Yes, I read the other links too. All of it wonderful. Those who are also impressed might think it worthwhile joining us next week t VPL for a chat. I hope so. It's always good to meet a free-thinking person. Even better to be one.

truepeers said...

Here's the comment I left at Zombie, starting with a quote from the opening of his essay:

Facts and events in and of themselves are no longer important; what’s important is how everyone reacts to them.

I enjoyed your essay, but this line is worth arguing about. The relationship between the event and the meaning that transcends it has always been the great, ever open, human question. The distinction you set up is the distinction that has always existed between religious or ritualistic remembering and politics. Politics has always been about the uncertainty or mutability in how we remember or react to an event, our inability to come together in a common ritual about the importance of the event. What’s new today is that we have less and less a sense of sharing together in the meaning of communal events that will one day have a unifying, sacred, charge, and everything is becoming openly political. Some of us no longer want to recognize that events like 9/11 happened, at least not without spinning some kind of ridiculous conspiracy theory. This is because what motivates the conspiratorial left is a fear of the event becoming normalized, a fear promoted in the name of the supposed victims of the normal. If 9/11 is duly remembered it would call on us to begin a new era in how we respond to those who hold up their victim status as a license to hate America.

What is at stake in the political contests you discuss is whether or not we must respect Obama’s claim to be the representative figure of a victimary politics. Will he be elected in the name of the postmodern paradigm, or will Americans vote to take a step beyond that towards the new post-9/11 paradigm that is developing?
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In other words, the MSM can spin their paradigm for the umpteempth time, but nothing is stopping voters from rejecting it on election day...

Dag said...

Language itself must be some innate conformity to mass ritual temporalized in the community. Looking at the general parole of today, the Obama-speech of the masses, what can we conclude but that the end is nigh? Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.... We can't hardly speak to each other anymore outside our own little cliques. The event and the meaning, the gap between, the mediation by experts, even that is lost to us, thanks in large part to what Julien Benda identified nearly 100 years ago as The Betrayal of the Intellectuals. New and better intellectuals won't help, I think. We could use, instead, a silent majority and an honest few who think without attempting to mediate. The involving of the masses in the Obama-ization of the public mind, the instilling of Irrationality by the intelligentsia, is a crime against Man. But farmers and solitarians often don't suffer from it. That's what we should consider as our salvation. Sarah Palin fits that bill. Yes, even Sarah Maple. Back to nature. Back to "Missouri." Back to basics.

The best alack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity. That's not working for us. Who will mediate for parents to mediate for children? Someone must, if we're to live like people rather than grunting animals. But it needn't be Gnostics and Philosopher Kings.I'll argue again for Covenant Zones and school teachers with guns who will protect students from enraged conformist parents. Raise up our children to be Socratic; and let them mediate among themselves forever without end.

Let's talk, and let our talk be questions. Forget conformity and the need for sociability. Question, and the social will arise from it. Accepting the norm is a sure way to fall apart from the inside out, not even having the words of ones own to express the despair of it.

Day 52, After Sarah said...

And thus, it is shown that Democratic support of union cards does have purpose and they will succeed.