Partisan Identity is More Important to Those with an Existing Identity

Minorities do not consider the Republican party more religious (22 min)

Most white people don’t identify strongly as Italian.  They identified as Methodist or Baptists, but now that religion is less important, political partisanship matters more.

Minorities aren’t looking to political identity for their identity.

 

Ep 333: Drew Dyck Disciplines Himself

If you become disciplined to pursue a self-interested, bad goal, what does that gain you.

If you think the right things, truth, it will transform their character.  But why is it some of the most theologically smart people are A-holes.

Things that Deplete your Willpower:

Decision making, Conflict, Sleep

Flee temptation. If you are always relying on willpower, you will fail.

This is where habits are important

  1. Pick one thing.  Don’t try to do 5 New Year’s Resolutions at once
  2. You can’t delete Bad Habits, only replace them
    • Cue, Routine, Payoff
    • Replace social media with Bible reading
  3. Jesus take the wheel
    • Someone says that they will not brush their teeth unless they felt called by the spirit
    • Grace is not opposed to effort.  Grace is opposed to earning.
    • Sanctification is often a slow transformation process.
    • I am what’s wrong with the world: G.K. Chesterton
  4. In the long run, self-discipline is about delayed-gratification.  It is easier in the long run.

 

Evangelicals and the 5 Stages of Grief:  (30 min)

We are between anger and bargaining and this Trump Faustian bargain was out of desperation over demographic change.

Sociologists refer to the Driver’s license -> Marriage License Gap

Fewer people are coming back to the church because the gap is longer and people figure out how to live without it.

Reinforce Republican identity and threat, not from Satan or poverty, or oppression, but an enemy of Democrats

  • Us vs them, mitigating our fears in the amygdala
  • If fear is a big part of your life, you are not living as a Christian
  • I am not a fearvangelica
  • A lot of people believe that being afraid makes them Godly
  • It is very hard to convince someone who is marinating in fear that they don’t need to fear.
  • Phil’s Idea: inside out with fearful evangelicals

The Struggle to Stay Human Amid the Fight

World War I and the adversarial mentality.

It’s the eternal argument. When you are fighting a repulsive foe, the ends justify any means and serve as rationale for any selfishness.

Dax’s struggle is not to change the war or to save lives. That’s impossible. The war has won. The struggle is simply to remain a human being, to maintain some contact with goodness in circumstances that are inhumane.

Disillusionment was the classic challenge for the generation that fought and watched that war. Before 1914, there was an assumed faith in progress, a general trust in the institutions and certainties of Western civilization. People, especially in the educated classes, approached life with a gentlemanly, sporting spirit.

As Paul Fussell pointed out in “The Great War and Modern Memory,” the upper classes used genteel words in place of plain ones: slumber for sleep, the heavens for the sky, conquer for win, legion for army.

The war blew away that gentility, those ideals and that faith in progress. Ernest Hemingway captured the rising irony and cynicism in “A Farewell to Arms.” His hero is embarrassed “by the words sacred, glorious and sacrifice and the expression, in vain.” He had seen nothing sacred in the war, nothing glorious, just meaningless slaughter.

.. European culture suffered a massive disillusion during the conflict — no God, no beauty, no coherence, no meaning, just the cruel ironic joke of life. Cynicism breeds a kind of nihilism, a disbelief in all values, an assumption that others’ motives are bad.

Fussell wrote that the war spread an adversarial mentality. The men in the trenches were obsessed with the enemy — those anonymous creatures across no man’s land who rained down death. “Prolonged trench warfare, whether enacted or remembered, fosters paranoid melodrama,” he wrote.

The “versus habit” construes reality as us versus them — a mentality that spread through British society. It was the officers versus the men, and, when they got home, the students at university versus the dons.

George Orwell wrote that he recognized the Great War mentality lingering even in the 1930s in his own left-wing circles — the same desire to sniff out those who departed from party orthodoxy, the same retelling of mostly false atrocity stories, the same war hysteria. As Christopher Isherwood put it, all the young people who were ashamed of never having fought in the war brought warlike simplicities to political life.

.. Some of the disillusioned drop out of public life, since it’s all meaningless. But others want to burn it all down because it’s all rotten. Moderation is taken for cowardice. Aggression is regarded as courage. No conciliatory word is permitted when a fighting word will do.

Today we face no horrors equal to the Great War, but there is the same loss of faith in progress, the reality of endless political trench warfare, the paranoid melodrama, the specter that we are all being dehumanized amid the fight.

How to Debate a Populist

In the 1960s, much like today, people with opposing viewpoints struggled to communicate with one another. Yet there was a civility to that era’s public debate that is nowhere to be found today, owing to liberal elites’ understanding that refusing to engage would only reinforce the “us versus them” mentality that fuels radicalism.

.. Dutschke tried to “unmask” Dahrendorf – the liberal establishment intellectual – as exploitative and undemocratic; Dahrendorf countered that Dutschke’s revolutionary rhetoric was naive, more hot air than substance, and ultimately dangerous.
.. The debate began with Thadden detailing his political views, offering an unapologetic assessment of Germany’s role in WWII, and explaining the rise of the NPD. Dahrendorf, a sociology professor, followed with an analysis of the NPD’s diverse membership, which included old Nazis, disillusioned identity seekers, and opportunistic anti-modernists.
..  Dahrendorf was adamant that the NPD’s fate should be decided by the voters, rather than the courts, which had declared the Communist Party illegal. Kaul reiterated this idea in a passionate statement (which had undoubtedly been agreed in advance by East German leaders) about the exclusion of West Germany’s Communists from the debate. Other panelists agreed. A liberal democracy, Dahrendorf concluded, cannot exclude radicals on one side, while tolerating those on the other.
.. It is hard to imagine today’s mainstream politicians and public intellectuals engaging publicly in such profound and mutually respectful debates with today’s radicals and upstarts, whether populists, economic nationalists, Euroskeptics, or something else. Those on the far left and the far right certainly are not engaging one another in this manner. Each side would rather preach to its own audience, accessible within media bubbles where there is little demand for genuine discussion of opposing views.
.. Many establishment leaders nowadays – the so-called elites who are the standard-bearers of the liberal democratic order – seem to believe that the risks of engaging with radical figures are too great: more exposure could mean more legitimacy. But this stance is itself highly risky, not least because it has translated into a willful blindness to the social changes that have fueled extremist ideologies – an approach that comes across to many as arrogant.
.. Recall US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s flippant assertion that half of her rival Donald Trump’s supporters comprised a “basket of deplorables.”
.. One cannot simply wish away extremists. Letting radical movements run their course, as some have suggested, is both reckless and dangerous, given the amount of damage they can do before they fail. To fulfill their responsibility as stewards of the public good, cultural and political “elites” must eschew elitism and find formats and formulas that enable more constructive engagement among diverse groups, including – as difficult as it may be – radical and populist movements.
.. Dahrendorf rightly proclaimed that extremists’ success was a measure of democratic elites’ failings. Like the NPD in the 1960s, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) owes its success in last September’s federal election to the refusal of the country’s political, economic, and academic elites to engage constructively with the public, much less with those the public believed were willing to address their concerns.
.. Defenders of liberal democracy must debate the populists not to change the populists’ minds, but to make the public understand what each party really stands for, not simply against. Yes, this could mean giving populists more airtime, and it risks normalizing extreme views. But the threats associated with an aggressively polarized public sphere – one that extremists have proved adept at exploiting – are much greater.

Richard Rohr Meditation: Nurturing Empathy

I live at the intersection of politics and religion. . . . My faith impels me into the public square. It is abundantly clear that Pope Francis is correct when he says that faith has real consequences in the world . . . and these consequences involve politics. . . .

.. At NETWORK, we often say that our care for the common good is care for “the 100%” instead of the 99% or the 1%. . . .

.. God is alive in all. No one can be left out of my care. Therefore this political work is anchored in caring for those whom we lobby as well as those whose cause we champion. This was illustrated for me . . . when I was with four of my colleagues lobbying a Republican Senator on healthcare legislation. I commented on the story of a constituent and asked her how her colleagues could turn their eyes away from the suffering and fear of their people. . . .

She said that many of her colleagues . . . did not get close to the candid stories of their people. In fact, some did not see these constituents as “their people.” Tears sprang to my eyes at her candor and the pain that keeps us sealed off from each other because of political partisanship.

.. our position “for the 100%” requires an empathy that stretches my being beyond my imagining. Finding a way to not vilify or divide into “them” and “us” in today’s federal politics goes against . . . current custom.

 

John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life

Donald Trump is always trying to cure his loneliness by making friend/enemy distinctions; trying to unite his clan by declaring verbal war on other groups; trying to shrivel his life into a little box by building walls against anybody outside its categories.

.. Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human lifeself-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”

.. He championed the labor movement, was the first member of Parliament to call for women to be given the right to vote, was the leading British philosopher of the 19th century and served as a loving son, husband and friend.

.. Mill had an optimistic view of human nature and probably an insufficient appreciation of human depravity

.. Mill was living in a Victorian moment when the chief problem was claustrophobia — the individual being smothered by society. He emphasized individual liberation. His emphases probably would have been different if he had lived today, when our problem is agoraphobia — too much freedom, too little cohesion, meaning and direction.

.. His example cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions.

.. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.

How Jinder Mahal, an Indian WWE Star, Is Turning Up the Heat

Mr. Dhesi, the first WWE champion of Indian descent, is a heel (wrestling speak for a villain), so it is his job to turn crowds into booing, angry mobs. As part of his persona, he exhorts the crowd with statements of cultural confrontation: that Americans are too clueless to realize that greatness comes from immigrants (and therefore, himself). The heated rhetoric often sounds like it would be at home on a cable news panel rather than a wrestling ring.

.. WWE performers have long relied on patriotism and “us vs. them” narratives. In the 1980s, a tag team featuring the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff waved the flags of Iran and the U.S.S.R.; in the 1990s, Sgt. Slaughter, a onetime patriot, switched his sympathies to Iraq. Recently, Miroslav Barnyashev, a Bulgarian athlete who competes under the name Rusev, wrestled John Cena in a so-called “flag match”; the Stars and Stripes prevailed. But Mr. Dhesi has been elevated by the company at very specific moment. One of the pillars of President Trump’s campaign platform was to cut down on undocumented immigration, and his charged language often linked immigration with crime, spurring protests all over the country.

.. The WWE is looking to expand into India, a country where sports entertainment is already popular, with a potential audience of 1.3 billion people. Its programming is available now in 180 countries and in 650 million homes, according to a spokesman. It is a publicly traded company and has attracted many big name sponsors, including Snickers and Mattel.

.. “We keep our finger on the pulse of pop culture,” said Paul Levesque, an executive vice president and a longtime performer, known as Triple H. “But we’re more worried about entertainment and pop culture than we are about politics and pop culture.”

.. While the matches are merely performances according to executives and athletes alike, the WWE has become entwined with politics. Linda McMahon, a co-founder of the company, was picked by President Trump to lead the Small Business Administration. President Trump himself took part in WrestleMania in 2007, and in the 1980s, the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City hosted the event twice. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. In July, he tweeted an edited video clip of himself at WrestleMania punching a figure whose head had been replaced with the CNN logo.

.. Mr. Dhesi arrived at the WWE in 2011 and spent three years as mostly enhancement talent or more impolitely: a professional loser. In wrestling parlance, he was a jobber: a performer who exists almost entirely to make other performers look better.

.. But Mr. McMahon made a change: He wanted Jinder Mahal to talk about his immigrant roots and an America in decline. Mr. Dhesi, who first visited India when he was 10, was uncomfortable at first but dutifully carried out his boss’s wishes. At the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines he addressed then-champion Randy Orton.

“Randy, you’re just like all of these people!” Mr. Dhesi said, shooting his opponent a piercing glare. “You disrespect me because I look different! You disrespect me because of your arrogance and your lack of tolerance!

He was wearing a turban. And then he spoke Punjabi. The crowd expressed its disapproval.

“The reaction was great; I heard the crowd that day,” Mr. Dhesi said. “I was elevated to star status just within that one promo.” With more eyes on his giant, rippled physique came speculation that he is using steroids (Mr. Dhesi has passed all of his drug tests mandated by the WWE).

.. We really are no different than a great book, a great play, a great movie, an opera and even more applicably, a ballet,” said Stephanie McMahon, the chief brand officer of the WWE, as well as an occasional performer. “We tell stories of protagonists versus antagonists with conflict resolution. The only difference is that our conflicts are resolved inside a 20-by-20-foot ring.”

.. Since then, the WWE has shifted toward a more family-friendly approach and is making an effort to include more South Asian performers.

.. As lifelong wrestling fans, both have watched Mr. Dhesi’s rise with pride. “India is getting exposure in this company that it never got before,”