Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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The perils of hyperpartisanship

A few days ago I read this great Reddit comment about how increasing hyperpartisanship makes it easier to influence the entire population. Quoting the relevant part:

Once you've done that, you have a population that's easier to manipulate. You have, say, 30% that's 100% sure on both ends, and probably another 15% on both ends that are 80% sure, and a remaining 10% that could go both ways. The more you do this, the more the 15% will be set in stone.
Then, the fun begins with manipulating the 10%. You know where they live (through facebook), you know how they think (Cambridge Analytica), so you can target them, and only them. Not only can you target this particular group, but by knowing how the electoral system works, you can target only a few people, in a few swing states.

The US is already in this hyperpartisan state, as evidenced by how the GOP rhetoric often has them itching for civil war. This is kind of mirrored in the more extreme online views of some pro-admin people here in the PH, with admin propaganda minions demonizing anyone who opposes the president and some literally calling for opposition to be jailed or even killed. I don’t think the PH has gotten as bad as the US in terms of hyperpartisanship though, mainly because (a) political parties in the Philippines are a joke; (b) Majority of Filipinos distrust politicians in general (hence the popular term “trapo” – it’s just that they still vote for them even knowing how they are); and (c) Filipino politicians

I have a friend who has given up on being moderate or centrist, he says:

The past couple of years have taught me that politics really is like Game of Thrones. Moderation and compromise is weak. If you get complacent, if you let your foot off their throat, they'll destroy you, so you need to be willing to do all that dirty stuff right back.
In the US the other side is racists, misogynists and rich old white ppl. In the Philippines the other side LITERALLY HAS DEATH SQUADS.
Progressives can never let up on the gas. They can never stop and say "this is enough," because if you do, the gains it took decades to work toward can be undone just like that.

I’m sure he knows I disagree with this position – I don’t believe in fighting dirty (but I do believe in calling out those who do). I’m not advocating we adhere to the Spaceballs quote “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb,” but rather I would prefer people find a way to rise above this hyperpartisanship and find better ways to resolve differences. Somehow, there’s still part of a “Lawful Good” idealist in me, despite the best efforts of this terrible world. Maybe this will be the death of me when fascists start trampling over the rest of us.

Posted by under post at #Politics #Opinions #Philippines
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