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Reply #93: Since they are across the board. . . [View All]

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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-19-06 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #89
93. Since they are across the board. . .
Edited on Wed Apr-19-06 08:38 PM by pat_k
. . there's no particular set of beliefs that identifies someone as a belief person. They can pick up beliefs from anyone they identify with -- and the forces that bring people together are too various to generalize.

The same doesn't go for the "knowledge people." If the information they are aware of is mistaken or limited (and different social circles can have very different sets of "facts" floating around) knowledge people can draw erroneous conclusions, but the process by which they come to their beliefs tends to protect them from getting too far off the beaten track. As a consequence, you don't find many knowledge people in the reactionary-right.

Because the reactionary-right is almost exclusively populated by belief people, it can be difficult to tease out the attributes that are characteristic of belief people from attributers that may be peculiar to reactionaries, but are not actually "belief-people" characteristics.

Before getting too far into an analysis, I'd like to emphasize that the belief people/knowledge people theory is one I find useful in promoting more effective communication. Stripping it down to simple terms helps guide the selection of responses.

Since my focus has been on using the "theory" to define some "dos" and don'ts" for dealing with belief people who are on "the other side," I haven't actually given much though to "our" belief people.

The only time I find myself thinking "she/he's a belief person" is when the person is debating some issue. Belief people and knowledge people tend to have very characteristic ways of responding.

Not sure if it will help, but the commentary I added to a Luther-Franken dialog points out a few of those characteristics.

Sometimes belief people are amazingly easy to ID. A member of a little group I went out with occasionally actually said he didn't want to talk about a particular issue because one of the "usuals" wasn't there. I don't even think it struck him as odd that he didn't know what to think until he heard where X stood.)

One thing that seems to characterize belief people from across the spectrum is impatience. Irresponsibility is definitely another characteristic you see on the right, but I'm not sure that it's a belief-person characteristic.

The process of adopting ideas from other people rather than independent reasoning is at the core of being a belief person, so being people-focused is definitely associated with being a belief person. That is, belief people -- and therefore a vast majority of the right -- are focused on people, not ideas.

When things go wrong, they don't look for systematic forces that could be changed to prevent the wrong, they look for the wrong-doer to blame and punish. For example, instead of looking for systematic changes to prevent the exploitation of undocumented workers here, they focus on the perceived culprits -- the undocumented workers -- and say "send them home."

It is this focus on people that feeds the tendency to demonize those they believe are wrong.

People on the right often seem to be stuck at the Pre-Conventional stage of moral development -- i.e., Obedience and punishment orientation; Self-interest orientation. This tendency too is related to the tendency to focus on people rather than ideas.

Hope these observations help.

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