Charles Hayes: How disturbing a notion that many of our daily behaviors are reliably predictable. How disappointed would you be to discover that some scientist could study the details of your life and then accurately predict the things you will do or say in the near future?
Charles Hayes: Keen shows how utterly easy it is to alienate one’s imagined opposition in such a way as to justify any and every means of obliterating them.
Charles Hayes: When I think about the prospects of individuals standing up these days and making some kind of a qualitative political difference in the world, I can’t help, but wonder what it must have been like to be an Abolitionist in 1850, trying to change popular sentiment about slavery, or a suffragette, arguing for women’s rights.
Charles Hayes: Republicans are celebrating the 2010 Census because it reflects a gain in congressional seats in traditionally conservative states, but it would be wise of them to realize that a significant number of these people are moving because they can’t find work. Many of them have lost their homes to foreclosure, and if the Republican Party doesn’t get a clue pretty soon, these states may turn a brighter shade of purple with a tint of blue.
Charles Hayes: As those who participate already know, the greatest lesson of all of self-education is that things are seldom as they seem. Examining the food industry is a good way to prove this to yourself. Then apply what you’ve learned to politics.
Charles Hayes: If America is going to have a better future, we need to put our Stone Age feelings of exceptional identity aside and intellectually guard ourselves against emotional manipulation while reasoning our way forward.
If a person is uneducated to such a degree that articulating their political views rationally and coherently is not possible, then emotion is all they can bring to the table. If a person knows little of history and little of the dynamics of human behavior and politics, then any and all arguments that they don’t fully understand are perceived as an assault on their identity.
Charles D. Hayes: If any individual or group is going to burn a book, or a flag, or build a structure on their own property that reminds you of something you would rather not think about, the problem does not exist in the desecration or the construction of these items. The problem, plain and simple, is in your own head.
Charles Hayes: Today I feel very differently about the Vietnam War than I did in my youth, but my own feelings of guilt during that time give me a unique kind of insight into the psychology of courage and commitment. America has never had a shortage of courageous citizens willing to take up arms and fight to the death for reasons and causes beyond their own understanding. Arlington Cemetery in Virginia serves as proof. But my sense of the decades since the end of World War II is that America has and is experiencing a courage crisis of shameful origin and of tragic consequence.
Charles Hayes: as is often said in America, anyone has the right to sleep under a bridge, the rich included, although the rich seldom take advantage of the opportunity. If people can’t quit their low-paying jobs for fear of losing their health insurance, are they free? What about individuals who are so inhibited by what others might think of them they never do anything they really want to do, but instead restrict their life choices to only those acts that they believe will gain them social approval? Are such people really free? How about the groups with which we identify—have you ever considered how they might influence our idea of freedom?
Charles D. Hayes: Both liberals and conservatives choose relating over reasoning at times, but research shows that conservatives place much more value on in-group loyalty than liberals do. There is plenty of research data to back up this assertion; one doesn’t have to resort to anecdotal evidence of flag waving and lapel pens, although it’s hard not to notice such behavior.
Charles D. Hayes: The state of public discourse in this country has deteriorated to such a degree that few public discussions ever go much further than the echo chambers in which they originate. A significant number our citizens behave as if they no longer believe in democracy at all.