We hope that logic and fact will persuade people to good policies and actions. But the problem is, they enter into conversations looking for something that feels like them, that develops and protects their relationship to a group. Most of our attempt to persuade threaten to pull the ;listener out of the group they are in and not offering a congenial new group. If you listen to most attempts to persuade the persuader wants to change the listeners ideas but not to invite them in to their own group.
This suggests that it won’t work to try to persuade someone with better beliefs that they ought to believe in your belief . The listener won’t move unless they gain some sense of belonging from doing so. This is why identity politics gets in the way of fact-based politics. Showing you are part of a tribe is more important than the facts.
Empires, civilizations, communities are structured around belief systems, ways of understanding that give us the sense that we are right, that we belong, that we are ok in contrast to the others.
Democracy, the state, capital; these are not facts, they are closely-held belief systems that will not change, unless change leads to a new feeling of belonging and security – a strong tribal identity.
So many red-state Trump supporters can’t be persuaded by facts. They feel that giving up support for Trump leaves them without a meaningful group identity, and it is just plain scary, a step into the unknown. We must empathize with the strength of their desire to belong, and the fear of being alone.
This problem is supported by the increasing lack of community, as corporations have worked hard to be a substitute, and to tear apart community belonging, creating a world of belonging for those inside the corporations and marginalizing those outside.
The Internet connects everyone, but as isolated nodes in the network. What puts us together is also separating us into little ungovernable atoms of intensity.
To add some background, the word “truth” comes from “troth,” as in the wedding vows.
It used to mean faith, as in faith with another, but has moved from the interpersonal “faith with” to the impersonal “fact about.”
Humans world-wide yearn for relationships and are mostly offered market choices.