Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Treating people like 4-year-olds

Supervising 4-year-old kids has changed my view of the world.

4yo kids can speak in complete sentences, and understand very simple reasoning. You can carry on a conversation with them, as long as you don't expect them to think for themselves or to draw on the wisdom of experience.

I am finding that for most people I have to deal with, it is easier if I treat them as 4-year-olds. When I run into store clerks, state bureaucrats, casual acquaintenances, and strangers on the street, it works much better if I treat them as 4yo kids.

The Dilbert cartoonist made a lot of enemies with this 2011 post:
Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights:

Get over it, you bunch of pussies.

The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It’s called a strategy.
His critics did not seem to understand the point he was making at all, and threw tantrums like 4yo kids. In other words, their behavior supported his point.

Christina Hoff Sommers is known as the "factual feminist" because she uses actual data to clarify wage issues, and she was recently shouted down at a law school for being a "fascist". There is no point in having a rational discussion with those who refuse to hear facts.

The problem is broader than that. I have now read 100s of anti-Trump essays, and they are pretty much all at a 4yo level. Even if it is a Nobel Prize winner writing in the NY Times, the arguments are at a 4yo level.

If I am dealing with a learned professional, like a physician, lawyer, or dentist, then obviously they have knowledge that far exceeds that of a 4yo. I might ask, "Do I need a filling in this molar?", and that is obviously not something I can ask a 4yo. Once I get outside their specific expertise, they are just as dopey as all the others, and a 4yo kid level conversation works well.

This is especially true of women. Even women with advanced degrees are usually not that interested in having an intellectual conversation. How can you reason with a woman who refuses to distinguish between violent stranger rape, marital sexual relations, and catcalling?

For some people, treating people as 4yo kids even works in their area of expertise. I have run into educators, psychologists, social workers, and others who show no obvious expertise at all. They might pretend to have expertise, and talk down to me as if I were a kid. If I challenge them for some expert opinion, they get very uncomfortable. And if I ask some question requiring a thoughtful response, forget about it.

The path of least resistance is to go along with the game, and treat them as 4yo kids also. It is usually just easier that way.

Again, I am not identifying them with 4yo kids. Neither was Dilbert. If an adult makes an adult argument, then go ahead and give an adult response. But if an adult gives an irrational arguments that makes about as much sense as something a 4yo kid might say, then it is just easier to treat that person as if she were a 4yo kid.

The MeToo movement has exposed a lot of 4yo-level thinking, in both women and men. Most of those commenting on this subject have taken the position that if a women tells an unverifiable story about events many years ago, then it should be believed if it sounds credible, that is, if it sounds as if it could have happened as a reporter retells the story.

How stupid is that? Anyone can tell a plausible story. Just take a real story, and change the names and places.

There are also those who insist that they can determine guilt from hearing just one side of the story. How often does that happen? There are reasons why courts require both sides of an issue before issuing any orders.

There are also people who assume that someone who pays blackmail must be guilty. Since it is obvious that a woman can severely damage a man's reputation by just making an accusation, then it might make business sense to pay hush money to a blackmailer, even if the blackmailer is lying about the facts. Is some cases, it might even be more desirable to silence a liar than a truth-teller.

I am having to rethink my opinions about democracy. What good is it if most ppl are so childish in their opinions? About 90% of the population has political opinions that are predictable from their demographics.

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