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Why humans follow leaders who have no character?


LongHaul
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I personally believe that character is one of the most important traits a leader can have. 

No lying, no cheating, no stealing.

 

The odd thing is that Trump and Fiorina are running for president.  I think Trump cannot be trusted and Fiorina was at Lucent when it was cooking the books.  Rick Scott is governor of Florida and he was CEO during the massive fraud at HCA.  There are other CEO's of public companies that are sleazy and liars and yet shareholder tolerate them and their legal theft.  I typically vote against them in the proxy if I own shares in a company where I think the CEO is overreaching.

 

Why do humans tolerate leaders who don't have character?

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Because we're tribal and that affects cognition heavily: http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/

 

People go funny in the head when talking about politics.  The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring:  In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death.  And sex, and wealth, and allies, and reputation...  When, today, you get into an argument about whether "we" ought to raise the minimum wage, you're executing adaptations for an ancestral environment where being on the wrong side of the argument could get you killed.  Being on the right side of the argument could let you kill your hated rival! [...]

 

Politics is an extension of war by other means.  Arguments are soldiers.  Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy.  People who would be level-headed about evenhandedly weighing all sides of an issue in their professional life as scientists, can suddenly turn into slogan-chanting zombies when there's a Blue or Green position on an issue.

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I was just reading in Thinking, Fast and Slow a study that showed 70% of political races are won by the more attractive candidate (not that this applies to Trump  ;D). The halo effect is very strong though; it's easy to look at an attractive, powerful individual and assume their other leadership qualities will follow. It was interesting that the tendency to vote for attractive candidates was shown to be the strongest in people who watch the most TV and the effect virtually disappeared in voters who don't watch TV.

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Because we're tribal and that affects cognition heavily: http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/

 

People go funny in the head when talking about politics.  The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring:  In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death.  And sex, and wealth, and allies, and reputation...  When, today, you get into an argument about whether "we" ought to raise the minimum wage, you're executing adaptations for an ancestral environment where being on the wrong side of the argument could get you killed.  Being on the right side of the argument could let you kill your hated rival! [...]

 

Politics is an extension of war by other means.  Arguments are soldiers.  Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy.  People who would be level-headed about evenhandedly weighing all sides of an issue in their professional life as scientists, can suddenly turn into slogan-chanting zombies when there's a Blue or Green position on an issue.

 

I like this explanation to an extent. However, even level-headed voters don't really have the option of picking candidates issue by issue. In our two party system you're forced to pick a side if you want to participate, even if you only agree with your side on 50.0001% of issues. An extension of this is how our debates center around individual leaders and their character (or lack thereof) rather than focusing on the merits of policy in regards to current issues, you're electing the individual and their stance on things is something in the background we're vaguely aware of. Once you support a candidate you are seen as supporting their position on all issues, there is no room for nuanced stances.

 

It's funny how the author of that quote seems to portray humans as having passed this point in our history though. While you might not be killed or imprisoned, there are still massive rewards for being on the winning side, why else would businesses give so much to political campaigns.

 

 

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Because we're tribal and that affects cognition heavily: http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/

 

People go funny in the head when talking about politics.  The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring:  In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death.  And sex, and wealth, and allies, and reputation...  When, today, you get into an argument about whether "we" ought to raise the minimum wage, you're executing adaptations for an ancestral environment where being on the wrong side of the argument could get you killed.  Being on the right side of the argument could let you kill your hated rival! [...]

 

Politics is an extension of war by other means.  Arguments are soldiers.  Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy.  People who would be level-headed about evenhandedly weighing all sides of an issue in their professional life as scientists, can suddenly turn into slogan-chanting zombies when there's a Blue or Green position on an issue.

 

I like this explanation to an extent. However, even level-headed voters don't really have the option of picking candidates issue by issue. In our two party system you're forced to pick a side if you want to participate, even if you only agree with your side on 50.0001% of issues. An extension of this is how our debates center around individual leaders and their character (or lack thereof) rather than focusing on the merits of policy in regards to current issues, you're electing the individual and their stance on things is something in the background we're vaguely aware of. Once you support a candidate you are seen as supporting their position on all issues, there is no room for nuanced stances.

 

It's funny how the author of that quote seems to portray humans as having passed this point in our history though. While you might not be killed or imprisoned, there are still massive rewards for being on the winning side, why else would businesses give so much to political campaigns.

 

There are rewards available for businesses with the cash to buy influence, but none available to voters.  As a business spending money to lobby the government you can get regulations passed which will inhibit smaller businesses from entering the market and cementing your market leading position.  You can patent a process and make any competing process illegal, etc..  There are a million ways you can use chrony capitalism to your advantage if you are one of the players in the system.  As a voter, however, it doesn't really matter who wins the next election or the one after that.  The election process is a distraction to keep you placated and blind to how the system really works.  Frank Zappa said that "Government is the Entertainment Division of the military-industrial complex."  There is a lot of truth in that statement.

 

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It you think about how Buffett and Munger have set up Berkshire it is extremely important for them to have individuals they can trust running their businesses and even as an investment managers.  They are careful who they select and have policies to repel those who don't fit the Berkshire culture. 

 

Someone unethical is generally someone who will rationalize all types of things away.  They are delusional and have trouble seeing reality and because of this often make idiotic decisions.  Witness Trump basically almost getting wiped out in the early 90's because of a series of horrible decisions. 

 

 

 

 

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My guess is because people want to win.

 

They've done polls that show the majority of Democrats do not believe that Clinton is trustworthy, but the majority have said they'd vote for her anyways. I've got an intelligent friend from NYC that thinks the same way. His reasoning is because he thinks she was one of the few level-headed, reasonable people with decent policies at the table with the highest likelihood of winning. There might be other reasonably level-headed candidates with good polices, but he doesn't view their chances of winning as being material and would be wasting his vote. If enough people wasted their votes, Trump could win over Clinton!

 

Anyhow, this negates the role that the electoral college plays, but we're keeping things high level. It's always bothered me that we have to play politics with how we vote. We'll take a less worth candidate, instead of voting for the best one, just to ensure someone else loses. Obviously, from a realistic perspective that's the smart way to play it. From an idealistic perspective, that's bullshit and there has to be a better way.

 

I can't imagine voting for a leader that I didn't feel was trustworthy. I don't agree with Bernie Sanders on much of anything, but he has my respect and trust. Clinton on the other hand has so much smoke that there has to be raging, Californian wildfire somewhere...

 

 

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