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The fundamental attribution error of political discourse

By Mason Butler
On October 10, 2017

To recall the amount of times that I have personally heard another citizen’s insight of the incompetence of our country’s leader due to nothing more than a personality flaw, or another nonsense reason that has no solid factual backing would be a waste of time. By the time I got a quarter of the way through recording and recalling, I would have a list three times the size to scribble down. I am a southerner, from a red-bleeding Republican background, however following the presidency of my young adulthood, I changed my personal political views to that of more of a neutral “switzerland” role while the red and blue battle over my head. Being in the middle of two strong sides leaves me in quite the predicament, everyone wants to complain about their views on our president's actions.

It always starts the same way, “Did you hear what President So-And-So did?”/ “Yes, I did.” / “How could he do that, he is such an idiot.” Great. Thank you so much for your very personal and insightful comment on the current political climate. The tendency to shout one’s personal feelings are completely useless without the addition of facts that explain or country’s leaders’ “corruption or idiocracy.”  This brings me to my main point, if you want to talk about something that our President has done then do the five minutes of research that it takes to find the truth about what has lead our President to do that. Only then can you have an educated conversation about the reasoning behind his actions and what that means to your beliefs.   

I easily stumbled across a very informative article in Time magazine that compounds on the point I want to enforce, “ In high school psychology, students learn about an odd tendency of the human condition, the so-called ‘fundamental attribution error.’ We people are hard wired, it seems, to overvalue the personality-based reasons for someone’s behavior, while under-valuing the circumstantial reasons. If a waitress is rude, our instinct is to assume she is a bad person, not that there are circumstances (a home foreclosure, a divorce, a sick child) that would explain the rudeness.” Michael Scherer of Time explains perfectly my point, the fundamental attribution error is a high-school issue that is easy to fix with the abundance of news sources that will explain the reasoning behind the actions of our Commander and Chief. Voicing your own opinion on why you think the “president is a bad guy” is a waste without diving deeper of what makes him such a bad guy. The realization of this error, in addition to research on the topic, would lead to better conversation and also better reporting on the subject. Education of the masses can cause political change and by researching and talking about these issues to others, that are less educated on the subject,  can show both corruption and political trends.

However, education can show more troubling news then what is at the surface. Some have heard about the recent implementation of Vault 7 by the CIA. Vault 7 is a collection of information recording software, implemented by the CIA in order to monitor users of operating services including; Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, and many others. The program began on the 23rd of March 2017 and there are no signs of the CIA of slowing up, with 23 systems created since the program's founding. Information about the system is right there, written deep within code of your favorite device.

The first response would be that the companies that allowed this to happen are corrupt but looking more deeply at the information gathered by governmental whistleblowers, there were a few companies that were strong-armed into implementing this software. Now the only thing that the public can do is figure out the more recent work-around of project Angelfire, located in the most recent Microsoft Windows update disguised as a system file, that is locked by another user. Look for it in file explorer of any Windows Operating system at, “C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe”.

Sources

http://swampland.time.com/2010/10/13/barack-obama-and-the-fundamental-attribution-error/

https://wikileaks.org/+-Government-+.html

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