Category Archives: Psychology and Philosophy

Personal Limitations and Limiting Beliefs in Adult Learners

On January 29, 2017, added my replies to others to this blog post.

A brief exploration of my emergent beliefs about adult learning, written on January 22, 2017 for an assignment in my Spring 2017 course, IDS 6504: Adult Learning, at University of Central Florida. Many terms I have included, coined, or adapted are not operationally defined.

1. BeliefDisciplined and self-aware adult learners recognize their time, energy, and willpower is highly limited; consequently, under ideal psychological and physiological conditions they concentrate their efforts on what is highly interesting or useful.

2. Explanation – The feeling of infinite time and potentialities experienced by teenagers and twenty-somethings gradually evaporates, giving way through self-agency and external influences to realistic pragmatism, unhappy disillusionment, or something in-between. Those who recognize their personal limitations can focus pragmatically on what brings them the most happiness or benefit, particularly when they feel secure, well-rested, and are in a conducive learning environment. Sometimes, this may even involve strengthening areas where they already excel, rather than shoring up areas that require overwhelming efforts to yield minimal gains. However, the disciplined and self-aware adult learner is also able to direct their focus as appropriate to the goal at hand. For example, such an individual may focus on what s/he finds very interesting when learning in his/her spare time, but when it comes to formal or professional education, s/he recognizes the importance of pandering to syllabi, rubrics, requirements of courses or programs of study, and expectations of instructors or supervisors, which may involve learning or expressing interest in certain materials or tasks that are not of intrinsic interest, even though the overall course or program is of intrinsic interest. Finally, either consciously (ideal) or subconsciously (more common), such learners recognize the opportunity cost of learning, the value of creative and divergent thinking, the imperative to seek help and feedback early and repeatedly, and the value of strategic procrastination.

3. BeliefAdult learners are more susceptible than child learners to entrenched limiting beliefs operating globally and/or with respect to specific tasks or domains, including inferiority complexes, fixed mindset (entity theory of intelligence), performance-avoidance and mastery-avoidance goal orientations, social identity threat, and stereotype threat.

4. Explanation – While child learners may face limiting beliefs such as stereotype threat for mathematics among girls (often due to not fault of their own), adult learners may carry limiting beliefs from childhood or early adulthood with them as entrenched parts of their identities. For instance, many adults have a fixed mindset for their mathematical abilities, which can circumvent efforts to develop these skills. Such limiting beliefs are often based on a modicum of truth—for instance, it certainly is easier to learn a second language as a child than adult. However, the limiting belief often serves to prevent all progress, even when a great deal of progress was possible. The velocity at which the adult learner reaches the inflection point where a limiting belief is overturned is crucial to maximizing the degrees of freedom in his/her learning horizon. For example, it is not very useful if an adult at Age 70 finally overturns the limiting belief that she is not “college material.” However, if this limiting belief can be overturned at Age 35, the remaining potentialities (degrees of freedom) are far greater. On the other hand, past beliefs and knowledge can function as heuristics that allow the learner to quickly absorb instructional materials with an adequate level of fidelity. For example, the experienced academic may be able to quickly synthesize a journal article with a surprising degree of accuracy, just by reading the abstract and skimming key sections, tables, and figures. The adult learner’s experience is a double-edged sword, inflicting self-mutilation only to the extent that experienced-derived beliefs are inconsistent with reality. The disciplined and self-aware adult learner recognizes the search for truth as ongoing, iterative, and asymptotic. Moreover, s/he recognizes and rejects fallacies of logic and reasoning such as the all-or-nothing fallacy.

Replies to discussion posts by others, written by me on January 28, 2017.

Belief to which I am responding: “Whenever a person cares about the topic they are learning about, they do a better job of learning about it.”

My response:

Sometimes, we don’t know what we find interesting. We may think we find a particular topic interesting, and yet be bored and unmotivated in a formal course on the topic. This can be related to how the topic is framed and presented in the curriculum and by the instructor, a mismatch between our perceived and actual interests, or a combination of the two. Further, I have often found myself highly interested in a topic that is of no practical relevance to my life or real-world plans. One only has to look at the hordes of people interested in fictional worlds like World of Warcraft or A Song of Ice and Fire to see that humans are not necessarily most interested in what is most relevant to their professional or financial success, even as adults.

Regarding high-level maths, it has always amused me that one of the main uses for learning these is becoming a math teacher. Now, even engineers and statisticians rely on computer programs to perform many of their calculations. Of course, people must know how to design, develop, improve, and trouble-shoot these programs, but just as farming has become concentrated in the hands of a few experts who perform it at massive scale, so might knowledge of higher maths become unnecessary for many. In fact, this simplification is ongoing in multiple domains—for example, we have a whole new generation of web entrepreneurs who don’t even know how to write JavaScript, PHP or ASP.NET, SQL, or advanced HTML and CSS thanks to software suites (e.g., WordPress, Joomla) that do much of the difficult work for you.

Belief to which I am responding: “Adult learners have a better grasp on what their learning style is, and can then tailor their education in a way that best suits them.”

My response:

Learning styles have been thoroughly debunked, but what you are describing here sounds more like learning preferences (and in fact you even used the word “preference” in your explanation), which have validity. The learning styles myth is typically summed up in the belief that some learners are better served by visual content, while others might learn better in auditory, linguistic, or kinesthetic modalities. In fact, a more accurate characterization is that particular content is best learned in particular modalities—if making a balloon animal is best learned visually, then it is best learned that way for all (or most) learners, even if a learner claims to have a linguistic learning style.

Using “learning styles” in the way you have is not incorrect, but the term just has too much baggage and must be abandoned, particularly if you attend conferences like the American Educational Research Association (AERA), lest you be lampooned by hordes of educational eggheads dying to pounce on usage of an educational proposition that has (a) been thoroughly and reliably discredited and (b) remains wildly popular and influential.

As for online versus face-to-face courses, I agree 100% that online courses work much better for those with busy schedules. Some people may ask, why even bother? If you are going to learn online, why not just use Coursera, Udemy, Wikipedia, et cetera? Well, there are plenty of reasons! Particularly as an educator, academic credentials are very important and cannot be earned via Wikipedia. You can’t go in for an interview to be a teacher, instructor, or professor without the requisite academic degrees. Being enrolled at a university provides access to journal articles that you actually have to pay for otherwise. UCF alone pays $1.3 million for its subscription to Web of Science, and many millions more to provide you with access to academic journals and resources. Try writing a literature review as an Independent Scholar, and you’ll quickly find it is no easy task. Plus, even online courses have a way of lighting a fire under your butt that a massively open online course (MOOC) simply cannot do. For example, in your M.A., Ed.D., or Ph.D. at UCF, fail more than two courses and you’ll be ejected from the program. If you stop working on your MOOC, no one cares.

Criticisms of BitCoin

Here are my thoughts on why BitCoin is centralized, inequitable, unsustainable, not scalable, risky, not useful, and a poor value.

  • Too few miners, mostly in China, responsible for large proportion of mining capacity
  • Transaction fees could easily exceed credit card interchange fees due to increasing transaction volume and halving of BTC payout every 4 years—miners have to collect higher fees to justify computational expenses as BitCoin bounties logarithmically decline
  • No way to guarantee a transaction posts to the next block—one chooses a fee and then miners’ algorithms decide whether that transaction gets included on the next block, based on transaction volume and other transactors’ fee offerings—setting your fee too low could result in the transaction taking 20, 30, 40, etc. minutes to post or never getting posted at all, while setting your fee too high is a common problem resulting in consumer surplus going to the miners (e.g., you might select a fee higher than what would have been needed to get your transaction on the next block, because it is not possible to accurately predict the minimum required fee to cause a transaction to be posted to the nth future block)
  • Each block is one megabyte (1 MB) max in size and comes approximately 10 minutes (600 seconds) apart—roughly, this is where the “7 transactions per second” bottleneck figure comes from, and it means BitCoin is insufficient for consumer transactions
  • BitCoin’s leaders have recently been waging a propaganda war against users who want to increase the block size above 1 MB. Raising the block size allows for greater transaction capacity, but is unsustainable as BitCoin is presently implemented because each transaction becomes part of the permanent BitCoin record (“blockchain”) which must be stored by each and every miner, as well as users who want to independently verify the veracity of new transactions. The blockchain is 96 GB as of end-of-2016, and while transaction volume perhaps “should” exponentially increase (if you reject the “settlement layer” argument in favor of the “payment network” argument), the size of the blockchain cannot feasibly increase exponentially unless BitCoin is implemented differently.
  • BitCoin is a tremendous waste of computing resources and carbon emissions. As miners deploy progressively more computing power, BitCoins blocks become progressively harder to produce, with the leading mining consortiums performing many trillions of SHA256 hashing calculations per second. A whole industry is built around producing specialized computer chips to perform these meaningless calculations, which serve only to indemnify the legitimacy of BitCoin transactions. Miners’ largest cost is overwhelmingly not the chips, computers, or datacenters themselves, but electricity. Cheap electricity is the deciding factor for a profitable BitCoin mining operation. The environmental consequences are unnerving.
  • The idea that a transaction takes several minutes or longer to post to the blockchain means BitCoin is not suited for trustless sales of instantly delivered goods, whether they be digital goods or retail merchandise, due to the double-spending problem. For high-value transactions like a new car, BitCoin recipients are advised to wait about an hour after the transaction posts to the blockchain to eliminate risk of fraud. However, the idea BitCoin is “trustless” is ludicrous—the buyer must trust the seller will deliver the goods. Further, it is laughable to expect a buyer to wait around for 10 or more minutes after checking out at a retail store. While other payment methods have their own issues which may be even worse, BitCoin comes with its own set of unique problems.
  • While BitCoin is a novel attack against the financial oligopoly, it creates a new oligopoly of BitCoin millionaries who benefit tremendously from buying in early on when BitCoins were cheap, often simply because they were involved in the founding or early operation of BitCoin. This feudalistic, landrush phenomenon is entrenched by an upper limit of 21 million BitCoins with the vast majority being issued early on: 50% of BitCoins are issued in the first 4 years, 75% within the first 8 years, 87.5% within the first 12 years, 93.75% within the first 16 years, 96.875% within the first 20 years, etc. BitCoin proponents criticize the inflationary nature of fiat currencies, which penalizes savers while benefiting spenders. However, the profound, deflationary nature of BitCoin benefits savers and early adopters astronomically, which is no more equitable. As evidence, the founder of BitCoin is estimated to have a million BitCoins, currently worth nearly a billion USD.
  • As an aside, I liken the introduction of altcoins such as LiteCoin to the addiction of the ICANN and their cronies to the landrush period when introducing new gTLDs. While new gTLDs are profitable, they are largely pointless. Among cryptographic currencies, BitCoin is analogous to .com in gTLDs. is worth millions of dollars while might not even be worth $1000. One BitCoin, as of this writing, is worth $950, while one LiteCoin is worth $4.50.
  • To the average user, interacting directly with the BitCoin network would be like a programmer writing in machine code. However, using intermediaries to simply the process, such as the ill-fated Mt. Gox, can have disastrous consequences. Consequently, the average user is left with a poor menu of choices to gain entry to BitCoin.
  • BitCoin presents the same ugly criminal problems as cash. While certainly superior to the current state of Venezula’s currency, it lacks the ubiquity of the U.S. dollar. For Americans, it is probably only superior to cash for international transfers, criminal activities, and high-risk businesses. Like with cash, if you are storing the equivalent of thousands of dollars in BitCoin, someone could steal your BitCoin address (“private key”) by hacking your computer and you would have no recourse. You could, of course, store your private key on paper in a safe deposit box, or in a password-protected, encrypted computer file, but this could still be obtained by social engineering or other method, or inadvertently lost or destroyed, like with cash. If you have a substantial sum of BitCoin, you basically must rely on security through obscurity (e.g., don’t draw attention to your BitCoin stash) to avoid being the target of heists. The lack of governmental and institutional support behind BitCoin means that for most Americans, it is much more dangerous than U.S. dollars.
  • Like Amazon’s mistreatment of holders of Amazon gift cards, BitCoin is a boon for mail-order merchants like Newegg, because customers have no payment-level recourse. When you pay with cash at a brick-and-mortar establishment, you are at the mercy of the merchant’s good graces to be made whole if you receive faulty goods. However, using a debit card, credit card, or PayPal means you can appeal to the intermediary for redress, which is much simpler and more effective than complaining to BBBs, attorneys general, or the courts. While no one pays with cash for mail-order goods, in this respect, the analog is closed-loop gift cards like Amazon, Target, or Starbucks. You can’t do a chargeback on a Target gift card against Target, and, like with the 99.97% success rate of FISA warrant requests, this is not an indicator of the DOJ’s impeccable law enforcement nor Target’s impeccable service, but rather a fundamental conflict of interest. With BitCoin, we have a new, trendy payment method, which, like cash and closed-loop gift cards (as opposed to open-loop MasterCard, Visa, and American Express prepaid gift cards), offers no protection to the buyer. In this way, using a credit card can be likened to using a condom, and BitCoin advocates can be likened to supporters of dangerous sexual behaviors. While chargeback and PayPal dispute fraud is real, merchant fraud, errors, lemons, and goods damaged in shipment are real problems too. If you pay with BitCoin, you give up a lot of leverage.
  • BitCoin isn’t good as a payment network and doesn’t work as a settlement network either. Putting your Starbucks latte purchase on the blockchain, to be duplicated millions of times, is ridiculous. The idea that Starbucks would aggregate their sales through an intermediary who uses BitCoin as a settlement network is also ridiculous, because it would be far easier to spin off an alternative settlement network (“altcoin”) using BitCoin’s underlying technology, without BitCoin’s steep legacy encumbrances. BitCoin apologists are quick to blame the users for failing to adapt, or pointing out the numerous problems with existing payment methods and merchant processing. However, a more accurate characterization may be that BitCoin is a promising first step in cryptocurrency, but lacks scalability, and may have to be completely replaced.
  • Ironically, the proposed solutions to allow BitCoin to scale beyond 7 transactions per second involve not using BitCoin! The proposed Lightning Network uses “blockchain smart contracts” for “transacting and settling off-blockchain,” meaning that BitCoin’s trustlessness is nullified, because you must trust the other party you are doing business with off-blockchain, while settling on-blockchain at infrequent intervals. If this is the solution, why even use BitCoin to begin with? BitCoin is touted as “open source P2P money,” but in fact it is not peer-to-peer, but rather peer-to-all, which is completely non-scalable and unsustainable. On the other hand, BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that predates BitCoin by 7 years and has successfully scaled to hundreds of millions of users. While file-sharing is obviously a very different problem, it is clear that a cryptocurrency could scale much better if transactions could be broadcast primarily on a peer-to-peer basis rather than to all nodes on the network. However, ensuring the legitimacy of cryptocurrency transactions without a public ledger nor a kludge like the Lightning Network may be an insurmountable problem.

My Time Will Henceforth Be Forever Too Valuable to do X

In the summer and fall of 2011, shortly after completing my two-year degree, I worked as a secretary for a local masonry company. Among other inane tasks, I was asked to salvage scrap paper from printed pages that were no longer needed, by cutting the blank portions with scissors. Explaining that this was not a task worth $9.00 per hour was surprisingly fruitless. It seems that simply understanding the time-value of money may be a threshold concept for some.

As we progress through life, if we have any inkling toward personal growth, doubtlessly our time becomes progressively more precious. Tasks that previously seemed a good use of our time are simply no longer worthwhile. Hence, my time will henceforth be forever too valuable to do X. (While I do not wish to delve into interpersonal interactions here, this principle could apply to them as well.)

Making this determination is hard. Friends and family may protest against our newfound “laziness” or reticence (e.g., the construct of social drag discussed by Pavlina, 2006). However, the alternative is far worse—selling ourselves short by wasting precious, nonrenewable time on low-impact tasks is a travesty, perhaps remaining concealed to many people due to a conceptual learning curve.

It is said that people who grew up in the Great Depression often retained their fixed, scarcity-based mindsets in middle- and old-age, even when achieving high income and material abundance. That is, they would continue to do dumb things to save money, like reusing napkins or refusing to part with broken items. Motivational financial writer, Ramit Sethi, characterizes this as the dichotomy between spending less and earning more, and argues people are too focused on cutting back, even though the return-on-investment (ROI) for cutting back is often far lower than increasing one’s income. Similarly, the ROI on many of our personal, ingrained habits is often far less than our usual hourly income, yet we fail to recognize this. This is perhaps a form of financial illiteracy, and certainly a psychological quirk that largely hinders us.

From brainstorming at my keyboard, I came up with the following examples of things one’s time might be too valuable to do. Not all of these apply to me—as a lowly graduate student, I obviously haven’t reached the point of outsourcing my laundry and grocery shopping, but I recognize that when I achieve a six-figure income, I probably won’t be interested in doing these mundane tasks (in fact, it would then be antithetical to social justice to waste time on them, because a highly skilled person’s debt to society can never be repaid via low-impact tasks).

My time will henceforth be forever too valuable to …
clip coupons
scrape the last bit of food out of a can, jar, or other container
roll coins
receive pointless emails
receive pointless phone calls
go grocery shopping
do laundry
use laced shoes
do yard work
play video games
peel sunflower seeds
collect scrap metal, bottles, or cans
do other people’s work
put others’ interests before my own
use cheap, crappy products
keep clothes that don’t fit me
reuse cooking oil
put off upgrading or replacing essential items
save junk for unspecified potential future use
put up with bullshit (if I don’t have to)

From this proposition, two questions immediately emerge: 1.) regression (not the statistical version) and 2.) environmentalism.

1.) What about when one regresses, for example, due to being laid off or retiring?

Yes, if one’s income goes down or one’s propensity toward greatness falters, tasks that were previously a waste of time may become worthwhile again. However, this does not mean they were always worthwhile, nor that they might not become a waste of time again. The idea that retirement should be relegated to low-impact tasks is sad and unnerving. At the pinnacle of one’s achievements, with decades of accumulated wisdom, why would puttering in the garden be an option? Surely if one derives immense personal satisfaction, it may be a worthy endeavor, but few retirees are satisfied by busywork.

2.) What about the environmental impact of the wastefulness you are advocating?

For people who are highly skilled and charismatic, more good can be achieved by focusing their efforts on high-impact tasks, even if other areas of life produce more landfill pollution and carbon emissions. Consequently, it may not be hypocritical for an environmental advocate to jet-set around the world giving speeches; in fact, said actions may lead to returns that are orders of magnitude greater than the requisite costs. While I will not advocate for wanton wastefulness, within reason, a hard-working and highly skilled person is more valuable when employed at full capacity. There will always be plenty of low-skilled people to willingly perform low-impact tasks, with commensurate compensation.

Ponder on what has changed in your life in recent months or years. What activities, tasks, or even people is your time now too valuable to spend on? This is not to say that volunteering is bad, but you must be volunteering for the things that are right for you. Think: my time will henceforth be forever too valuable to do X. What are your X’s?

Dealing with “Haters”

Short essay I wrote today in reply to an acquaintance who was being unfairly criticized regarding life choices by a former friend:

I have run into many people who have said things like this about how I’m narcissistic, judgmental, rude, won’t accomplish anything, will always be disliked, etc. Typically they are people who don’t actually know me (like with your ex-friend in these messages) and are really just projecting their beliefs about me based on cherry-picking things I’ve done, Facebook posts, etc.

The most satisfying approach is to demolish these people by pointing out points where they’ve gone wrong or made bad decisions. Usually they are really easy to find, like with your friend… I don’t think ignoring it is the solution… If someone is saying these things to you, it isn’t their first time. This is how they treat people in general, most likely. They deserve a lot of pushback. It seems more common than not that people like this are pretty successful and get by just fine in life, unfortunately, so I don’t subscribe to the belief that “karma will get them” either.

Statement on Trump’s Victory and the Hypocrisy of Clinton Supporters; Follow-Up Comments

*** Edited on 2016-11-10 at 19:15 GMT to add paragraph breaks and follow-up comments I wrote to commentators on Facebook. ***

I have people literally cutting contact with me and women telling me I “voted to take all their rights away” and I don’t understand why it’s so much better to support a candidate who was proud to cause a child molester to become acquitted on a technicality, who supported drone strikes killing hundreds of innocent civilians, who perpetuated policies that systematically lead to the impoverishment of millions of people supporters claim she protects as well as hundreds of thousands of children who died via starvation (Iraq sanctions under the second term of her husband’s “two for the price of one” presidency), who attacked victims of her husband’s sexual assaults, and whose enemies mysteriously end up committing suicide.

Nevertheless I do not unfriend nor ostracize Clinton supporters. I did not trouble myself to make statements in favor of Trump during his campaign because I do not care to be subject to flame wars and ad hominem attacks from the massive populist support the democratic party enjoys among my peers (young people and the highly educated), but it is baffling that adherents to a movement using such inclusive phrases as “stronger together” and “love trumps hate” could be so vitriolic after suffering a narrow, technical defeat.

Supporters of Trump are not necessarily supports of G. W. Bush or recent Republican nominees; the Republican party is simply the only feasible vector for anti-establishment candidates (e.g., Ron Paul). Therefore, one can support Trump yet repudiate the warmongering and elitism of past Republicans, but the converse, while quite feasible for Sanders supporters, is untenable for Clinton supporters.

Below are comments I (Richard Thripp) wrote to commentators on Facebook on 2016-11-10. I am not including the commentators’ original comments because I do not have permission and also because what is being addressed is usually self-evident.

This is a well-reasoned essay about Snopes that argues it does not have the authority supporters claim nor is its value based on expertise, but that its search for objectivity (or its supporters’ search) is noble and fragile.

As for the Clinton body count Snopes article it’s full of logical fallacies. For example, appeal to lack of evidence and the either/or fallacy.

A quote from the Snopes article:

If the NTSB doesn’t find evidence of tampering or explosives, then that’s not what downed the plane, and we’re left with pilot error and mechanical failure as our choices.

This sentence and many others are replete with reasoning errors. “If evidence of something was not found, it didn’t happen” isn’t necessarily true; for example, evidence may have existed but been obliterated in the crash. There are certainly more choices than human error or mechanical failure.

Many other portions portray the argument in “us versus them” terms with “them” being “the conspiracy buffs” and their discredited and illogical claims. One recurring argument is it doesn’t make sense that people like Monica Lewinsky were not killed. This is a misleading argument as well.

Here is another quote from the Snopes article:

At the same time as Willey was killing himself, his wife was allegedly being groped by Bill Clinton. She said she’d gone to the Chief Executive looking for a job to help her family out of its financial crisis and found herself fending off his advances. Clinton admitted to the meeting but denied her version of what took place. Kathleen Willey testified in Paula Jones’ sexual harrassment suit against Clinton, but she never claimed that Clinton had her husband killed.

We don’t see any mention of power differentials between Kathleen Willey and Bill Clinton here.

We know the Obama administration has already been killing the families of alleged terrorists. In drone strikes, often there is not an opportunity to target only a terrorist, but others in the proximity must be killed to (e.g., as dramatized in “Drone Queen,” the first episode of Season 4 of Homeland). Of course, Trump may have inferred specifically targeting terrorists’ families, but backed off later.

There was a comma between my statement on drone strikes and on policies that lead to starvation and impoverishment. There are more recent destabilizing policies and sanctions that led to these outcomes under Secretary Clinton, but I was citing the Iraq sanctions controversy under Secretary Albright, appointed by President Clinton, relating to Albright’s statements on 60 Minutes, and I alluded to his claims in his campaign that his wife would share presidential duties with him.

As to the convicted child molester who Public Defender Clinton represented, there is of course more to the story (e.g., Snopes, Slate). PD Clinton wanted to be removed from the case; she used victim-blaming tactics because they are effective on juries and because expert witnesses recommended it; the prosecution’s mishandling of evidence was their fault; etc. She was “just doing her job” much like defendants in the Nuremberg trials. In Kohlberg’s stages model of moral development, this argument is at the conventional level, in my opinion. Of course this was 40 years ago and we all make choices we don’t like, but there is always another option to doing one’s “duty” when it happens to be unethical.

I addressed the Clinton “body count” and Snopes article in separate comments. Yes, I would contend the doubts about people in the Clintons’ orbit who have reportedly died of suicide are still not “case closed,” particularly due to power differentials.

Many of Trump’s views on foreign policy have a history; e.g., his 1987 editorial.

Trump “University” shouldn’t have been calling itself a university, but misleading business practices happen among progressive corporations too. For extra credit for a psychology class, I subscribed to the New York Times as an undergraduate. When unsubscribing, representatives of the New York Times blatantly lied to me on multiple separate phone calls saying the billing would stop, and it continued, in one case, even after the newspapers stopped coming. I ended up having to ask my credit card issuer to block any future charges from the New York Times.

The “confirmation bias” you talk about is ironic because the media is an echo chamber for “liberals.” (I would not call them actual liberals since they do not represent the principles of liberalism.)

I disagree. The supporters of Trump who are against the protected groups you mentioned are not representative. Sure, they may feel empowered now, but they have always had their cliques, online echo chambers, and regions of the country where they cluster. About 60 million people voted for Clinton and about the same (233,404 fewer according to the New York Times as of this writing) voted for Trump, who won a technical victory due to electoral districting. Lumping 59.7 million voters together doesn’t help further the ideals of liberalism.

Remember, Secretary Clinton and the Democratic party platform didn’t evolve to support various LGBT rights until recently. It’s not like they were supporting gay marriage 15 years ago. Even Obama was only in favor of civil unions, not marriage, during his initial campaign. Of course these are all political statements designed to be broadly appealing to a population with a significant minority in opposition to these rights, but nevertheless, progress is still being made.

I don’t think we’ll become refugees, and I think we will bring more heavy industry and prosperity back to our country under Trump. Moving factories to other countries doesn’t stop climate change—CO2 is now above 400 ppm even in Antarctica. It goes everywhere. Factories built in America will probably be less polluting than those built elsewhere.

Thanks; I agree with a lot of what you said, [name removed].

People can say all they want about voting one way or another in a manner that takes others rights away, but gee, isn’t attacking someone for making a choice trying to take their rights away?

America has a long history of attacking people for making choices. For example, colonists would tar and feather tax collectors for their choice of collecting taxes for the British Empire. But I agree that attacking people for their choice succeeds in suppressing their voices, though some blame should be placed on those who allow their voices to be suppressed by attackers, in some cases. For example, I often do not stand up for my opinions (nor even cite contrary facts) in many cases because I don’t care to be attacked, or in some cases, because I don’t have the energy or don’t feel like engaging in a vigorous debate at the time. Further, many people haven’t yet developed strong debate, reasoning, or logical skills. Debating with them is often the same as squandering one’s time. With a growth mindset, one recognizes these skills can be developed over time—people are not of “inferior” innate potential just for lacking certain skills at this point in their lives.

I agree that being kind is important and is often the better choice. I agree also that pigeon-holing people into the categories of “bigots” or “progressives” is neither helpful nor accurate. In addition, however, I would say our time as humans is extremely limited (in the manner of Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech); it’s a shame to waste time on people who despise us based on political issues, and people who would cut contact with me (about 10 so far) were all just acquaintances I had no serious friendship with. Had they gotten to know me better, they probably would have found other reasons to dislike me.

It is outmoded in 2016 to criticize someone for linking to Wikipedia. The Wikipedia articles I linked to themselves link to ample sources in their References sections. I used sources like Snopes and Salon that are mainstream and typically considered biased by the alt-right to lend legitimacy to my arguments. Some of Trump’s statements are indefensible, but so are actions and statements of HRC and spouse.

Ending a discussion with variants of “not worth arguing with you anymore” is a sophomoric psychological device and that doesn’t work well on me, and really shouldn’t be used by highly educated people. However, I respect your viewpoints and I also feel we have reached the point of diminishing returns here.