Something that is rampant in current political discourse especially among Progressives engaged in their uncivil war: “In social psychology, the f\Fundamental Attribution Error, also known as the correspondence bias or attribution effect, is the tendency for people to place an undue emphasis on internal characteristics (personality) to explain someone else’s behavior in a given situation rather than considering the situation’s external factors. It does not explain interpretations of one’s own behavior, where situational factors are more easily recognized and can thus be taken into consideration.”
Everyone is suggesting that the policy limitations of the Clinton and Obama Presidencies and the evolution of Hillary Clinton’s policy stances are down to character not circumstances and I think that a mistake.
There are occasionally politicians who seem to grab a situation and make history turn in a different direction: Lenin, Hitler, FDR, Gorbachev, Thatcher, Reagan whoever, but they are rare as in personal life: I know few people who kick the Fundamental Attribution Error in the way they live: most of us are situation driven. But as an historian, I would suggest that even those who grab and shift the path of history are reacting to the situational circumstance that gives them an opening to do so.
So I liked to begin with, the fact that Bernie Sanders is himself trying to defy the Fundamental Attribution Error, (driving an agenda the circumstances don’t favor) but I don’t like the way his supporters are failing to understand that 1) we face a fascist opponent bent on switching us onto a deeply reactionary path and 2) Bernie’s agenda is not likely to work in our situation with GOP control of the House 2) Realist politicians recognize circumstances and try to Tai Chi them in a better direction incrementally. But hey I may be wrong and over determined by my circumstances. smile emoticon
Though Karl Marx, no slouch for the vision thing said: ““Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”