Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's the one-dimensional political continuum

Back when I was researching what was meant by "left" and "right" in politics, I realised that peoples political views are highly correlated, and that the position on a one-dimensional line that you reside in determines the kind of political authorities and peers one believes and therefore debates tend to try to push a swinging voter one direction or the other along the line, ignoring all possible tangents.
This is especially true for the global warming debate, the imaginary line having alarmist, environmentally conscious, act locally kind of view on one end, and highly "skeptic", globalisation friendly, optimists on the other end. Unfortunately, the skeptic end is associated with some rather dodgy pseudo-scientific arguments that global warming is natural, cyclical and unrelated to human activity, as described in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" show I watched part of the other day. This rather annoys multi-dimensional thinkers like myself, and that is why I tend to debate along the action axis, debating which actions are sensible and which are not in terms of energy and environmental policy.

4 comments:

Chris Fellows said...

Yes, thw way this particular continuum has crystallised out is a tragedy. I spend much more time now writing to people on the skeptic side telling them they are wrong than I do to people on the deep-green side telling them they are wrong.

Marco said...

There is often talk about a political "spectrum", but that term belies its single dimension. This is in contrast to the term "Autism Spectrum" which counters the (high functioning/low functioning) single dimension with the assertion that there is multiple causes and effects in varying quantities and varied backgrounds to behaviour and learning issues (even if we don't know what some of these are). Diagnosis and therapies are limited to those that do help and don't harm for anything within the spectrum.

Chris Fellows said...

Quick change of topic there, Marco.
A thousand curses upon this current syndromisation of everything! Some people can't function well in society because society is deeply and fundamentally stupid: modern pseudo-science wants to 'diagnose' these people and 'treat' them. I read a splendid short story by Ursula Le Guin the other day about a government imposed 'sanity test' that keeps being broadened until 80% of the world's population are institutionalised. Even such are the pseudo-scientific pseudo-medical tools to enforce conformity now rampant in the school system. Maintain the rage!

Marco said...

You have two parallel criticisms there. One is that the syndromisation can get out of hand and the other is that the Government is regulating that to occur.

The principal way in which the Government encourages syndromisation is by rewarding the diagnosed with an income stream. However, private enterprise, by its lavish donations on special needs (primarily children) does it just as much. I struggle with this primarily because it is very hard to "undiagnose" most syndromes, and that certain syndromes, namely autism in all its forms, responds very well to early childhood therapies (that work on all children, mind you). I am particularly against almost all the drugs that get prescribed to ADHD and other syndromes. If diagnosis would possibly demand such drug use, I would have refused diagnosis for our youngest. I have a great deal of respect for the Government special needs early childhood education programs. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for anything I have seen for older children and adults.