==Left vs Right: A Failed Axis? ==
Capital "L" Left = loony mystical platonists who want power over us so that they can (for our own good) ensure rule by philosopher kings who ERADICATE class differences.
Capital "R" RIGHT = loony mystical platonists who want power over us so that they can (for our own good) ensure rule by philosopher kings who EMPHASIZE class differences.
lower case "l" = left . To me, this stands for an emphasis on problem solving techniques that utilize the 'left hand' of negotiated COOPERATIVE CONSENSUS, including (but not entirely) the utilization of tax-gathered resources to be applied according to politically determined policies, always heeding the human tendency toward institutional calcification.
At long last, we are gradually finding out what the left and right hands are good for. What functions they perform with skill and which are best left to the other. With this increasing knowledge and sophistication arising, why should we RIGHT NOW start heeding the maniacs who want us to abandon pragmatic problem solving and pick just one hand?
Ayn Rand wants me to lop off my left hand and Marx wants the right amputated. They can both go to hell.
What I will not concede is that the right has been doing better at solving problems. When I see the Insurance Industry completely revamped so that it CAPITALISTICALLY provides the vast array of services that people depend on from government, from the FDA and OSHA to medical research (Barry Goldwater wanted to begin this adventure) then I will admit that the right hand has truly started showing off new ideas.
Alas, I am falling ever farther behind.
==Losing the War of Ideas?==
A number of people have pointed out this article in Nature this week on the role of Oxytocin (the "Hug Drug") and trust...
-- Fred Turner suggested "mass oxytocin sprayings of the Middle East?"
It is absolutely eerie how this follows the story line contained in one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time - STAND ON ZANZIBAR, by John Brunner.
Phil said: "An honest person would have to acknowledge that we (liberals) are getting whupped in the world of ideas."
Well, kinda... in that liberal-enlightenment pragmatism always gets whupped when they allow the battle to be OVER so-called "ideas."
While I have made clear that I admire Locke, Smith Hayek and Franklin, I admire them precisely *because* their ideas served the overall goal of liberating practical men and women to solve problems. The general processes they recommended always revolved around reciprocal accountability... ensuring that no person or group could ever again do what both aristocracies and socialist rabble rousers always try to do - monopolize power and transfix the population with incantations.
Incantations... oops, I mean "ideas"... tend to whither when practical people are free to raise their hands and say "yes... but..."
I do not need 'liberal thought" to make me favor equality of opportunity (while opposing artificial equalizing of circumstance).
All I need is the blatantly obvious fact that we were wasting staggering amounts of human creative potential when people were repressed because of presumptions having to do with race and gender and class. The fantastic success of pragmatic "liberalism" at spurring us to take on these devils is so overwhelmingly more important than any other event of the last century that the burden of proof is on anyone who disses "liberals."
Likewise, I do not need to be a Gaian mystic (like the ones I portray in EARTH) in order to know that my great-great-grandchildren will be in deep, deep trouble if we do not make ecological matters an intrinsic part of the economic cost of goods.
"Socialism collapsed because it did not allow prices to tell the economic truth.
"Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow prices to tell the ecological truth."
--Oystein Dahle, former Vice President, Exxon, Norway
==But one more set of referrals==
Go onto Amazon and see if you can find a copy of JITTERBUG by Mike McQuay (1984), a somewhat paranoid novel about a future world devastated by a horrible disease controlled by terrorists. It is so creepily on target that I doubt you'll find a copy. Certain interests have probably bought up all the used copies floating around. If only someone would reprint.
As a contrast, also get your hands on that old chiller SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. (Or at least the Frederic March Kirk Douglas Burt Lancaster movie.)
What a reversal. Nowadays it is the officer corps, under siege, undergoing purges but staunchly defending our constitution tooth and nail against a presidency gone out of control.