Who’s team are you on: Republican or Democrat, Hayek or Keynes?
According to The Last Psychiatrist – and he’s a doctor so we have to trust him – the faster you answered this question, the less your opinion matters:
media manipulates you to hate some things by linking them to other things: it polarizes you, which means it makes you irrelevant. E.g. when an election “is determined by” one particular group of “swing” voters– whom you deride for being too stupid to have made up their minds yet– it doesn’t mean your vote has been factored in but that you are so predictable that you don’t count. Power never thinks of you as an individual. Power never thinks of you at all.
I quibble with the idea that “media” or “power” is an all-knowing Wizard of Oz controlling the levers of culture. My personal perception is that no one is in control but some, like surfers, can harness forces that are largely exogenous to their own benefit. Surfers don’t control waves, they just ride them in front of the cameras. Media doesn’t control behaviour, it tries to direct it – most often unsuccessfully – by appealing to base instinct.
But the point about polarization and irrelevance stands and, since polarization and intransigence are arguably the dominant traits of the current culture, we should try and figure out why.
Theory: The failure of scientific method is behind the recent lack of political progress.
You didn’t see that coming did you? Let’s go back a few hundred years to the beginning of the Era of Science and Reason. Technological and intellectual advancement, highlighted by Galileo, led to the widespread questioning of God and our place in the universe. The first order of business, like Adam in the garden of Eden, was to rename and categorize everything.
“Hey Chuck! Mr Darwin! Is this thing a mollusk or crustacean?”
“Two pairs of nerve cords? Mollusk”
“Chuck! WTF do we do with the Platypus? It lays eggs”
“Umm. Leave that one out”
And there’s the problem – leaving shit out. The scientific method proved insufficient to encompass everything, as economists are now painfully aware. Neat categorizations began to pull academics away from the real world rather than promote fuller understanding.
Consider the following model of scientific era thought, originally drawn up by the late professor James Leach, the Smartest of All Time (SOAT):
The all-male thinking brigade of the 17th and 18th centuries assumed that because the natural world appeared to divide between male and female that this was the correct way to start. They shoehorned almost everything into this construct. Inconveniences, occurrences that did not clearly fit, were repressed and ostracized as “other”. To the bigoted minds of the time, homosexuals – who tested the male/female divide – were the obvious examples.
For professor Leach, post-modernism was a process of declassification and re-assembling. (He spent a lot of time on Freud who’s primary achievement was discovering that the mind worked in metaphor. Our brains actually classified things as this AND that, not this OR that).
What we should be thinking about is what post-modern economics would look like, blowing up the existing structures and re-assembling them. Is it possible to believe simultaneously in smaller government and huge stimulus? Of course – it just doesn’t fit the current template. There’s no team for that.
What we’re doing now – splitting into mobs and screaming at each other – is tragically stupid and unproductive. The banner quote on this blog only hints at the depth of my disgust at the modern shoutfest. The crucible of spirited opposition has rendered every side inflexible, unhappy and desperate enough to seriously consider trillion dollar coins or destroying the legislative process.
And the Last Psych is right – the louder you scream the more irrelevant you are. Not because you’re wrong but because you have fitted yourself so deeply into an outdated template that it is unlikely you are thinking as an individual. Quit it