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Sunday, February 8, 2009

WHY IDEOLOGUES --- WHETHER LIBERALS OR SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS ON THE LEFT, OR ON THE RIGHT CONSERVATIVES OR LIBERTARIANS ALWAYS TALK PAST ONE ANOTHER: A PHILOSOPHICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATION

Today's Buggy Topic Is . . .

. . . quite a mouthful, wouldn't you say?  It could be rephrased and is by prof bug in different, more down-to-earth terms, to wit --- "Why all good things go together in my ideology (belief-system), whereas yours is flawed and likely to be ethically bad or evil."  No need to say anything more by way of introduction.  The lengthy buggy commentary on this topic --- starting with epistemological analysis, backed by concrete examples --- is found at the Marginal Revolution . . . a good web-site run by a flexible and talented libertarian economist, Tyler Cowen. 

Click here for the Cowen post.  You'll find prof bug's long commentary at the end of page 2 of the comments section --- or just click here when you're done reading Cowen's lead commentary, followed by the predictable spun-out string of of rigid orthodox assertions and counter-assertions, crammed with the predictably aggressive attacks of other ideologies and some clapper-clawing insults. 

Is This Surprising?  Hardly.

All this is what true-believing ideologues always do.  It's their habit, their conditioned gut-reactions. 

The social sciences, please note, are not noticeable exceptions here.  On the contrary, as you'll see when you read prof bug's analysis, certain predominant epistemological assumptions rife in those disciplines these days --- not least in economics--- are also vulnerable to these habitual efforts to assert and defend ideologies against all opponents . . . the fools!  the miscreants!  Only MY comprehensive, self-evidently true beliefs  --- or read: my theoretical and empirical work --- can illuminate the problems and ills that mar our societies.  And only THEY can offer surefooted policy-guides to reorganize and regenerate our political, economic, and social lives that will make us either happier or more efficient or more moral . . . or all of these valued things taken together. 

Note Quickly

None of this means all social science and philosophical or other humanistic approaches to our personal and social lives are doomed to an inevitably futile and self-defeating clash of competing ideological perspectives.  There is at least one alternative here.  And that alternative is set out clearly in the buggy analysis.