I Am Biased.

Political Labels = Intellectual Prisons

You can call me whatever you want (and people do). A liberal, a conservative, a libertarian. Just don’t call me late for dinner! The only label I’d be comfortable giving myself is utilitarian. I think that voters basing their political decisions based on statistics instead of emotion will facilitate the minimization of suffering in the world. If my views are sometimes aligned with that of libertarian dogma, it’s because history suggests that concentration of power in the hands of a few is more likely to lead to war, oppression, and suffering generally.

But in general, political labels suck.  They only serve to divide us and pit us against each other even though we all really share the same fundamental goal that drives our civic life and action.  We all want to solve all the world’s problems.

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24 thoughts on “I Am Biased.”

  1. I kind of agree with your last statement. We all want to solve the world’s problems we just have different ideas on how to do that.

    1. Hi, Norman!

      I don’t have one. Although, one time I panhandled outside their headquarters. That probably doesn’t count, though.

      Why do you ask? Or is that a joke of some sort?

      Thanks for writing! 😀

          1. I see. Defining rational among 7 billion people is going to take awhile. First we have to translate the curriculum into the lessor known languages that 20% of the world’s population speaks. Or, we could simply, and provide free education to the 1 billion that are illiterate with Chinese being compulsory (cost reduction factor). But first how do we get around the fact that several indigenous populations don’t even have words for numbers beyond “3” because the point is moot in their culture? How can we teach them analytical thinking if they consider “4” to be an irrational number?

            We’ll have to table defining rational for the moment. I have a bigger question. Is it really “rational” to address all individuals needs? If not, who decides where the rational cutoff is? Isn’t this where we are today with the invention of democracy?

          2. Hi, Jamie!

            Here’s the definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationality:

            A rational decision is one that is not just reasoned, but is also optimal for achieving a goal or solving a problem.

            Determining optimality for rational behavior requires a quantifiable formulation of the problem, and the making of several key assumptions. When the goal or problem involves making a decision, rationality factors in how much information is available (e.g. complete or incomplete knowledge). Collectively, the formulation and background assumptions are the model within which rationality applies. Illustrating the relativity of rationality: if one accepts a model in which benefiting oneself is optimal, then rationality is equated with behavior that is self-interested to the point of being selfish; whereas if one accepts a model in which benefiting the group is optimal, then purely selfish behavior is deemed irrational. It is thus meaningless to assert rationality without also specifying the background model assumptions describing how the problem is framed and formulated.

            I don’t think you or I have any control of any curricula of indigenous peoples. So I don’t know what to do about that.

            Did you read this?


            Can you clarify what you mean by “rational cutoff”?

            Also, we don’t have democracy. I wish we did. We have a representative republic which is basically a quasi-fascist oligarchy.

            I want to realize direct democracy with another project I’m working on here: http://crowdsourcingutopia.com/blog/


          3. Ok, I completely agree with your quasi fascist oligarchy comment. I should have articulated that my use of democracy was as an evolutionary social concept analogous to the paradigm shift from Stone Age to Bronze Age. My emphasis was on the conceptual, not technical application of democracy.

            Of course it is irrational to assume we could have control over any world wide curriculum… I was feeling campy… But my point was if we can’t insure that all humans are able to think rationally at a level that considers the needs of a modern global village, then someone else (a representative) must consider the needs of these outlier groups and individuals for them, thus the application of democracy, in the purist sense, collapses.

            In anticipation of your next comment to be something akin to “letting the numbers decide for these people”, I will say you have then just re- introduced the concept of support for a republic as the “numbers” viz. data have just become the new representative. (Who decides what data to use or WHEN the data is sufficient to apply i.e. “rational cutoff”.)

            Btw, this latter notion of “data” as a representative, I consider parallel to the evolutionary concept of giving human status to corporations.

            Please know I am merely playing devil’s advocate here. I too aspire to find the holy grail of human potential.


  2. I agree with your premise that we all want to play doctor/god. Unfortunately, too many of us ignore the first admonition in the doctor’s Hippocratic oath, “First do no harm.”

    And, I didn’t see anyone with experience earned gravitas in your reading list, which suggests an imbalance of perspective. Listing/reading a conservative economist’s work (i.e., Thomas Sowell, “Quest for Cosmic Justice”) would remedy the situation.

    Finally, there’s nothing wrong with labels. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s pretty safe to label something a duck.

    Best wishes for the success of your operation. Just don’t kill the patient.

    1. Hi, Jim!

      Do you agree with the HIppocratic Oath when it comes to treatments like chemotherapy?

      I have hear Tomas Sowell interviewed by Michael Medved and Dennis Prager. I respect him as an economist. However, it seems that being a “conservative” necessarily implies that you have a a priori bias towards “conservation” of the status quo.

      I may very well be wrong, but I believe that this leads to subconscious filtering of information that does not support one’s pre-empirical hypotheses.

      Thanks for commenting! 😀

  3. Love the way you get the point. No BS. Need some help. Need a list or direction to a website of the top 50-100 corpotate entities that receive tax subsidies, tax code preferences and direct dollars from the US Government.

  4. I find political labels useful. While the fundamental goal may be the same, knowing that someone is labeled a Libertarian warns me ahead of time that they and I have fundamental and practically irreconciliable disagreements about how to achieve that goal.

        1. I mean labels applied by people who know the candidate’s voting record. It’s more useful to have a cluster label than a lengthy attribute vector.

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