Thursday, December 08, 2005

Political Systems & Ideas, Part II

My schedule is getting crazy so this wil have to be another short post. Nevertheless, I do plan to make a few remarks about ideas and their consequences for our economic system.

Social pollution - ideas that are counterfactual, illogical, or that undermine widely held values.

Social pollution in our political system has serious consequences. When we support a policy or law that can be shown to be harmful, we are effectively using the political system to pollute society. The mass media and the Internet can help the process along. How many political actions are supported by pretty, passionate people without a clue? I'm thinking of Jenna Jameson speaking for PETA, but there are probably better examples. How many of the debates on serious issues in this country are driven by illogical or counterfactual emotional appeals? And then there are the sound bites and slogans.

Yes, political action can also promote moral progress. No argument here! Political actions to extend voting rights or to ban land mines were both worthy efforts. The Internet and mass media can also help here, but don't expect too much. Anybody can post anything on the Internet, and the media tend to focus on "sexy" issues, sound bites, and charismatic talking heads who will attract viewers.

How serious are these problems, really? I'll address that question next time (December 10).


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