We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, November 12. 2007
From a review of Ted Dalrymple's new book, In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas, by Rebecca Bynum in New English Review, a quote:
Read the whole thing, which reads very much like a (better-written) Maggie's Farm post.
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It is amazing to me how those social science practitioners that wish to re-engineer society wish to do so on the basis of starting over in an 'unbiased' way. Unfortunately, humans are bias generators from the start: our bodies have bias built right into them.
When reading an analog meter (those with a physical hand which will move when measuring an external stimulas and thus register a reading) there is a problem of canceling out the bias of one's eyes. Each eye is off-set from a common center and that offset causes something known as 'parallax'. Learning to read a meter requires shifting your head and blinking each eye closed to see if the needle shifts from its apparent reading between each eye. Once the needle does not shift, you have cancelled out the parallax and you can get the proper and accurate reading from the meter.
That is a biased off-set allowing you to adjust your vision so as to remove bias and find the actual thing you are looking at in its proper context. The purpose of mental bias is just that: to allow one to shift their perception of something and see if they are giving it an accurate description from their framework of thought. If one finds one's conception differing and at odds with what is actually going on, then bias is interfering with getting a proper mental basis for handling whatever it is that is being examined.
We call these biases: societal values that encompass morals, ethics, mores, values. The problem of 'discrimination' is the use of it as a label for all things of one class that we have been told must be adjudged separately and individually.
The process of getting a jury together is not one that is unbiased, that is impossible. It is the art of trying to weight a jury so that bias cancels out and proper weighing of actions can be done from a neutral stance arrived at by the jury members. Removing 'prejudice' from such proceedings and preconceived ideas from a case is one goal, but even when that cannot be achieved a weighting of individuals that will balance pre-conception of the case again allows for a neutral stance to be found. With a culmination of case on case, society learns of the workings of the justice system and will re-examine its stance on crimes and punishments when necessary and judged by the greater society that such needs changing.
At that point the various values are to be reflective of the larger society so that proper definition of crimes and punishments can happen.
Those that try from a scholarly side that all such notions are contrary to 'progress' need to actually define that concept, as what is described is 'progress' based on bias, prejudice and discrimination between activities and the source of those activities being individuals. That is something that has larger value as it is a integral part of society as a whole, and trying to remove that from society causes corrossive behavior to go unaddressed and hands power to punish society to those less accountable. The corruption of PC thought punishment is in that it punishes thought, which is described as something done by all individuals, without recognizing that it is 'activity' that then determines the wanting of an individual to carry out thoughts.
Thought control, so as to remove the basis for creating better society and put it in the hands of the few and self-determined, is authoritarian and totalitarian in its outlook: by removing freedom of thought, freedom itself is attacked. Even worse, when no societal norms are applied to activities, and all crimes are seen as *the problem of society*, then the accountability of the individual to society is lost. This latter activity puts those who have proven incapable of regarding freedom for others as a sacrosanct ideal as something to be upheld, back into society before a debt to that society has been paid. In previous times this was used to describe the decay of the Roman Empire into 'degeneracy': being unable to define what civilization was and what it was not.
Starting at square one for society by removing all prejudice, bias, and discrimination then puts us in a state that is known as: the law of nature. This is characterized by the strong ruling over the weak and, usually, 'red of tooth and claw' goes with it. I do not see this as 'progress', but then I am biased, prejudiced and have discrimination about activities and define the character of people by what they do.
I am, apparently, living in the wrong century, expecting these things to matter.
A brilliant commentary ajacksonian.
I could not help, prior to reading your offering , but rather reflecting on the second of the two lead paragraphs into this thread. The one I found actually amusing was:
It is inevitable that these solicitations should take the form of greater and greater totalitarian control. So what starts out as a drive toward absolute freedom ends up in absolute totalitarianism
My mind immediately jumped to Hayek, Hope,Crosby, and Dorothy Lamore in The Road to Serfdom. It was an unavoidable puddle jump.
Modernity has robbed our memories of the essential basics of man. First and foremost we are animals. Modern man is homo sapien. All others are extinct, but we have not , simply by virtue of our genus and specie ipso faco become suddenly void of innate characteristics. Bias is one and since before Aristotle discussions on bias have occupied great minds.
Modernity is robbing us of much that makes us work to our potential. Man is now soft and those that are not soft are regaining the field. Mankind has not, and it is doubtful he will, understand his role before his extinction.
OK, so we understand the dangers here. Why doesn't everybody else in the civilized world?
good stuff all--
this Dalrymple sentence:
"The lack of any intervening authority between the individual on the one hand, and the sovereign political power on the other, enables the latter to insinuate itself into the smallest crevices of daily life."
is the application of the Dostoevskian observation that without God all is permitted, and a man is condemned to encounter nothing but himself.
(well, it's not really 'only' from Dostoevsky but you know, he be so cogent)