Friday, March 17, 2006

Duality models, false dilemmas, human nature

Leondias posted this comment on my other blog:

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be
controlled and those who have no such desire." Robert Heinlein

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ


Which was a continuation of the comments on Fred's Blog

Models can aid in facilitating discussion of an issue, in this case, the political spectrum. But a model is not the reality, and extrapolation isn't always valid. A duality model, such as left/right, individualist/collectivist can give some insight into a single issue. That's what Fred was doing, giving his position on various issues, liberal on same sex marriage, conservative on forestry practices, etc. The duality model breaks down when applied to multiple issues, as Fred illustrated. It becomes a false dilemma, which is what the Heinlen quote above is. If those are my only two choices, the two horns of the bull, controlling people or not, then I choose the third option: throw the bull out. There are issues where I think the collective should exercise control on the individual, and other issues where the individual's choice should take precedent. On abortion, I firmly believe in the individual's choice. On pollution, the collective need should override the individual's freedom; if you're car is burning oil and leaving a blue plume trail, get it fixed or off the road. If I'm waving my freak flag and banging my guitar and lambasting establishment, be entertained or leave me alone. But if I'm delusionally paranoid and suicidal, please 5150 me. When I come down, I'll be glad to be alive.

A good friend used for the thesis of his final essay on human nature for sociology the following. "Humans, by nature, are diverse." Duality models have their use, but please don't diminish the richness of our diversity by simplifying everything with either/or mentality. At the very least, it makes for boring dialogue.

4 Comments:

Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Jeff,
Glad to see you're back posting. You throw out the bull and then reintroduce it by coming down consistently on the collectivist side which is OK as that is your position. At least you are predictable and consistant. I too am pro choice. I believe that when a woman chooses to lie down and spread her legs for 15 min/2hrs (whatever) of fun she needs to face the moral dilemma caused by the choice.
My daughter-in-law came home yesterday with a sonogram image of her "fetus" of 13 weeks. It sure looks like a person to me. She has chosen not to kill it. That was her CHOICE. Given a choice, many people will make the "wrong" one; like not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle or failing to fasten a seat belt. So long as they are the ones to suffer the consequences of the choice they should be free to do so. You and the Kalifornia legislature believe otherwise. We dissagree.
"Humans by nature are diverse" Now THAT'S profound and "boring dialog".

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

8:13 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks for the welcome back. It feels good to find a self I can live with again.

I oppose helmet and seat belt laws. If I have to pick a political affiliation, I choose anarchist, as should any ethical moral person. But the immorally unethical, and unethically immoral, they shouldn't be anarchists. They need rules and orders, or at least I need them to have rules and orders, to keep them from victimizing me. Oh, now there's a charged word eh, victim? Before you react, allow me to clarify. I don't wish to be the victim of a crime like assault, theft, embezzlement, rape, meyhem, and what have you. I hope you get the point.

"You and the Kalifornia legislature believe otherwise."

"...consistently on the collectivist side which is OK as that is your position."

Pick an issue. The whole point of this discussion is that simplistic characterizations like collectivist can describe an individual's stance on a single issue, but fail to reveal the whole person. I can't even believe you'd accuse me of being consistent. Best I can tell, you don't see much of my soul at all. And it is from my soul that all my political intent comes from.

'Now THAT'S profound and "boring dialog".'

If you consider 5 words dialogue, it's no wonder you're bored. I'd guess there's about 240 words in my post, and you choose 5 that aren't even mine. It is you that dulls this dialogue. The bits of mine you made some attempt to address were the examples to support my main point. Have anything to say about duality models in the context of invididuals' positions on social issues? Or will you continue to tell me who I am, and what my affiliation is, and burp your little insults and fan them at me? And then I can answer back with such witty dribble as, "you just want to spread some woman's legs for two hours (as if you could) and then make her keep the baby."

But on a different subject, congrats on the inpending grandchild. It's likely I'll have one or more of those someday.

Back to the other subect:

"...she needs to face the moral dilemma..."

If she "needs" to face it, are you saying she shouldn't have a choice? From where comes this "need"? Why does she "need" to face it? And is it really a dilemma? Since there's almost always a male involved the the impregnation, does he face the same dilemma? Or perhaps he has his own dilemma, which would make two dilemmas or maybe it's one quadlemma? Is there ever a unilemma, or maybe it's just lemma? Ok that's silly. The question about where does the need come from is serious, and maybe you could answer it?

3:55 AM  
Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Jeff: "...It feels good to find a self I can live with again."

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: Good. I wish you success in the battle with schizophrenia(?). It can be painful.

Jeff: "...I choose anarchist, as [I am an] ethical moral person. But the ... immoral...shouldn't be anarchists. They need rules and orders..."

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: Under what circumstances will you be able to separate the moral from the immoral? Whose moral standard will be used? There are a number of people who subscribe to a morality which commands them to convert you/us to their "morality" by the sword.

Jeff: "...I don't wish to be the victim of a crime... I hope you get the point."

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: I get the point. Under "anarchy", how is such unpleasant behavior to be dealt with other than Hobbesian warfare? Leonidas is by the way philosophically opposed to ALL victimless "crimes" but realizes that society does not necessarily agree.

Jeff: Pick an issue. The whole point of this discussion is that simplistic characterizations like collectivist can describe an individual's stance on a single issue, but fail to reveal the whole person.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: I have very little data on which to evaluate your "soul". The positions you take on political issues are consistent with the collectivist mindset. The emotion-oriented are by nature collectivistically inclined: excessively empathetic and eager to see the State move to allay human suffering. This is an accurate description of how I see you. I am not making a value judgement, merely pointing out what is obvious to a casual observer.

Jeff: "... Or will you continue to tell me who I am, and what my affiliation is, and burp your little insults and fan them at me?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: I do not intend to tell you "who" you are nor do I know your "affiliation". It is unfortunate that you took offense at my comment for such was not intended.

Jeff: "...Are you saying she shouldn't have a choice? From where comes this "need"? Why does she "need" to face it? And is it really a dilemma?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ: I pointed out that the "choice" was made to engage in the act that caused the pregnancy. Choices have consequences. A pregnancy is thus the result of a prior choice and can pose a dilemma. Men can face a dilemma as well but it is the woman who is allowed to make subsequent "choices" in our society. I hope I have answered your question. I do not intend to discuss the abortion issue at any further length.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

10:37 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I appreciate you taking the time to respond thoughtfully, and thanks for your well wishes.

"Under what circumstances will you be able to separate the moral from the immoral? "

It is a pickle. How do we curtail the scoundrels while giving freedom to the decent folks? If I knew a better way than the legal system we have now, I'd elaborate on it. Unfortunately, it's the best we can do with at our current level of social evolution. I think this is an issue on which we share many common goals. I detest regulation when it inhibits the freedom of the harmless, and even worse, that which diminishes the beneficial.

As for whose moral standard will I use, that's one reason I rally against either/or thinking. It is not I who must decide the moral standard, but we together. You call me a collectivist, or rather that I'm of the collectivist mindset, but that's like calling me a human. We are a gregarious species dependent upon each other, desiring each other's company. You and I right now are engaged in acts of collectivism right now. Our process of discussion impacts the world, we bloggers, as a group, are working on developing our thoughts and beliefs. If that isn't collectivism, what is it?

So what morality can you and I agree upon? What issue can we come together and perhaps make a positive change? I agree with you that abortion is the wrong topic. Although, now I think I understand your use of need. The moral dilemma exists due to choice already made, and "needs" to be faced because it exists, not because of some belief you have like I first thought. I think that's what you're saying.

"Under "anarchy", how is such unpleasant behavior to be dealt with other than Hobbesian warfare? "

An anarchist is anybody who doesn't need a cop to tell them what to do. They do what's right as best they can determine. Anarchy is the forest in which we live, rules, laws, democracy, police, these are paths, signposts and guides to help people move through the forest safely. An anarchist is someone who can go cross country through life, because they'll take care. As an anarchist, I'm interested in influencing the democratic process to keep the forest open, but I also don't want people wandering off who are a threat to themselves and others. I hate it when I do the right thing, but it's against the rules. I'm currently unfamiliar with "Hobbesian warfare", but I think our current method of justice is sound in theory, and seriously and painfully sad in practice, as are most human institutions.

"The emotion-oriented are by nature collectivistically inclined: excessively empathetic and eager to see the State move to allay human suffering."

Why "excessively"? How's about reasonably empathetic and willing to see the State allay suffering when pragmatic? I think you have a tendency to take human foibles and address them as if they were the aspirations. I take it from this quote:

"I wish you success in the battle with schizophrenia(?). It can be painful."

that you wish for the alleviation of suffering. I would guess that your objection to the State allaying human suffering is that the State is uses other peoples' money inefficiently and ineffectively?

I'm not sure what you mean by "emotion-oriented." While it's true that I experience intense emotions, I also use my intellect. I suggest that you're doing the either/or thing again. Perhaps in a given period of time, over a single issue, my emotional self overrides. But to characterize me as "emotion-oriented" only rings partially true to me.

I think it's time to discuss an issue and see where we each stand on it. I'll let you have the last word here, if you feel inclined to respond. Talk to you in some other thread's comment.

9:49 PM  

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