October 19, 2011

"Plenty of people on the right and on the left are not comfortable with a free marketplace of ideas."

Says Meade, after I read him a blog post that calls me "obtuse" for writing about how 2 men were talking past each other about affirmative action. This blogger simply agreed with the man who stated the crisply clear position that race discrimination is always wrong and bad, and since I did not — I was more interested in the way the 2 men could not interact — I was obtuse.

My response to Meade was: "A lot of people don't really like shopping."

49 comments:

Quayle said...

A lot of people don't really like shopping.

Taking charge of your own thinking and actions is highly risky.

You might screw up.

Much, much better to let someone else tell you what to think and do, then blame them when it fails.

(And what, thus, used to be a character flaw has grown into an entire political movement.)

Chip S. said...

The only drawback to the free marketplace of ideas is that the output is produced and offered at its cost of production, and in many cases that appears to be zero.

Fen said...

But some ideas have less merit than others. Therefore, the lesser idea should get more exposure, funding, time, etc.

Its "complex"...

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A. Shmendrik said...

Do you mean shopping here or at Amazon, through your link?

Fen said...

SCOTUS says you have to buy it for ten.

And you are not allowed to not participate in the brokering of information. Commerce clause? Meh.

Dan in Philly said...

Given the track record of those who took complete ownership of their own thoughts and ideas, maybe it's a good thing so few people do it. People who consider their ideas well thought out can tend to be overly zealous to their conclusions, which is a very huberistic attitude no matter what the idea might be. Far better to be dumb, indifferent and totally wrong than brilliant, zealous, and even a slight bit wrong.

Anyone undertaking the prospect of learning the truth should repeat this mantra: Though truth can be found and understood, one can never assume you have complete understanding of it. Truth is generally too profound to be perfectly understood by anyone.

Spread Eagle said...

2 men were talking past each other about affirmative action

Affirmative action, yeah. Where I've see this happening for years and years is on the abortion issue. Neither side really hears what the other side is saying. It goes right by them.

Original Mike said...

"A lot of people don't really like shopping."

I appreciate the market place of ideas. I loath shopping for goods. (I don't know why. I suspect my mother dropped my on my head while shopping when I was an infant.)

Dan in Philly said...

Spread Eagle: "Affirmative action, yeah. Where I've see this happening for years and years is on the abortion issue."

The problem is easily understood using the terms of rhetoric. Each side has what's called an emphameme, which is a basic point of view they assume everyone else agrees with. Unless they are able to see they have different emphamemes, there is really no prospect of constructive argument.

pro-life: "Can't we at least agree that a baby is alive and entitiled to protection at some time before birth?"

pro-choice: "Can't we at least agree that what goes on inside a woman's body is the private decision of her and her alone?"

Since these arguments are rarely debated, all "debate" on the subject is generally futile. Similarly on affirmative action, the different participants are guided by different emphamemes, and since they don't realize it and don't agree and don't even argue about which emphameme is correct, all argument is vapid talking one past another.

EDH said...

I don't know what that blogger's angle was, but rather than obtuse, I'm sure Meade finds Althouse acute.

vet66 said...

From what I have heard from conversations such as the one described is that the marketplace of ideas is actually a flea market of opinions. It is better to lay the groundwork for discussing opinions versus ideas at the outset to avoid talking past each other.

Most of us have moved beyond racism a long time ago. The only one's using it now as a trump card are those who would beat us up with it for something we had nothing do with in the first place. It was bad when it happened but it is history which is full of similar injustices. Reminds me of white guilt, reparations, entitlement and the recent Pigford Scandal.

You want to stop a conversation with me as an American because I disagree with Obama? Call me a racist. Your dogma bores me and diminishes you. I don't shop in that marketplace.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

But some ideas have less merit than others. Therefore, the lesser idea should get more exposure, funding, time, etc

Some ideas are propounded by “marginalized peoples” and hence need a larger stage, provided by others….the Occupy(City) groups are coming to see this and are forming “diversity sub-committees” to ensure a properly diverse set of ideas is presented.

Tim said...

"Where I've see this happening for years and years is on the abortion issue. Neither side really hears what the other side is saying. It goes right by them."

Well, what's the compromise position for abortion or affirmative action?

Many issues aren't black and white, but for those that are (or are strongly perceived as such), opponents and proponents talking past each other hardly seems remarkable, let alone noteworthy. What the hell else are they going to do?

Kurt said...

I really like the observation that is the header to this post. I'm thinking about all the contexts in which it might be used. I'm imagining it could be a useful interjection in the dreaded dinner party scenario when the doctrinaire lefty just starts off on a nasty rant, assuming that everyone in the room agrees with her. That observation would make a great way of both commenting on the rant and responding to it.

wv: fakedu -- too good not to share!

Pogo said...

"calls me "obtuse" for writing about how 2 men were talking past each other about affirmative action."

I never thought hearings were intended as debates. Minds are made up beforehand, all the rest is a show.

Each congressman knows which way to vote, regardless of what is said on the dais.

Talking past each other is just part of the format; scripted roles in a ritual.

MarkG said...

He's just using your "obtuseness" as contrast for his own position. He could use Molepske, but who in the hell is Molepske?

And maybe he's an occasional reader who thinks Althouse is a conservative blog (not an "experiment") that should be advocating conservative positions.

I remember one of your very early regular commenters: Kathleen. She got so frustrated at your unwillingness to advocate liberal positions, that she announced one day that she was leaving. And she did.

Joe said...

The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

I remember one of your very early regular commenters: Kathleen. She got so frustrated at your unwillingness to advocate liberal positions, that she announced one day that she was leaving. And she did

I can think of one more regular I wish would make this declaration…sadly “J” will be with us always, like the Poor.

Kirk Parker said...

Dan in Philly, that is so true!

ErnieG said...

First guy: "My God, you're being obtuse."

Second guy: "Leave my weight out of it."

edutcher said...

The blogger's point is muddled by his desire to be thought of as an intellectual.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)



We all love Free Speech when we’re winning and/or everyone around us is saying the same thing…it’s once those *bastiges* from the “other side” start scoring points/winning elections/coming to our dinner parties/attending our lectures that Free Speech loses its appeal.

Pastafarian said...

Actually, if you read what this blogger has written, what he considered obtuse was your headline:

"Taking race into account -- simply wrong or rather complex?"

Because the debate wasn't about whether race should be "taken into account". The debate was whether one group should be discriminated against because of race.

Your use of this euphemism is obtuse, in the sense that it doesn't clearly, precisely express what actually happened; it purposefully muddles the truth.

How can "taking race into account" be wrong? What's wrong with taking it into account, just noticing it? Nothing at all. What, are we to wear blinders?

But actually discriminating against someone based on race: Yes, that's always wrong, every fucking time. And that was what this debate was about.

Here's an analogy: Suppose AllenS is arguing with Cedarford, and Cedarford defends Hitler's final solution. Would it be obtuse for me to title a blog entry about this argument: "Giving Jews free train rides -- simply wrong or rather complex?", and go on to say how both men were in the wrong because they're simply talking past one another?

You say that's obtuse? Well, I guess you're not comfortable with a free marketplace of ideas, you idea-fascist, you.

AJ Lynch said...

We each have different sized idea spectrums. Therefore, some ideas don't land on our own spectrum and so those ideas get disregarded quickly.

Your spectrum is quite generous because you are a college town moderate aka former far left librul.

Peter said...

Perhaps a start would be an agreement on what "affirmative action" means. Or at least a moratorium on using the phrase until it has been defined.

In some ways, "affirmative action" is like affirmative action itself in being deliberately designed to obfuscate instead of enlighten.

Surely the only reason Orwell didn't put it in the Newspeak dictionary is because it hadn't been invented when he wrote "1984."

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.' "

-- Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carrroll

SMGalbraith said...

I plead guilty to being uncomfortable with the metaphor of the "free marketplace of ideas."

To me it implies some type of metaphysical quality to good ideas against bad ones. That is, the good products will always over time be chosen by the consumer and the bad products will be left alone.

Not so. As we know, entire civilizations have been base on bad, indeed horrible ideas.

A marketplace of ideas also requires a discriminating consumer.

I'll admit that all of the alternatives to the "free marketplace" are worse and make me more unconfortable. We can't have a giant FTC or CPSC telling us what products we can consumer and which we can't.

But I think we need to be more careful about thinking that the marketplace will always - or even often - lead to people choosing the best items.

bgates said...

Pastafarian is exactly right, and there's no reason to think someone is uncomfortable with "a free marketplace of ideas" just because he thinks that certain ideas are "always wrong and bad".

Marty said...

What we often miss about marketplaces is that they not only comprise a myriad of individual choices and decisions but also simultaneously rest upon a network of unconscious collective assumptions. So what we are also uncomfortable with is each other (not to mention the stuff about ourselves we don't like and project around like all get-out).

Largo said...

Dan in Philly,

Enthymeme

Thanks for the new word!

andinista said...

Men don't like shopping. We wait until we know what we want, go in, get it, and get out. We're the hunters. Sometimes, at the hardware store, we have to walk all the aisles so we can remember all the things we're supposed to get. Hunters move in a group or alone, but don't talk.

Women like shopping. We peruse all the goods, find the best ones of each type, and come home loaded. We're the berry pickers. We move in a group, chattering to keep the predators away.

SMGalbraith said...

Holmes was a moral sceptic who was not worried about moral questions (from the Court).

That's fine for a Supreme Court Justice but not so fine for a people governing themselves and living under ordered liberty.

Scott M said...

We're the berry pickers. We move in a group, chattering to keep the predators away.

Yes, but we men should still be in charge of when the zugzug happens.

Quayle said...

When your world view is constructed as a delicately balanced house of cards, it is best to never open the door during wind.

Dan in Philly said...

Largo, you are correct on the spelling, of course. I should never type without a spell-check :)

Dan in Philly said...

Largo, more enthameme fun:

http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric6.htm#Enthymeme

"Whenever a premise is omitted in an enthymeme (and understood by the reader), it is assumed to be either a truism or an acceptable and non-controversial generalization. But sometimes the omitted premise is one with which the reader would not agree, and the enthymeme then becomes a logical fallacy-an unacceptable enthymeme. What are the omitted premises here, and why are they unacceptable?
You can tell this tape recorder is a bunch of junk: it's made in Japan.
He says he believes that Jesus was a great moral teacher, so he must be a Christian.
Those kids are from Southern California? Then they must be either crazy or perverted.
It goes without saying that you should be careful in your own writing not to use enthymemes dishonestly--that is, not to use clearly controversial assertions for the omitted premises. "

E.M. Davis said...

Many issues aren't black and white, but for those that are (or are strongly perceived as such), opponents and proponents talking past each other hardly seems remarkable, let alone noteworthy. What the hell else are they going to do?

I suppose I could see the merit in letting women have choices about their bodies HOWEVER I also understand there is another choice, that happens before THAT choice.

I think the pro-choice movement would share in the sentiment that the less number of abortions in society the better, but that the pro-life movement could, as well, understand that their issue is really not with abortion, but with unwanted pregnancies. Thus, remedying unwanted pregnancies will do nearly as much for their cause as ending the practice for abortion.

Or, we could just question each other's validity in having an opinion (right or wrong), which is pretty much how the two sides tend to operate.

E.M. Davis said...

*of* abortion, not for.

Kit said...

Humility, not an easy path to walk.

Dan in Philly said...

Kit, only the truly self-confident enough to walk in humility. If Oscar Wilde didn't make a witty comment about that, he should have

traditionalguy said...

Ideas are like food.

Some taste good but can make your stomach sick later.

Some taste terrible and are the things not swallowed.

But ever now and then a new idea like a new wine pairing with the right cheese comes to town and that's all she wrote. Two famous examples would be Common Sense by Paine and Uncle Tom's Cabin by Stowe.

Spread Eagle said...

Well, what's the compromise position for abortion or affirmative action?

First, I didn't mention anything about compromise. I said they don't hear each other.

As for where's the compromise on those issues, it starts with acknowledging the other side has legitimate concerns if not a legitimate point of view. If one side or the other isn't willing to do that much, then they are the problem.

Brennan said...

Meh. This was a hearing. Most of them are Alinksy'd - Outcomes known before they are scheduled.

Carnifex said...

I was wondering when abortion was gonna come up. Long story short, my stepsons wife ran off and got pregnant by another man, and then came home. He was demanding she get an abortion to return to the family, but my wife and I talked him out of it because in an abortion, the only innocent person is the one who is punished. I now have a 2 YO grandson who loves his Daddy more than anybody.

For the logical debate of this I have 2 questions for the pro-choice crowd. Is the "tissue mass" inside the womans body a disease, or tumor of some type? Does that "tissue mass" have a different DNA structure from the "hostess".

The answers are no, and yes, obviously. That brings us to the point that the "tissue mass" is a seperate being from the mother and such it has all the rights that pertain to a seperate being.

I know... rape, and incest...blah blah blah. I walked that walk. Its hard, damn hard, to stay with your convictions but without our convictions to hold us to a path we are a rudderless ship. Especially with such an easy way out. Twenty minutes of out patient and we don't have to think about it any more.

So that leaves he mothers health. And when I say health I mean life or death, not inconvenience, then it should be at the discretion of the mother.

I wouldn't trade my grandson for anything in the world, even my own health. Even if he doesn't carry one speck of my DNA, I carry him in my heart. Gotta stop now cause I'm crying. Don't abort your children.

Lionheart said...

Agree with Pastafarian and the blogger who deemed Althouse a flubber for her oft-used tactic of muddying the conversation with cryptic tags and then delighting in straightening all the plebes out when they don't decipher her tags properly. Waste of time.

Alex said...

Not all ideas are created equal and certainly not of equal worth. When you apply reasoning and reality to leftist ideas, they fall apart very easily. What liberals do is appeal to your emotions, to "fairness" for it's own sake regardless of the costs.

Alex said...

So in Auschwitz I can see the Nazi camp guard and the Jewish victim-to-be talking right past each other. They clearly were at unresolvable odds on the issue of whether the Jew should live.

Thus, by Althouse/Meade-logic a pox on both their houses.

andinista said...

I think this is being uncharitable to most people, who are quite busy living their lives, working their passions and occupations, raising their kids, and improving their communitities. They choose to remain rationally ignorant of the interaction between competing memes, waiting for the Academy and its customers to sort out what are reasonable and effective strategies for the organization and operation of social system. To sort by test and evaluation.

If there is to be fault found, it is with the Academy, who prefers not the outcomes directed by the invisible hand. Instead, the Academy is convinced it has the gnosis to pre-select the correct ideas, and so must also squelch all competing ideas.

The plenty of people choose in their formative years a framework within which to live, and slowly modify that framework based on experience. The Academy these days, prefers to teach only one framework, as that retains their monopoly power.

The one said "Discrimmination based on race is bad". The other said "But for the Right Reasons, it is good."

Almost Ali said...

If we're walking through the free marketplace of ideas and we happen to pass a man wearing sandals, I would automatically label the man a liberal - based on probability, if nothing else.

But if we're walking down the streets of Madison and we spotted a man wearing shorts, I'd automatically label the man a liberal - based entirely on the free marketplace of ideas.

andinista said...

andinista said: The one said "Discrimination based on race is bad". The other said "But for the Right Reasons, it is good."

See, some people (absolutists, I suppose) say they don't care how much potential good could come of government powers use to discriminate based on race, it's bad and we're not gonna go there.

The (relativists, I suppose) say no, sometimes you have to temporarily do a nominally bad thing to achieve a good downstream result.

Fine. Compare and contrast:
Government power used:
1. To discriminate by race.
2. To enforce slavery for economic development.
3. For genocide to stop destructive ethnic conflicts.
4. To force citizens to pay for their neighbor's abortion.

Your countrymen did and do all these things, for all the Right Reasons. And I claim that even knowing what we know now, if we had to do it all over again, we would do these things again. We're not that enlightened, and our ancestors were not benighted barbarians. Be not too smug in your righteous certitude.