Thursday, February 22, 2007

Liberal hypocrisy isn't real

If you're looking for liberal hypocrisy, you won't find it at my blog. But I don't spend all day working on my blog, so, something may have slipped in there that may sound inconsistent to some, so just in case it does, I'm going to clear it up. Please be on guard to describe these concepts precisely if you want to talk about them so you won't risk sounding bad to anyone you want to try them out on.

I made two statements, or sets of statements, that I am going to write about. There are a few things about these statements that we have to consider to compare them.

-what are the objects of the statements. Both of the statements are about particular strategies.
-who the people discussed in the statements draw their conclusions about.
-what or how much the people discussed in the statements conclude from the evidence they look at. In one circumstance they seem to think they can draw an airtight conclusion from a single factor; in the other, they seem to think that one can't consider certain evidence of a certain type (not the same type as the factor they drew the purportedly airtight conclusion from in the first circumstance).
-what type of evidence it is the people discussed in the statements used or rejected.

Both discuss particular strategies, but while one set of statements discusses what people's conclusions are- based on those people's ideology or general socioeconomic background- about their own intelligence as it relates to forumlating strategies compared to the ability of conservatives to do the same thing, and whether those conclusions are fair, the other set of statements discusses what we can infer about conservatives from their own accomplishments that are greater than mere wealth-attainment (wealth attainment too often has a lot to do with inheritence, not necessarily merit). Also, while the first set of statements deal with people's more-or-less absolute conclusions (that is, conclusions that A is a necessary result of premise B) about their own backgrounds, the second set of statements deals with people's failure to allow evidence of others' backgrounds in drawing a conclusion about the other people's strategy forming ability, and again, the second set of statements deals with the relevance of different background criteria than just general wealth.

First statement

I stated recently that liberals should not consider their liberal political ideology, privileged socio-economic position or ethnic background as necessarily meaning that they are so much more intelligent than conservatives or people of different backgtounds to the point that liberals conclude that those particular conservatives who are responsible for creating the conservatives' political strategy are incapable of sometimes generating and implementing strategies that those liberals tend not to even think of. This statement actually includes two conclusions, a) that some liberals believe in a Social Darwinism which guarantees a specific degree of intellectual superiority over people of lower socioeconomic backgtound or other different background (pretty absurd, eh?) and b) that some liberals believe that liberals (just for being liberals-- not counting background) are so much smarter than conservatives that this necessarily guarantees the particular intellectual superiority (in terms of plan-making) between the liberals who hold the belief and the particular right wingers who are formulating and implementing strategy (again, not right wingers as right wingers generally). It was my fault for conflating these two statements- I apologize.

Second statement

Later, I made a statement implying that liberals could take the privileged societal position (but here I didn't mean simply socioeconmic background or other background- but rather, leadership positions in politics or government or business which guarantee a hand in saying what goes in terms of crafting conservative political strategy) of particular conservative individuals as support for not concluding that those particular individuals would be so unwise as to take a particular course of action (I didn't say that the conservatives couldn't take the unwise course because of their intelligence and social class, but I implied that their position-- in terms of leadership positions, not wealth-- made it less likely that they would necessarily adopt the unwise response). I implied it could support thinking those people were intelligent and might choose a more intelligent option over a substantially less intelligent one, not that it necessarily meant they would act more intelligently rhan other people do, as I criticized the liberals for concluding of themselves in thinking about others' reasoning. So I was arguing against using political ideology as a measure from which to make absolute conclusions about predicted, reasoned behavior, just as I was in my prior statement. Also I was not using socioeconomic background as a sort of absolute predictor of capacity for intelligent, rational behavior, as I criticized a few liberals for doing in my statement before, but rather I was referring to much more specific criteria (powerful leadership positions) which do not exist among more than a minority of the upper class and are available to a limited extent to members of lower classes- as examples of particular individuals may demonstrate.

So, my statements were not inconsistent at all and they don't lose any validity just because they may be susceptible to being misportrayed as inconsistent by those who like to drum up inconsistency where there is none, or because they might superficially appear inconsistent to people who don't think enough. It was my mistake to conflate the two pieces of reasoning I've described as implicit in my first statement, and although that may have made the first and later statements more susceptible to misportrayal as inconsistent, it certainly doesn't merit the misportrayal, and it certainly doesn't take much thinking to see that the statements I made are consistent, and are wholly sound critiques of obviously flawed conclusions about people.