Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Polydox

If you look at the world as seen on TV, you might think that there are only 2 sides to every story and that the same people will be on the same side of every argument, discussion or debate. Classically one side will be the Orthodox side and the other the Heterodox. The Heterodox may well call themselves sceptics but in reality the only thing they question is the orthodox view, for them to agree with a single view held by "the man" is anathema.
In reality any sane person would know that each side is right some of the time. You can think that what Bradley Manning and Wikileaks did were good things and that Julian Assange and what Wikileaks are doing now is a bad thing. Some of the vitriol coming out the Assangists camp and aimed at the like of David Allen Green, is as appalling, as it is idiotic.
One thing that the Wikileaks claimed to have wanted for years is that governments stop break both domestic and international law, now however they want governments in the UK and Sweden to break their own laws because it is convenient for them, this is rank hypocrisy. It shows that the Assangists are exactly the same as the people they claim to oppose, that in them is manifest an arrogant self belief which allows them to do what they want because they know they are right, that belief is shared by their opposition as well. I know I'm right as does every other person on the planet, know that they are right, we don't go around saying things we know to be wrong.
The flaw in institutions like parliament is that there are two sides and they fight each other and winnings all that's important because each side believes it is right. Even if members of each side doubt the correctness of their side on an individual point, they will toe the line as their side is right in general and it is for the greater good, if they just ignore their conscience this 1 time, the collective total of them being in power is good.
In a civilized society debate is among a group that believes one set of arguments and one or more other groups who believe different arguments. The debate is won by arguments on the subject not name calling and bludgeoning the other side in filibusters. If no conclusion can be reached a plan is devised to get more information to allow a determination to be made. If you lose the argument you conceded as soon as you realise and move on to other subjects. You don't fight on because being seen to be wrong on any point is not good, only the sophist and the bully think that not losing is the point of debate.
In most arguments the decision about who had won should not be taken by a vote of the arguers but by a neutral audience which will listen to the arguments. Such things are called juries but one of the important things about juries as that you don't get to choose to be on them and you don't get to choose not to be on them. In order to be a working system in Greek times I imagine it was just peer pressure that made the turn up at the Agora, and of course the wonderfully free Greek electorate had slaves to do all the actual work.
There is an argument that says the current government has no mandate as it is a coalition in reality it has exactly the same strength of mandate as any other government that can get people to vote for it in the commons. The people that don't have a mandate are those who vote in the interest of their party rather than their constituents, who don't vote based on the arguments but on some vague manifesto promise.
I used to say that "1 is the only bad number of political parties", I was wrong 1 is worse than n where n>1, however n>1 is worse than 0.
Political parties kill debate, and without debate we have no way of deciding what is true, what is good. We need to forget the Orthodox but also the Heterodox and embrace the Polydox, forming ourselves into gangs is not the answer, whether those gangs are the Bloods or Crypts or Labour or Conservative,

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