JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2006/04/cultures.html (9 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1144851066-357908  Rand. at Wed, 12 Apr 2006 14:11:06 +0000

I'm not so sure it's not a requirement of the right as well. It's been my experience that the center is usually the only place you find honest thought.

There are circumstances where the individual's rights can, should, and need to be supressed for the benefit of the group. Examples, the arguements against speech: Fire in a crowded theater, Against property: Eminent Domain, etc.

Individualists are just as likely to be unthinking as collectivists.



jsid-1144859839-357938  geekWithA.45 at Wed, 12 Apr 2006 16:37:19 +0000

>> It's been my experience that the center is usually the only place you find honest thought.

It's been my experience that honest thought is encountered in the center WHEN that centrist's basic world view is Lockean, rather than Rousseaunian.

You can compromise on Locke and wind up with something that is still reasonable.

When you compromise on Rousseau, it just winds up being more perverse than it already was to begin with.

jsid-1144873304-357964  Publicola at Wed, 12 Apr 2006 20:21:44 +0000

Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire punishes an action, not a right. But that entails a discussion of what constitutes a Right as well as prior restraint...

See there are times when it's beneficial to the group to suppress the actions or the Rights of the individual. There are times when it's beneficial to the government to trample on the Rights of its citizens &/or subjects.

But being beneficial to the collective does not make it justifiable. It just makes it easier to defend the idea that the collective should be dominant in that (or all similar) circumstances.

as for those on the center being the only ones who think clearly - I disagree.

See usually around the center going towards the right you find a tendency to use thought to justify or arrive at decisions. from just left of center going left there seems to be a tendency to use thought only to justify emotions or conclusions arrived at based on emotions.

But since everyone falls into those two camps (individualists or collectivists) I don't find your distinguishment of the center vs. right (or left if you had gone that route) as being relevant. Are you sayng that those in the center offer the perfect compromise between individualism & collectivism? Or that having strong individualist leanings clouds the ability to think?

Principle is not necessarily an indicator of clear thinking. But neither is compromise. & disagreeing with a conclusion is not prima facia evidence of a lack of thought process.

so whether "clear thinking" only occurs in the center or the right isn't something I necessarily wish to get into. My point (& I believe Kevin's) was simply that collectivists usually rely on emotion rather than logic as a basis for their worldview, hence it's very difficult to persuade either of them if you're from the opposite starting point.

This would include collectivists that lean right or plant themselves in the center as well (though usually the further left you go the more examples of collectivists you have to work with).

& I do not say that to insult; I merely wish to point out why I feel we have such a different starting point between the two camps.

jsid-1144875940-357972  Sarah at Wed, 12 Apr 2006 21:05:40 +0000

...collectivists usually rely on emotion rather than logic as a basis for their worldview...

The emotion is based on two things: 1) A worldview that perceives only immediate short-term needs and outcomes. Rather infant-like, actually. 2) The impossible desire for perfection -- sometimes to the degree that it induces psychosis. On those occasions when collectivists don't rely on emotion, their reasoning almost always proceeds from faulty assumptions, e.g. Marx.

jsid-1144882724-357993  Clarence at Wed, 12 Apr 2006 22:58:44 +0000

“What I think the conflict boils down to is a struggle between the collectivists & the individualists. It's not a question of trust per se, it's a question of faith. It’s a belief that one system is better, more ideal than the other.”

I read the article and that statement is wholly out of place in it. Faith can be rational (in so far one is analyzing the sum of past experiences to project the future) but more often then not it is not.

The collectivist rely solely on faith, they reject any rational argument as it would not arrive at their preferred fantasy land. We all know that and understand that, the problem comes when the individualist starts to rely on faith also, either on some vague notion of what America will always be or that the defeat of the collectivists is inevitable regardless of what action he takes. In any case the result is complacency (which leads to apathy) of which there is no greater danger.

We can’t just reject what the collectivists believe, we have to reject their entire moral system. It is only by attacking their underlying moral beliefs that we can succeed in the end.

(BTW: Just to let y’all know where I’m coming from, I’m an Objectivist.)

jsid-1144887099-358002  triticale at Thu, 13 Apr 2006 00:11:39 +0000

There is a specific faith held by those who wish to ban guns. I identified it as Voodoo, a friend more knowledgable of theology identified it as Gnosticism. The believe, totally foreign to the rational, is that inanimate objects can be in and of themselves evil.

jsid-1144957186-358087  Rand. at Thu, 13 Apr 2006 19:39:46 +0000


IIRC, Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater case was, at the time, seen as a struggle between what we would call collectovism and individualism. The right of free speech is an individual right, and that there can be a restriction to it, was not a given. It was also more than just yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

"...around the center..." right or left, if you're around the center you're in the middle. And if you're "use[ing] thought" of any sort, then at least there's thinking going on.

I was trying to make the point that I know people on the right, who don't think. I know individualists, who don't think. In my opinion and experience, the more you travel away from the middle, the less thought one tends to find. To the point at the poles, where you find the least thought. That's both sides.

The middle, because it's open to attack from both sides, is a really unstable place. And only apathy, or concentration of thought, can keep one there. Since the apathetic are neutral in any politics discussion, it's not really necessary to discuss them. Accept to acknoledge no position is safe from non-thinkers.

I have to disagree with your characterization of the right. No matter your definition of the right, I can give plentiful examples of thought used to justify emotions. Or I should say find examples of emotional conclusions without thinking.

Again, I have to disagree, not everyone falls into two camps. I might give that everyone has a leaning to one side, but as one who often finds himself in the middle, and one who knows many others who do as well, you do us a disservice.

There's no such thing as a perfect anything, least of all a compromise. I think Ambrose Bierce said it best in The Devil's Dictionary:
Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.

What I am saying is that neither side is without fault itself, specifically that all sides have individuals who think, and those who are without thought. That to dismiss an entire side of an arguement, or to patronize them, is to invite defeat through under-estimation. To dismiss out of hand, by claiming all on the left don't think, they just feel, is folly. It's overconfidence, it is itself an indication of a lack of thought, and it's one of the top 3 classic tactical/strategic blunders.

And no, I wasn't saying that having strong individualist leanings clouds the ability to think. Or, if I'm being honest, I should say that strong leanings either direction seems to cloud the ability to think. For example, the echo-chamber effect we see on blogs. Both sides are subject to the effect, and without devoting effort to resisting, demostrates that thinking gets clouded. And both sides are equally guilty of settling a question and refusing to reconsider thier position.

The reason I brought up the middle is that you don't see the echo-chamber effect there. Instead, you tend to see an apathy effect, an "I don't care anymore" when the desire to expend the effort to think declines, without resolution of the question.

No insult taken. Though I think you're assuming I'm of a collectivist leaning. That would be wrong, but I can understand that assumption.

I've rambled enough.


jsid-1144957655-358089  Rand. at Thu, 13 Apr 2006 19:47:35 +0000


Unfortunately, I have to go look up Locke and Rousseau before I can comment in depth on your response.

And please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't both of them acknowledge the basic collectivist/individualist compromise that government is necessary?


jsid-1144967199-358102  Publicola at Thu, 13 Apr 2006 22:26:39 +0000

I'll try to keep this short.

I agree that on the right there are some that use emotion rather than logic as a primary determingin factor, but from what I've seen it's more frequent (though not totally inclusive) on the left.

& it is a two camp situation. That's because you have a struggle for dominance, not total replacement of one side byt he other. Therefore even one in the middle who is 50.1% in favor of one side or the other falls into a camp. Very few are 100% for the collective or individual. It's always a comrpomise of some degree. But no one is exactly 50% on the issue, so there is a one camp or other situation in regards to the age old struggle.

But again, I do not think that strong leanings one way or the other cloud the ability to reason anymore so than a desire to hang int he middle does. What I see happening is those who are on the far left are there because of emotional reasons (rather than logical) but it's not a universal cause.

Just because we disagree with a conclusion doesn't indicate that a lack of meaningful primary thought occurred.

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