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20131228 Three Languages of Politics



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The Main Idea: American Political division between 3 main groups Conservatives, Liberals, and Libertarians comes from 3 different word views and dominant heuristics, which causes people to use 3 different languages talking about the same event. No wonder people have difficult time understanding each other.

Here they are:
1. Liberal (Progressives) – world is viewed in terms of straggle of oppressors against oppressed: Capital vs. Labor, Rich West against Poor East, and such.
2. Conservatives – world is viewed in terms of civilization against barbarism: Innovative and productive Entrepreneurs vs. Lazy unionized workers, Civilizing West with god given human and property rights against Barbaric East with no human rights and shaky property rights superseded by corruption
3. Libertarians – world is viewed in terms of Freedom vs. Coercion.

To graphically enhance this understanding Three-axis is proposed where every individual can find his point in 3-dimentional space along these lines, while consciously recognizing and placing people only on one dimensional line. For example Liberal could see conservatives and libertarians as being on the side of oppressors, while Conservative could disregard oppression factor and concentrate on civilization and liberty. For example when looking at history of colonization Liberal vehemently hates colonizing power and supports peoples of colonies disregarding technological, moral, and cultural progress brought in by colonization, while conservative would glorify railroads, contemporary medicine, and improved administration, while ignoring oppression and humiliation of indigenous people.

The book reviews state of closure when people incapable to look at the problem outside of their dominant heuristic and, consequently, approach people with alternative heuristics as enemies. This create problems in finding solution for any serious society-wide problem and guaranties incessant and somewhat futile political struggle when nobody can push through their solution while preventing implementation of alternative solutions.

Author’s conclusion is that we need to use multiple heuristics to learn understand each other and it will help us to find solution for the problem.

I do not think it is possible and the only solution I can see is to get away from statewide problems by dividing any problem into smaller pieces, ideally bringing it to the individual level and allowing individuals to solve these problems for themselves in cooperation with likewise thinking individuals. For example currently hot problem of healthcare in my opinion could be solved by creating several different healthcare systems with voluntary participation as decided by individuals. In this case progressives could sign up for government managed healthcare system, while libertarians could sigh up with insurance companies on individual basis. I would even accept some resource equalization between systems as whole based on average health status so if one system spends more then average per the same health status, individuals in this system would pay more. Correspondingly individuals in more effective and efficient system would pay less then average.

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