March 20, 2005

The real divide?

Writer John Scalzi thinks that if you analyze US politics in terms of liberal vs. conservative, you'll have trouble making sense of what's going on — especially since Dubya and his minions took control of the wheel of state. According to Scalzi, the real divide is between rationalists and irrationalists:

The big problem with rationalists is that they continually underestimate the irrational, assuming, in that charmingly smug way of theirs, that no one really thinks like that when it's rather blatantly obvious that they do -- and there's a lot of them. Rationalists get stuck inside their own echo chambers and forget that outside the echo chamber there's a whole bunch of people who are all-too-easily swayed by the ambitiously irrational. At this particular moment in history the really busy irrationalists are on the right, but it wasn't that long ago that they were on the left, and no doubt they'll be there again before I die.

Irrational politics are dangerous; I don't need to recount my general litany of complaints about the Bush administration's policies to make that point. Rational conservatives should be aware that the irrational conservatives are not your friends; rational liberals, the same (rational moderates, rest easy; for some unfathomable reason, there don't seem to be very many irrational moderates). Indeed, the rational all along the political spectrum should realize they have far more common cause with other rationalists, in terms of effective governing, than they do with the irrationalists who ostensibly share their politics.

Scalzi's post isn't long, which gives you even less excuse not to go here and read the whole thing. You might also want to read the comments about Scalzi's idea here.

I think our man Scalzi is on to something. How about you?

Via Null Device.

Posted by Magpie at March 20, 2005 06:09 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |
Comments

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Posted by: TABS Golden at March 20, 2005 06:54 PM

Gregory Cochran when talking about how Napoleon underestimated the importance of religion in Spain and the neocons underestimated the importance of religion in Iraq said this:

"they personally didn't take religion seriously and so found it hard to believe that anyone else did either".
The Iraq war was certainly an example of that divide.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at March 20, 2005 08:09 PM

Alexandre Dumas said, "I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest."

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at March 20, 2005 08:50 PM