DAVID BRIN's world of ideas

 

"LEFT" VS. "RIGHT" DOGMAS

by David Brin, Ph.D.

(Copyright © 2004)


[image from ThinkProgress.org]

About dogmas...

I often call the "Left-vs-Right" political axis a curse against clear thinking. It made no sense when the French invented it, in 1789! Do you know anyone who can define the awful thing clearly, in a modern context? Shall we face complex, dire and subtle quandaries of the 21st Century hobbled and blinkered by oversimplified dogmas? Yes, comforting nostrums make us feel righteous. But these demonizing caricatures are symptoms of the same disease that made the last century a hellish quagmire.

How ironic. After 4,000 years, we seem at last poised to understand which tasks are best managed by the "hand" of organized cooperative endeavor and which undertakings are best left to the private "hand" of free individuals, competing creatively under rules that minimize cheating while maximally rewarding the delivery of quality goods and services.

It's all right to prefer one hand over the other. Libertarians and liberals may legitimately argue tactics. But to hate an entire class of human problem-solving modes can only be diagnosed as rigid, to the point of insanity. Like hating your own left or right arm.

(To evaluate your own rigidity or agility, try taking my "Questionnaire on Ideology." I don't collect answers. It just helps reexamine dogmas from a fresh perspective.)