13 December 2007

Don't Easily Dismiss The Ideas Of Those Whom You Consider Less Intelligent.

Good ideas can come from anyone and we forget this at our peril. Reading a quote by...
England Manager prospect Fabio Capello today - it seems he doesn't listen to those he considers less intelligent than himself (point 8) - this makes me dubious he is the right man for the England job. By all means reject what you consider as bad ideas, but don't blanket reject an idea just because you don't rate someone's intelligence. I think it is this arrogant belief in the supremacy of top-down hierarchy that has failed this country and more recently failed the Labour party.

Of course, what I am really arguing for is the supremacy of democracy. To reword a great Socialist/Humanist/Utilitarian slogan - 'the greatest wellbeing of the greatest number' to 'the greatest knowledge comes from the greatest number'. It is these two slogans I think of when I consider every policy idea. It is also the reason I could never be a Tory or a bloggertarian. You only have to look at the Tory party structure to see their almost total rejection of democratic principles (and they still have the cheek to criticise a far more democratic Labour party!) and bloggertarians are becoming increasingly hostile to democracy as well (however distorted the 'free market' may be - it must take precedence according to these nutcases).

Yes, I know the majority of people can get it wrong and often do (one of the most cited issues is capital punishment, but I would rather place my trust in the majority than an unrepresentative minority and I believe that if a balanced argument was placed before the electorate, a majority would get it right). Which brings me to the second problem - the impartiality or otherwise of the media. It is alright having fair votes - proportional representation that makes everyone's vote of equal value, but if one party is favoured by most of the TV stations (like in the US, Russia or Italy) or most of the press (like in the UK) then the value of PR is seriously eroded (how anyone could call the UK press a 'free press' when it is mostly owned by four right wing bigots, is beyond my comprehension).

Democracy also relies on the health of party politics. The misguided extremists, inept careerists and the corrupt (both wealthy donors and MPs) have their job made easier when people turn away from membership of, and voting for, the only two parties that matter under this system. A smaller and smaller clique of people run politics and they like it that way. Join Labour (or even the Tories) and start making it hard for them otherwise this downward spiral of alienation followed by crap party politics will continue to get to the state it is in the US. You can sit on the sidelines and carry on whinging or you can join the most democratic of the two parties - Labour, and actually do something about ending this catch-22 situation.

What amazes me is how important political parties are - the governing political party currently spend over £550 BILLION of our taxes every year (around £40bn is spent by unelected QUANGOs thanks to Thatcher) and we don't think £50 MILLION (properly allocated by individual voter choice) is money well spent to stop political parties being corrupted in this spending by wealthy individuals, unions and businesses? (And of those Tories who complain about state funding - I don't see any of them arguing they should hand back the £50m of state funding they have received as official opposition in the last ten years).

Even if we cannot agree on state funding or regulating ownership and overt bias in the media, surely no-one should object to something like a £1k-£5k limit per year per individual/member/shareholder on donations?

Finally, I receive a lot of abuse on this blog for my views, that is fine. But what really gets my goat is when people say 'your views are no good because you lack intelligence'. Of course there are plenty of people out there smarter than me and there are I am sure, some who are not, but I wouldn't have the arrogance to suggest that was a reason to ignore their views. Even those with above average intelligence do not have a monopoly on good ideas and everyone should be listened to on merit. The democratic nature of the blogosphere is one of the things that gives me hope in this regard. I can cope with a few ignorant right wing bloggers but lets hope it is not taken over by big money propaganda like the press has been.

10 comments:

  1. Martin Keegan13/12/07 12:39 am

    Neil is quite right. I, for one, regard him as less intelligent than many. However, I came to dismiss his ideas, not easily, but after extremely long and difficult discussions with him led me to conclude that he's very likely to be wrong on any subject on which he seeks controversy.

    See here for a long description of what arguing with him is like, and the conditions under which it's worth bothering. Note that he's posted another comment at the bottom of that page, which, to the extent that it draws further attention to the page does not seem to advance his interests ...

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  2. Martin, Of course, I am wrong on everything and you are always right.

    With an attitude like yours you will go a long way - your arrogance is astounding.

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  3. Martin Keegan13/12/07 1:15 am

    ah, yes "very likely to be wrong on any subject on which he seeks controversy" becomes "wrong on everything".

    Therefore, for Neil, "very likely" must mean "always" and "any on which he seeks controversy" must mean "all". Now it may well be the case that there is no subject on which Neil does not seek controversy, but I doubt it.

    It could be the case that Neil can't distinguish between concepts like "a lot of" and "all of"; the other possibility is that he pretends not to in order to get himself out of a scrape.

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  4. Martin, grow up! This is pathetic and very tedious.

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  5. "what I am really arguing for is the supremacy of democracy"

    On a day when your leader is scuttling off to Lisbon, to sign a treaty he promised to put to the people in a referendum, you have the gall to talk about democracy?

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  6. Trooper, I agree with you about Brown. I hope Brown is ousted in the next six months. He is a dithering (if not blithering) idiot! Still the Tories are much worse and that is the bottom line. If I have to choose between being disappointed with Labour or a Tory government with brutal service cuts coupled with higher tax on the poorest, I choose Labour everytime. There is no democracy in the Tory party, they are just more accomplished at hiding their dodgy (often overseas) donors. A history of incompetence, sleaze, managerial ruination of services, anti-democratic quangos, boom and bust in the economy and bludgening of public services is the Tory record. Who wants to go back to that?

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  7. "Finally, I receive a lot of abuse on this blog for my views, that is fine"

    Neil, your 'blog is where libertarians and pragmatists (aka "Bloggertarians" - if this is a term of abuse, then I shall wear the badge with pride) come to hone their arguments. You probably get more libertarian discussion going that Tim W or DK (rather bizarrely).

    You obviously mean well, but you are so deliciously wrong on anything where Nulab has a policy - and, rather weirdly, often right on matters where you have to think for yourself.

    BTW, the Tories are pretty shit, but nowhere near as bad as the reigning kleptocracy.

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  8. I think Mark is right. What you need to do is move on from this Labour/Tory rubbish - it's a false paradigm. As long as people think like you, they'll be no change for the better.

    In this post, I wholeheartedly agree with the title and first paragraph, but as soon as you veer off into leftist fallacies, the wheels fall off. Socialist systems do not respect the common man's ability to think for himself, but instead to put in place a class of 'experts' to run society, and keep the common man in place.

    You dislike what you call 'bloggertarians' because you associate libertarian thought with a thatcheresque 'sod you, I'm alright', but you don't grasp that much of it comes from a simple belief that ordinary, common people are capable of responsible behaviour without being constantly told what to do, by those who think they know better.

    As far as the bloggertarian versus democracy, I'm not sure what this is referring to. For myself, I'd say it's important to remember the flaws in democracy - no system is perfect, and there is a need to guard against the tyranny of the majority by accepting individual rights that cannot be taken away by the majority. A lynch mob, for instance, may vote to string somebody from the lamppost, and call it 'democracy in action'.

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  9. Scunnered, O'Aberdein14/12/07 3:17 pm

    'By all means reject what you consider as bad ideas, but don't blanket reject an idea just because you don't rate someone's intelligence. I think it is this arrogant belief in the supremacy of top-down hierarchy that has failed this country and more recently failed the Labour party'

    This merely states that NuLabour is ignoring everyone else because they think they are stupid. So why do you think they will listen to you?

    'what I am really arguing for is the supremacy of democracy'

    Like as in 22% of the people who voted were able to elect a government with an absolute majority?

    'I would rather place my trust in the majority than an unrepresentative minority'

    So would I.

    'the...'impartiality or otherwise of the media. It is alright having fair votes - proportional representation that makes everyone's vote of equal value, but if one party is favoured by most of the TV stations (like in the US, Russia or Italy)'

    You forgot to mention the BBC in the UK

    'You can sit on the sidelines and carry on whinging or you can join the most democratic of the two parties - Labour'

    You mean those people who have delivered liberties in spadefuls, as set out by Jack Straw in the Guardian the other day?

    '(around £40bn is spent by unelected QUANGOs thanks to Thatcher)'

    You forgot to say that these were now stuffed with Nulabour placepersons

    'But what really gets my goat is when people say 'your views are no good because you lack intelligence'. Of course there are plenty of people out there smarter than me and there are I am sure, some who are not, but I wouldn't have the arrogance to suggest that was a reason to ignore their views.....and everyone should be listened to on merit.'

    What really gets my goat is when people say things like that and then promptly make the assertion that they are having to put up with 'ignorant right wing bloggers'. It has a ring of inconsistency.

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  10. Finally, I receive a lot of abuse on this blog for my views, that is fine. But what really gets my goat is when people say 'your views are no good because you lack intelligence'.

    I agree that such a statement makes no sense.

    What really gets my goat is people who dismiss the valid objections of others by repeatedly labelling them "irrational paranoid luddites", but of course, that doesn't count, as that's you dishing out abuse, you hyporcrit.

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