Understanding the other side

Occasionally I have spent time on understanding those opposed to freedom. Other times I just said it doesn’t matter why — we just have to defeat them.

Kevin put a lot more effort and research into the understanding that I ever would have expended. It’s basically a extended book report on A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell with lots of supporting material from Adam Smith and Friedrich von Hayek to Markadelphia. I’ve put it in my “wish list” of books to buy from Audible.com and will probably start it within a week or so.

It took me an hour to read (it is a classic Kevin Baker post) but I found the enlightenment worth my time.

The main point is there is a fundamental first principle that differentiates advocates for freedom from those that oppose us. Sowell and Baker, in this post, refer to two different “social visions”: the Constrained and the Unconstrained.

The Constrained Vision people advocate, among other things, setting up processes to limit the damage done by the extremes of individual human behaviors such as violent crime and group crimes such as enslavement and genocide. This limits political power for both good and evil. The Constrained Vision advocates view the limit of political power as a trade-off. Sure, it might be that you can create something closer to a utopia if more power is given to the government but the risks are not worth it.

The Unconstrained Vision people minimize or dismiss the possibility enhanced governmental powers becoming a hazard and focus on the possible benefits. When the enhanced governmental powers fail to deliver the anticipated benefits they advocate even more governmental powers and the silence and/or death of those that oppose them. Facts become irrelevant (as seen in my post made a few minutes before I started looking at Kevin’s post).

Ultimately the two differences in first principle lead to conclusions that are diametrically opposed on fundamental issues. In this video where a liberal scumbag running for U.S. president gets rights and privileges absolutely backward you have to conclude that even though he is a lawyer that he cannot have read the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

I keep reading Kevin’s post, hoping to find something that could be used as a tool to recover our freedom in this country. What can you say or do that lead us out of what to some appears to be a death spiral?

I didn’t find the conclusion I was looking for. Instead it was in the first few paragraphs. As Sowell says (via Kevin):

Peter Robinson: If you had a sentence or two to say to the Cabinet assembled around President Obama, and this cabinet holds glittering degrees from one impressive institution after another, if you could beseech them to conduct themselves in one particular way between now and the time they leave office, what would you say?

Thomas Sowell: Actually, I would say only one word: Goodbye. Because I know there’s no point talking to them.

Hence, understanding is not all that important. Only defeating them is important. I’ll still be trying to understand but the more I understand the more I agree with son James here and here.


3 thoughts on “Understanding the other side

  1. Thank you, Joe. It took me considerably longer than an hour to write, so it’s rewarding to know that people find it worth their time.

  2. The essay is basically a backboard-shattering slam dunk….from the top bleacher.

  3. If you disagree with the Left, you are being closed-minded or partisan. Otherwise it just proves that you have been bought off by the big corporations, or you are too stupid to live. But it really doesn’t matter. Either way you have to be silenced or rendered impotent so the “good people” can “get things done”. Quit sounding like the “Party of No”.

    No; I don’t see much of an understanding developing between the Left and those who value liberty. The Left has a very bad history in terms of how they handle disagreements. They do, after all, advocate the initiation of force as a matter of fundamental principle.

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