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Tuesday, November 04, 2003

It's funny what issues people tend to advocate as important, and how telling it can be. We live in a society where hot button issues are those which happen to be the most in vogue at the time, as opposed to the ones which have the most consequences or the most relevance to most people's lives. Instead of making schools better and the quality of education, people fixate on affirmative action. Instead of actual environmental policy, people focus on saving whales and Amazonian deforestation. Instead of medical rights and focusing on the unconscionable number of people, especially children, without health insurance, we care about abortion. The biggest obstacle to actual change is the people advocating change in every given field.

You have to question whether or not this was intentional on the part of legistlators. We're so busy arguing back and forth over these insignificant pieces of minutae, we never get around to actually thinking about changing the paradigm itself, leading to further entrenchment of fundimentally backwards ideas. What it ends up doing is making it so that, in order to enter in to "legitimate" rational discourse, there are a number of ideas you have to presuppose to make any argument, which makes these ideas such a part of the public pathos that they'll never be thrown off. You have to look hard to even see that you're accepting these things. For example, when people talk about education and affirmative action, one of the fundimental tenets which people believe in is that meritocracy is the ideal system. Saying that meritocracy doesn't make any sense as a test for education is something which people find, on a very basic level, unacceptable. Yet try to construct an argument for it without supposing it implicitly.

All these distractions serve to do is make it so that public discourse never actually says anything. Watch even the legitimate news programs from which people get most of their information, and look for something which raises questions which really matter. It's a drinking game even AA could endorse. The huge decreases in reading have made it so that the means by which news is communicated is not complex enough to transmit the ideas necessary for these larger issues. If slavery was still going on these days, it would never be abolished, but you can bet there would be endless debate on both sides about what type of shoes you had to provide them with. It's a little fucked up.

cranked out at 10:45 PM | |

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