Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I'm trying very hard to keep my attitude neutral as I learn. When the material you're learning from is all slanted one way or another, and can't be measured in any way, this is difficult. I have very definite leanings to the left anyway, and I'm not really inclined to shift that, and that makes for more problems. I try to read the right-wing material with an open mind, but I keep seeing problems with it.

Primarily, the problems I'm seeing are to do with marketing. I work as a web developer, so I've had a fair bit of experience with edits and re-edits of material until they say one thing and convey quite another. The problems are that the right has too much marketing going on, and it sets off my alarm bells immediately. The left has too little, and so leaves its arguments flawed. Now, I'm more in favour of the left approach of presenting all the facts, not just the ones that suit, but the right simply won't do that, it seems. This leaves me trying to get the facts from the left - where they're slanted.

Then there's the issue of current affairs versus history. There's no understanding current politics without delving into history - at least as far back as World War II. That's an era of history I have no other interest in, though, and besides, there's so damn much of it. You need to understand things like the American New Deal before you can examine the current economic shape of the US, and then the economic state of the US has effects right across the world, not just because of the amount of trading, but also because of things like the World Bank and the IMF. The Marshall Plan affects the current shape of Europe. But I don't want to take time out from the current events to understand all of those, because by the time I do, things will have moved on again. I want to understand it all now.

What I'm considering doing is picking a few current events - probably not massive ones, like the war in Iraq or the G8 summit, but smaller ones - and reading up as much as I can on their current states. Then I can look into the history of those issues, while keeping an eye on progress in real time. Once I have all of that, I can come to an actual informed opinion. When I've practiced this technique a bit more, I can then turn to the major events, whatever they may be by then, and work them through in the same way. And hopefully, I'll be able to set aside my own biases and decipher the spin on the material I'm reading, in order to arrive at an informed state.

Once I get to that, I can let the biases back, see how they stand up in the cold light of reason, and decide where I really stand, and what I can do.


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