Thursday 4 November 2010

Nativism, alienism and neutrality


Mencius Moldbug has some very interesting stuff in his latest blog posting

(although, as usual, it takes a long while to get up to speed).

I was struck by the division of democratic politics into nativism - favouring natives; versus alienism - favouring aliens.

I presume that this is at some level an inevitable choice - although the choice is likely to be particularly stark, simplistic and extreme for democracies (given the crudity of the democratic cognitive process).

This reminded me of a point I made earlier, about the impossibility of neutrality:

Suppose that neutrality really is in practice impossible - just suppose that for a minute...

I am very reluctant to admit this, I still find myself habitually defending the ideal of neutrality; but just suppose it really is always a choice between favouring one option or the other (naturally there will be degrees of favouring - but suppose that favouring really is inevitable).

Indeed, this is hard to take in, hard to acknowledge, the resistance is strong...

That really would be a blow at the very core of rationalism, of modernity; of philosophy - even.

It would be to admit that we have been deluded for centuries, that we have been barking up entirely the wrong tree, that we have been rendering our civilization helpless in the face of its opponents - worse, making our civilization abet its own downfall.

Just this simple error - to suppose neutrality, impartiality of process, really was a possibility - hence really was desirable - instead of the fact (as it seems) that always we must make a choice.

Maybe it was this flaw which led to democracy, to voting, to committees, to bureaucracy; which led to our self-immolation?

Amazing thought...


1 comment:

xlbrl said...

Thomas Sowell--
Objectivity and neutrality are incompatible. Objectivity requires the search for truth, as elusive as it may be. Neutrality assumes not an absence of ideas beginning a search, but a perceived balance which subordinates the truth to some preconception.