It's a pleasure to speak with you again. I've missed our conversations.
Let's see if we're talking the same language here. I think, pretty much, yes. "Good and bad are determined by the community?" I think so. I don't know that this should be the case, but that's another question. Different communities have very different ideas about what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing in terms of values. Wars are fought for these issues. The Albigensians were wiped out by the Catholics over this sort of issue in the 13th century. Shi'ia and Sunni.
True and false are matters of scientific judgement. These are things that are open to test, confirmation or disconfirmation. They are determined not by the world but by the best feedback we can obtain from it at any one given time, subject to revisitation as our methods of understanding grow more sophisticated. These things, though, admit the outside world into the internal process of reality testing, and bases the decisions on that feedback from the data the world returns to us.
And yes, in this situation, though by no means in all or even the majority of situations, I believe that Ron made this error. I usually find myself in agreement with him.
Why, you ask, is it a problem to go along with the consensus in this case in determining the course of action the folks here should follow? Why should we trouble ourselves with looking for actual data that we can use as a reality check on our assumptions that one course is better than another?
And how does this mesh with the lack of leftist material on this web Site?
In other words, sooner or later you've got to understand that all the answers that you've tried to apply and all the information that you think you have may be lacking some important dimensions. Even if you begin to look real hard under the street light now, and bring in even more people to shine lights under the street light, you've made some assumptions that haven't worked, and you need to step back and re-evaluate why.
You need to ask yourself about the quality of your information.
Let me offer an example.
Huan Yi, a few postings above, has made an interesting contribution about the Fannies, Mae and Mac. Much of the material from (pardon me for saying it) the right has made a great deal out of this, and representatives of that wing have tried to lay blame ó without any contest by the way in these pages ó on the Democrats. If the Democrats aren't guilty of this, they've certainly done other things wrong, by the way. My object isn't to prove them faultless. It's to suggest that information isn't getting through here that should be getting through here in evaluating the effectiveness of the policy of each party.
What hasn't been offered by the right ó not by its supporters here at PiP, but by the news sources that should be supplying them with accurate facts ó is what percentage of the loans in the bad market just passed were from the Mac and Mae, and what percentage came from the steamrollered deregulation package driven by the president and his banking and credit card company friends. Nor would the explosion have been possible without the packaging of these mortgages in large funds by these same banking establishments that drove the credit deregulation package through the congress. And repealed the consumer banking protections that had been in place since Roosevelt got them passed during the great depression to ensure that crises such as this didn't happen. Whoops.
15%, by the way, from Mac and Mae, as far as I can tell. The rest from the Republican deregulation package that even the Democrats should be humiliated for not filibustering.
And there is one reason why it's important to have information from more than a single side of the political spectrum. In this case, it's the left that's overlooked. When I was in social work school, I had the unenviable task of pointing out conservative values to liberals, of which I are one. I caught a mauling there too.
I found two basic principles seem to apply.
If you're only talking to those who agree with you, you're starving your audience. If those who disagree with you have no point, you're not listening hard enough.
Not paying attention to verifiable truth; and not, for that matter, seeking it out, leaves us certain of ourselves without any particular basis in reality. We become the smokers surprised by COPD or the drivers who think that they drive better with a drink or two to loosen themselves up, and who are sure that seat belts will be a death trap for them if they ever get in a wreck.
Sometimes these folks are right. They smoke for a lifetime and run marathons till they're 105. Two drinks turn them into Sterling Moss, and if they have any less they will die simply by turning the key in the starter, and the guy in the passenger seat next to Mr. I Need To Be Free gets cut in half by a rogue seat belt during a fender bender. These things do happen.
But this isn't a good way to plan your life, is it?
Sincerely, Bob Kaven
[This message has been edited by Ron (02-21-2009 07:55 PM).]