Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Black and White on Nonjudgmental Thinking

One of the favorite activities of the left is to wander around and accuse folks labeled as conservatives of "black and white thinking."

For that matter, in school some 20 years ago, I was taught the same technique.

The technique has actually been around for generations.

The goal is to create the image that the group labeled "conservative" is intolerant, while group laying claim for whatever left leaning label is in vogue at the moment is the standard bearers of reason.

I find the use of this tag line sad because, when you get down to it, the tag line is itself an assault on reason.

The goal of logic is to come up with clean definitions and propositions that we can use in making important life decisions.

Quality science depends totally on coming up with good definitions and clean statements that can be tested against reality.

Our whole modern society is dependent on people cleanly defining terms and making judgments … black and white thinking.

There are many things in our life that resolve to a yes or no. For example, an airplane chartered to fly from New York to Paris either has enough fuel for the trip, or it doesn't. A plane without enough fuel for the voyage only makes it as far as the crash site. People making transatlantic voyages are dependent on engineers, mechanics, weather services agencies, and what not, to make sure the plane has the fuel for a safe voyage.

Before taking off, there is a black and white statement made: Yes, we have the fuel for the plane flight.

Our modern system of commerce is infused with people using black and white reasoning in day to day affairs. Meat inspectors spend their days examining carcasses declaring some good and others bad. A good meat inspector should err on the side of caution and toss out a fair amount of good meat.

The meat inspection process means that we can reasonably assume the food at the store is safe for human consumption.

The mortgage industry depended on black and white thinkers making critical judgments about borrower's inclination and ability to repay. These black and white thinkers were shouted down by community organizers.

A decade into the new enlightened era of nonjudgmental lending, the financial world found itself enmeshed in a catastrophic failure as banks were unable to value their assets.

The act of making propositions based on carefully defined terms is the heart of logic, yet, in school we are taught to dismiss political opponents of the left as black and white thinkers.

A few minutes ago I turned on my digital computer. Logged into a digital network and transferred a packet of digital signals from a massive bank of digital switches A digital algorithm deciphered the digital signal and displayed on my digital monitor an accusation that I am a horrible black and white thinker.

I suspect that the dimwit who repeated the talking point that people who are not members of the left are black and white thinkers failed to realize that the only reason he is able make insults through cyberspace is the "black and white" logic behind digital technology.

The whole key to digital technology is creating a system of signals that can be reliably resolved to on or off. When the routers in this great digital network become enlightened and stop being judgmental about the signals they send and receive, a black and white thinking technician rips it out the broken router and replaces it with one that works.

I routinely say outlandish statements in this blog. The purpose of this type of blog is random thoughts on issues of the day. There is a central conflict in my writing. Back when I aspired to being an enlightened progressive thinker, enlightened progressive professors taught me all sorts of mean biting tricks that could be used to attack the hated conservatives.

Through the years, I've become much more appreciative of classical thought and writing.

The problems of the world are not the result of traditional logic (which is vilified as black and white thinking). The problems are the result of people doing bad things to each other. A modern enlightened thinker is as likely to do bad things to people as the traditional black-and-white thinker.

No, I take that back. I've come to trust the decisions made by people vilified as black and white thinkers more than drones claiming to have achieved nonjudgmental enlightened state of thought.

The world enjoyed a wonderful spurt of growth driven by the Information Technology revolution. During the computer revolution, there was a new found appreciation for the value of logic. Today, we find our nation and the world regressing to radical methodologies conceived during the great social revolutions of the 20th century.

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