Monday, August 20, 2007

Ideology as software

I have to pass on a genius analogy of political ideology to operating systems. In response to a story about some climate change protesters in London destroying Israeli property and raising a Palestinian flag, Tigerhawk advised "Lefties would make much more progress with the bourgeoisie if they promoted only one revolution at any given rally. We prefer to pick and choose our causes, rather than having them bundled together like pre-loaded software we do not want." Instapundit ran with it: "I like this: Leftism as Microsoft Vista -- promises a lot but doesn't deliver, and is kind of bossy. Meanwhile are rightie politics like Linux? You know, fairly efficient, but requiring more work than most people are willing to put in?"

This is right on the money. In general, leftist positions are pretty simple to get your arms around, because they are only concerned with motivations - save the planet, save the children, peace! Right wing positions require a little more depth, because they are concerned not with motivations but with results - will/did an action actually help the environment, help children or bring about peace, or did it do nothing or even the opposite (as is so often the case when government intervenes in anything). This intentions vs outcomes paradigm is, in my mind, the most fundamental difference between liberal and conservative ideology, and one that does not get nearly enough attention.

It's the reasoning behind the old saw that people are most conservative about those subjects they know best.

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