OMNILIBRIUM
  Rational Discussion of Controversial Topics


GO TO THE MAIN THREAD Sort By:


ChristianKl 5 May 2015 11:29 AM
62%

I don't think that political debates by definition resist clear consensus solutions. The idea that there are no right or wrong answers to political question is toxic.

That's bad mindset to have when to facilitate political discussion. Not every debate ends in consensus but trying to find areas of agreement is a healthy goal when having political debates.

At the moment where opinion are too vague to know where agreements and disagreements are possible, people get lost on tribal fighting.

Neither "how do we respond to riots in Baltimore?" nor "can race relations be modeled as a one-dimensional axis of social oppression?" is a inherently fuzzy.

The fuzzy equivalent to "how do we respond to riots in Baltimore?" is "how do we respond to riots".

Both questions you proposed are better than "how do we respond to riots".

How do we respond to riots in Egpyt, riots in Baltimore or our yearly 1. Mai riots in Berlin are different issues. It's bad to have a question that's so general that it matches all of those issues together.

"Should government stimulate the economy through deficit spending?" is a question that's as bad as "how do we respond to riots". Especially when people are encouraged to vote yes/no.

Multiple people who answered it also indicated that they feel the question is too vague.

stars0
Reply


Fwiffo 6 May 2015 02:13 AM
58%

If it is bad to have people vote yes or no to "Should government stimulate the economy through deficit spending?" then it kinda implies that neither of those options can be the right answeer to the question. I am therefore a bit confused on as you seem to argue that political questions to have right and wrong answers but on the other hand you argue that they do not.

If we already knew what are the valid ways of responding to riots in general we could have a separate discussion on which of those to employ on this spesific occasion. If we don't have a view how to handle riots we end up choosing the method of approach on each particular instance. There is the danger that we decide on frivolous details and even if we focus on substantial details we end up making the decision again and again as occasions pile up. Discussing what is and what is not a detail that should sway our approach is a discussion we can have before an incident hits. I think (partly because of this) that there is legit room and need for general questions.

stars0
Reply


ChristianKl 6 May 2015 04:18 AM
62%

If you ask the mathematical question whether 10 is a big number, that question doesn't have a clear answer. That doesn't mean that mathematical questions don't have clear answers.

In politics it's also possible to ask bad questions that are vague and that don't have clear answers. If the goal is rational discussion then it's useful to avoid vagueness.

The problem isn't generality but vagueness. Discussing riots in a state where the government might fall as a result is substantial different than discussing riots in the US. Those are also substantially different then riots that happen every year in Berlin on the first of May.

In Berlin it's quite easy to discuss the riot before the incident hits because people are always rioting on the first of May.

If you focus on things that are true for all those very different kinds of riots it's hard to say things that are right for all of the cases. That leads to discussions that don't focus on establishing what's right.

Making the decision again and again and not treating a riot in Baltimore the same as one in Syria is very worthwhile. Calling for similar treatment of both leads to bad policy.

I also don't have a problem with generality. My problem is with vagueness. In science, scientists to investigate general issues but they are precise about what they are looking at.

You can ask a question about US riots over racial tension.
You can frame the debate to be clear about what issue you want to talk about. It's easiest when there's more room for text then a headline.

stars0
Reply


Fwiffo 6 May 2015 05:24 PM
51%

If you ask the mathematical question whether 10 is a big number, that question doesn't have a clear answer. That doesn't mean that mathematical questions don't have clear answers.

Erm, it does?
B∈QM, V(B) -> (∃x|x∈QM)(V(x)) -> ((∀x|x∈QM)(V(x)))

I do get that it is not in the usual mathematical style. However the flip point is that everythign in mathemathics is overtly technical. Things are given suggestive common sense names but they are actually shorthands for very technical things. It's also not that rare for a question to be independent of the axioms of choice, that is that a proof for or against isn't possible (or be dependant on what axiom basis one is using).

It also leads to bad policy if the same yearly riot is one year handled one way and another year handled a different way based on who used what argumentative tricks this time around. One needs to be able to handle similar things similarly and different things differently. Saying that no two occasions will ever be same enough is claiming a lack of structure. There might not be any objectively better answer to which side of roads we should drive but picking one doesn't matter as long one sticks with the choice. I we everyday would repick which side we are driving it would mostly negatively affect road safety.

stars0
Reply


ChristianKl 6 May 2015 05:53 PM
64%

Big is a word that's relative to what you compare the number. 5 founders of a company are a big amount of founders. A wage of 5 dollar per hour on the other hand isn't big.

Saying that no two occasions will ever be same enough is claiming a lack of structure.

That's a strawman that I didn't argue.

In general when there's structure it's still good to write a paragraph to be clear what one wants to have a debate about. Clarity in setting up a debate increases the quality of a debate.

Writing a paragraph to define the terms of the question so that everyone is clear about what the debate about is useful.

The US supreme court develops general case law principles but it focuses on specific cases that are brought forward. Laws that get passed in parliaments are also very specific. In both cases that's a way to engage deeply with the subject.

stars0
Reply