Monday, March 26, 2007

Busyblogging: 1

I've seen a few things I've wanted to comment on lately, but I'm too busy to post anything properly argued, so I'm going to resort to unsupported assertions for the next few days. Here is the first.

Adam Curtis's thesis (in BBC 2's 'The Trap') is actually quite good in parts but his conclusions weren't. He's right about the replacement of conviction politicians with the perceived electoral necessity to poll people, find what they think they want, and then give it to them.

This development isn't only a consequence of crude market fundamentalism though. It's partly the consequence of a political structure that has been centralised by the growing power of the mass media. It isn't the neo-cons who are the only ones to blame for this. At the risk of being smart-alecky, one reason governments behave the way they do these days is because journalists simplify everything to fit their pre-prepared narrative. When politicians try to over-respond, opinion polls aren't the only explanation.

Did you see it? What did you think?

PS: Dave commented on this as well.

1 comment:

Cian said...

First half of the first episode was good(*), second half was interesting but didn't really connect to the theme. The rest was flabby. I like a good kicking of Isiah Berlin as the next guy, but I don't think he's terribly important as political philosophers go.

* Public choice theory and game theory are interesting as abstract models with no connection to reality. However, they have no connection to the real world whatsoever. Rational man, he do not exist. Replace him with a more realistic model based on, I dunno, thirty year old psychological findings and rational choice theory (together with micro-economics) becomes completely senseless. And yet people take them seriously. Drives me crazy. Economics is a pseudo-science like no other, and public choice theory is one of the worst bits.