Few things are easier to predict than the opinions and behavior of someone who associates themselves with the left or right spectrum. Those on either side tend to believe that their arch enemies in the other direction are responsible for all evil in the world. In many ways, they’re both right. Lack of intelligence is the cause of many problems–and in the left vs. right’s brain dead war, intelligence is collateral damage.
Those who associate themselves with a political spectrum rarely have their own opinions on a subject. Rather than assessing each issue they come across on its own merits, they simply adapt whatever stance their party takes and stand firmly by it. Perhaps this would not be so bad if nations had parties like the Rationality and Logic Party, but they don’t.
Both conservatives and liberals have widely different philosophies and outlooks; if only different meant better. If one side wants to spend a billion dollars on building an oil tanker and the other on subsidizing bio fuels, either way a billion dollars is being wasted. So much time, money and effort is spent by political leaders and their billions of intellectual followers, that little room is left for rational discourse and action.
This works top to bottom, a top level example: if a politician proposes tax cuts, the public and media will scream with opinions–bring up funding particle acceleration research and what little response there is will be statements on what a waste of money that is. Bottom level examples are everywhere. One simply has to check any high profile news website and observe the coverage and response on the latest scientific discoveries, then check the coverage and response to the latest fallacious political arguments.
As long as each side continues to think they are the ones who have it right, this shall continue. Issues will continue to be decided based on how well they fit into the pet theories of those deciding on them, rather than by analyzing them with logical reasoning.
This isn’t just an issue with politicians, it’s an issue with the populous in general; which is perhaps why the public falls behind political ideologies so easily. It’s also not just an issue with political ideologies, but with basing decisions on anything but logic and evidence. No matter how much a member of the populous may want reality to fit into their preferred framework, it does not, and will not no matter how hard they fight to make it.
Still, these popular ideologies do make it easy to see if someone has anything of value to say: if they begin blaming the world’s latest problem on the ‘liberals’ or the ‘right-wingers’, you know they have as much going on upstairs as a rock. Although those claiming to be ‘moderate’ are rarely better. Regardless of the description political entities may use to describe themselves, their actions should be the only markers used to ascertain their character.
The importance of using rationality as the sole decision making tool cannot be overstated. It’s too bad that very little people have the slightest knowledge of rationality, and no matter how much they believe they are foundations of truth, they more likely have less knowledge than a chimpanzee.