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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, June 19, 2006


Assertion: Politics is reductionist

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 19, 2006 permalink View blog reactions


Apart from being reductionist, Politics is also primate nature. Ever read De Waal's books on chimp behavior? Even human tactics and strategies in politics don't look too sophisticated in comparison to chimps'. I recommend De Waal to anyone interested in the roots of human behavioral developments.


I think it's pointless to discuss "primate nature". There may be similarities but we have a far more complex society than anything chimps can possibly create. You're just being reductionist in your own way by trying to scale down from complex human socities to "building blocks" of primate behavior.

I think the more insightful way to go is the opposite direction - to look at systems as a whole rather than individual holons in the hierarchy.

However as your own comment illustrates people prefer to think about things as atomic in nature. You are doing it with biiology; others do it with politics. For example, look at eth conservative and liberal positions on abortion, death penalty, and collateral damage in war. Neither side has a coherent narrative or set of principles that tie their positions on these issues together. They apply reductionist analysis - largely driven by political maneuvering - and come up with stances that are not really related to each other.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.