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Right/Left Politics Does Not Make Sense

Binary thinking about social, political, and economic issues is such a weird concept to me. I’m continually amazed that people have fallen into this lazy right/left trap. But the American political system which is held hostage by the binary thought of left/right, Democrat/Republican and the politicians that benefit from this thinking would have it no other way.

Social “scientific”* studies about the left/right brain are ubiquitous and commentary from both sides are quick to jump to conclusions about the results. It is unfortunate that social sciences would fall for this binary thinking and actually believe they can study complex social thought (let alone the brain), within this binary framework (meta false dichotomy?).

But perhaps there’s hope that people can drag themselves out of this type of thinking and start realizing that individuals and their place along some faux spectrum is a lot more complex and three-dimensional than anyone gives credit for. Here is an op-ed piece in the NY times that talks about a study that shows (surprise!) that our thinking doesn’t fit nicely into the political boxes that society in general, and political hacks specifically, would like to place us in. The fact that this should be surprising to anyone, especially social scientists, is, well, SURPRISING!

I don’t want to be placed in some box, and thinking should be about right and wrong, not right and left (thanks Anonymous for what I’m hoping will be a political catch phrase in 2016). I’m always surprised people are so willing to throw in with one side or the other, especially when issues are compounded into one left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican platform. No thanks, I’ll try and use evidence and reason and take things issue by issue.

*I’m fairly harsh on Sociology and other social “sciences” (I can’t help it, I have to put it in scare quotes!), but done well, they do have value and I always appreciate strong scientific methodology to any field like this. I don’t believe they rise to the level to get to be called big “S” Science, but fields like history, sociology, economics, et. al. I believe are done best when they are done using scientific methodologies. But error bars when coming to any “conclusions” should be very wide, and ideas stemming from these fields should be cautiously presented with the realization that results are always open to much speculation and interpretation. A good policy for all sciences, but especially social sciences.

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