Texas Liberal

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Liberals Often No Different Than Conservatives In Unimaginative Thinking

I’ve been reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society.  Galbraith wrote about what he termed, coining a new term at the time, “conventional wisdom.”

Here is an excerpt— “ ….the hallmark of the conventional wisdom is acceptability. It has the approval of those to whom it is addressed. There are many reasons people like to hear articulated that which they approve. It serves the ego: the individual has the satisfaction of knowing that other….people share his conclusions. To hear what he believes is also a source of reassurance. The individual knows that he is supported in his thoughts—that he has not been left behind and alone. Further, to hear what one approves serves the evangelizing instinct. It means that others are also hearing and are thereby in process of being persuaded.”

Can there be any doubt that this type of thinking is found with both conservatives and liberals?

I’d add that a lack of imagination is often behind such thinking. In political debate, a lack of imagination is often expressed in the kind of black and white all-or-nothing views that are a staple of political blogs. Strict construction of ideas and an overly literal understanding of words and ideas are hallmarks of extremism and party-line thinking.                      

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April 27, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, Books, Politics

5 Comments »

  1. Agreed that this type of thinking is endemic w/in conservative and liberal circles, no doubt about it. I recall sending you an email with a quote from CS Lewis about this kind of thing.

    One question though, does an ‘overtly literal understanding of words’ apply to the following sentence?

    Strict construction of ideas and an overly literal understanding of words and ideas are hallmarks of extremism and party-line thinking.

    Comment by Laz | April 27, 2007

  2. You’re deconstructing my words like some Godless marxist philosophy professor in Paris who has a mistress and smokes all day while nursing a glass of wine at the outdoor cafe.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 28, 2007

  3. Many truths and imaginative thoughts gave birth in the gray areas of conversations.

    Comment by nytexan | April 29, 2007

  4. Gray areas could be likened to borders or coastlines where things mix and something new and/or different is the result. Things get stirred up or somewhat less defined and you never know what you’ll get in the end.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 29, 2007

  5. Neil, once again you have managed to make me laugh uncontrollably (albeit somewhat subdued, don’t want to wake the baby).

    Your description is a first for me, lol. Though 6 years ago, it might have fit better than it does now.

    Deconstruction? Hey, we are living in a postmodern world are we not? One in which the phrase, “I just call ‘em as I see ‘em”, carries great import. Or does it?

    Comment by Laz | April 30, 2007


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