Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More on Lminds and Cminds

In a letter to the editor today a conservative was railing against gun control using as an example Florida's gun law which he claims was trashed by the liberal media who predicted all sorts of dire consequences including a severe diminution of tourists. All of this never came to fruition and he uses that outcome to point out all the good things that can come from all citizens packing heat and the bad things when government tries to regulate this second amendment freedom.

Which got me to thinking: perhaps another discriminant between Lminds and Cminds is their problem solving approaches. The Lmind favors a top-down solution (imposed by the elected govt on all the citizens) while the Cmind chooses a bottom-up solution (let the market be guided by Smith's "invisible hand"). If this is so, then the Cmind has more faith in the inherent wisdom of individuals than the Lmind does which wants a self imposed parent figure to help us be and stay good.

What do you think?

With all possible courtesy and respect,
Stu

8 comments:

Ira Glickstein said...

Stu:

I think you've got it (almost) exactly correct.

The L-mind is distrustful of the wisdom of the citizenry (for good reason) and thinks they need an intellectual elite to guide them down the correct path.

o Ideally, the result is a big government that gets actual experts with the wisdom to consider important issues and recommend laws that, when passed, resolve the problems in the best possible way for all concerned.

o In actuality, the "experts" turn out to be political hacks and the "solutions" they propose and turn into law tend to increase the power of the state, which is the end the L-mind seeks, as Stu points out so nicely.

The C-mind is not so trustful of the citizenry as it is distrustful of the ability of large organizations to solve problems effectively (for good reason).

o Ideally, the result is that some citizens make good decisions and others make bad decisions and others make no decisions. Those who happen to make good decisions serve as an example for others who follow in their footsteps. Those who make bad decisions learn from them and abandon their ignorant ways. Eventually, all benefit.

o Actually, those who happen to make good decisions found or get high-paying employment with large corporations which make money by providing goods and services of the best quality at the most reasonable prices to the public. Those who are in business and make bad decisions go out of business. Others who make bad decisions get low-paying jobs at McDonalds. All contribute to the economy and pay taxes.

The tax money is used to pay for the functions private enterprise cannot provide without government regulation: free market competition with fair play rules, local police to control criminals, and a military/FBI/CIA/NSA to prevent poorer countries and terrorist organizations (which are hobbled by dumb political, economic, and/or religious doctrines) from attacking us to steal or destroy the hard-earned fruits of our labor.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

Stu said:

Which got me to thinking: perhaps another discriminant between L-minds and C-minds is their problem solving approaches. The L-mind favors a top-down solution (imposed by the elected govt on all the citizens) while the C-mind chooses a bottom-up solution (let the market be guided by Smith's "invisible hand"). If this is so, then the C-mind has more faith in the inherent wisdom of individuals than the L-mind does which wants a self imposed parent figure to help us be and stay good.
What do you think?


Joel responds:


It's an interesting proposition, since it can be expressed in a non-pejorative way (one of my requirements for L-mind and C-mind analysis). Let's see if it works more generally.


The expressions "top-down" and "bottom-up" have their origin in computer programming even though they are now often used in a political sense. A program written "top-down" starts with functions that solve the problem, but contain subroutines which are to be programmed at a later time. "Bottom-up" programming defines and generates low level routines which are put together later to build bigger, more complex operations.


Here's an example in quasi-biological-robotic terms. From the top we might start with three instructions, eat-digest-excrete. We then break each one into components. "Eat" for example, becomes ingest-chew-salivate-swallow, and so on down the line, getting more and more complex. Bottom-up would start by defining and programming certain utility functions like peristalsis, acid measure, enzyme action, appetite stimulation-muscle contraction. The final process would be built up from these and other low level building blocks. Now the question is whether or not our mental computer is programmed in this way and if so, whether or not L-Minds and C-Minds differ in this way.


At the moment I have only one data point I can use as a test. In a debate several years ago concerning the War on Terror at the Villages Philosophy Club, a liberal member responded. "I don't know the solution, but there must be a better way." Is this example of top-down thinking applied in a negative way? At the top level a solution must exist, however, the low level functions necessary to implement a proposed solution are rejected, because of a constraint that they contain no "violence sub-routine". With respect -Joel

Stu Denenberg said...

I like Ira's caveat:

"The C-mind is not so trustful of the citizenry as it is distrustful of the ability of large organizations to solve problems effectively (for good reason)."

And Joel's comment triggers the hypothesis that we are born (wired) as bottom-up thinkers which is less abstract and more concrete in nature.

As we mature and develop we learn from our culture how to do abstraction and top-down analysis to solve complex problems. Which may explain why the Lmind is more inclined to accept nurture over nature as the primary determinant in who we are as they perhaps sense the power of nurture more keenly than a Cmind.

Stu

Ira Glickstein said...

The following was emailed to me by my PhD Advisor, Prof. Howard Pattee, who asked me to post it for him, which it is my honor to do!

***********************************

H. PATTEE’s 07/07/07, 07:07 AM response to IRA’s comment of July 3, 2007 10:31 PM

IRA: The L-mind is distrustful of the wisdom of the citizenry (for good reason) and thinks they need an intellectual elite to guide them down the correct path.

HP: This is wrong historically and wrong today. It was C-mind elitist like Plato and Aristotle that distrusted the citizenry. Plato thought philosopher kings should rule. Aristotle called democracy “mob rule.” The L-mind actually began as a revolt against elitist C-mind monarchies and aristocracies.

WIKI: Liberalism has its roots in the Western Age of Enlightenment. Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. A liberal society is characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy, free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected. [2] In the 21st century, this usually means liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law. [3]

HP: Contrary to L-mind principles, this C-minded administration has restricted, or tried to restrict, more fundamental constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and personal freedoms than any administration in the history of our country. It is also the least transparent administration in recent history.

IRA: Ideally, the result is a big government that gets actual experts with the wisdom to consider important issues and recommend laws that, when passed, resolve the problems in the best possible way for all concerned. In actuality, the "experts" turn out to be political hacks and the "solutions" they propose and turn into law tend to increase the power of the state, which is the end the L-mind seeks, as Stu points out so nicely.

HP: In actuality, it turns out that it is this C-minded big government that is run by cronies and political hacks. It is certainly not the L-minds who have dismissed the opinions of experienced military, political, and scientific experts in favor of the neocon religious fundamentalists’ agenda.

IRA: Ideally, the result is that some citizens make good decisions and others make bad decisions and others make no decisions. Those who happen to make good decisions serve as an example for others who follow in their footsteps. Those who make bad decisions learn from them and abandon their ignorant ways. Eventually, all benefit.

HP: In practice, the Bush-Cheney C-mind’s have made bad decisions and instead of learning from them they continue to make bad decisions and simply fire those who disagree with them. Eventually, we all lose.

IRA: Actually, those who happen to make good decisions found or get high-paying employment with large corporations which make money by providing goods and services of the best quality at the most reasonable prices to the public

HP: Actually, it is the large corporations who support Bush and Cheney’s decisions that get high-paying employment and make huge profits by providing non-competitive inferior goods and services with no oversight in foreign countries with no governments. Our children will be taxed to pay for this corrupt incompetence.

*******************************

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard:

Thanks so much for joining the discussion (albeit via an email to me that I posted for you).

I plan to hold off for a day or two to give others a chance to Comment (in this Topic thread) on the historical and political points you raised.

Joel has kindly started a new Topic thread explaining the origin of the L-mind/C-mind dichotomy from his point of view. Let us continue the discussion on the generic differences between the two types of minds in that new thread.

As this "L-Mind/C-Mind" discussion is turning into a "series" of sorts, I have created a new box in the lower right hand corner with links to each of the three parts. These links will remain as the individual Topics fall off the Blog Archive for the current month.

Ira Glickstein

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard: Thanks again for taking the time to read this Blog and Comment!

What you have quoted from Wikipedia is close to classical liberalism, exemplified by Milton Friedman and others.

Those who call themselves “liberals” today are more like a cartoon version of FDR when it comes to the interventionist power of the state. Most of today’s self-described “conservatives” (including me :^) are conducting a rear-guard operation to conserve classical liberalism! Do today’s “liberals” or “conservatives” respect the items you quoted from Wikipedia:

“Freedom of thought for individuals [and] the free exchange of ideas”: “Political correctness” was invented by today’s liberals to stifle freedom of thought. Conservative speakers (and some classical liberals) have been invited to colleges only to be shouted down or have pies thrown in their faces with absolutely no consequences to the disrupters. Global Warming skeptics with impressive credentials in meteorology and related science, including those who accept that we are in a warming cycle but are not convinced human activity is the major cause, have been all but excluded from the media and serious discussion in colleges in favor of non-scientists with an agenda.

“Limitations on power [and] the rule of law”: Today’s liberals make much of the Patriot Act having taken rights away from the citizenry, of the plight of those picked up on the battlefields in Afghanistan and elsewhere being detained, and of NSA eavesdropping on phone calls and the Internet, etc. These legal actions were passed by the majority in Congress and legally ordered by the President and will be most likely be upheld by the Supreme Court.

“A market economy, free private enterprise”: Today’s conservatives support free market economics far more than today’s liberals. The public school teacher’s associations and unions stifle religious and other private education to protect their monopoly. Liberals regularly attack Wal-Mart and other large corporations that have grown large helping ordinary consumers by keeping consumer prices down and operating within the legal framework while doing so.

“A transparent system of government”: Today’s liberals are as upset by the secrecy of VP Cheney’s “Energy Task Force” as conservatives were by Hillary Clinton’s “Health Care Task Force” that also operated behind closed doors. We still don’t know exactly who participated in either or what they did. Government and secrecy are inseparable and the only answer is to restrict the interventionist power of government and keep its size and taxing powers in check.

“All citizens have equal right by law”: It was today’s liberals who distorted the valid purposes of “affirmative action” and turned it into a system of quotas and reverse discrimination to benefit women and minorities. I was sent on a college recruitment assignment by IBM and was instructed to classify the student applicants as to their race without their knowledge. Students with a GPA of less than 3.5 were not to be invited to visit our facility – unless they were minorities or female, in which case a GPA of 2.5 was OK. Where were the rights of the non-minority males? A computer-generated list, with my name and those of other recruiters, included the same race codes! Where were my rights when, without my permission, IBM management classified me and my fellow employees into racial categories? I was passed over for a management position in favor of an engineer classified as Asian who had far less experience; just so racial quotas could be satisfied. The fact his father was a wealthy Hawaiian and mine a Brooklyn letter carrier (or that I showed him how to use chopsticks while on a business trip :^) held no weight. It was pure racism by order of today’s liberals.

Howard, you say “… this C-minded administration has restricted, or tried to restrict, more fundamental constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and personal freedoms than any administration in the history of our country.”

Really? Ask the 120,000 Japanese AMERICANS, 75,000 of whom were US CITIZENS, removed from their homes and farms and workplaces and interred under FDR. The total detained by the US related to Afghanistan/Iraq is less than 1,000, with only a few being US citizens. As for the other “fundamental rights” this administration has restricted, the US Constitution is not a suicide pact! Never in our history have international phone calls and air travel and the Internet been as available and inexpensive. Our enemies are smart, persistent, well-funded, and highly competent in electronic and other technologies. The Supreme Court will hear all these cases and rule what is “constitutionally guaranteed” or not. How do you think they will decide?

Howard, you wrote: “…this C-minded big government … is run by cronies and political hacks. It is certainly not the L-minds who have dismissed the opinions of experienced military, political, and scientific experts in favor of the neocon religious fundamentalists’ agenda.”

I agree with you! This administration increased spending and the size of government, dismissed Gen. Shinseki when he suggested double the number of troops would be needed in Iraq, failed to plan properly for the aftermath of the invasion, and adopted a wrong-headed policy on stem cell research. I think Libby and anyone else who lied to the feds should spend some time in jail in addition to any fine.

Since my customer was the military (mainly AF and Army Special Operations), I understand the motivation that led to what are now recognized as terrible mistakes in the Iraq war. Americans are far more sensitive to war casualties than our enemies, so the goal was to reorganize the military and use technology as a “force multiplier.” The argument was to use air and naval power and have a “small footprint” (fewer troops) of “boots on the ground” to reduce casualties and make the action look less like an occupation. The Iraqis were regarded as far more secular than most other Muslims, better educated, potentially more prosperous with oil revenues, and thus more likely to embrace something like democracy than anyone else in that region. We clumsily dismantled the Iraqi Baathist establishment and their Army in an effort to protect against organized attacks. There were not enough US and allied troops to control the looting and things quickly spiraled out of control with sectarian violence between the Sunnis funded by their co-religionists via Syria and the Shia funded via Iran. We were warned by Gen. Colin Powell about the “Pottery Barn rule – if you break it, you own it,” but did not fully appreciate what that meant.

This war has lasted longer than WWII, but we need to keep things in perspective. Every war death is a great tragedy for the persons killed and their loved ones, and also for each one of us. We lost 7,000 in a few weeks taking Iwo Jima and 13,000 taking Okinawa. Considering the smaller US population at that time, our 4000 deaths in Iraq, each one a tragedy, are a small fraction of our losses in previous wars, especially WWII - over 400,000, and our Civil War – over 600,000. (FDR and Lincoln, who presided over these wars, are rightly considered two of our best presidents.) All our soldiers in Iraq are volunteers while those in previous wars were draftees or those who volunteered knowing they would be drafted.

Sadly, even after we reduce troop levels in Iraq next year, we will have to keep tens of thousands in harms way. In all honesty, we should change the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom – OIF” to “Operation Iraqi Liberation – OIL.” As long as we are addicted to oil and God (Allah :^) has placed nearly all the most accessible oil beneath Muslim lands, we will have to defend what has become our lifeline.

As noted in other postings on this Blog, my wife and I are doing more than most Americans to conserve energy and I favor a steep carbon tax and other measures to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy and increase the relative profits from nuclear and renewable sources (water, wind, tides, electromagnetic, …). However, conservation and non-renewable sources will not be sufficient. Therefore, I also favor getting more of our non-renewable energy from less turbulent parts of the world, such as more drilling in Alaska and off the coast of Florida, from the tar/oil sands in the US and Canada, and liquefaction of coal.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

I think that Ira said it all when it comes to the evolution of the label "liberal" in our country. I can only contribute an anecdote about the inequality introduced by modern liberals in the name of equality.

Some years ago the University of Hawaii administration thought it would be good public relations to admit to the community (mostly Asian-American voters) that the faculty had discriminated against Asian-Americans in new hires and salaries. There was no actual proof that the faculty had done such a thing. There were simply accusations of discrimination from activists who claimed that the fact that the proportion of asian americans on the faculty did not match the proportion of asian-americans in the general population of Hawaii. Of course, this made no sense, since the pool of candidates for a university position is much broader than that.

The administration decided to remedy this "past wrong" by giving large arbitrary raises to faculty having asian-sounding names. (Ironically, some caucasion professors received raises, because their names sounded a bit asian.) As a result, a poorly performing faculty member who had been hired at the same time as myself, at the same salary, received a substantial raise. Since he had done no research and published no papers, and thus was passed over for promotion, the net result was an barely-tenured, assistant professor earning more than a full professor.

This is a perfect example of modern liberalism: a blanket solution to the problems of supposed individual discrimination ,which produces increased inequity. Could we say, a top-down solution with inattention to detail? This is certainly not the Liberalism of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment.

Ira Glickstein said...

Joel:

You wrote, "...The administration decided to remedy this 'past wrong' by giving large arbitrary raises to faculty having asian-sounding names."

What a great story! (Sad, but true, and all too common nowadays.)

But, the Administrators must have felt really good when they corrected "past wrongs" with a stroke of the pen. By their discriminatory behavior, they gained a "cover your assets" protection against further criticism for past discriminaory behavior.

Paraphrasing Justice Roberts in a recent Supreme Court decision: The way to end racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race!

Currently, Asian-Americans are often victims of affirmative action when it morphs into reverse discrimination. On average, those with recent East-Asian heritage score about half a standard deviation (0.5 sigma) higher than the general population on IQ tests and they generally have a work and study ethic that is one- or two-sigma above the general population. Therefore, in many institutions, they are "over-represented" among the students with high grades and professionals with high positions.

Certainly, Asians were discriminated against in the past, as were others including Jews, Irish, Italians... Now, as the American culture has generally accepted Jews and Asians as being as good as white (or nearly so) we are being discriminated against again for being over-represented. We can't win for losing!

Ira Glickstein