Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Critical Review

In my opinion one of the largest issues dividing liberalism and conservatism today is not being discussed directly. It is the idea of critical review.

That is to say that a broad and diverse group of independent observers should subject any new idea to criticism, pointing out flaws and suggesting changes, before the idea is adopted. I think that human history has shown conclusively that if you wish to make any large complex system work, it is absolutely essential that you apply this idea of critical review to any new ideas or changes to the system. Today, liberalism is broadly supportive of critical review(see note), while a large and politically powerful section of conservatism is opposed to the idea. They seem to believe that critical review is too untidy and that the better course of action is to find some person of great moral character and rely upon his direction. Again, human history has pretty much shown this to be a disastrous course.

Note: When I say broadly supportive I don't mean slavishly happy to be criticized. We are human, we prefer to have our ideas praised than condemned. However, we do realize the value of critical review and while we might express our displeasure at your criticisms, we do recognize the value. Hence, in a forum such as this you will see open criticism allowed and encouraged and you will face strong counter arguments when you bring those criticisms. This is also because we likewise believe that your criticisms should be reviewed critically.

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