[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0323.1632)]
It seems to me that one of the hallmarks of irrationality is tunnel
vision. In the case of the Bush tax policy, for example, this amounts to
a relentless focus on reducing taxes with no evidence that appropriate
consideration is being given to a host of ancillary issues. In fact, the
President�s tax policy makes sense, i.e., does not lead to economic
ruin, in only one scenario: the money that would have gone into taxes is
invested in domestic production (even if higher returns could be
generated elsewhere) and this enhanced production leads to higher wages
that workers use to purchase a share of this domestic production at the
same time stock prices resume a sufficiently rapid growth that
government revenues increase substantially. Now gambling the Nation�s
economy on this particular outcome is at best imprudent, since there are
many equally plausible distinctly unpleasant outcomes of the tax cuts
such as a mounting national debt and skyrocketing interest rates that
push the economy into depression.
A second characteristic of irrationally is that when it is pointed out
to the person that they have failed to consider ancillary issues, their
response is to ignore the warning and deny the relevance of the other
issues or to attack the person issuing the warning. Once again this is
demonstrated in the case of the Bush tax policy.
Now comparing the Bush tax policy with the treatment of RTP may seem
nasty to some but, but the similarities are compelling to me. First the
tunnel vision focus on, �I see you have chosen�� Next the unwillingness
to see any virtues in Ed�s program or to suggest alternative approaches
to achieving Ed�s goals. Finally the ad hominem attacks on anyone who
does not agree with Bill and Rick on their interpretation of what is
happening in the classroom.
I do not expect to change anyone�s mind by this post. I offer it because
it exemplifies a breakdown in rational thinking that can lead in Bush�s
case to a global catastrophe (economic meltdown or nuclear war) and
CSGnet�s case to people leaving the discussion. If irrationality cannot
be discussed without rancor on CSGnet, what hope is there?
Bruce Gregory lives with the poet and painter Gray Jacobik in the future
Canadian Province of New England.