Sunday, July 25, 2010

205 / Reading The Polls

I tend to have a love-hate relationship with The New York Times' columnist Thomas L. Friedman. Such a "smart guy," but one of the pundit hawks who flacked for the war in Iraq, in the name of a United States "manifest destiny" gone global.

At any rate, Friedman's column in today's San Jose Mercury News is headlined, "Messing With Mother Nature," and it meets with my approval. Friedman agrees with my analysis that not paying attention to the laws of Nature will result in a catastrophe in the world in which we most immediately live, that human world we create ourselves.

The phrase in his column I best liked, actually, was a shot at our President for "spending more time reading the polls than changing the polls."

Scientific polling does, pretty accurately, tell you what people are thinking right now. But so what? The question for political leaders is not what are people thinking, but what should people be thinking?

In our world, as opposed to what happens in the world of Nature, "laws" are not "descriptions" of reality, defining what is and must be. In our world, the "laws" are "prescriptions" about what we want to exist.

The laws we enact in the "political" world, which is our human creation, establish reality within that world. "Scientific" polling (and the phrase is accurate) is not really pertinent to that endeavor. While it is good to know where we are now, in terms of what people think, let's remember what Karl Marx said. You don't have to be a "communist" to understand the validity of his insight. The point isn't to "interpret" the world, but to "change it."

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