Monday, June 26

Come with me to a fictitious country...

Come with me to a completely fictitious country.  We'll look around a bit, ask questions, make notes, then come home and discuss what we've seen.  Then each of you will be asked to predict the future of that fictitious nation.

Virtually all the citizens of the nation we're going to visit identify with one of two groups.  Call them "C"s and "L"s.  One group--let's say the C's, though the label is arbitrary--emphasizes the importance of children being raised by two parents whenever possible; the desirability of politeness; civility; the importance of education and hard work; belief in God; that using illegal drugs always has harmful consequences; that committing crime is bad.

They believe free speech is good even if some people don't like what someone else wants to say; and that people should be responsible for the choices and decisions they make.  Its members believe in equality of opportunity, but believe outcomes are mainly driven by individual effort.  They believe their nation should only allow people to enter and become citizens if the applicants follow a legal process that often takes years to accomplish.

By contrast, members of group L insist that children raised by two parents aren't measurably better adjusted and socialized than those raised by one parent; that in any case raising children shouldn't be left up to individual parents, but is everyone's responsibility (i.e. a collective responsibility); that swearing at someone is simply "speaking truth to power," and therefore is a very good thing.  They believe education in schools isn't particularly important because most adults don't really need it, and it's mostly propaganda anyway.  Children of group L often bully members of their own group who do well in school. 

Many members of group L believe work is a curse.  In fact one of the big goals of the leaders of group L is to make the government give people a "guaranteed income" so they can do whatever they like instead of having to work for a living.  Nevertheless, members of group L believe in equality of outcomes--i.e. that it's unfair that some people have much more than others.  Most members of this group believe there's little connection between hard work and higher income.

Members of group L think people who believe in a supreme being--a being they often refer to as "the sky fairy"--are superstitious and stupid, and only believe in a supreme being because they're emotionally needy.  Members of group L are not at all worried about the harmful effects of "recreational drugs," and compares society's current attitude on heroin, meth and crack to society's attitude toward alcohol during prohibition.  They are adamant that anyone should be able to use whatever drug they wish, without penalty.

This group believes crimes like theft, mugging, selling illegal drugs, rape and murder are simply understandable responses to inequality and/or oppression, and shouldn't result in serious punishment; and that members of the C's who are angry about such crimes really aren't worried about crime but are using this as an excuse to complain about the L's.  Members of group L believe anyone should be able to enter their nation and be able to vote there, with no restrictions.

Members of group L claim they strongly support free speech, though with the caveat that no one should be allowed to say anything that upsets members of their group.  But by contrast, they adamantly defend the right of L's to say things that "upset" the other group--like openly pushing for members of group C to be killed.

Finally, members of group L believe no one should really be held responsible for anything they do; that we're all products of our environment and simply act the way we've been programmed.

Now let's get to the test:
   1.  Do you think the differences between the two groups are significant, or trivial?
   2.  Do you see any benefits or drawbacks to the core views of each group?
   3.  What future do you predict for this fictitious nation if the main government is run by one group versus the other?

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