Firstly, let me thank Ender for all the work he did setting up this new version of Swords Crossed.
I'd like my first post here at this new Swords Crossed to be about the purple nation logo. The source art I assume is from the widely spread purple images of the 2004 election . Here is one for the 2006 congressional race provided by this guy at Princeton .
My belief in relativism gets bogged down in esoteric epistemology, often, when it comes to debate, but of course, there is a much simpler and practical aspect of relativism, a perspectivism, which really merely points out that, given Argument A, there are N sides (not 2) to the issues it raises. The sides are not entirely without limit, of M proposed sides of an argument, some can be rejected due to:
- logical inconsistency
- lack of supporting evidence
- manipulative arguments, disingenuous sides of the argument
- contravention to local law
These and other criteria can reject a side of an argument from public consideration... but one will still end up with a set of sides greater than one. The Purple Theory of American politics would -- should -- be that proper solutions pull the best ideas from each side, and is always informed by the concerns represented. It is not with a spirit of compromise we do this, just to be nice or get along, though that's nice, it's from a belief that the strongest ideas, the best national ideas, are made from all points of view. The "full view" is all the N sides. Any "expert" in the debate would and will know all N sides, and be able to present them.
It is my view that of the N sides of an argument that remain standing as philosophies with support among the people, then the "complete view" on Issue A is not the best of the N sides, but all of them together. And a solution to Problem A, which lead to Argument A and ultimately all N sides of A... will have to take elements not from just the "best of N sides" but from all N sides. Thus, if we want safe elections, and I know I do, it's not enough to compile the liberal requirements... but it is also necessary to collect conservative concerns. So for example, I have found that conservatives, when asked about safe elections, want to require ID on a national level (I have to give an ID already, but I guess in some states you don't have to). To reform elections, to make them robust, would require incorporating ideas like this even though, frankly, that issue does not come up as readily among liberals concerned about safe elections, who right now are more concerned about paper trails for e-voting and about partisan election officials. I don't think the ID issue is the main problem myself, but it's clear that addressing that is a part of a complete solution, it is a valid concern, a real policy should fairly take it into account. I can see that without it having been initially my concern.
The purple map reminds me that real solutions take into account all the people represented, and helps to remind us that a politician represents even those that voted against them. It may not be easy, some purple counties are purple because the individuals are part liberal, part conservative... or simply neither conservative nor liberal. Some counties are purple because they have a divided community of radical conservatives and liberals... it might not be easy to represent the latter as one but the reality remains. It is possible for people to appreciate the best ideas and concerns of their opponents. It would behoove us all to be honest enough to see those strong points in the ideas of others.
The purple theory of American Politics is one that claims that it is GOOD we disagree, that by taking different points from which to construct our opinion and give our view, we triangulate on real solutions, we can specialize our concerns to our individual human nature, and still ensure that the primary concerns of our school of thought are part of a whole solution in which every contingency and constituency is taken into account. Again, this is not just to be nice, but because two heads really are better than one. Stereo-vision achieves a depth unavailable to mono-vision. Multiple data points increase statistical accuracy.
This is, in fact, common sense, it is, in the end, how people behave in their day to day lives... by taking the view of others into account even if they see it differently themselves... but in politics the illusion that only one side will survive "in the end" has dire consequences. The idea that one idea should really be alone... that is an error that leads to a negative pathos of distance. Instead of taking advantage of the fact that we have a problem surrounded, we fire back and forth at each other.
The Purple Theory is one that remembers we do have the problem surrounded, we can in fact beat it, and we can even use what is best in those that have a different view from us. Sometimes there is no compromise, true, but the foundation of reality, of national politics, of a democratic system is, usually, there is room not only for compromise, but for hybrid solutions that excel at taking everything into account.
I leave you with this animation from the last few decades of US election, from the same guy at princeton as above.