ThoughtStorms Wiki

Somewhat outdated. Needs to be revisited and looked at. See PoliticalStuff

Continuing evolution of Phil's political position (first draft was EmpiricalSocialism, this is the next)

Q : What's a "left netocrat"?

A : It's an attempt to define what it is to be LeftWing in the age of NetoCracy.

Q : What's the difference with EmpiricalSocialism

A : Well. It's more a difference of emphasis than actual policy. There are a couple of things I didn't like about the terminology. "empirical" might carry the idea of "empiricism" whereas I'm a CriticalRationalist. And although I flirted with terms like "Critical Socialist" and "Critical Rationalist Socialist" and "Left Popperian" none of them sounded quite right. Secondly, I wanted to emphasize the "network shaped" aspect of this position. We're carrying on the (non-definitive, but important) leftist tradition of emphasizing the economic basis of society. But we need to mark the fact that we're entering a very different economic order : with all the interesting aspects of TheAttentionEconomy and PeerProduction and TheAgeOfAmateurs obtain etc. Problems and solutions will follow the contours of that.

"Socialist" for many people implies a belief in centralized planning and hierarchical control of the economy. I pretty much reject that. (Although, as stated elsewhere, I'm not alergic to some central planning and control.) But I prefer to define "socialism" as something like "believing that the economy is the means to a social end rather than that society is a means to an economic end" but if that becomes a boring fight over words I can give up "socialism".

The "left" part of the title can capture the fact that this is still a leftist position. It keeps the left tendency towards systemic (or holistic) explanation for problems, which will often (though not always) imply some systemic or holistic attempts at a solution. And some kind of egalitarian moral commitment too.

Q : Define egalitarian

A : OK. So we know that "people have equal powers" is demonstrably untrue. And there is a valid RightWing challenge that striving for "equality of outcome" can mean that it's easier to destroy the value created by those who are above average than to raise up those who are below average. (I think we should agree that that has sometimes been the outcome of egalitarian projects that we need to be responsible to avoid this as our proposed solution. Generally.) I guess then the egalitarian commitment must come out as something like "equality of deserving". There are not different classes of people, some of whom deserve a different treatment from others.

One important part of any leftist project then is a continuous vigilance against worldviews which implicitly divide humanity into different categories, to which different rules should apply. This happens to women, those of other sexualities, ethnic groups, cultures, economic classes etc. All such classifications and stereotypes should be challenged.