Thursday, June 29, 2006

Which way are the rafts going?

I stumbled across a blog today from a guy named Bill Whittle called Eject!Eject!Eject! that I have started reading in earnest. I can't say much more about it -- the writer has a good style, and makes a lot of sense. He certainly makes some good points.

Anyway, I've added him to my very shot list of links.

The author is in the midst of writing a book, and he's included his introduction in his blog.

The title of the post is from the end of the introduction. The author makes an argument that, while we may all have our own truths, the world exists in reality, and the view, the "map", that best reflects that reality is the one most useful to us.

His seminal example was to compare two "world-views" about the "miracle" of Cuba's government:

Socialist intellectuals will tell you that Cuba is a model nation: universal free health care, near total literacy, and essentially no gap whatsoever between the rich and the poor. They call it an island paradise where brotherhood and compassion reign in stark contrast to the brutal inequalities of the heartless and racist capitalist monster to the North, ruled by its Imperial Nazi King, who is the devious mastermind of all manner of Conspiratorial Wheels and is also a moron.

Capitalist intellectuals -– and there are not many, since most of these people have jobs -– argue that Cuba is a squalid, corrupt, poverty-ridden basket case, a land of oppression and secret police and torture chambers run by a megalomaniac who practices the most idiotic, inhuman and degrading economic system ever invented.

So here we sit in the chartroom, with our competing maps. What to think?

Well, ask yourself what it would take to give up your home, your country, your family and all your friends. Ask yourself how desperate you would have to be to sneak out in the night, and strap your family – your grandmother and infant son – to a collection of inner tubes lashed together and set out in the dark surf across 90 miles of shark-infested water in the dead of night, hoping against hope to make landfall. We can all agree, I think, that that kind of desperation could only be driven by a fairly passionate first-person opinion of such things. Surely this goes beyond what you or I would do to win a map argument at Starbucks.

So. Go up on deck, get out the telescope, and answer one simple question for me and for yourself:

Which way are the rafts headed?

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