How much do our views and values influence how we look at things?

From: Ulrich
Sent on: Friday, June 18, 2010 7:08 PM
Just the other week I read an article about the BP oil spill. A brief update about what is going on down there. At the end of the article there were several comments by readers and some were asking this: ?Why does 'the left' care about the suffering animals in the ocean, while nobody is talking about those 11 workers who died on the oil platform?? ?Why does the left care so much about the environment and so very little about human life - for example, the unborn human life??
I thought it was interesting that the oil spill was not just looked at as an oil spill, but was labeled by the respondents as a topic of ?the left?. Then they stuck it onto a ?greater value system map? (?south? of ?more important? topics like the supremacy of humans over animals). Last but not least, the oil spill was pitched against something rather unrelated: abortion. So in summary, the commentators did what could be called an LSP ? labeling it/sticking it on a value map/pitching it against something. (LSP ironically also happens to be the acronym for the Louisiana State Police, which of course is nothing but a coincidence.)

Anyways, it was striking, on the one hand, the commentators had a point - yes there are some people on the left who seem to care about the environment more than about humans and almost nobody talked about the 11 killed workers. On the other hand, they also spectacularly missed the point that an oil spill of this magnitude is really horrible for animals and people alike and that it is ? or should be - a matter of bipartisan annoyance.

The commentators were of course a bit of a ?caricature?; I doubt their opinion is widely shared; and we can, if we want, forget about them now. But I would like to discuss their LSP-technique.
As a sequel to the discussion ?do we need a new bohemianism? I propose we talk about the following question:

How much do the political views and values we hold influence how we look at things?

Is LSP the exception or the rule and are we all ultimately completely unable to see things for what they are?

Last but not least, to spice it all up, I?d like to discuss the question if the high degree of polarization existent in the US of today, makes us all ?more blind? than we would be if the US weren?t so polarized??

The discussion will be in Hillcrest, on Wednesday the 30th of June at 7 PM. The exact location will be announced to everybody who RSVPs YES or MAYBE.

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