The conservative/liberal debate is interesting because both terms are undefined. It’s healthy to have this debate. But what exactly is the debate today? The terms have any meaning anyone wants to assign them, any time they feel like using them. Which is to say, they are utterly useless except as pejoratives.
Debates have a purpose?
Do you feel like, at the end of this debate, one of the arguments should win over other arguments? The problem we have right now is: Will reality have any real effect on political debate. Now, how sad is that?
Some policies are going to work and others aren’t. People are going to come to judgments. That’s how countries change and grow. It is how movements change too. It’s called commonsense.
But currently, our political debates are being resolved by simply who screams the loudest and longest. The winner right now is whoever can demagogue the issues the most. It is all about who appeals to grievances and anxieties; victimhood. That’s making things very worrisome.
Problem identification and solving
It feels like somehow the media and political environment is ignoring problem identification and problem solving. They just don’t care to serve the citizenry, to put it simply. Do you have the sense people are saying I’m progressive; so what policies should lead our actions in that direction? Most of us don’t. Maybe some of that will change when the redefinition of terms is clarified.
In terms of issue identification perhaps we should take for example discussions of tech companies. They are interesting because everyone knows the names. It is probably healthy that we lose the excessive adulation and credulity many have felt about them. But is the debate about them now very intelligent or informed?
There’s such a disconnect. We should try and look at things through the lens of running a business. When you’re running a business there’s a ruthless, cold factual, dimension to it, and there’s a clinical dimension. You have to ask what am I good at? What’s my market opportunity? What am I bad at? What do I have to offset that?
If you take that approach to government, which fundamentally you should do. What are our assets, how do we increase and play to those, what are our weaknesses, how do we offset those? Today in government we’re not really talking about almost anything that matters. We should be stepping back and saying, what are the things that we should really thinking about?
One thing we should be thinking about is how do we put some rules around technology, quickly. Technology has now infiltrated every part of our life. You would think about; how do you get ahead of AI and machine learning? In both there is an upside but there are also destructive capabilities. The destructive capabilities could make the manufacturing crisis look small if we don’t get tech right.
Running a company right now there’s a huge flaw in our education system. We’re not actually producing the type of people we need to hire in terms of technologists. We need people who understand data science and machine learning.
There’s a disconnect between what the education system produces and what we need as employers. That seems like kind of a big deal. Especially if we don’t fix it. The bastardization of the education system we have done governmentally has cost a lot. Adding insult to injury it is making the situation worse not better.
There are existential threats out there. The next big crisis, most people who study this or live in the trenches of government will tell you, it’s going to be cybersecurity. It’s going to be something we’re not thinking about that’s going to be really destructive. It will happen at a scale that we’re probably not capable of responding to in the way that we’d want to respond to it.
You would act as if you understand China is hell bent on replacing us as the dominant super power. It seems like a pretty big topic we should be coming to grips with.
Looking back getting emotional
Those are the important things. But more often than not we are allowing ourselves to get spooled up. We shift our focus to either backward looking topics or things that are just sort of emotional in the moment. We need to start thinking about what is important and step back from what feels like it is immediate. Failure to do so will lead us to a very bad place.
The political market should take care of these things. It should reward candidates who emerge because they demonstrate understanding of problems. Are we separating those who are dealing with what people are concerned with rather than what society needs to be concerned about. It’s not obvious to me if that that’s really happening. We need to smarten up and understand the difference; urgent versus important.