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Post Can Coronavirus "Fit" on the Left-Right Spectrum? (from Gary Moore)
Created by John Eipper on 04/13/20 4:31 AM

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Can Coronavirus "Fit" on the Left-Right Spectrum? (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA, 04/13/20 4:31 am)

Gary Moore writes:

This somber Easter seems to be "prejudice" day on WAIS. Serendipitously and subtly, but importantly, two posts and a comment, on different themes, have brought up questions about warping of discourse, or bias impeding the usefulness of communication by hiding relevant facts.

Cameron Sawyer's impressive reply (April 12) to Sam Abrams's thoughtful post, on whether Sweden is getting a bad rap for its coronavirus moderation, is followed by José Ignacio Soler, in quite another vein, with his admirably considerate but frank concerns that, on the subject of independence for Catalonia, our moderator John E might be prejudiced.

Cameron stated about a theme in the news (on Sweden): “The whole narrative... is made up to satisfy a particular prejudice." If he's right, the question is: Why would the naysayers want to do this? What would, hypothetically, prejudice an influential segment of opinion on a question that isn't even politically right or left, but would have to have some other buried prejudicial trigger, causing a kind of avoidance reaction?

Cameron suggested that in Sweden's case, it might be, so to speak, lockdown-compensation, as more confined cultures spawn proselytizing to rationalize their own distress. Quickly, we begin to see just how deep the everyday question of "prejudice" can go.

In answering José Ignacio Soler's concerns about Catalonia prejudice, JE said he feels "agnostic" on the Catalonia issue--not a true believer on either side--but he then broadened the field to prejudice's more familiar mazes, saying: "I acknowledge my anti-Trump bias"--though acknowledgement would seem to mean it's not felt to be a bias at all, but an opinion owned as reasoned.

The pandemic, with its bewildering streams of oft-distorted information, rising and then disappearing within days at times, affords tantalizing glimpses of the emotional wellsprings of over-selective belief, hidden in better times behind orthodox labels of left or right. It reminds how far we have to go in understanding what might seem heretically taboo: the implication that "left" and "right" lead deeply into matters of psychology.

JE comments:  Gary Moore is onto something, in that we've found two controversies that don't fit the left-right template:  Catalonia and coronavirus.  Even Trump embodies "right" in a sense that would have been incomprehensible to US conservatives prior to 2016.

Can coronavirus policies be placed on the political spectrum?  An orthodox libertarian response would be to let the people do what they want and fend for themselves.  But there are nations both left and right with the strictest of quarantines in place.  Do criticisms of Sweden's policy, as Gary suggests, reflect the need of "locked down" societies to rationalize their sacrifice?  Meaning, to put it bluntly, that the free-range Swedes deserve their higher levels of infection--even if they're not all that higher?


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