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12 July 2006

=Blogger Lorraine=

I finally got a round tuit and wrote a post for my Blogger account.
Perhaps it will be the first of many and perhaps it will be the only
one for some time. Since blogging has gotten a reputation for
opinionation, I'll use the present message for the purpose of
clarifying my opinion system. In this context, opinion system
is to opinion as belief system is to belief.

It is my belief/opinion that belief and opinion are simply two words
denoting the same thing. Henceforth in the present message I shall
use the terms interchangeably, and probably use "opinion" more often,
since it generally connotes less gravitas and therefore should be more
accessible and less intimidating to others.

While I don't generally endorse the idea of America's "Founding
Fathers" as inerrant or otherwise uniquely qualified to set the human
rights or legal reform agenda of American or other people on a
"forever" basis, I do generally admire their ideas and the expression
of those ideas in some of their most well-known documents. One true
stroke of genius in the Bill of Rights is the first amendment. I
myself would have worded the part about freedom of religion more
explicitly, perhaps stating "wall of separation" instead of the
seemingly deliberately contentious "nonestablishment clause."
Nevertheless, perhaps one can forgive the 18th century bourgeoisie for
using stilted 18th century language. The real stroke of genius in the
American Constitution is the devotion of one amendment (not more, not
less) to (in essence) "freedom of belief/opinion." While the present
generation is torn end-to-end on whether the relationship between
church and state is characterized by "non-establishment" or (as I
would strongly prefer) a "wall of separation," at least we aren't
plagued by controversies over whether a given exercise of (expletive
deleted) authority is unconstitutional on mth amendment grounds
(for violating "freedom of religion") or nth amendment grounds
(because people are entitled to their opinions).

I have decided that the present blog will be yet another opinion blog.
This is, of course, not because the world needs another opinion blog.
It is probably the same reason "opinion" and "blog" are largely
synonymous in much of the blogosphere:

* I need a "containment bucket" to contain my opinions, so that other
online resources that I use for samizdat (or samizdat lite) purposes
will contain less opinion and be less opinionated.

* Being naturally vain, I like having a modest informational space
(thank you Blogger) where I can map out my constellation of opinions
for comparison and contrast with other maps, many of which are well
established online and especially in the blogosphere.

Readers, if any, will hopefully forgive my amateurish and sometimes
jarring text formatting. I am a vagrant netizen, so simply learning
yet another interactive web site's markup language can take multiple
library visits, which can amount to more than a month in meattime.
Much (perhaps too much) has been posted online concerning what I
shall refer to as "opinion taxonomy," or perhaps more ominously
"ideology taxonomy" or "agenda taxonomy." I shall start here
with a brief summary:

* Left vs. right

This is the most familiar, and probably also the most derided for
oversimplification. I happen to endorse it, partially for its
simplicity, but mostly for its solid consistency with life as I have
observed it so far. It seems that in every context there are insiders
and outsiders, overlords and underdogs, winning and losing track
records. It also seems that every status quo (statist or
otherwise) comes with its own tamper-proofing mechanisms designed to
protect the interests of insiders, overlords and winners from
outsiders, underdogs and losers.

* High-dimensional euclidean space

The most famous example is the biaxial Nolan Chart. Another is the
triaxial Pournelle Chart. A somewhat long-winded discussion of the
concept is found in the Wikipedia article "Political spectrum:"

* Chromatic factionalism

I first came across this on a European wiki (or tiki?) but have since
failed to "re-locate" it. This offers some flexibilities in that one
can mix and match factions, as in my own self identification with both
the red (egalitarian) and black (antiauthoritarian) factions. I have
proposed a "model agnostic" (though computationally intensive)
approach to factionalism in my blurt titled "Chromatic Content Coding"

Halfbakery seems to have shuffled its namespace schema (or "dongling
schema" as I call them), so the above URL might not work as is.

* Percentage-based schemata

This is the preferred approach of many American special interest
groups (SIG's). It consists of rating policymakers (at least
legislative branch policymakers) on a scale of 0-100%. The percentage
often represents simply the percentage of times a given politician
voted the same way a given SIG would, given a seat in the legislature.
Sometimes it is perhaps a weighted average. Not all SIG's are
transparent about precisely which bills are included for "analysis."
This approach to taxonomy can lead to absurdities such as David Brooks
(7 Jul 2006 "News Hour," PBS) classifying Joe Lieberman as some kind
of überliberal thanks to a 0% rating by Christian Coalition.

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