Trusted Computing and Dialectics

Filed under Political

This is one of my son Benjamin's favorite videos:

You might be wondering why I would show my six-year-old autistic son a geeky/pseudo-political video like this. Well, one of the things my wife and I have noticed about him is he loves to watch things like text scroll by on the screen. As result, he enjoys the credits of movies that do this. After discovering this, it occurred to me he might like this video too.

Sure enough, it's one of his favorites. It's really well done and very stylish. And I like how it helps to illustrates the concept of a "dialectic," although I know that idea is lost on Benjamin for the moment.

A dialectic is a method of argument. Specifically, it is the idea that one thing is presented as multiple things. If you tell someone they can have steak or carrots, you have presented a variation on a dialectic. Why not have both stake and carrots? Why not have neither? To shoehorn people into one or the other when other options are available is a dialectic.

A dialectic is similar to a false dichotomy (also known as a false dilemma). A false dichotomy is a specific kind of dialectic where the choices are supposed to be obvious. A dialectic can also obscure the choices. So instead of calling it "steak or carrots," someone might call it "Nutrition Choice" even though the choice has actually been narrowed artificially. I believe some people refer to this kind of dialectic as a "fnord" (but that's more of an obscure pop-culture reference).

If you are against trusted computing, are you personally deciding for or against how threats should be dealt with? Or are you against the more nefarious interpretation of trusted computing? Or are you against delegation of the task?

It's a little bit like "No Child Left Behind." If you are against it, does that mean you want children to be left behind? Then there's the Patriot Act. Are you unpatriotic to withdraw support from it?

These are examples of dialectic concepts that should be separated from each other to dialog about them properly. The video properly identifies the two and presents them as separate concepts. I think we need to look for these separated issues more when we dialog in politics and in general.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog


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