Monday, January 19, 2004

Body Hits and Social Constructivism

The programme Body Hits on Friday night had an interesting item on body image. Initially it put forward the commonly accepted notion that what we consider to be beautiful is created by the 1000's of images we are bombarded with from advertising. The standard Social Constructivist (SC) view. The programme then went on to question the validity of this theory and posited the evolutionary psychology perspective - we have inbuilt notions of what is beautiful that are there from birth, are not the product of our environment, and evolved because they provided clues as to the reproductive potential of a prospective mate.

Needless to say the evidence supports the evolutionary point of view not that of SC.

One of the areas where SC has lead the Left astray is that of how political opinions are formed. The standard Left model is the Chomskyist "Media Propaganda" model where political opinion is constructed by the barrage of right wing, capitalist messages from establishment media sources. This conveniently explains why so many people do not have sympathy with the Left while at the same time judging people not as evil but as unwitting dupes. I'm not sure that this makes the view any less misanthropic but it is certainly wrong.

An article in Reason - Uncritical Masses Was the public too stupid to oppose the war in Iraq? - discusses this aspect.

This reliance by the Left on SC not only leads them to misanthropy but also to a point of view that cannot help spread liberal views as it does not incorporate any understanding of how people actually arrive at their political views.

Given the success of liberal views in general it is interesting to note the shift to the right in US political opinion as outlined by Gene Expression.


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