Many arguments in the public domain rely on what we think the consequences of change will be. I’m broadly in favour of arming our police officers with tasers and handguns and improving response time in getting expert markspeople to scenes where necessary. One can see potential problems – there are rogue cops and more obviously armed police could lead to more obviously armed criminals and so on. It might disappoint some, but I’m not far from the position Gadget fairly regularly outlines on this particular topic. I want to see a different form of regulating our police, but really want them to have the tools and back-up in the CJS to do the job. Currently, I doubt this is the case either for police doing their job or for the public who need their help.
I’m not interested in policing per se but the wider problems of society. Frankly, I don’t think social science and philosophy are much help in this. The people doing this stuff are too often up themselves and stuck in their own interests and soaked up values. Very few put their work into the broad public domain as , say, Steve Keen (economics) or Alain Connes (maths) who can be read for free.
If we start to think through the consequences of arming our police, I’m sure we would quickly come up with good and bad. What interests me is how quickly impasse is reached even over such a simple matter. What chance then of Keen’s (and others) ideas on radical social change in forgiving debt (a regular feature of our history – see David Graeber) and returning to banking focused on productive work and innovation in a real economy?
The problem is that human beings do very little thinking and are broadly content with habit. The irony of my teaching might be summed up as ‘brow-beating people into thinking for themselves’. One or two of my own teachers worked this miracle on me in the past, and I’m very grateful. However, the issue of flogging dead horses remains.
In the end, we can’t all decide whether special and general relativity are any good because we have already balked at much lower hurdles like basic algebra. Universal education has obviously failed to turn us all (or even many) of us into scientists or creative thinking individuals. One idea developing from modern brain science is that we make few rational decisions and rely on a kind of unconscious reasoning.
I think science is mostly straight and that matters like banking (as banksterism),politics and economics largely bent – like the Emperor’s New Clothes. I have little problem with elite groups doing science, but am generally sickened by what other elite groups get up to. I can explain why. The problem is not a matter of explanation – it’s that the way we enter into explanation on social matters is itself the problem we can’t overcome.
I’d like to see questions like whether to arm our police alongside deeper economic issues in mainstream discussion in order to find new decision-making processes based in practice and honesty.