I’m impressed with anyone who can pass an ideological turing test. It seems silly to me that people admit that they, “just don’t get the other side”, and yet want to argue against it. If you don’t understand something you shouldn’t be arguing against it. And if you don’t understand “the other side”, when the other side is generally rather shallow political views, then you’re just not trying very hard.
Scott Alexander (recommended by Bryan Caplan) passes an ideological turing test elegantly when he writes a case for doing something against global warming that is rhetorically geared toward conservatives. It’s so good:
In the 1950s, brave American scientists shunned by the climate establishment of the day discovered that the Earth was warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to potentially devastating natural disasters that could destroy American agriculture and flood American cities. As a result, the country mobilized against the threat. Strong government action by the Bush administration outlawed the worst of these gases, and brilliant entrepreneurs were able to discover and manufacture new cleaner energy sources. As a result of these brave decisions, our emissions stabilized and are currently declining.
Unfortunately, even as we do our part, the authoritarian governments of Russia and China continue to industrialize and militarize rapidly as part of their bid to challenge American supremacy. As a result, Communist China is now by far the world’s largest greenhouse gas producer, with the Russians close behind. Many analysts believe Putin secretly welcomes global warming as a way to gain access to frozen Siberian resources and weaken the more temperate United States at the same time. These countries blow off huge disgusting globs of toxic gas, which effortlessly cross American borders and disrupt the climate of the United States. Although we have asked them to stop several times, they refuse, perhaps egged on by major oil producers like Iran and Venezuela who have the most to gain by keeping the world dependent on the fossil fuels they produce and sell to prop up their dictatorships.
A giant poster of Mao looks approvingly at all the CO2 being produced…for Communism.
We need to take immediate action. While we cannot rule out the threat of military force, we should start by using our diplomatic muscle to push for firm action at top-level summits like the Kyoto Protocol. Second, we should fight back against the liberals who are trying to hold up this important work, from big government bureaucrats trying to regulate clean energy to celebrities accusing people who believe in global warming of being ‘racist’. Third, we need to continue working with American industries to set an example for the world by decreasing our own emissions in order to protect ourselves and our allies. Finally, we need to punish people and institutions who, instead of cleaning up their own carbon, try to parasitize off the rest of us and expect the federal government to do it for them
It’s not technically an ideological turing test because it isn’t a conservative position. It’s better. It understands the conservative value language and meta-narrative well enough to use it to argue for something new, rather than merely repeating conservative positions with a conservative tone. Political divides aren’t about positions, outcomes, or even values, it’s about contrasting methods of spin. Abortion can be viewed as oppression against the weak (liberal), or as economic freedom (conservative). It looks like differing values, but it’s really just moral frames rather than defined principles.
Again, I’m impressed with people who can transcend these moral frames and Scott Alexander seems to be one of them.