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Question of the Day - The Cover Story
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Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 01:16 pm
Question of the Day

What is the most controversial issue of our time?

14CommentReply

silvermaeve
silvermaeve
Cess
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)

humans


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pezzonovante
pezzonovante
pezzonovante
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)

depends on what you mean by 'our time'. If you mean our generation, I can't say we really have one yet.

People who are just plain alive today? I'd say hate. (We can lump into this racism, anti-semitism, sexism, etc.)


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petercooperjr
petercooperjr
Peter Cooper Jr.
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)

Also depends on what you mean by "issue". One could argue that hate itself isn't that controversial, as there are very few people who think that hate is a good thing. Maybe "What's the best thing to do about hate?" could cause some controversy, but I'm not so sure about the hate itself.


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)

I think that hate being a negative thing is not as universal as one might expect. Hatred of various ethnic groups, stated as such, has been a keystone of society for millenia, from the first emergencies of Greecian city-states (and probably before, but let's stick to recorded history), to the Kingdoms of China, to the the current Israeli crisis, orienting policy around the banner of "we hate them" has been a pillar of societal control for a long, long time. If you extend our definitions to things that have the same results of hate, regardless of their stated motivation (i.e., things that leave large ethnic groups maimed to dead), hate's popularity throughout history and the modern world soars to untold heights.


ReplyThread Parent
elusiveat
elusiveat
elusiveat
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)

There are a bunch of different perspectives to take on this question. Is an issue controversial simply if it stirs up strong emotions in a large number of people? Is it more controversial if the majority of people feel strongly negative about an idea, or if the general public is equally divided on an issue. Peter Singer's views on weighing the value of one human life against another, or the life of an infant that will never grow to childhood against that of an adult baboon, stir up some very strong emotions in people, but the vast majority of people would tend to strongly disagree with his ideas. Does that mean that his ideas are more controversial than, say the question of when it is ok to have an abortion, where the public is more evenly divided?

Here are a couple of issues that are not quite as well known or evocative of emotional arguments, but which I feel are more interesting questions, with larger implications for the fate of humanity, and less straightforward answers: 1) Should the price of pharmaceuticals be left entirely to market forces? 2) Should developing countries be subject to the same environmental regulations as developed countries, in spite of the fact that this might impede their industrial progress?


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petercooperjr
petercooperjr
Peter Cooper Jr.
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)

"What moral standards do we want our government to enforce?" is a big one...


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bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)

You raise an interesting point, since the question you pose focuses on the United States. Given that the United States is the dominant economic and military force in the globe (and, despite the "America has no culture" crowd), is gaining cultural ground on other nations. Given the amount of influence the US wields, are issues that concern only the United States candidates for world controversy?


ReplyThread Parent
petercooperjr
petercooperjr
Peter Cooper Jr.
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)

I think that the question is also the source of controversy in some other countries, at least.

Deciding what you do and don't want your government to do is certainly an issue that doesn't just concern only the U.S.


ReplyThread Parent
sirroxton
sirroxton
Adam Augusta
Thu, Apr. 14th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)

What are the limitations of human reason? What is the nature of operative elements within reason (e.g. preference)? How do we reconcile our limitations with the apparent need to develop a "just" and sustainable society?

This has been a public service announcement from the movement to refactor open societies.


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bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)

OK, I'll bite. What's "refactoring open societies"?


ReplyThread Parent
sirroxton
sirroxton
Adam Augusta
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)

Allow economic and social discrimination in favor of or against registered groups. Government retains and even ameliorates laws of autonomy (violence, contract law) and national defense. Workplace standards, extranational charity, ethics get refactored into a privatized body. Competing bodies rise. Thus develops localized economic sanctions on the basis of which bodies you adhere to, kind of like credit agencies for ethical behavior. Suddenly, while you don't have a gun to your head for not giving money to AIDs victims in Africa, you can't buy a porche or travel at affordable rates. Legislative processes are forced to optimize or be outcompeted. Boycotts can actually work.


ReplyThread Parent
drcoopster
Ian
Sat, Apr. 16th, 2005 02:05 am (UTC)

Interesting idea. Obviously it'd never go through, given the government we have. But if some other (industrialized, developed) nation volunteers, I'd watch.


ReplyThread Parent
ultimatepsi
ultimatepsi
Kate Nineteen
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 12:38 am (UTC)

In my mind, a controversial issue is one where people views are dramatically different, there are large numbers of people strongly supporting both (or many) sides, and there is a lot of discussion about the issue.

Given the last condition, and to a lesser extent the second to last one, controversial issues often do not stay controversial for long periods of time. For instance, a week ago, end-of-life decisions were very controversial, but a month ago no many people seemed to be giving it any thought at all.

Given that I'd say the most controversial issue of the last year has been gay marriage, and the most controversial issue of the year before that was the war in Iraq. Of course, I'm taking about issues in America with those. My knowledge of the options and discussion around the world are not sufficient to make a call about the most controversial issues worldwide.


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gecko_in_pants
gecko_in_pants
gecko_in_pants
Fri, Apr. 15th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)

gay marriage


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