Four Quadrants of Controversy
Until you stop being wrong, you will continue to be wrong.
For color commentary on the topic, please see the extended post on yevaud.com .
We identify two different dimensions of controversy. One dimension, referred to here as “complexity secrecy” (CS controversy), refers to topics where certain important arguments cannot be heralded publicly in simple English, due to the complexity of the concepts involved. A second dimension, referred to here as “red-blue polarization” (RBP controversy), refers to topics where there are substantial interactions with electoral politics.
Low CS, low RBP - the conflict in Afghanistan. I commented last time on the necessary gaps in the public statements from the US intelligence committee on the topic. But I don’t know anything save for common sense and what has been reported in the press; there is nothing to say on the topic of Afghanistan that is particularly complex. This topic is also not particularly political; both Democrats and Republicans have differing views on the topic. The variety of evident failures in US policy should be non-controversial, but willful ignorance of failures is a common trend in American political discourse.
Low CS, high RBP - the noodle incident. Some Asian women said on Twitter that White women shouldn’t be allowed to write cookbooks about Asian cuisine. Things did not improve from there. There are quite a lot of explicit overtones about “racism”; Wesley Yang’s “successor ideology” is clearly at work here. This topic is too stupid and trivial to discuss in detail here; check the blog for more.
High CS, low RBP - vaccines and COVID. Vaccine hesitance is not as partisan an issue as people pretend it to be. Blacks in Alabama and “yoga moms” in Orange County, CA both are Democratic-voting groups with significant vaccine hesitancy. There are a certain amount of “necessary lies” regarding vaccines in general; these are necessary because any short statement on what is true or what should be done will contain lies. In lieu of a short statement here, my opinions are in Technicolor on the aforementioned blog.
High CS, high RBP - transgenderism. Were it not for the fact that our American political leaders are all septuagenarians who neither know nor care about the issue, the discourse around transgenderism would be unbearably toxic. I will say one thing, which might be enough to get me canceled. Homosexuality and transgenderism are different, and arguments which insist they must be treated the same are generally politically-motivated. My extended opinions, once again, are in Technicolor on the aforementioned blog.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive taxonomy. It is merely an outline of some ways in which controversies may arise and how they may differ.