Have I ever told you much I despise the use of labels? Perhaps you’ve noticed by my sometimes frequent use of quotation marks around nouns that I can’t otherwise avoid using in a description or explanation. In the field of economics and finance alone, you have your “Keynesians”, “Austrians”, “Monetarists”, “Marxists”, “Neoclassicals”, “Inflationists”, “Deflationists”, “soft money advocates”, “hard money advocates”, “capitalists”, “communists”, “anarchists”, etc. When we expand the fields to encompass sociology, psychology, politics and religion… forget about it. The “pundits” and the “politicians” will continue labeling each other into eternity.
Frankly, it’s an embarassment that our socieities have developed so many different labels to use and yet individual people have so little understanding of what each other truly believes. Perhaps that’s why people in the highest levels of academia and government, as well as the most decentralized levels of intellectual discourse, find themselves talking past one another so often. And perhaps that’s why our global society has reached an era of sclerotic stagnation in which the majority of the population finds themselves hiking around a circular trail at the base of the mountain, never making any vertical progress.
Instead of gradually making our way towards the truth, we paint targets on each other’s backs to make our arguments and our beliefs more convenient. This practice is by no means limited to the societal “elites”, but rather is endemic to the modern world – we are all guilty of doing it.