Our Culture of "Package-Dealing"
Jul 02, 2011
Ours is a culture hostile to the process of thinking in essentials. Today, the proliferation of bad ideas occurs primarily not by outright falsehoods, but by a certain type of falsehood: the “package-deal.” A “package-deal” is an integration by non-essentials. It is the attempt to unite, and to treat as conceptually similar, elements that are in fact conceptually different.
Building on his previous lectures on this subject, Mr. Schwartz here discusses how the major controversies of our day—from financial regulation to anti-discrimination laws, from Islamic totalitarianism to global warming—are characterized by “package-dealing.” He examines why this particular method is so vital in disseminating false views. And he explains the key to “unpackaging”—i.e., the key not only to recognizing the presence of a “package-deal,” but to communicating succinctly why it is invalid.