Contrarian Reassessment of Alternative Proposals

After you throw conventional wisdom out the window, here's what comes along to pick up the pieces.

Concept: C.R.A.P.s are ideas that are very different from the conventional wisdom or the traditional solutions proposed for problems. Often, such alternative proposals are dismissed out of hand as impossible, impractical, or just plain nuts. But in a time when the conventional solutions don't seem to be working, it may be time to reconsider some alternative proposals.

Sherlock put it this way: "When you have eliminated the impossible, what is left, however improbable, must be the truth." Hunter Thompson updated it to "When the going gets tough, the tough get weird." The postmodern world is too complex, too savage for gentle, 18th century morality. It is time for Realpolitik.

In most cases, these rants were caused by something I heard, some statement that someone thought was logical and others failed to challenge. We all have this reaction occasionally: What planet are these people from? How could they possibly think that? Why doesn't someone say something? Well, just thinking that something is wrong is not enough; one has to have a counter-proposal, a contrarian view that, on some argument, is more logical than the statement that incited one in the first place. Hence, this list.

Yes, you will find me to be extremely Skinnerian in my views on modifying behavior. First, punishment doesn't really work. It doesn't make people not want to behave in the forbidden way. It generally causes people to find a way not to get caught or not to get punished. Second, if people change their behavior from unacceptable to acceptable, I don't bother to look too closely at their reasons. Some will cry, But they're doing it for the wrong reasons. Well, yes. So what's your point?

(This is not to argue that the end always justifies the means, or that any means are acceptable to achieve a goal. But many means are now acceptable -- to me, and to much of society -- that were not acceptable a few decades ago. A moral deflowering for the flower children.)

Here's the current catalog of C.R.A.P. proposals:

Comments and flames to the author: webmaster@ricksoft.com
"Why use logic when there's a flame-thrower handy?" Hey, go ahead. I didn't exactly leave the gloves on when I wrote this.

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Revised: 2004/05/05.