This is a rather odd title, but try as I might, I could not think of any better way to phrase it. In short, what I am referring to here is the patterns of rationalization that people give for most of the affairs that they undertake. Of course, this doesn't cover everything, and what it does cover it may cover only due to being so broad that it is useless, but it is still interesting to notice how widely these patterns show up.

The first way to explain any system is to claim it is not a system at all. A system is a construction, imposed on things from some outside agency. It treats things with bias, placing them about for either an ulterior goal, or perhaps arranging them merely for the form they are in. Somethings we deal with are very clearly systems, such as the organizational structure of the Roman Catholic Church. Other things, such as the pattern of rice after it has been thrown up in the air and landed on the floor, don't seem to bespeak of a system. Many systems are justified by being not artificial constructions, but merely the way things occur naturally.

The other way things are justified are as being constructions, but that constructions that do lead to an ulterior goal, which is oftentimes seen as an ultimate goal, either the most happiness for the most people, or limitless energy and boundless happiness, or death to the infidel, or whatever is placed as a goal that the people who run that system can agree on.

Often, these two justifications are jumbled together. For example, some people would say that whatever comes about through a "transparent system" should rightfully be described as the ultimate goal. And some say that when a system is really focused on achieving its ultimate goal, it becomes transparent.

Now that I have given the theoretical outline, I will give some examples of how this system is used. I am not developing this theory merely to attack certain institutions and their short-sightedness, that is merely a byproduct.

If you look at the scientific establishment, it will mostly use the first tack to explain its system. Scientists claim not to have a system, but merely are observing things as they naturally occur, albeit in a controlled fashion. Without getting into the details, there is certain ways that scientific method is indeed a system, as contrived as any other. If you ever get a believer in the primacy of the scientific method to admit to the fact that they have a system, they will often switch tacks: science may be a system, but it is a system that is transparent to giving results, in the form of medicine, light bulbs, the internet and all the other great things of science. Notice that I am not denying either that scientific method is often fairly minimalistic, or that it is productive. I am just noting that both of these justifications are used, and that often the failure of one will bring out the other.

Education is often also justified this way. Education can't claim to be biasless and teaching "just the facts" for long, simply because there is so much to teach that some bias has to be incorporated in the teaching. They do not teach the type of lice that live on sheep to elementary school students. Instead, they teach what is useful, that is, what will enable the student and the society to reach certain goals.

The capitalist system on the whole often claims to be neutral. After all, it is the free market, where independent agents get to make their own choices, and get to interact in any patterns they want without outside interference. However, even in the most capitalist, free market societies, Euler characteristics set in, and some limits need to be put on what people do. After all, roads lead to markets, and if people decide to play hopscotch on that road, no one can trade freely. Therefore, the capitalist system is not totally free. However, its next justification is that it provides the largest happiness for the most people. Often, these arguments get conflated together into the belief that capitalism is a system that gives the most to those who "naturally" deserve it, those being the people who are best able to achieve their goals under capitalism. Yes, that sentence is confusing. Yes, the reasoning behind it is more so.

So, while not wanting to demean or lump anyone's beliefs, or anyone's reasons for their beliefs, I believe it is a good idea to look out for these patterns of justification in people's arguments.

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