I've been reading a great (as yet) unpublished paper by David Corey. He gave me permission to quote it:
Ultimately, the problem with the first postulate—that the abstract [in politics] is better than the embedded—is that it is simply false. In mathematics, if someone can latch onto one truth, he can often use it to find others. For example if one element of a complex equation can be solved, it may be used to solve the rest. But moral and political “truths” are not like this. We cannot focus on one aspect of the human political terrain, abstracted from the overall context, and expect this to point the way to social harmony. This is because (to put it bluntly) humans are not numbers, and our affairs admit of irreducible contingency. No doubt, we are frustrated by contingency. We wish for a degree of simplicity and universality that human moral claims do not actually possess. But to allow such frustrations to overwhelm us, to insist that the abstract is superior to the embedded when the results tell us otherwise, is to engage in a kind of intellectual dishonesty, all the worse for the disastrous political consequences.NAPsters, take note.