Sunday, August 10, 2008

why are the other guys wrong?

It's been a while since I've posted, as I've waited to see if I'd be hit with a stroke of inspiration (, not yet.) So I thought I would see if any of my few (but dedicated) readers could get the game going.

One of the reasons I am sympathetic to both conservative and liberal perspectives is that I agree with both sides' criticisms of the other -- both sides fail to recognize distortions in their perspectives, which, in turn, undermine the intellectual integrity of their arguments.

My theory is that each of us internalizes one or more insights about different policy issues. For instance, if someone talks to me about the problems with public schools, I will be drawn to the inefficiencies that public schools has in common with other government programs. On the other hand, a more liberal friend will point to the fact that the public schools don't get enough funding.

I think it's important both for self-awareness and public discourse to explore these prepackaged insights, as they can get you in trouble. For instance, those who yelled for "liberalization!" in poor countries over the last 40 years when privatization was only going to lead to exchanging public corruption for private; also, for those on the other side of the aisle who have routinely demanded more and more funding for government programs (e.g., those public schools) that also do not lead to positive results. In both cases, even when the results aren't positive, both sides simply say, 'Well, the problem is you need more liberalization/funding.'

So, fair readers, why do you think the other side is routinely wrong? What don't they get? I'll be supplying my own thoughts later on, but I'd like to respond to what YOU think as well.

No comments: