Thursday, July 1, 2010

Should our politics be predictable?

Mike Huckabee doesn't think so:

[Huckabee] finds it “repulsive” when people assume that they know his mind simply because they know his affiliations. “I was never that predictable,” he said with satisfaction. “. . . I was never one to just pick up the company line and recite it. I hate that . . . And politics is becoming more and more where you’re handed this script and told, ‘Don’t improv.’ ”

I think it's fair to say that toting the party line is not a good thing. If that's why you're predictable you shouldn't be proud of your ignorance.

But, in general, we should have predictable political positions.

Someone who knows you well should have a good sense of your fundamental ethical beliefs. You think such and such criteria are what makes the world a good place, so given policies A, B, and C you would pick the one with the best consequences. (This assume you are some kind of consequentialist. And you should be.)

This doesn't mean people won't be surprised by your position on things. You probably have read articles and know statistics other people are unfamiliar with, and that evidence might be why you prefer B to A.

But if someone looking at the same evidence as you can't pretend to be you and derive your opinion, you're probably letting emotion color your opinions. And that's usually a bad thing in politics.

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