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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ideological Commitments

Dan Klein claims: "One’s ideological views – that is, the pattern of positions one tends to take on important public-policy issues – run deep and change little."

Well, Dan is not using the word "ideology" in the same way I do. And that's fine: I can get different definitions than my own. But in my case the claim is simply empirically way off: My views have changed dramatically at least five times in my life: from conservative as an adolescent (I used to watch Firing Line religiously at age 12!), to pretty far left by my mid-twenties, to neoconservative in my mid-thirties, to mild libertarian a few years later, to libertarian anarchist, and finally, to a understanding that holds that ideologies themselves are the main problem with contemporary politics.

I like to believe that this is a result of a willingness to think things all the way through again and again, changing my beliefs as required by such re-thinking. My critics will probably say it is just evidence of some personality disorder. I figure the odds are 50-50 as to who is right.

3 comments:

  1. re: "I like to believe that this is a result of a willingness to think things all the way through again and again, changing my beliefs as required by such re-thinking. My critics will probably say it is just evidence of some personality disorder. I figure the odds are 50-50 as to who is right."

    Strictly speaking - are the two options even mutually exclusive?

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  2. Your transitions more or less confirm a phenomenon I wrote about some while back:

    http://www.eternityroad.info/index.php/weblog/single/a_model_of_cognition_and_the_political_spectrum/

    (sorry, not sure how to do embedded links)

    I liked your myth about the elves, which seems to be your 'answer' for what you now believe, but I would be interested more in how you made your transitions. I kind of feel stuck in that transition now myself. My problem is that I foresaw that it existed and was curious about it, so I wandered in after guys like you (and G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis and the others I mentioned) and found myself lost in a philosophical jungle, while you guys seem to have entered into it by finding your way there yourselves.

    You seem to know your way around, but I feel a little bit overwhelmed, because I cannot argue exactly why I have now somewhat rejected libertarianism except to say that it is because I encountered you guys and was shoved the rest of the way in by Edmund Burke and Thorstein Veblen. It just seems wrong now, like the libertarian notions of property, community and other aspects of life are actually hollow and empty. I'm still a sort-of libertarian, but I'm not very happy about it...

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  3. Scott, we all wandered in following others, and we all feel a little bit lost! But we all need guidance from someone who may have wandered in just a wee bit earlier -- feel free to e-mail me if you'd like. (My e-mail address is readily discovered online.)

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