Kinda Dumb, Question Remains, Intentional or Not?

So, this sort of thing is going around in many ways all over. Succinctly put (from here):

If you want to feel depressed about the future of American politics, Obamacare confirms an unnerving phenomenon that has been well-documented by social scientists: more and better information has almost no effect on the political mind.

It’s some sort of mirage apparently to the left, who remains convinced that it is just a misunderstanding that divides right and left. Which is apparently their premise, but I can’t believe they actually believe that.

It is a common practice in many sciences, especially physics, to start with a toy, highly abstracted model to demonstrate the essence of a concept. Let’s posit two parties, positions, “political minds” (whatever the heck that might be), call them the dog party and the cat party. Let’s pretend the dog values exactly one thing, equality and that the cat also values exactly one thing, freedom. A perfect communist utopia would be exactly what the dog, in this example would find the ideal. It is their goal. The cat party on the other hand would look at the (mythical perhaps) wild west as shown in movies as their ideal. It is their goal. Then you present both with a “Obamacare”, a large complicated healthcare plan that has costs, benefits and so on. Learning more and more about it is going to not change the dog or cat perceptions on the benefits of this plan one bit. This shouldn’t be unnerving at all. It is clear, those who value equality would like Obamacare as it shifts more resources from the “haves” to the “have-less”, it equalizes things. Those who value freedom would see this is one more diktat from people who should be mindin’ their own bizness and gitten out of theirn. Learning more about it, isn’t going to convince them one bit that it looks any better.

The thing is, those like the poster, Mr Klein all know that the left and right don’t share the same value structure, that they don’t evaluate “goodness” of programs and political situations with the same cost/benefit matrix. Our political system, for better or worse, is naturally bi-cameral. This means that to get any say at all, you align yourself with the “team” whose actual or declared (… which in a perfect world is aligned somewhat) cost/benefit matrix for evaluating “goodness” of decisions is best aligned with yours. Those like Mr Klein know this.

Question is, why pretend otherwise? I dunno? Any guesses?

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7 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    I recall a few years ago you were quite excited by a ‘deal’….the deal was the right would stop lying about Obamacare if the left would drop the assertion that it was budget neutral (or budget beneficial). What was interesting about your willingness to play aling with that deal was your lack of offense.

    To use your example, if in 1960 someone said to Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries “look, stop lying about trying to establish a socialist state and admit you are just out for yourselves”. They almost certainly would take offense and object that they were indeed attempting to establish socialism. And your ‘more information’ theory would work. ‘More information’ about Cuba would indeed show they were trying to establish socialism and that would likely make socialists more supportive of them and anti-socialists less supportive. By no one need lie in that case. The lies could come later, say by selling resort services to tourists while still pretending to be doing socialism or about other things like whether or not human rights were respected.

    Your side, however, embraced the idea of lying. That indicates this is not really an ideological fight as much as a ‘team fight’. Republicans hate Obamacare because of the first half of that word. That would coincide that ‘more information’ would not shift positions. If you are a Giants fan, getting more information on their failed season last year isn’t going to change much of anything other than piss you off that you are being reminded of how bad your team did.

    In contrast a true ideological difference can be countered by ‘more information’. For example, anti-communists did shift their stance on China as ‘more information’ first revealed China was not as aligned with the USSR as it might have appeared on the surface and later as it started to become clear that while China was remaining communist in name its ruling party was starting to reform, at least on the economic front.

  2. Mark says:

    How does that answer my question? I don’t see it.

    A “true ideological” difference can be adjusted by more information if the information is incorrect. But it cannot, as in most cases, it is not based on lack of information but a disagreement of priority. Of how goodness is measured.

    Again, why pretend differently? To what end is pretending teh stupid?

  3. Boonton says:

    A “true ideological” difference can be adjusted by more information if the information is incorrect. But it cannot, as in most cases, it is not based on lack of information but a disagreement of priority.

    A true ideological difference would be independent of the actors. While he was mayor of NY, Rudy Guiliani was pro-choice. Pro-lifers opposed pro-choicers even if they were Republicans. Hence an honest ideological difference.

    In an alternative universe where Obamacare was introduced and passed as John McCain/PalinCare it would be embraced by the GOP as a shining example of market based, ‘compassionate conservatism’. Hence there is no honest ideological difference, only a difference in team loyality.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    A true ideological difference would be independent of the actors. While he was mayor of NY, Rudy Guiliani was pro-choice. Pro-lifers opposed pro-choicers even if they were Republicans. Hence an honest ideological difference.

    I’m not understanding you here. Are you saying pro-lifers supported a pro-choice person (Mr Guiliani) … when he was running against a pro-life Democrat? I doubt it. Democrats are even more ideologically pure regarding abortion and party than the GOP.

    In an alternative universe where Obamacare was introduced and passed as John McCain/PalinCare it would be embraced by the GOP as a shining example of market based, ‘compassionate conservatism’

    This is silly.

  5. Boonton says:

    Medicare Part D and RomneyCare.

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton
    Were both roundly criticized by the conservatives. Still making my points for me, eh?

  7. Boonton says:

    Were both roundly criticized by the conservatives

    Not roundly enough to actually be defeated by the votes of elected Republican politicians.