17 May 2011

Number One for 17 May 2011

My intention's become not to lose what I've won:
  • Thoughts on ideological coherence. The coherence of ideologies seems to be something that my theorist friends take more seriously than I do. But at any level below the several thousand people around the world who are practicing political philosophers, Gelman seems right here:
    My impression is that many people have a personal feeling of political congruence--they feel that all their political views form a coherent structure--even though the perceived-congruent views of person X will only partially overlap the perceived-congruent views of person Y. For example, X can be a Democrat and support legalized gambling, while Y is a Republican who supports legalized gambling, while persons A and B are a Democrat and a Republican who oppose gambling. Four positions, but each has a story of why they are coherent. (For example, X supports gambling as a way of raising tax money, Y supports gambling because he opposes the nanny state, A opposes gambling as a tax on the poor, and B opposes gambling as immoral.)
    [Gelman Blog]
  • Speaking of ideologies, a neat attempt at estimating Cabinet members' ideal points. [Monkey Cage]
  • Conor's post on epistemic closure rings true, but I have to dissent in very small part: "We’re not going to make much progress on any of our political problems until we can come to some basic agreements regarding just WHAT we’re arguing about." But aren't most of our political "problems" caused by disagreements about what we should be arguing about? If we all agreed about the debt limit, there wouldn't be a problem (or, maybe, if we all agreed that the debt limit should be off-limits for brinksmanship, which is substantively equivalent). At a certain point, that is not epistemic closure--that is a difference of interests and identities. [Thought News]
  • Also, on competence, Jimmy Carter is at best the second-worst postwar president. By "postwar," I mean post-World War I.
  • Not to sound too much like Yglesias, but wouldn't congestion pricing solve this problem more quickly and predictably? [Freakonomics]
Ben Folds, "Boxing"

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