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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Pro-choice/Pro-life Identification

2015-02-13 Comments off

Lots of people will tell you that abortion should be legal, though they personally are pro-life. Logically, all of those people should be called pro-choice, but some of them will tell you no, they’re pro-life. The pro-choice side thinks that’s a contradiction, that people who identify this way just don’t understand what they’re talking about.

I think the difference here is due to how people are defining their views. Pro-choice people are making a purely legal decision. They’re not talking about their plans if they find themselves pregnant; they’re talking about what the laws should look like. Their label is about public policy, not a declaration of their personal moral code as the prolife can be.

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Welfare for Millionaires

2014-11-11 Comments off

The idea behind cutting corporate taxes during a recession is that the extra money would be reinvested, driving growth and thus hiring more people. That generates economic activity, creating jobs and breaking the recession. If the same business opportunities that exist normally still existed during a recession, this could work, but only if you also assume businesses are more interested in the public good than their own.

What’s missing during a recession is a basic driver of economic activity: demand. Demand drives profit, and that drives growth which means more people will be hired. A tax break increases profit, which ought to create jobs according the the previous logic. But not all profit is the same, even though “marginal differences” would count a tax break the same way it would count a sales revenue increase.

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Fighting Words

2014-07-09 Comments off

JT of Patheos put voice to the trend that any discussion of hot-button issues always seems to spiral downhill:

“Not only are they wrong, they must also be malicious or have some sort of agenda against something or someone that led to their wrongness….Now, this isn’t to say that agendas and assholes don’t exist – they most certainly do…Often from atheists and believers alike we seem more interested in tearing down our opponents by trying way harder to paint our opponents as evil people and getting around to deconstructing their arguments second (if at all).”

This tendency is a result of the fundamental attribution error: we judge another’s character, and therefore their intent, based on their actions; we judge our own character based on our intent, not the outcome of our actions. It’s a judgement error caused by the inability to know another’s mind. The only information we have about another person is how they act, and what they tell us about how they act; when the two conflict, we often go with how the person acts. A person who acts badly is indistinguishable from a person who is malicious. The two are the same thing for purposes of everyday character judgement. Read more…