Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Irrationing The Center

Sometime last year - I can't remember when, and the original article is certainly archived by now - David Brooks had a reasonable column in the New York Times. It was about the school of thought that we don't choose our political beliefs rationally, that our political alliances have more to do with tribalism than with logic. It was a typical sentiment for Brooks - who, even more typically, slyly suggested that Democrats are at least currently more tribal than Republicans. Nonetheless, his column rang true.

It is my view that centrists and other non-partisans don't take this school of thought nearly seriously enough. Even more than partisans, we tend to try and persuade people to our side through rationalist means. What's worse, we also tend to assume that our own positions are indeed rationally chosen, and not the product of other, less predictable forces. Could we be putting far too faith in our own rationality?


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