Monday, July 28, 2008

In defense of flip-flopping

From what I hear regarding the Presidential campaign, about the worst thing a candidate can be accused of is flip-flopping.

I do not understand why flip-flopping is a bad thing. There are many reasons to change an opinion of an issue. New information, new insights, being exposed to a new argument are all good reasons to change a position.

Indeed, someone who had never changed his or her position on any issue of substance is most likely brain deal. I am not going to turn this blog into a Bush Bash Blog, there's hardly any need for that and anyway in a few months, he'll be irrelevant. But his failures can be traced to his inability to evolved his positions. Rather than re-evaluate policy, Bush tended to get rid of people who challenged his beliefs.

I know there's a belief out there that equates flip-flopping with lack of principles. But our highest commitment should not be to our principles, merely because they are ours. Our highest commitment should be to the truth. Perhaps that is the problem. Given the way in which relativism has captured our way of thinking, perhaps people do not understand that a commitment to truth demands adjusting beliefs, and from time to time, abandoning them in light of new evidence. If there is no truth, I guess there is no reason to ever change a belief.

The other issue is the possibility that someone changes a position on an issue because it is politically expedient to do so. Again, I fail to see the problem here. We live in a democracy, and politicians ought to respond to political pressure. The system is often at its best when that happens.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Manufactured Outrage II--The Obama Magazine Flap

Oh, there's no shortage of this stuff. Manufactured outrage isn't the exclusive province of left, right, middle, or apathetic. It's everywhere. Frankly, if I were starting this blog over again, I'd probably just call it manufactured outrage. I'd start a second blog on the topic, but I have enough trouble updating this one.

Anyway, yes, the Obama campaign reaction to the New Yorker cover was only the most recent example of manufactured outrage. The cartoon may have missed the mark, being a little too clever. And I won't even say the flap shows a lack of a sense of humor, since that line is pretty tired too. It's the idea from the Obama folks that they probably believed they could score points by getting indignant about it. I suppose, given how easy it is to manufacture outrage these days, they may have figured that by getting worked up about it, they could take these issues off the table as it were.

But to be offended by a cartoon is something fit only for fanatical Muslims.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Manufactured Outrage--The War on Christsmas

Yeah, I know, it's been too long since my last post. You might think this blog is on hiatus. It's not. Of course, I've probably lost the small readership I have, but I'll just start over again. And why am I posting about Christmas in July? Maybe it's because I bought someone a Christmas present yesterday. Shh. Don't tell.

Manufactured outrage, the way in which media take something small and blow it out of proportion, or the way in which people with an ax to grind feign outrage over something, or failing that, make up something and then get outraged over it is all over the place.

The War on Christmas is to me the perfect example of this. Where is this war? Who is behind it? Oh, but it's real, look, there's even a campaign out there, "It's ok to say Merry Christmas". I was unaware it was ever not ok to say that. Though I pretty much hate Christmas, I was unaware of a war on it. Had I been aware, I would have signed right up. Not bought presents for so-called friends and family, told my daughter that Santa Claus was fake, not participate in the forced fun of Christmas festivities. Yes, I would have been on the front lines if there were such a war. I would have been a Navy Seal in the war against Christmas, had I only known.

The funniest thing about this war on Christmas bullshit is that it clearly has nothing to do with baby Jesus. When I was a kid, various religio-puritan types would prattle on about the true meaning of Christmas. On the left, they would complain about the consumerism, on the right, they would talk about keeping Christ in Christmas. The effect of this phony war on Christmas, however, is to get people to forget all that. If you're not buying crap you can't afford for other people, you're in league with the forces of political correctness or some crap like that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

No new posts?

Well, I haven't been posting. I was visiting family, and I got back to Arkansas about a week ago, and since then, well, I haven't done all that much.

The Presidential election is in its especially pointless phase. I have no views on VP selections, or on flag lapel pins, ore anything else going on.

I'm going to start reading Hayek soon. Maybe that will be worth a blog entry or two.

I will say I've been listening to some 20th century classical music, which I'm enjoying. Stravinsky and Reich. Tomorrow, it's Schoenberg. But I don't really know enough about that to blog about it, other than to recommend taking some time and listening to some great music carefully if you're interesting in something new and interesting.