June 08, 2007

Opinions Based on Convenience

How do we develop social/political viewpoints? Do we just defend the things we want to be able to do?

For example:

Argument from person who smokes. "Stop taxing my cigarettes. That's a government intrusion."

Argument from same person who doesn't like that SUVs block their view on the road. "Get those SUVs off the road. They're dangerous and bad for the environment."

Instead, shouldn't we develop a consistent reasoning platform, and then base our decisions off that platform - rather than just, "I don't like cigarette smoke, so let's ban it."


email said...

Yes. And we supposedly have that set of guidelines (in the US) in the US Constitution. But most people base their reasoning on their personal likes and dislikes, and whoever can raise the most stink or grease the right wheels, or in whatever other way influence their politicians can manage to get what they want, despite the Constitution.

To take your smoking ban as an example: I don't smoke. I don't like secondhand smoke. So, if I know a restaurant or bar allows smoking, I generally won't go there. But that's MY choice, just as whether or not to allow smoking should be the restaurant management's choice, NOT the government's.

I think the government is developing a micromanagement style, in that it wants to regulate every aspect of an individual's life. People are starting to take it as a given. Maybe we'll wake up when the government starts telling us when to go to sleep at night, when to wake up, and how many times per day we can pee. It's coming - they'll justify it under protecting the environment.

I think I may have gotten a little off-topic.

Eric Olsen said...

jmc, we actually discussed your smoking ban topic a couple months ago.


Anonymous said...

Looking for consistency in political philosphy? That's one of the reasons I'm an independent. If I'm going to follow an inconsistent set of political beliefs, they are at least going to be my own.

As for the micromanaging thing, that's because both parties have no problem trying to ban things they are opposed to while trumpeting themselves as the defenders of freedom when the other guys try to do it.

Eric Olsen said...

"If I'm going to follow an inconsistent set of political beliefs, they are at least going to be my own."

Comment of the month my friend. And very profound as well. My contention is that it is impossible to be a republican or democrat in this country, because of how meaningless those terms really are, and how individualized their definitions can be.

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