Tuesday, September 18, 2018

For or against?

This morning seemed to be about complexity and knowledge limits. My neighbor complained that 20% of the money he took in with his business was his, but the rest was for taxes, insurance, office upkeep and other expenses that gnawed away at his profits. I argued that the "profits" were used for his trips, his cars, his food while the 80% was to offset risks, pay his staff, pay his share for government services and other expenses that he wanted to have paid.  

Then, I went to a lecture by a professor of political science.  The idea was to help the members of his audience locate themselves politically as liberals, conservatives, libertarians, authoritarians, or centrists.  He asked us to think of our support of, or opposition to, many issues. He only had an hour and a half, and he gave us questions such as "Do you support free speech and press?"

When asked as a yes or no question, it is easy to wonder about meanings, definitions and details.  His quiz set free speech and press as opposites to anti-pornography. It didn't take long for me to feel uncomfortable with simplification of what could be, and probably is, a complex set of issues.  His aim was to help us decide where we were situated in political positions but the exercise showed me that any important political, social or government subject is quite complex. Gun control? What kind of guns?  What kind of control? Welfare or private charity? What sort of welfare, what kind of private charity? How about both?

I count myself lucky to have not been elected to represent others in local, state or national government.  I don't admire indecisiveness, but I fear I would still be researching the first subject I had to vote on long after the vote was finished and the group had decided its position.  I am glad I am not responsible for making the law as a legislator, or deciding what is best to do in particular instances, some quite snarled and odd, in court cases.

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