Several interesting political discussions ensued with friends over the last few days. There were a few more around because two people some of us knew passed away. One in a plane wreck, the other from cancer. Some friends like to talk politics with a real live blogger, and some of them are informed enough and intellectually honest enough to be worth talking about it with. But not all.
There’s a somewhat simple, almost elegant algorithm for separating the novices and part-timers and hard-core partisan warriors from the more experienced and frank. The latter might lean or reside entirely on one side of the great left-right divide that has come to define modern US politics like North vs South did decades ago. But they’re able to exert some objectivism; there’s a lot of fancy ways we could say this, they live in a reality-based world, they resist cognitive dissonance. But what it boils down to is they know a fact when they see one, plus they value facts as building blocks in effective policy solutions.
It’s not infallible, but below is a fast-food approach to separate the more purely ideological from the more purely rational. [Read more...]