Basing a political affiliation on factual evidence
January 18, 2004 5:12 AM Subscribe
Can one choose a political affiliation based on factual evidence (especially in the economic realm)? [MI]
posted by grumblebee to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
Grossly oversimplifying, the left says "we need to spread the wealth so that people in need will be okay," and the right says, "we need to help the rich, because if we do, the rich will help the economy which will help all of us, including the poor."
Almost everyone I know, except for me, has a STRONG opinion about which one of these views is correct. When I ask them how they come by their views, it's usually a gut feeling or else they're just following the standards of their family or social group. And they tend to get pissed of at people who hold the other view or no view at all.
I was raised in a left leaning family, and I grew up with a vague feeling that right-leaners were bad because they wanted to help the rich and not the poor, which is not fair. Now, having met so many kind righters, I realize that most of them don't think that way. They genuinely believe that their social policy will help everyone -- including the poor.
I can't argue with them. I see no way to prove them wrong or right without fully trying their idea, then going back in time and trying a leftish idea and seeing what works best.
I've read a few books and essays on economics, but none seem heavy on evidence (what kind of evidence could their be?) They seem to either rely on half-baked ideas about human psychology or they bring up examples from other countries, which don't mean much in my mind, because the test tube is too dirty.
Is political affiliation essentially a religious thing? Do you just have to go by faith?