Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Clear thinking

A new paper argues that democracy is doomed to be non-optimal (that is, to rarely take the best course of action) because most people in a democracy will not bother to understand an issue before acting on their preconceived notions about that issue. As a result, democracies tend reflect the unfounded beliefs of their population, and only very slowly make changes.

At the same time, Walter Williams' most recent article on notes separately that people do not typically have an accurate understanding of the costs of their actions. They tend to value maintaining the status quo without considering whether the current course will accomplish the goals they have in mind.

You put these two together, and I doubt most of us are really in any position to act, or even speak intelligently, on any issue of great importance.

I would really enjoy discussing these issues with people who disagree with me; but of course, rational discourse is no longer in vogue. It is easier to call names than to allow for the possibility that you might have to re-think your position.

If all this doesn't make you pessimistic about our future, I'm not sure what will.

1 comment:

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