Friday, April 13, 2007

Ideas or "people"?

Tyler Cowen articulates an excellent argument for not discussing his personal candidate in the '08 Presidential Race. I tend to agree with him.


Blogger Robot said...

I don't get it... Isn't talking about who you're going to vote for part of a useful discussion of ... issues and stuff.

6:20 PM  
Blogger curry king said...

Is Cowen even arguing anything? The only substantive part of this post is:

I wish to protest our excessive tendency to choose sides with one group of people rather than another. I wish to protest excess partisanship, and in particular excess partisanship motivated by the construction of "imaginary good" and "imaginary bad" political personalities. ... But for aesthetic reasons I would rather my biases be played out in the realm of ideas, rather than directed at people.

Those are some tried talking points, and he provides no evidence about the benefits of this policy (besides his extremely snyde last sentence).

Sure, partisanship can be a pest and we've certainly seen the brunt of it in the past few years, but I think Cowen misses the mark in thinking that supporting a presidential candidate automatically qualifies one as partisan. Following on what Robot notes, we never see such an aggressive public debate of ideas as we do in the years and months prior to a presidential election. One could argue that you do not have to publicly support a candidate to engage in a debate over ideas, but for the vast majority of citizens, that is the case.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Robot said...

I think everything Curry says is right on. Let me add, also, that personality is not some trivial aspect of electoral politics. I think it's a perfectly respectable position, for example, to prefer Obama over Hilary for many reasons, one of which is that he seems to have the personality we need as a president: open-minded, honest, funny in a non "Look at me, I'm an idiot-asshole" Bush kind of way, etc. Didn't the successes of the Reagan administration, for example, come in large part due to the personality/superficiality of Reagan himself?

9:54 AM  

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