Why Mislabeling Keeps us Stuck in Partisan Politics

by | Nov 14, 2017

Why Mislabeling Keeps us Stuck in Partisan Politics

by | Nov 14, 2017

The biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote that “[c]ategories often exert a tyranny over our perceptions and judgments,” adding that “[w]e do not ponder the bases of our classifications with sufficient scrutiny.”

Popular political debates have yet to fully appreciate this vital insight. Our political categorizations facilely conflate questions of fundamentally different kinds, leading to a conceptual confusion that hobbles constructive discourse. Clarity in this discourse requires a separation between two kinds of questions, those about means and those about ends.

Debates about the goals themselves are values questions, premised on our normative judgments, that is, our views on what ought to be—what makes a good society or political system.

These questions and our answers to them are importantly quite different from our arguments about the practical question of how to arrive at those goals once we’ve settled on them. And at a sufficiently general level of abstraction, there is actually a rather broad consensus as to ends, the goals at which public policy should aim.

Read more at The Hill.

About David D'Amato

David S. D’Amato is an attorney and adjunct law professor whose writing has appeared at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Future of Freedom Foundation, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Liberty Fund’s Online Library of Law and Liberty, the Foundation for Economic Education, and in major newspapers around the world. D’Amato is on the Board of Policy Advisors for the Heartland Institute and he is the Benjamin Tucker Research Fellow at the Molinari Institute’s Center for a Stateless Society. He earned a JD from New England School of Law and an LLM in Global Law and Technology from Suffolk University Law School.

Our Books

5 Libooks072420lg

Our Books

5 Libooks072420lg

Related Articles

Related

What ‘Experts’ Miss About Economic Inequality

What ‘Experts’ Miss About Economic Inequality

How can the U.S. reduce economic inequality? That’s a question USA Today posed to three “policy experts on the left and the right” in this recent article. The responses, while unsurprising, were nevertheless disappointing. For libertarians, economic inequality itself...

read more
How the Military is Using Your Data to Fight China

How the Military is Using Your Data to Fight China

A new generation of Cold Warriors want your data to build artificial intelligence-powered weapons for their escalating conflict with China. This has been made explicit by the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), a relatively new and...

read more
Free Assange, Demand Coalition of World Leaders

Free Assange, Demand Coalition of World Leaders

A group of over 160 current and former politicians endorsed a letter that demands the United Kingdom government release WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange immediately. The publisher is currently fighting extradition to the United States at Old Bailey court in London and...

read more
Book Foolssm

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

by Scott Horton

Book Paulsm

The Great Ron Paul

by Scott Horton

Book Griggsm

No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg

by Will Grigg

Book Animalssm

What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

by Sheldon Richman

Book Palestinesm

Coming to Palestine

by Sheldon Richman

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This