The Minimum Standards for a Real Policy Conversation

Ezra Klein wrote a great blog piece about Paul Ryan’s speech last night:

A not-very-truthful speech in a not-very-truthful campaign

Give it a read. I like that he’s not trying to argue the pros or cons of Ryan’s policy ideas, but instead trying to break down the basic facts, so we can get to a realistic conversation level, and what he finds, I agree with:

“Quite simply, the Romney campaign isn’t adhering to the minimum standards required for a real policy conversation.”

Love that quotation, because it reinforces the continued theme of my blog: we need clarity before we can have solutions.

When everybody is fighting about topics in the general or arguing over political theory based on incorrect premises, we will never agree or find solutions. We must agree on a basic foundation of facts before discussing national goals and how to achieve them through policy.

Next time you are about to get into a political argument with somebody, agree to be civil, define your terms, and check your facts. I bet the conversation will not be as heated and often you can find common ground.

Arguments go nowhere when the partipants are discussing different topics or basing their entire theories on profound misunderstandings of facts (or outright falsehoods).

Note: This isn’t directed solely at the GOP. Liberals fail to define their terms just as often.

Note 2: Try applying this to your interpersonal relationships. I think frequently couples argue longer because they fail to articulate what they are actually talking about. 

Define your terms, yo! 

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About Tony

Lives in Austin, Texas and likes music, art, philosophy, and random stuff.
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