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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eric Sundwall Gropes For Disagreement

The standard for validity of an empirical analysis is whether it cleaves nature at its joints.  Your standard seems to be that an analysis should leave almost nothing unexplained, and of course I don't claim that my analysis does this.  I admit that this analysis is designed to double as an outreach tool, framing these 20 issues in the ways that the LP wants Americans to think about them.  You seem to think that this technique is both ineffectual and somehow duplicitous.  I'm of course not claiming that this outreach tool is magically effective, or that it is completely unbiased.  What I claim is that it is the most effective, interesting, fair, and comprehensive analysis+marketing that can fit in those 20 square inches of space for an audience who care about a broad range of issues and who are persuadable that neither Left nor Right is a good fit for them.  If you think that in 20 square inches you can better explain and market the LP's spectrum of positions, while still somewhat fairly and accurately capturing our differences with the Left and the Right, I would LOVE to see you do it.  I bet you can't.

What I also claim is that you can't disagree with the validity of the class of charts like this unless you also disagree with at least one of these four premises:

- Freedom and security (or self-governance vs. being governed) are in fundamental tension
- Many (if not most) policy issues can be classified as either economic or personal/civil
- "Left/liberal" usually means valuing economic security but civil liberty
- "Right/conservative" usually means valuing economic liberty but civil security

I didn't see where you disputed any of these premises, or where you disputed that the validity of the chart is equivalent to their conjunction.  Unless you do, I don't really see where you are disagreeing with what I'm actually trying to say -- which is ironic, given your complaint about me allegedly putting words and ideas into various parts of your head.