Thursday, January 24, 2013

The trouble with 'conviction politics'

Today, much of the GOP (and, to be fair, many leftist Democrats) worships at the altar of conviction politics, a style of governance that puts principle and adherence to ideology first -- regardless of the cost. Congress' current crop of Republican freshmen are especially bewitched with this modus operandi. But for the nation's sake, it would be wiser for these folks to take the counsel of political economist Max Weber. In his famous Politics as a Vocation, he wrote: "Politics is the art of compromise and decision-making based on social benefits weighed against costs; in this respect, political action cannot be rooted only in conviction, since one's conviction can be another's social anathema." This seems so blindingly obvious. And yet, too many politicians and the voters who abet them continue to struggle to see what is in front of one's nose.

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