I’m glad the party conventions are over because discussing politics in that context can often be like talking about sports. People choose teams to support, often for no other reason than their parents supported them, and after that decision refuse to make any arguments against that team, for that would be treason after all. The simplest, and often most costly, error in attempting to be rational is letting your values cloud your perception of the facts about reality but in few places does this happen more than in politics.
This makes discussing politics a challenge as the mere mention of one side can inflame all others. Some take this as a reason to ignore politics altogether when discussing rationality while others try to get around this by using political examples from centuries past. However if the internet has taught me anything it’s that it is easy for any subject to be derailed into a debate about current events in politics. As bad as this is it’s compounded by the fact a significant portion of these uncivilized discussions conflate values and facts.
This is especially troubling because this distinction is most key in politics, where we often may agree on the facts but still have different goals. If we were rational this distinction between our values and facts would be central to any political conversations. Suffice it to say, we don’t live in that world.
Still in this world we do inhabit I think there are a plethora of ways to tie rationality to politics without taking sides. In other words, I can’t resist this once every four years chance to explain the failures of rationality in our political discussion. In the next 60 days I’m going to spend significant effort trying to do just that. You have been warned.