Thursday, January 24, 2008

Political philosophy and policy

Enough of climate change and other irrelevancies: time to think of bigger things.

This post from Reason looks at a controversial new book that indicates the basic solution to underdevelopment rests with much higher levels of immigration within the first world. If the proposition itself is not sufficiently controversial, the fact that it is based on empirical data related to immigration levels, economic impacts and development alternatives, is certain to ensure its outright rejection by dogmatists espousing the prevailing perspective that all the third world needs is increased investment from the West.

The notion that equality is a product of state-mandated "investment" is the subject of another revealing essay by Jacob Sullum which should act as fair warning to those entertaining the notion of accepting Hilary Clinton's proposals at face value.

The common link between both articles is the understanding of how well-meaning but inherently flawed political ideology can have serious ramifications upon citizens when imposed in practice rather than being merely debated as an intellectual exercise. (Well maybe not intellectual, this is politics, but in the abstract rather than the real world with real people and lives resting on the ramifications of such myths).

The withdrawal of Fred Thompson from the US presidential sweepstakes leaves the field bereft of the one candidate who sense of self was not dependent upon winning the nomination, whatever the cost. Sadly, the choices from both parties will now be from candidates for whom principle is less binding than political expediency. And when that situation exists, simplistic solutions with strong sound bites and good media traction (visuals, film at eleven, celebrity endorsements) become the staple of policy: even when those policies both lack supporting data and run counter to empirical experience.

Shoot, now we have come full circle back to climate change!