html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Justin, chill.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Justin, chill.

Megan's political compass
Economic Left/Right: -8.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

Dude. I think you're more worried about my big-government self than you need to be. Yes. I think there is a strong role for government. I even have overt and explicit paternalist streak, in that I think that people cannot make good decisions about the million complex issues that we face all time. I say it right out; yes. I would like a mosquito control district to make decisions for me about when to do aerial spraying, because they are entomologists and epidemiologists and I am not. I do not want to control mosquito vectors for West Nile on my own and I do not want to pretend it isn't a problem, so I would like agency staff to solve that. I do not have the magic lead paint illuminator spell, so I need someone else to detect that for me and remove it from the options I could purchase. I do not trust the market to do that, not for lead paint, not for trans-fats, not for anything that you can't see and has a delay until the onset of the harm.

But, if you've been reading carefully, you will notice that my examples for a governmental role are always for resource protection and distribution, or for health and safety. You have this notion that I am dying to invade your personal life and bar you from doing things. It is true that I disapprove of people doing dangerous things, like extreme climbing, but my disapproval is not instantly transformed into law. It is not a legal law of the land; it is not a physical law of the universe. Instead, my disapproval of high-risk activities is expressed as a sorrowful look and a headshake and who the fuck cares? You shouldn't. You should go climb things. I care because I am protective and maternal, but I don't want a law to bar you from risks you know you are taking.

Risks that people do not know they are taking, however, are pure bullshit and I want those risks regulated away*. Risks that people are forced into by their economic options (like working in unsafe workplaces) are fucking unacceptable**. I know that people have very predictable constraints, such as limited attention and interest and information, or inability to comprehend risks that are not visible, or inability to trace an injury back to its source. So I want us to design systems that mean those constraints don't cost our people their lives or health.

Maybe you say this costs us efficiency. Perhaps you remember that I am not much impressed with efficiency. I only like efficiency when it is actually translated into utility for people, and I discount the happiness people get from stocks of wealth or from owning things (above a threshold of needs plus a little luxury). Maybe you say that it denies people their choice and autonomy; well, you have to put that on a scale against their health and the possibility of catastrophe. You know which way I think the scale tips. Maybe you believe that people should feel the consequences of their decisions. I think chance waits for all of us and does not judge virtue.

So yes. There is a class of risks I would use a government agency, or any other means, to ban (hard to detect, hard to connect to the damage, systemically fall on groups without the resources to avoid the risk, monetary gain isn't aligned with the risk taker, common misperceptions about degree of risk). Your personal life, Justin? You sound much more alarmed in the comments than I think you need to be. I can disapprove of dangerous things without wishing they were illegal. My opinions are not an irreversible slippery slope of paternalism; I balance competing interests, like autonomy and justice and concern and the potential that I am wrong, all the time. I can do this because I am not a caricature of liberal thought. So, chill.






*Especially because the trade-off is often money for someone else. Fuck making money off unaware people by imposing increased risk or actual damage on them. I'm thinking of you, poisoned dog food. I'm thinking of you, inefficient engines that cause asthma in downwind children.


**Trading worker safety for owner profit is more bullshit. I don't give a shit whether those low costs are passed along to consumers. We are a staggeringly wealthy nation. We can afford to spread the costs of safe workplaces thinly over all consumers, or move wealth from the very rich to address this.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not even talking about dangerous things here necessarily.

Living without health care isn't really the same as soloing big walls, or jumping motorcycles over the grand canyon. And, you have in the past said that these things affect all of society, so society should be allowed to regulate them.

Your example of controlling mosquitoes is completely different. There's no way to individually control the spread of mosquitoes spreading west nile. And, even if I could get myself a fleet of crop dusters and bug spray that would certainly affect a lot of other people. But, me living without health care affects no one but me.

You MIGHT argue that it puts a burden on the system if I then get sick and you have to pay for me. But, if that's going to be your argument, your solution shouldn't then be, fuck it, we'll just take on the much larger burden of providing health care to everyone.

And you still haven't answered where you draw the line with this stuff. I just reposted the question in your "Baiting you. I can't stop myself."

Justin

4:58 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Where I draw the line? Somewhere on the spectrum of hard-to-detect-risk to perfectly-aware-danger, with some side of good-for-the-environment. I'm happy with banning dangerous foods, helmet laws and with providing health care for everyone, (although that is a combination of poor risk assessment and justice reasons. We should totally just take on the burden of providing health care to everyone.) and banning building conventional houses in flood plains.

I suppose you could give me some sets of pairs to choose between to figure out my exact preferences.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

And, you have in the past said that these things affect all of society, so society should be allowed to regulate them.

I don't think I did say society should be allowed to regulate them. Check again. I said that they are wrong. That gets my worried look, but not all my worried looks get regulation. I think you've mis-attributed that to me.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I think chance waits for all of us and does not judge virtue.

I quite agree.

Moreover, I don't think that people are as isolated as they think. That is, no man is an island, etc.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you're back to your bike helmet thing. You think they should be required by law? But, you also choose to ride without one.

Now you can't have it both ways, you can't say you're bad at assessing risk, that's why you don't wear one, and still say you think there should be a law because it's so risky.

You're not even trying to be consistent here.

Justin

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But, me living without health care affects no one but me."

With the reasonable assumption that you are young, healthy, single, with no offspring, then your living outside of the largest possible pool of potential health care recipients increases the costs for everyone else. And then, one day, you need it. You've probably been avoiding clinical preventative care because of the signficant costs, so your condition upon entry might be significantly worse. So now you've just cost everyone else more resources, all so you could evade any collective reponsibility during the finite time you were young, healthy, single, with no offspring. Congrats for your lack of systems thinking.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here your 9:15am comment, maybe I misinterpreted. But, that's what I was talking about.

Justin

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, then you don't just want government provided health care, but you want health care to be mandatory as well? You'd like people to be required to take annual visits to the doctor?

Justin

5:47 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

Justin, I am not anonymous 5:37, but I think my answer to your question would be that I'd like there to be more incentives in our current healthcare system for individuals to invest in their health (which, btw, does not necessarily include consuming more medical services). Right now, there are many incentives to individuals to actively NOT invest in their long-term health, because as you noted, uninsured people can just ultimately pass the costs onto other people if/when they do need services.

I'm not anti-government, but this is one of my grave concerns about a single-payer system: what are the incentives for healthy living, if you know that in the end, the government is going to cover you, anyway?

6:13 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

Oops, that previous comment posted when I just meant to preview it.

I meant to add that I think it is a great big leap to say that someone who is a "systems thinker" is necessarily big government. I am very interested in the health care system, but I don't happen to believe that the single payer system will solve more evils than it creates. I do, however, believe that government entities are uniquely positioned to create policies that encourage liberty in markets and for individuals.

Consequently, I am not at all surprised by how Megan maps on that political beliefs graph.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quirkybook, your response is so abstract that I'm not sure there's anything I can reply to. I am quite familiar with the various dysfunctions in the existing employer based system, so if you want to place your abstractions within that context, please do so. I'm also quite a student of the various ways that incentivizing individual health responsibility leads to dysfunctional/unintended consequences, so if you'd care to actually get concrete, we'd have something to discuss. But the generic fat people deserve an unattended painful/wealth destroying death so as to incentivize others argument only works in the abstract. Please get concrete.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

*Clapping wildly* Love it girl. Especially that last ** part...

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to reply to Justin, but actually, this:

"You'd like people to be required to take annual visits to the doctor?"

is an important component of his misconceptions about what it takes to make a workable universal system. (I'm not going to even try to address his confusion of health "care" vs. insurance vs. single payer universal converage etc.)

The entire point of making health *care* universal and easy and cheap is that if the individual thinks there might be a problem then the cost/redtape/etc barrier to solving the problem can be made low enough that the low cost low impact preventive/maintenance solutions can be implemented early. Yes you will get some number of hyprochondriacs abusing the system, but frankly I don't know very many people who enjoy spending time in the disease infested environs of your generic doctor's office. Do you? I sure don't. I only go there if I have, say, as I did, an unusual mole that needed to be looked at and whatdoyouknow was a malignant melanoma. A potential 40 extra years of life was certainly a good investment of my $10 copay.

Dig?

So you can think of the incentive for preventive care lying strictly within the individual's initiative even if the health "care" is structured in a single payer universal coverage low copay system.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, it's mister anon y. mouse again. I thought it might be fun to find out where I was in that worthless sociological poll:

Economic Left/Right: -3.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.18

I'd be very curious if some of you "libertarian" types would post your scores, the Authoritarian bizness is the most interesting. I doubt we differ on basic economics all that much. But maybe we do! Lets see.

Then we can go to work on the specifics of health "care".

8:06 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

I'm not sure who you are, Anon 7:08 (are you an unlogged-in Megan? Are you Anon 5:37? someone else entirely?), so I'm not sure what concrete example you want me to give. I don't know where I said that I believed that "generic fat people deserve an unattended painful/wealth destroying death so as to incentivize others'" healthcare decisions, but I will clarify: I don't believe that.

In my original comment, I was addressing the (what seemed to me to be) gut-response assumption by Justin that Anon 5:37 was necessarily a pro-big-government-in-healthcare believer. I agree with Anon 5:35 that a lot of people have the mistaken notion that their own healthcare decisions have a negligible impact on others, but that doesn't mean that I think that consolidating all decision making into one entity is the best way to run this particular system.

Okay, here's a concrete example: one negative impact of a single-payer provider and/or insurer might be that the system incentives for health services innovation (e.g., pharmaceuticals, devices, procedures) might be greatly diminished. If there is no opportunity for profit, why innovate? MRIs and myriad drugs and mammogram screening protocols were all created in the hopes of addressing the consumer needs of a US market, and I don't know how medical innovation would happen in a world where there's a single purchaser of services per country. That's not to say it wouldn't, but I just don't know.

This comment is getting to be way long, so in conclusion, I will say that you shouldn't mistake me for being completely pro-private markets, either. The current system, which you probably know is the most privatized system in the high income world, sucks donkey balls in terms of the inequity of access. Enthoven's managed competition strategy tries to take advantage of the efficiencies of private markets while dealing with the inevitable market failures that are unique (and inevitable?) features of the health care market; while not perfect , I think it's a better place to start than with the single-payer strategy. (Too bad it's got the taint of the 1994 Clinton initiative on it.)

8:39 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

And I just broke my own personal rule on keeping blog comments readable.

Shorter version:
Me not hater of fat people. Me lover of health care access for all! But me doubter of superiority of single payer system, when me not sure that all other systems have been investigated thoroughly.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Qbook:
No, the anonymouse wasn't me. This, though, always surprises me:

what are the incentives for healthy living, if you know that in the end, the government is going to cover you, anyway?

I always think that health itself is the primary motivator. It is hard for me to understand how people would be more motivated by other incentives when health itself is at stake. Cause, like, health!

Justin:

I really think you made up the attitude you attribute to me:

See, you can't ask that to Justin, because he's going to say "yeah, that's exactly what I mean and I chose that risk, so leave me to freeze and come get my thawed and partially eaten body in the spring". Even if that is OK with him, it is not OK in general, because he is important to the rest of us. So we need him to take reasonable risks and then we need to help him if his luck turns so that I never need to sit weeping at my computer, looking at old videos of him climbing topless and pictures of Vasque ice boots.


9:15


is all about what I would feel and nothing about regulation. And in that same thread, I wrote:

I drew a distinction in the other comment thread about respecting people's sovereignty, despite my intrusive maternal nature, which wants you to eat right and get enough sleep and not smoke and bring a sweater. So I have different willingness to respect people's personal choice than I have for property rights, especially when the collective health and safety is involved.

9:56


which talks again about balancing people's sovereignty against community goals and safety. So will you stop thinking of me as poised to regulate your every action?

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know these make me really annoyed:

I'm not sure who you are:

and:

I'm not sure what concrete example you want me to give.

You're not sure of quite a lot of things, quirkybook. I have given enough stylistic clues away that my identity will be found out soon enough, if there's enough interest among the "libertarians" who don't have the integrity to post results of the hosts test themselves.

You are changing the subject, on the fly, first it was:

Right now, there are many incentives to individuals to actively NOT invest in their long-term health"

Ok, it was an abstract fact free claim about individuals. Now it is:

"Okay, here's a concrete example: one negative impact of a single-payer provider and/or insurer might be that the system incentives for health services innovation (e.g., pharmaceuticals, devices, procedures) might be greatly diminished."

Ok, now it is an abstract fact free claim about corporate profits.

Which is it? Got any evidence? Yep I know all that data too. Change the subject to...????

Stick to one concrete argument at a time, and no changing the subject. Can you do that?

9:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey Anonymouse,

You're talking to my friend Qbook like you're angry, and I don't see why. Please don't ask questions that aren't really requests for information, but are instead trying to score points ("Can you do that?").

Qbook can have lots of conversations with you; she's super bright and friendly. So ask her, nicely, what you really want to know. She's saying that she has doubts that single payer is the way to go. Since you know data that address her doubts, just link, with a note about how you think these should be persuasive, and did she find them to be on point. Please don't take a confrontational approach here.

Also:
I have given enough stylistic clues away that my identity will be found out soon enough, if there's enough interest among the "libertarians" who don't have the integrity to post results of the hosts test themselves.

I have no idea who you are, and I can see the IP addresses. I can't think how anyone else would know who you are. Also, it is 9:30 on a Monday night. There aren't that many people hanging around that are going to rush off to take the political compass test. Give them time before you doubt the authenticity of their beliefs.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First wow, the preview is nothing like the actual posted comments on linux.

"I have no idea who you are, and I can see the IP addresses."

Oh you know the anonymous business is very over rated.

My annoyance with your friend quirkybook is entirely due to the change of subject strategy. It's generally a sign of dishonesty, though maybe not in this case. Linear blog posts and comments do not convey the complexity of human communication necessarily accurately at all so I may have been completely wrong here. If so I am sorry.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Qbook's always been a commenter in good standing here, but even without my vouching for her, my comment policy asks that you assume good faith and reply in good faith. I ask people to be more than neutral and more than civil. Please, everyone, be affirmatively kind when you post here.

P.S. I know I do not enforce this consistently, but you guys could. I completely love it when the regulars show me how it is done.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If labor markets are more or less competitive, then the people who pay for workplace safety measures (or any other improvement in working conditions) are the workers themselves, not employers and not consumers. If workers value the measures more than it costs to provide them, then they will likely be adopted even without a mandate. So mandates generally amount to forcing people to buy a protection that they'd rather not. It's terrible that many people are so poor that they'd rather have the pennies than have protections that are cheap to provide, and there are all kinds of things that can and should be done about poverty, but that doesn't mean that you can make poor people better off by making them buy protection.

BTW, It is possible to tell stories where a mandate is a good idea despite the above argument (I happen to have a paper about this with a co-author), but it still really should be the starting point of any discussion.

David J. Balan

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?
abstract_id=956661

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add that our paper is about one possible story you could tell where mandates are a good idea. I didn't mean to suggest that it is the only one.

David J. Balan

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add that our paper is about one possible story you could tell where mandates are a good idea. I didn't mean to suggest that it is the only one.

David J. Balan

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Dagon said...

I almost didn't post this (and I may yet not, but I guess I did if you're reading it), because I really like your blog and I fear I'm violating the rule about affirmative kindness. But a bit of a wakeup here is justified. Dude. -8.5/-7 _IS_ a caricature of liberal thought. Socially permissive and economically controlling.

One thing I'd like to hear is how corporations and "the wealthy" fit into your model of the individual. Corporations, to me, are just groups of people. Rich people are also just people - some are jerks, some are kind, the vast majority are rich BECAUSE they found a way to serve the desires of a whole bunch of other people. About the only exception are those that are rich because they've manipulated government-enforced monopolies.

You seem to think of them as an alien species in competition with humans. I know a number of very rich people, CxOs of large corporations, and plenty of shareholders and employees of big companies. They're pretty much just people, and are trying to make their lives and the world better by serving their customers.

Interestingly, the caricatures of corporations and "the very rich" you seem to show here very closely resemble my cartoon version of government agencies and politicians/bureaucrats. In both cases, the reality is more complicated, and both violence-based (government) and voluntary (corporate) aggregations of large numbers of people can have beneficial effects.

I discount the happiness people get from stocks of wealth or from owning things

Good lord, I don't even know where to start. This is well beyond modeling individuals and into fantasy of what you want people to want.

Damn. That came out snarkier and more argumentative than I'd hoped.

I really do want to understand your model of the world. I'm just frustrated that it's SOOOO far from my own that I wonder if I'm completely insane for not believing it can work that way.

10:26 PM  
Blogger dcw said...

Kudos to David Balan, who steps up to correct your logical error, despite his being an advocate of limited patermalism under some circumstances. That is a great example of intellectual honesty. I'll make the same point from a different angle.

You write: "Risks that people are forced into by their economic options ... are fucking unacceptable." But all risks fall into this category, because with enough resources, we can reduce any risk. You accept risks involved in driving, riding, or walking to your job every day. You accept risks of electrocution, building collapse, and paper-cuts while there. Undoubtedly you can easily imagine measures that would reduce all these risks, but you are nonetheless content to accept them, because you can see alternative uses of the required investment that would do more to make you happy than investing in those safety measures would. If you had many more resources at your disposal, you would likely spend some of them to decrease the risks you face; emperically, that is what richer people do, and what richer societies do. For all people and societies, the risks they face are a compromise, dictated by their economic circumstances, between their desire to mitigate risks and their desire to invest their resources in other ways to improve their welfare.

Your framing of the issue seems to presume that the level of risk assumed by a typical member of today's American middle class is somehow the "right" acceptable level, independent of historical and economic circumstance: poor people who accept higher risks are being exploited, and presumably rich people who demand lower risks are being decadent and pretentious. But I'm sure you can see the falacy in such ahistorical presumption.

(By the way, despite being a libertarian, I come out much closer to the political center than you do: arround +3,-4 IIRC.)

12:50 AM  
Blogger dcw said...

By the way, there is another problematic element of your exposition that no commenter has yet addressesed.

In your first paragraph, you conflate public health risks like West Nile bearing mosquitos with private risks like lead paint on your purchases. But there is an important distinction.

If I wish to start a firm that kills West Nile bearing mosquitos, I will have a hard time getting paid. My killing a mosquito for one client will have nearly the same beneficial effect for all his neighbors, so all my potential clients have an incentive to try to free-load off my other potential clients. This is called an uncapturable, positive externality and markets tend to under-supply such goods. (A police force that captures criminals is another example.) Even your typical libertarian is likely to allow for a government role in provisioning such goods.

If, on the other hand, I wish to start a firm that advises consumers of the presence of lead paint of their purchases, I face no such problem. I can tell a customer whether the paint is present, and no one else gets to know. (I can even contractually obligate my customer not to tell anyone else, if that is likely to be a problem.) Generally, the market has no problem supplying such goods.

In a previous comment thread, you said "In the presence of governmental regulation, there can be no toys that have lead in their paint." But that is manifestly not the case: we had government regulations on lead in toys, and there were plenty of toys with lead paint. On the other hand, there are plenty of private firms that will test for lead in paint, I'm not aware of any scandals invoving them returning massive numbers of false negatives. Given that track record, why do you trust the government, and why do you not trust the market, to detect lead in your purchases?

1:26 AM  
Anonymous albatross said...

Megan,

One thread I can see in your positions is that some decisions are so likely to be bad that we might want to have the government intervene to prevent them.

The extreme example is committing someone to keep them from killing themselves. This is surely a violation of their liberty, but since killing yourself appears to almost always be a really bad decision, it's probably a pretty good idea to just step in and stop it.

Less extreme and more arguable examples are things like smoking or drug use or drinking, saving for retirement or hardship, choosing the right safety equipment in cars and houses, etc.

The interesting question this raises is how to decide when we can expect the political decisionmaking process as enforced by courts and cops to be better than individuals' decisionmaking processes.

Am I understanding your position correctly?

8:50 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I think you're outlining my position fine, but I tried to be specific about decisions that I don't want to leave to people.

Risks that are: hard to detect, hard to connect to the damage, systemically fall on groups without the resources to avoid the risk, monetary gain isn't aligned with the risk taker, common misperceptions about degree of risk

People that are bright and informed and just like us still cannot handle those decisions, because they are very hard and there are to many of them.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous D said...

mmm, I tested out as a centrist...
go figure... one box left of center and 3 boxes south of the libertarian line.

a few thoughts... what I see most in the healthcare arguments, is optimism vs. pessimism.
Optimism on the side of universal healthcare, that we should just START and cobble it together, and tweak as we go along. Regardldess of all the programs started in this way have turned into broken behemoths, that people constantly compain about.
Pessimism on the side of private system, to say that there are so many variables, that even if universal health was OK, it could never be implemented, because we can even agree on the main stuff, so how could the govt. actually figure out the details. Add that to the possibility that in 20 years universal care would be an underfunded drag on everything.

So here we sit in paralyzed indecision.

What's going to come in the long run? I can tell you that the Corp. I work for [130,000+emps, 170,000+retirees] just informed me that they are planning on doing away with all of my different healthcare choices by early next decade, in favor of a single system internally managed. I haven't a clue as to how it will work out, but my choice will be to accept what they are willing to give, or find another job. That doesn't mean it will be bad, in fact it may be a revolution in the making. The upshot of what they are doing is insourcing the administration of healthcare, so they are not paying the price of another company's administration. Right now in my area, there are 6 choices of healthcare, the cheap one being Kaiser, the expensive one being PPO. The company probably decided based on how few take PPO that it wouldn't stand in their way ultimately. Most people prefer HMO because of the price/service balance. So if the company feels that it could do a decent HMO thing iteslf and keep the price down, they're going that way. Which is a total about face for them. It must be bad if they are considering this. :shrug: We'll see.

The only reason I mention this, is that if it is something that eventually spreads, it might be a model that not only other companies adopt [as HMO's were in the 80's] but that the govt. might get in on for the uninsured.

It may be that in 50 years the question has been answered, it may take that long to be implemented.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a huge misconception that someone might want to make preventative health care mandatory.

And, anonymous 5:37pm, then, where do you draw the line? Every time I get in my car I'm using up resources. If I exercise more than necessary just to stay healthy I'm burning more calories, and eating more food, and using up more resources.

It seems that if we're going to follow your philosophy then nothing I do is outside of the scope of what could come under government control.

And Megan:
Even if you aren't interested in controlling my every action, and I misunderstood, "Fiat, motherfuckers" as well (Yes, I imagine you were joking, but didn't you also just post something about little quips like that being at least partially true?). You are inching us towards that. Personally I think wanting to require bike helmets is too much. And, while you may not want to force people to go to the doctor's, some people do. And while you may not want to force people to live a healthy life style, some people do. If you're reading the news, you must be seeing it.

Justin

10:50 AM  
Blogger dcw said...

You list risks that "systemically fall on groups without the resources to avoid the risk" as one area where government restrictions are justified.

I have already pointed out that this framing misrepresents the situation. All risks fall on people who either don't have the resources to eliminate them, or choose to spend those resources to other ends.

But let's assume you mean risks that "poorer people are more likely to assume than the median citizen, due to their more severe budget constraints". Now if you actually give these people money, you are improving their welfare, and their risk tollerance is likely to shift toward that of the median citizen. But if you don't give them any money, but just ban them from accepting a risk that they otherwise would have, you are not improving their welfare -- you are reducing it.

Now you might say that they don't know the risks, or tend to under-estimate them, but this is really falling back on your other justifications. It would appear the "hits poor people more" justification doesn't stand on its own.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Did anyone else strongly dislike this quiz? I can't post my score because there were too many questions that can't be answered truthfully with an agree or disagree.

Not to mention the ones like this:

When you are troubled, it's better not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things.

I can answer that, but what does that have to do with my politics? The creator is making an assumption that people who don't like to think about problems tend to be of a certain political bent. There are a few more in this vein.

Even worse is this one:
All people have their rights, but it is better for all of us that different sorts of people should keep to their own kind.

This seems to imply that discrimination is a good indicator of politics. I find that to be very offensive, personally. I've seen tests like this done much better.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

All quizzes like this suffer from question selection and scoring bias.

I particularly like the stuff Chris Lightfoot did here:
http://politics.beasts.org/scripts/eigenvectors

Using math to identify the principal axes! Science! Rock!

5:44 PM  

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