Kilroy Was Here
December 22, 2003
The Party of Locke and Mill
One of the axes that the liberal-conservative debate pivot on is the old empiricism-rationalism divide.
Though, of course, I have no statistical evidence, I have the impression that conservatives tend to argue more from 'common sense' and the 'examination of rules'.
Liberals, I believe, tend to argue more from 'results', 'statistics', and 'experiments'.
Case in point, California's failed Proposition 54, which would have prohibited the collection of racial data by government agencies.
Conservatives argued that we didn't need to collect racial data; the rules were already race neutral. Thus, collecting the data was counter-productive and uncomfortable.
Liberals argued that we didn't know if our 'race neutral' rules would have the benefit we desired if we didn't measure its effects. Ergo, we need to collect the data to make sure.
If this is the case that Republicans are the party of Descartes and Liebniz while Democrats are the party of Locke and Mill, then we can see why there are difficulties in resolving the two viewpoints.
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