Which One Is Right? I Know This! Why Don’t You?

I heard this on the radio yes­ter­day morn­ing, but by the time I got home I could not remem­ber what it was I had heard and want­ed to blog about. Well, I fig­ured some­one else would men­tion it to jog my mem­o­ry. And some­one else did!

Steve Benen at the Wash­ing­ton Month­ly post­ed today with the same thought (but bet­ter expressed) as I blogged yes­ter­day. At the end, he postscripts

Just as an aside, Per­ry also believes pub­lic-school sci­ence class­es should present stu­dents with both sci­ence and reli­gion, assum­ing young peo­ple are “smart enough to fig­ure out which one is right.” Here’s a rad­i­cal idea: maybe Per­ry should con­sid­er a sim­i­lar approach to sex-ed?

Well, yes, maybe he should con­sid­er a sim­i­lar approach to sex-ed. That would be refresh­ing. But my thought is that Per­ry assumes young peo­ple are smart enough to fig­ure out which one is right despite the fact that he him­self is not smart enough to do so. But of course, he is smart enough. He “knows” that cre­ation­ism is right! So he fig­ures kids are smart enough to always choose cre­ation­ism? He fig­ures that some kids will choose cre­ation­ism and some sci­ence and he’s OK with that?

Of course, it is not a mat­ter of choice. Too bad Per­ry isn’t smart enough to fig­ure that out.

Data Driven, or Not

When The Week­ly Stan­dard began pub­lish­ing back in 1995 they ini­tial­ly gave the sub­scrip­tions away for free. I received an offer for the free sub­scrip­tion and I glad­ly accept­ed. I assumed that they bought the mail­ing list from The New Repub­lic to which I was a long time subscriber.

My mem­o­ry is that the free sub­scrip­tion con­tin­ued for two years, but maybe it was only one. At any rate, there was a decent length of time where I was read­ing both The New Repub­lic and The Week­ly Stan­dard on a week­ly basis.

I was struck by one dif­fer­ence in par­tic­u­lar between the two mag­a­zines. Arti­cles in The New Repub­lic, even when labeled “opin­ion”, were almost always data dri­ven; arti­cles in The Week­ly Stan­dard were rarely data driven.

Over the years I have come to think that this may be one of the defin­ing dif­fer­ences between lib­er­als and con­ser­v­a­tives. Con­ser­v­a­tives stand on prin­ci­ple, con­se­quences be damned. Lib­er­als are inter­est­ed in results and are pre­pared to make changes when the results are unacceptable.

And yes, the above is not true for every con­ser­v­a­tive and liberal.

But it may well be true for Texas Gov­er­nor and can­di­date for pres­i­dent Rick Per­ry. This post at The New Repub­lic has a won­der­ful video of Per­ry try­ing to square his prin­ci­ples with reality.