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.