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October 31, 2004

<< Don't Keep Us in Suspense Here | If You Voted, Holla Back >>

Yes, I Remember Those Bitter Days... It Was Fox vs. Hedgehog, and the Streets Ran Red With Blood

From Slate’s Today’s Papers, penned today by David Samo:

The WP also fronts a piece that claims the election will “amount to a great national Rorschach test” where voters will choose their leader based on whose psychological profile they prefer. In troubled times, do they value Kerry’s discerning and nuanced approach to complex problems or Bush’s forceful and unwavering conviction? Or as pundit David Gergen puts it, do people want “fact-based [or] intuition-based policies”? The LAT also points to Bush’s hedgehog mentality (vs. Kerry’s fox) as the dominant factor in the electorate’s bitter polarization.

Wait, isn’t that just a choice between good policy and bad policy? Who says, “Yeah man, I love intuition-based policy”? Ohhh, wait, I know: People for whom “intuition” is a code-word for “faith.” Rats.

I was just talking with Aaron the other day about how intractable this big secular/religious divide seems. If somebody is basing their voting decision on, say, a belief in the rapidly-approaching end times (Rapture-based policy?) how do you engage with that?

I’m not saying, “religious people are scary”; I mean, come on, give me some credit here. I’m just asking, if religion is the animating force behind someone’s policy preferences, how can I even hope to deliberate with her? (Or she, for that matter, with me?)

In other news, I find this “fox vs. hedgehog” thing to be the lamest and least informative analogy ever.

But bring on the election! Foxes 4-eva!

Robin-sig.gif
Posted October 31, 2004 at 1:41 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Election 2004

Comments

The fox and hedgehog metaphor or parable comes from two sources: (originally) the Greek poet Archilocus and (more famously) British philosopher/historian Isaiah Berlin, from his famous essay on Tolstoy of that name.

This is one of the better disquisitions on the valence of the distinction:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/7297

This is something I've been thinking about for a while. "I’m just asking, if religion is the animating force behind someone’s policy preferences, how can I even hope to deliberate with her? (Or she, for that matter, with me?)" The question is--is the animating force in that it gives her inspiration and energy, or is this the animating force in that it gives her the logical matrix for her decisions? Plenty of people of faith can discuss their faith-inspired policy choices without relying on their faith. You'd probably have no problem discussing policy with a Quaker Abolitionist back in the day. The problem is, increasingly more religious people don't see secular discussion as an ideal that is as beneficial to religion as it is to politics.

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