Adventures in Homeschooling in Southern Indiana

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Different Readings make Different Worlds

So over at Verla Kay's writing boards, there's a discussion about the economy-- are we heading for a new depression?

The overwhelming consesus is "Yes! It's all ending!!!"

And I'm confused... because as a National Review Reading, Larry Kudlow following, Barron's and WSJ fan, I hadn't even realized that there was a portion of the population who SERIOUSLY believe that GWB and the Iraq war are bringing about a total collapse of the economic order.

And I realized it's because, since none of us are economists, we all pick our own 'experts,' and trust them.

But since economists can disagree on the data and interpretations, and since none of us (the children's writers) are qualified to do the math ourselves, we can't really have an intelligent argument on the subject. It boils down to "My expert says your expert is wrong"

So, a question to ponder: Today, with blogs/the internet/etc, the public has access to a wider range of experts than ever before. But people tend to pick a few favorites and side with them. So is meaningful political discussion even POSSIBLE anymore? Or has it been reduced to Red Sox v. Yankee stuyle rivalry.

Actually, has meaningful political discussion between polar opposites EVER been possible? I enjoy reading Meghan McArdle and Glen Reynolds. I don't always agree with them, but we have enough common ground that I can consider their ideas and have rational arguments with them. (In my head. Just like I enjoy arguing with Locke and Rousseau. I never said I was normal...)

But I have trouble engaging with people who say "The sky is falling because Bushitler has destroyed the economy." or even "Even though the numbers say things aren't that bad, they're horrible! And they're going to get worse!"

Maybe, what America needs this election year is one GIANT common core of readings from both sides of the debate-- so we all can have a way to discuss things.

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