Soundbites: Random thoughts about politics and government
- If you want me to take your opinions seriously, you will have to convince me that you in fact understand both sides of an issue.
- Never believe that things couldn't be worse. They sure could.
Watch out for people who say "we have to do something, even if it's wrong."
- Good intentions alone do not yield good consequences
...Unfortunately, it turns out that wanting something doesn't make it true
- Watch out for perverse response: a program having exactly the opposite result from the announced and intended effect.
- Think out the unintended consequences. You know the part afterwards, when everybody is saying "It should have been obvious that..."? Well, it was obvious: think it out first.
- I've never seen the logic of the liberal/conservative scale-- there's no logical reason why your opinion about, say, gun control, ought to have some ideological correlation with your opinion about birth control.
- Compromise is not a dirty word.
- Politics is the art of the possible.
- People who would rather make a point than win an election always lose to people who would rather win an election than make a point.
- When there's a boulder in the road, the fanatic batters against it until it goes away. The entrepreneur finds a way around it. Shaw may say* that all progress may depend on the unreasonale man-- well, maybe, but the reasonable people are usually the ones who get things done.
- Pay attention to the words you say when you try to curtail speech of people you don't like: they are the same words you will hear when others take away your right to speak.
- The fanatics on your own side are your worst enemies; they discredit you. Contrawise, don't judge your opposition based on the words of the worst fanatics on their side.
Listen to your enemies. What are they saying, and why? Suppose, for a moment. that they really believe what they say.
- If you take away the rights and the speech of people you oppose, they will pay careful attention, so they can use the same arguments to take away your rights and your speech.
- When you give somebody unchecked power because you trust them to use it wisely... even if you're right to trust them, think for a while about who might get the power later.
- The people who have power use the power to keep the power.
- Always try to figure out: 1: who pays for this? and, 2: what are they going to do when they find out they're paying, and what actions will they take to avoid paying?
- Freedom is good. It is always worth asking "why not let people make their own choices?" --and the second question, "Why do we think that the government will choose better than the individual people?"
- Over time, laws and regulations tend to grow more complicated. Strive to resist this tendancy.
*"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world... The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw
copyright 2008 by Geoffrey A. Landis