Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On complexity and (over)simplification

From ShrinkWrapped:
One of the things that turns liberals into conservatives, or libertarians, is the collision of liberalism with reality. It is easy to believe that the rich should pay higher taxes in order to help raise th poor out of poverty (and that it only requires money to lift someone out of poverty) when you are young and have few responsibilities or expenses. Once you begin to actually work for a living and pay taxes you begin to realize that there is a trade-off between your ability to do some of the things you want to do and your tax liabilities. Then, all of a sudden, you are one of the rich (the 49% of tax payers) and your sense of what is fair to pay becomes more finely honed. As well, you note that the decisions you make with your income become heavily influenced by the taxes you pay. Your simple theory (higher taxes equals less poverty) becomes a casualty of your increased appreciation for complexity.

Another way of describing the transition form liberalism to libertarianism or conservatism, is that liberalism operates in a data poor environment, in which feelings are equivalent and of equal valence to facts. As your information increases, you usually must increase the complexity of your understanding if you want to continually hone your sense of reality. ...

Read it here.

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