Hobgoblins of Inconsistency

We all have them. We’ll argue positions using standards, and then violate those standards when arguing other positions. For example you’ll see an insistence on historical basis, data and scientific analysis for Global Climate Change, then a dismissal of historical basis and data on economic stimulus.

It’s annoying. What really rather frightens me is the fear I too succumb to these hobgoblins. As a result, I’ve a request.

If I appear to be ignoring the facts and history, please call me on it. Now if I’m presenting countering facts and history it’s not the same. Or if I can demonstrate why the facts are false (ie DEMONSTRATE the incorrect collection or correlation) it’s not the same. I’m talking of dismissing a report from an institution solely because it’s from that institution.

That may be a bad example. See, if there is a consistency of factual error from an institution then more facts can be treated as questionable. See my arguments why I consider Miseans/Monetarists/Freshwater Economists to be questionable as an example – they’ve got a history of being wrong. On the other hand it demonstrates the point as well – not arbitrarily dismissed but rather dismissed because of historical performance.

Still, I’d rather someone point out I may have a hobgoblin that turns out to be mistaken than, well, actually carrying one and not realizing it. So if you think I’ve got one, please let me know.

(This rant inspired by comment threads on three different other blogs. If you happen to drop in from one of them, it’s not just you and it might really be me.)


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