July 21, 2007

"Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?"

After running profile after profile, Normblog finally -- for the 200th profile -- profiles Norm!


Gahrie said...

Assuming the question is not rhetorical, yes.

I used to be firmly pro-Palestinian. I've even visited the PLO consulate in London when I was a teenager involved in the MUN.

Now, while I still believe the Palestinians morally deserve a homeland, in the real world they haven't shown themselves deserving or capable of running one.

I also used to be pro-UN, now I think it needs to be either majorally overhauled and re-thought, or eliminated.

Justin said...

Gay rights.
Gay marriage.
Homosexuality in general.
Separation of church and state.
Nation building.

I could go on. Let's just say I've changed my thinking on just about every major moral, political, or intellectual issue; and several of the minor ones, too.

Fen said...

Abortion [back and forth]

Homosexual Marriage [would have voted no, now abstain]

Faith in multilateral institutions like UN [I was leader for my local Model UN]

Foriegn Policy - the realpolitic of stability at the price of despots.

Jennifer said...

Abortion. To name one.

Geesh. I would hope everybody has changed their mind on at least one thing. Who has everything figured out in time to form their first moral, political or intellectual opinion?

rhhardin said...

Artificial Intelligence has probably had the highest promise for the longest time of any field, without anything coming of it. I think it hooks males.

I've revised my thinking so that I'm not only not surprised it hasn't worked out, but wonder how anybody thinks it might.

The simplest method for a programmer to achieve this insight is probably to read through Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik _A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language_ one summer, thinking for each example how your program is going to handle this case. English consists of a couple thousand pages of hard special cases, so perhaps high school grammar has led you astray about what's out there.

Women are not particularly susceptible to this delusion. On the other hand they don't get much done.

MarkW said...

As a teenager and college student, I was taken in by the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" and "The Population Bomb" and the like.

There's a great temptation for every generation to think that IT is living at THE crucial time during which future of the humanity hangs in the balance and, unless we do something dramatic right NOW, all will be lost.

Cedarford said...

When I was younger, I believed in affirmative action. Not now.

Most recently, I lost faith in globalization, free trade, the idea that private American health care insurance "was the best system in the world", and any confidence that 50% of the new wealth created now havested by the top 1% of Americans "trickles down", at all. The wealth gap is growing in America to near African, Latin American levels.

Most importantly, after 9/11 I believed that Islam was mostly a benign religion with the "vast number of Muslims" moderates, just like me.
Not any more.

Henry said...

Moral / political issue? Death penalty. Once for, for the worst offenders. Now adamantly against.

Intellectual issue? Once cared about modern art.

Random Numbers said...

Was pro-choice before I really examined the issue. I became pro-life about the same time I became an un-churched Christian. Go figure.

I used to think the UN was a great idea before I examined it's structure, methods, and membership. Now I think the best way to solve all the trouble in the world would be to nuke Turtle Bay.

Random Numbers said...

Henry: Most of what passes itself off as modern art is about as intellectual as public masturbation.

Meade said...

"Why do you blog?"

Joe said...

Generally, over the years I've become more fiscally conservative and more of a civil libertarian.

Was once quite anti-abortion, now believe abortions should be unrestricted in the first trimester and criminal for both woman and doctor thereafter except in the case of immediate threat to health.

As for death penalty; I believe it should only be done in cases where overwhelming and direct forensic evidence exists. (I don't trust "eye" witness testimony any more than I trust prosecutors.)

Oddly, one position that hasn't changed since I was a teenager is that the government should get out of the marriage business. It should enact civil unions and only by government officials and let churches do the marrying.

Joe said...

By the way, random numbers, you denigrate masturbation with your statement.

Synova said...

I don't think that I *can* name an issue I've changed my mind on and not at all because I haven't changed my mind.

It's just that the changes are usually gradual and I realize I'm modifying what I think (every single day) but if I had to answer that question I don't think I'd think of anything specific that I could list.

And then there are the changes that are because I wasn't paying attention and then I started to, but there my initial opinion was a provisional one, even in my own mind. I was half-way ready to accept AGW, for example, until I started to look into it at all. I was generally thinking that invading Iraq was probably not so smart (I don't recall why I wasn't paying attention so much at the time... maybe we were moving cross country) and when I started to spend some effort looking at the issue realized that I very much thought (and still think) that Iraq was necessary and smart strategically. (I'll accept quibbles about tactics.)

Those things just don't seem like the sort of used to think one thing and now think the opposite that the question implies.

I can't even really say that I used to be Republican and now I'm Libertarian because when I was Republican I couldn't have told you what the difference between the GOP and Dems even though I was more "active" than nearly anyone my age (and no one could tell me either). By the time I was forming my own political opinions they tended libertarian.

Freeman Hunt said...

Let's just say I've changed my thinking on just about every major moral, political, or intellectual issue; and several of the minor ones, too.

I second that.

I used to be an atheist (and an evangelizing and politically active one at that.) I used to be a communist. I used to be pro abortion choice. I used to be part of the "America is bad" crowd. I used to be a lot of things. I could go on and on...

That sounds like I'm a polar opposite now of what I was at an earlier time, but that's not quite true. I've never been a relativist. I've always believed that there is an objective reality, an objective truth. I've always believed in universal standards.

Peter Palladas said...

What is your favourite poem? > T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets.

...got something right then! (See previous.)