Friday, October 17, 2008

Politics, Irrationality and Intolerance

Economist Caplan developed an interesting and promising line of research that explains how politics is mostly driven by irrational choice, while markets are mostly driven by rational choice.

One of the constant dangers in politics is exactly that political irrationality and its exploitation may easily degenerate into political intolerance. This week we had at least two shameful examples right here in Minnesota nice.

In St. Cloud, a man decided to throw dog feces into his neighbor's truck because his neighbor supports McCain (HT Banaian).

In Duluth, three youngsters vandalized a house fence and disrespected a woman because she had a sign in her yard in support of McCain.

Naturally, you can find such examples of politically driven irrationality and intolerance on all sides of the political spectrum. This WSJ article has examples of serious misbehavior by people that dislike Obama.

This universal pattern suggests that the phenomenon is inherent to the political process.

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