Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Knives Out

This has been hinted at in some of my previous posts, but I'll feel better once I make it explicit.

I change my mind. Not constantly, but somewhat regularly. Things I like today I dislike tomorrow, and vice versa. My political ideology has undergone a twelve-year Odyssey from traditional conservative through rabid libertarian to my current peacenik/statist liberal position. While I am utterly secure today in the correctness of my belief, it would be foolish for me to imagine that this is the last stop along my intellectual evolution.

One of my three all-time favorite quotes is this gem from Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little philosophers, statesmen, and divines." I think there's an attendent statement by him of Thoreau along the lines of, "Whatever you believe today, believe it with all your force, and promote it in the public sphere with vigor. And should you believe the opposite tomorrow, be no less robust in your new belief." I was leery of this thought when I first encountered it in eleventh-grade English, but I've become convinced that it is right.

In large part, current political events have driven me to that conclusion. The many mires currently swallowing up America (massive debt, foreign wars, endless ideological battles) have, at their heart, a stubborn refusal to learn and adapt. I personally believe that, if Rumsfeld and Rice and Wolfowitz had known four years ago what the costs of invading Iraq would be, they would have held off. Now, though, nobody involved in the decision is willing to publicly acknowledge the very real mistakes and problems that occurred. They keep on digging the hole in the hopes that it will somehow lead them out.

As an aside, I dearly hope that the American people will have learned after the last election that it's more important to adapt your position in light of new evidence than it is to be consistent. That still makes me angry, so I'll move on.

Where was I? Oh, yes, this blog. This will serve as your formal notice that I will unapologetically change my opinions as my mood shifts. Sometimes this will happen over a short period of time; in the long haul, I fully expect to start writing critiques of years-old posts to expose what was wrong with them. I'd prefer to issue new posts instead of trying to regularly update old ones to synch with my philosophy-of-the-day.

The immediate impetus for this post is that I was looking through my "top fives" list of video games and found some choices I strongly disagreed with. For example, while I do really enjoy Final Fantasy X, I find it hard to believe that it made it onto a Top 5 list. It seems a little soon to re-do the list, and even if I did it would just change again next week.

Same thing with my profile. I arbitrarily chose 5 movies and books, and did not list some of my favorites. I'll probably push it out to 10 so I get more of them in.

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