Sometimes People Act On Their Beliefs

Sometimes people act, well, undecided. Turns out that’s exactly the situation. They have reached no conclusion about what they believe, and what they think is true. This isn’t simply an unwillingness to act, or a kind of laziness. It’s indecision.

Megan McArdle demonstrates this to be true by giving a personal anectode showing it’s opposite – people coming to a conclusion.

As longtime readers of the blog know, I’m related to the Swing Voter, aka my mother. Her vote is an infallible indicator of who will win the general election. We had dinner last night, and somewhat to my surprise, The Swing Voter is completely outraged by the New York Times story–she vows to no longer take the Times, nay, not even for the Sunday crossword. She is also now thinking seriously about voting for McCain just to spite the New York Times.I found myself offering a tepid defense of what really is a pretty indefensible story: to wit, that reporters in cases like this usually know more they can tell, because so many sources refuse to go on the record. The Swing Voter was unmoved. She feels like the Times, and the sort of people who staff the Times, feel that they are entitled to manipulate the election in order to get teh “right” results–that such a story would never have run about a Democrat. No doubt the folks at the Times would strenuously disagree–but it matters that people feel that way. I seriously doubt my mother is the only one.

I can’t say way Ms. McArdle was surprised at the reaction. None of the principles have acted out of character or against type. The only surprise, I suppose, might be at the depth of the reaction.

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