The Influence of Associations

27Oct08

I read an article a few weeks ago that exemplified my anger towards much of the talk this political season. It started with this:

Who you choose to surround yourself with makes you what you are…

After which, I stopped reading. This statement is just plain not necessarily true. It’s a statment that attempts to legitimize all the ridiculous ad hominem and ad other hominem attacks on the candidates which provide zero insight into anything meaningful, namely as future policy decisions.

Sure there’s rationality to it in certain cases. Who a candidate picks to be his or her advisors seems to be fair game, since he’ll likely be looking to those very people for advice. But normal associations? Especially by politicians, who have to work with people who they don’t agree with in order to get things done every day? 

Trying to ferret out some unspoken “deeper” connection between a candidate’s ideas and any of their normal associates’ ideas is a waste of time.

There is no way to prove (or really disprove) the influence of an association on a person’s views, so perhaps those who control our debate in this country might want to spend their time analyzing other issues of greater substance? Things that might inform voters rather than entertain them?

Wouldn’t that be something?

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