Dec 292011

Source: Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton
Abstracted from pages 27, 28

Contrary to the current antigovernment movement’s claim to represent the intent of the framers [of the U.S. constitution], our founding fathers clearly intended to give us a government both limited and accountable enough to protect our liberties and strong and flexible enough to adapt to the challenge of each new era.

In other words, our constitution was designed by people who work idealistic but not ideological. There’s a big difference. You can have a philosophy that tends to be liberal or conservative but still be open to evidence, experience, and argument. That enables people with honest differences to find practical, principled compromise.

On the other hand, fervent insistence on an ideology makes evidence, experience, and argument irrelevant: if you posess the absolute truth, those who disagree are by definition wrong, and evidence of success or failure is irrelevant. There’s nothing to learn from the experience of other countries. Respectful arguments are a waste of time. compromise is weakness. And if your policies fail, you don’t abandon them; instead, you double down, asserting that they would have worked if only they had been carried it to their logical extreme.

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