Arguing with Religion

To follow up on my previous post, I think there’s a lot of practical implications to this. What you’ve basically got is one person looking at data and objective measurments as a mechanism to come to conclusions, and one person who has a reflexive belief in anti-statism. And no matter how much data Ezra throws at Sullivan, he’s not going to change his mind because he (Sullivan) isn’t looking at data or obective conclusion (he’s not even engaging the data), he’s simply asserting a belief. And he really can’t even allow that universal healthcare would work better than our system, because that would take a sledgehammer not just to one policy opinion, but to his entire libertarian, anti-statist, worldview. And that’s hard for any of us to really engage.

With that said, I think it’s basically a good idea for progressives and universal healthcare proponents to avoid the temptation to spend a lot of time trying to persuade people like Sullivan that they’re right. The libertarian arguments have to be engaged, of course, especially when they come from someone with the readership of Sullivan, but these aren’t persuadable people, and efforts to do so are just going to waste resources.