Thursday, June 02, 2005

Anecdotes are the enemy of sound public policy

...this is a tale about the power of narrative in politics, and the increasing ease with which individual stories can be made the be-all and end-all of political debate. The new information technology, with its cascades of rumour and limitless outlets for personal histories, is more often than not the enemy of informed public discussion. In the face of an endless readiness on all sides to heed the unmediated voice of personal experience, it has become harder to sustain the bigger picture needed for any plausible defence of progressive politics. This shifts politics, inexorably, to the right.

—David Runciman, in The London Review of Books


This is taken from a review of Death By a Thousand Cuts, a book about the effort to abolish the inheritance tax in the United States. Read the entire review.

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