We may be true Scotsmen, but we have to live in the real world. We may protest our sincerity and point to the founding assumptions of our credo and the exceptions we’ve carved out and say, “see, we’ve got that covered. You have nothing on us.” But once we protest our sincerity, we’ve already conceded our sincerity needs protesting. And as suspect as the exercise is, we must judge the merits of that protest, judge our own sincerity. And priority–how we prioritize what we write about or advocate for or spend our life on this world pursuing–is one way to do that.
Take this argument that you’re probably tired of already. But since I’m using it (kind of) as a declaration against interest I hope you’ll indulge me yet again. I’ve said:
When it comes to hours and labor regulations, I favor the policy that creates more jobs, but bad ones, over the policy that leads to fewer jobs, but good ones.
And I stressed:
I’m talking primarily about hours and wages regulations. Safety regulations and regulations against “negative externalities” are a different concern.
And later I gave a nod to my support for “a stronger social safety net.”
Those assumptions and exception didn’t shield me from criticisms that “contrary to what I say,” health and safety regulations matter, or a social safety net matters. Should they have? I got huffy at the criticisms (and if you’re honest, you probably would have too, if the tables were turned). But my answer must be, “not necessarily.”
I chose to focus on wages and hours regulations, about which my views are more “market liberal” than not. I didn’t choose to focus on the health and safety regulations, about which my views are less “market liberal” and are more concerned with workplace safety.
I don’t think I’ve written even one post specifically about the need for better workplace health and safety regulations.
What about the stronger social safety net? More generous food stamp programs, Obamacare and improvements thereto, maybe a guaranteed basic income, or at least a more robust earned income credit–I “sincerely” support all those (though I have a lot of qualms concerning a guaranteed income.) I’ve written a little about some of those, especially Obamacare, at my solo blog. But are those things really on the table in the same way that, say, minimum wage increases are? Not really. Not that I know.
So yes, I’m “sincere.” But even a neo-gliberal like me can see that I don’t put my beliefs where my OPs are. None of which means I’m wrong or even that I could honestly hold a contrary view. But it’s a fair cop to point it out.