the rational vote

is it possible to be for the iraq war or against the iraq war?

is it possible to be for the paulson plan or against the paulson plan?

i think all of us have our opinions on such issues, and perhaps, as voters, one is supposed to pick leaders who we trust can share the same opinions as we do. yet most of us have never had the relevant experience in the policy or environment of a given issue
so is it possible to be against a plan in principle? one could object to the iraq war, but there was always the chance that there really could have been weapons of mass destruction, which could have been a material threat. and us, not having been privy to such intelligence shouldn't try to second guess.

yet, after the fact, it appears it may have been wrong to go in in the first place. i personally did not even think that WMD was best contained by a land invasion (i think that WMDs are countered by classic mutual deterrence, using your own WMDs and SDI), so that as a justification didn't fly. Yet, at that time, with the fog of war, it would have been presumptuous to say I knew better.

So, perhaps we can only punish people after the fact.

With the Paulson plan, it is clear that it is not the best plan in principle. Yet, again, I do not have enough experience and intuition honed by years in the markets or policymaking. I do not know for sure that if the plan does not pass, the markets will collapse. So a quick response may very well be necessary. We may never know the counterfactual, or it could be too risky. Still, I always noted that Keynes came to the right conclusion vs the other classical economists of the time because of his greater practical policymaking experience.

That is why there is a certain dilemma on my behalf. I've been invited to a debate on the credit crunch, and while I've generally been trying to keep on top of it, I don't think I have any credibility or special information which would inform my opinions.

Yet, this reminds me that many of the decisions which affect the world are basically down to trust that politicians, managers, CEOs and people who are privy to those important pieces of information are working on our behalf. I am not sure that that is the case or we can ever have a world that will be like that, anyway.

So how do voters pick leaders? Should voters even pick leaders?

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