The box you think I’m in

Aaron’s post caused me to reflect on similar experiences I’ve had since blogging. I can tell from some comments and emails that some people really, desperately, reflexively, want to put me in a box. They think they can tell from one post (or several) that I’m a single-payer advocate or a free-market enthusiast or anti-Medicare or pro-making-people-uproot-their-families-and-move-to-where-the-jobs-are or, very recently, anti-anti-fraud-control-officials.

Thing is, every time someone comes at me with a clear implication of where they think I’m coming from they’re wrong, totally wrong. That’s because I’m really not coming from anywhere except from research. Don’t misunderstand, research implies things. Some things are consistent with the evidence. Some are not. Some things are in a grey area. But, for me, the evidence drives my opinions. And, my opinions are more flexible than most because evidence rarely paints things in black and white.

I’m very comfortable with ambiguity, perhaps more so than most people. I don’t need to have all the answers. I don’t need to decide how the world should be and then find evidence to support it. I don’t do that, not consciously anyway. And when I find I have done it subconsciously I adjust my thinking.

As annoying as it is to be put in a box, I actually think it’s not a completely irrational thing for people to do. It’s probably a reasonable model of the world that most people do lead with ideology. On the other hand, maybe we all believe everyone else is ideological while simultaneously believing — perhaps even correctly — that we are not. Wouldn’t that be sad?

So, should I put you in a box? If not, should you put me in one? Go on if you must. But, trust me, you’re wrong. I just know it, yet I can’t prove it. How’s that for irony and hubris?

Seriously though, if I hated puppies I’d say so. Same goes for everything else. I don’t beat around the bush.

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