Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's wrong with "flip-flopping" on the issues?

Conventional political tactics says it's fatal to be viewed as a "flip flopper". There are commentators who lament this, rightly offering observations to the effect that "it can be a mark of growth and wisdom to change one's mind".

I couldn't agree more with that view, but there is a problem with the proposition. They aren't defining their terms. Flip flopping has a strong connotation (maybe denotation) of going back, forth, back, forth. So either changing one's mind, or pretending to, simply to cater to a particular audience or interlocutor. That is an inherently, strongly negative quality.

They are talking about a one-time, directional change of view. The kind of thing that takes time, wisdom, consideration, and, finally, self-honesty and the guts to admit it. A reasonable, honorable even laudable thing, assuming it doesn't happen too often.

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