I can’t worry about getting every blog post exactly right, because then I’ll never publish a post, obviating the purpose of having a blog.
I might need to repeat that sentence at the beginning of every post, so don’t be surprised if you see it a lot.
What is my purpose in starting this blog? Transparency. I want the people in Manchester Ward 4 to be able to come here if they’re confused about why I voted the way I did.
I also think it will be helpful as a record for myself. If I make a mistake in my thinking, it will be recorded here, and I will be able to look back on it and learn from it.
Here is my big confession: I am in a state of flux. My opinions are not fixed. I am capable of changing my mind.
What can change my mind? Evidence. If you have strong evidence that a policy will have good results, please bring it to me, and I will consider that policy.
You might be wondering: if I’m not confident in my beliefs, why did I run for office? Isn’t ego the engine that drives politicians?
Here is how I originally decided to run for office:
Fundamental goal: helping people by reducing the causes of human suffering. (This hasn’t changed.)
I believed government is a major cause of suffering. E.g. war, the prison-industrial complex, the criminalization of poverty.
I believed as a general rule, peaceful, voluntary interactions (liberty) are superior to coercion (government). I self-identified as a libertarian and moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project.
I saw some wins for liberty in the State House and some losses. I wanted to help liberty “win” in the State House, so I decided to run for state representative.
After I won my primary, I realized that I could very well have power (albeit a small slice, 1 seat out of 400 in 1 out of 2 chambers of the legislature, in 1 out of 3 branches of the government) and that my decisions would affect other people. I decided it was time to read the Sequences on the blog Less Wrong. I started with How to Actually Change Your Mind. I knew that I would hear a lot of arguments at the State House, some good and some bad. I wanted to be persuaded by good arguments and fail to be persuaded by bad arguments. I wanted to be certain that I was thinking clearly and rationally.
As it turns out, such certainty is hard to come by.
As an aspiring rationalist, I started questioning everything. Well–not everything. I still think suffering is bad. I still want to reduce suffering and promote flourishing. But all my assumptions are under consideration.
If you’re a libertarian reading this and you think that the weight of the evidence is on “your side,” this should not be cause for alarm.
If you’re not a libertarian and you have good evidence for a specific policy you think I should support, please e-mail me at ecomstockedwards (at) gmail (dot) com. Anecdotes are insufficient.
I’m going to do the best I can.