Value of family embedded in Luján’s foundation


  1. Dr. J says:

    It is heartening to see Mr. Schneider and I agree about something.  But if only “politics” contained universally agreed truths where all could agree on what is “correct” wrt climate change, macroeconomics, education, etc.  But then again politics wouldn’t be politics without polarization, conflict, disagreements, and battles over who is correct, would it?

  2. Michael H Schneider says:

    I agree with Dr.J’s conclusion: character is an unreliable guide to conduct.
    Character is certainly an easy thing to evaluate, and talking about character is certainly a convenient way to avoid doing much hard thinking. But like many shortcuts that avoid thinking, it’s unreliable.
    Character is certainly a popular explanation for behavior in literature. Both Hercule Poirot and Rodion Raskolnikov exemplify the belief that character is a reliable guide to conduct. But fiction, even literary fiction, is not necessarily a reliable guide to reality.
    Character is an unreliable guide to action because, among other reasons, people may be wrong. For example, let’s say we want to know whether a particular politician will support increasing federal deficit spending as a way to get the unemployment rate down.  We could ask about character – is this person charitable, and kind, and do they like dogs, and show respect for their elders? But that won’t tell us much about the economic policies they will support. We’re much better off asking about their theories of macroeconomics. A person may have a wonderful character, but yet be totally mistaken about macroeconomics, and thus favor bad policies.
    Evaluating a candidate’s character is the cop-out for voters (and “journalists”) who don’t have the knowledge, education, and intelligence to evaluate the important questions: is the candidate correct about macroeconomics? is the candidate correct about climate change? is the candidate correct about education? Those, and other important questions, can’t be answered by looking at how long the candidate’s grandparents were married.

  3. new_mexican says:

    Ben will remain a great representative of Northern New Mexico as long as he wants.

  4. Dr. J says:

    Thanks for your explanation Heath, I know not everyone is as disinterested in politicians’ backgrounds as I.  But in my long experience with professional pols, I’m afraid I am not nearly as convinced as you are about being able to determine how one will vote or govern based on their personal stories, backgrounds, experience, etc.  The political graveyard is full of people whose  backgrounds and personal experiences would imply a trustworthy, generous, down-to-earth, thoughtful, empathetic person willing to listen to people other than their special interests and political bosses.   However, few if any (I have never met or seen one yet) follow that seemingly rational premise, they all, as you say, have records where their words and deeds never match.  This is because politics is such a corruptive and caustic force that all those personal background experiences and views get destroyed as soon as they enter the political arena.  It happens all the time, that is why politicians are held in such disregard by the people at large, and why anyone who has character, values, and principles will not run for public office, or “public service” as Mr. Castro put it last night.  When an elected politician describes their job as “public service”, beware, that tells you all you need to know about them.

  5. Heath Haussamen says:

    Dr. J,

    In an era in which politicians’ actual records often (if not usually) don’t match what they say they’re going to do, I believe it’s important to do articles that go beyond what they say they’re going to do, to look at who they are and what shaped them, to give a sense of their character and help people understand how they make decisions.

    And you’re right about the speaker. Thanks for the correction. 

  6. Dr. J says:

    I guess I don’t understand the purpose of these “up close and personal” stories about politicians.  All I want to know is how is he going to vote in issues of critical importance to me.  All the rest about him or any professional pol is irrelevant and uninteresting.  And BTW, Ben was NOT Speaker of the House for 37 years.  He was elected Speaker in 2001, although some may think he was speaker for 37 years.

  7. Juan Carlos Holmes says:

    Only in New Mexico would that particular bit of advice appear on a political site…

  8. EW-aif says:

    “Ben Ray Luján remembers long milking sessions when goats kicked over their milk buckets and he had to start over.”

    Well, for goodness’ sake, build a goat milking stand.  About a foot from the ground, one plank sticks out of the side, where you sit.  There’s an upright with a small tray for the dairy ration that keeps the goat happy.  Two 2″ x 4″ upright lengths, one movable that locks in place to keep the goat’s head in place while you milk (and the goat eats the dairy ration).  Forty years ago I had a milk goat (only one).  I asked around, got the instructions on how to build a stand, which I did,  and I never had any trouble milking her.