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Consistency

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One matter of character that comes up from time to time is consistency. Is it important that someone be resolute in following through with every decision they make or opinion they express? On the other side, is it important that a politician be flexible and change her opinion when the circumstances obviate his or her previous one?

The real importance of consistency is logical consistency, that is, actions should follow from a coherent set of premises. If those premises change, then actions must change in order for them to remain logically consistent. Consistency over time in spite of a change in premises is just plain stubborness, obviously not a positive character trait.

Also, priorities are another form of premise which may preclude following through on every decision/opinion in an otherwise consistent manner.

Keynes: "When my information changes, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?"

  • One should be strong in their beliefs and not wishy-washy depending on the audience. e.g. Telling the NRA you support the Constitution, then telling Handgun Control Inc. you will repeal the 2nd ammendment.
  • One should be open-minded enough to be continually educated and accept when you are proven incorrect.

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