The fact that he didn’t change his views, or at least made a show of not changing them, is one of the earliest things that put me off about him.

I’m one of the people who respects Bernie for sticking to his principles, even if I don’t always agree with his conclusions. But as someone who is constantly challenging his own views, I most certainly understand where you’re coming from on this.

The big question for me is whether Bernie’s consistency is a consequence of arrogance or of self-examination. If it’s the former, then it’s a huge problem for me. But if it’s the latter — if he has a habit of challenging himself in some form or fashion, yet he keeps coming to the same conclusions — then it casts his rigidity in a very different (and positive) light, IMHO.

Of course, it’s really very difficult to answer that question. I don’t know Bernie personally, and I didn’t watch him very closely prior to about 2012. I don’t know if he’s just a stubborn old man who thinks he’s right about everything, or if he sticks to his positions because they keep passing every test he applies to them. It’s a bit of judgment call, really. My gut tells me he’s not as arrogant as he sometimes seems, though I admit that his consistency is so unusual in the world of politics that it does strike me as slightly suspicious, hence why I understand your skepticism of him.

All of great literature or movies is about a character making an arc to change their perspective, yet in politics and public life, we have this idea that it is a virtue to never change.

I 100% agree with you on this. It’s just, you know, how does one tell the difference between a genuine change of heart and a “flip flop”? Even for nonpartisan voters, it’s easy to get those mixed up. I think that’s why changing one’s mind is generally frowned upon. Evaluating a politician’s sincerity is tricky business. Ideological consistency spares voters from having to engage in that exercise, and I think that may be why they prefer that consistency.

As for me, I look for a healthy balance between the two. I like consistency, but I also like humility. I think you can have both, but it certainly is a difficult balance to maintain.

He said it would be worse than the death penalty. If punishment is your aim, life in prison, for him, was as bad as it gets.

I heard this same thing from a cousin of mine (drug addict, repeat offender, did time for heroin). It certainly had an impact on my feelings about the death penalty.

People who complain that the government can’t even deliver the mail correctly, will, on the other hand, rely on the legal system to say someone is beyond a shadow of a doubt guilty, and therefore can be put to death.

It is very interesting to me that the inefficiencies/shortcomings of government are such a popular talking point on the right except when it comes to this issue (and one or two others, such as police brutality).

In the absence of a perfect system, and with life in prison as a sufficient punishment, I think we must put our emotions aside and err on the side of caution.

I couldn’t agree with you more!

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

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