November 27, 2008

When is a question not a question?

There is a discussion on Simpol's discussion boards about 'provably false GDP figures'. See:

I raised some questions about the analysis. Why was it wrong for certain assumptions to be made in calculating the figures, given there was a certain logic to them? What difference would it make if the figures were calculated differently? That kind of thing. The sort of probing that is needed when examining proposals that could be introduced simultaneously around the world.

My post was forwarded to a discussion group where the issues was first raised and provoked a surprising response, which someone posted back to Simpol's board.

You can read the correspondence there. The point of this blog is not an "I said, then he said" justification.

It is to ask: When is a question not a question?

In the minds of some beholders it seems questions are not questions, but rhetorical point-scoring constructions.

The question: What difference will this make? Is understood to mean: This will make no difference.

Then follows the attack of cynicism. But I would like suggest the cynicism lies with those who see an honest question in this way.

Is it a sign of the times and the paucity of our policy debate that enquiry provokes such a defensive reaction? This is a question we should seriously consider because the whole purpose of the Simultaneous Policy democratic space is to investigate ideas. For that we need to be able to question them and receive considered answers.

Considered answers appreciated.

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