Ideas and Paradox
Thinking about some of the misplaced opposition to nuclear power recently provoked a line of thought about how often you find people holding combinations of views which you would not expect to find together.
Sometimes the combinations are counterintuitive but fall short of a direct contradiction. Sometimes people manage to believe things which are directly incompatible.
Here are a few examples
1) SUPPORT FOR ABORTION AND OPPOSITION TO THE DEATH PENALTY (or vice versa)
As the "New Scientist" once put it, "The people who think human life is sacred before birth are often the same people who think it isn't after the age of criminal responsibility."
It is by no means an exact match, but it is surprising how many people who think it is wrong for the state to execute convicted murderers also come out towards the "pro" end of the spectrum on state provision of abortion on demand, and equally surprising how many people who are towards the "anti" end of that spectrum support capital punishment.
One exception a few years ago was when "moderate" Democrats in the United States found that there were votes to be gained by the "Double Death" position (e.g. supporting abortion on demand but making a propaganda point about how many death warrants they'd signed.) And there are people whose position could equally be described as "Double Life." But I stand by the view that the correlation of views on this issue is not what you might expect.
2) PRO NUCLEAR WEAPONS, ANTI NUCLEAR ENERGY
After swallowing the camel of multi-megaton bombs and missiles designed to incinerate cities in a second, who would strain at the gnat of the peaceful use of nuclear energy? More people than you might think. In spite of the fact that you need a nuclear industry to generate the fissile material needed for H-Bombs.
This used to be the official position of the Liberal Democrats, although latterly they seem to be moving towards a welcome acceptance of the reality that Britain needs nuclear power.
3) PRO LOCAL CHOICE, ANTI "POSTCODE LOTTERY"
Ask people if they support greater local choice, diversity and autonomy and the vast majority will say yes. But as soon as any area actually starts exercising that kind of choice in the provision of services, you can bet your bottom dollar that people will start complaining that this is a "Postcode lottery."
I'm sure many people reading this can think of a few more!