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Saturday
Sep082007

What does "policy preference" mean?

[Note: the following notes are written in Wittgensteinian format during a lunch break at the APSA on August 30, 2007]

1. The term "policy" seems to have two senses. "It is my policy to do X."  In this sense, policy is something that I select to function as a rule or standard.  This may seem somewhat strange because I am self-selecting my own regimentation or conformity. It is not a contradiction, however. It merely means that the regimentation is from something less than "law,"  something not mandatory outside of myself.  It is importantly aspirational; a desired protocol. My voluntary submission.

2. "Policy" in another sense: the array of law's choices, X{a,b,c ...}, that can be chosen by a government for formal enactment.  Hence, policy in this sense is a set of products or commodities desiring to become "law." [-- Not quite: commodities or products are already assembled. With "policy" in this sense, you can "rearrange the parts," so to speak. A better metaphor is clothing. Policy in this sense is like a wardrobe in clothing stores. You can pick and choose what components or parts you would like to see put together  into the final outfit].

2.11 Policy is law's wardrobe.

2.12 "policy preference" is like a fashion statement for legality. (e.g., This is the dress that I like).  [Of course, one surely does not use aesthetics when adopting the wardrobe. This is only metaphor].

2.2. Imagine one who says, "my policy preference is for X." (X = e.g., universal health care ... or more public choice, etc.). What is said here is "my enactment preference is." (My desire as to what should be enacted).

2.21. One would not say of something that is not yet enacted ... "my legal preference is." (At least not without sounding somewhat strange ... in need of something in the brain to process a script error, e.g.)

2.3. "Law" is post-enactment; "policy" is pre-enactment.

3. There are two grammars of "policy." Sense one: it is my voluntary submission. Sense two: It is my pre-enactment preference.                     

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Reader Comments (1)

Would it be fair to say that precedence when used purely as such and is not codified is similar to policy?

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRichey

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