There’s a delightful article in Saturday’s New York Times – A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney. OK – it’s about the US Presidential election but I am sure we could find local politicians whose behaviour could be more in line with a quantum political theory than classical political theory.
The NYT introduces the concept this way:
“Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate’s position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force – the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany – compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible). This alteration, framed as a positive by the candidate, then provokes an equal but opposite reaction among his rivals.
“But the Romney candidacy represents literally a quantum leap forward. It is governed by rules that are bizarre and appear to go against everyday experience and common sense. To be honest, even people like Mr. Fehrnstrom who are experts in Mitt Romney’s reality, or ’Romneality,’ seem bewildered by its implications; and any person who tells you he or she truly ’understands’ Mitt Romney is either lying or a corporation.”
So we find a number of non-classical political behaviours:
“Complementarity. In much the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, Mitt Romney is both a moderate and a conservative, depending on the situation (Fig. 1). It is not that he is one or the other; it is not that he is one and then the other. He is both at the same time.
“Probability. Mitt Romney’s political viewpoints can be expressed only in terms of likelihood, not certainty. While some views are obviously far less likely than others, no view can be thought of as absolutely impossible. Thus, for instance, there is at any given moment a nonzero chance that Mitt Romney supports child slavery.
“Uncertainty. Frustrating as it may be, the rules of quantum campaigning dictate that no human being can ever simultaneously know both what Mitt Romney’s current position is and where that position will be at some future date. This is known as the ’principle uncertainty principle.’
“Entanglement. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a proton, neutron or Mormon: the act of observing cannot be separated from the outcome of the observation. By asking Mitt Romney how he feels about an issue, you unavoidably affect how he feels about it. More precisely, Mitt Romney will feel every possible way about an issue until the moment he is asked about it, at which point the many feelings decohere into the single answer most likely to please the asker.
“Noncausality. The Romney campaign often violates, and even reverses, the law of cause and effect. For example, ordinarily the cause of getting the most votes leads to the effect of being considered the most electable candidate. But in the case of Mitt Romney, the cause of being considered the most electable candidate actually produces the effect of getting the most votes.
“Duality. Many conservatives believe the existence of Mitt Romney allows for the possibility of the spontaneous creation of an ’anti-Romney’ (Fig. 2) that leaps into existence and annihilates Mitt Romney. (However, the science behind this is somewhat suspect, as it is financed by Rick Santorum, for whom science itself is suspect.)
Thanks to Nick for HT.