The fallacy of mood affiliation is an idea coined by Tyler Cowen writing at Marginal Revolution. What does it mean? Basically, that you choose your mood first, and then you choose ideas to affiliate that match your mood.
Some people do this with pop music. Have you ever decided that the you liked a song because everyone else did, and then later on wondered what you were thinking? It’s actually an important part of pop music: do we really think “Blurred Lines” is as good today as we did in the summer of 2013 (when Ellen introduced it to the world as one of the songs they dance to on her show)?*
Cowen provided another example this week. In noting that Los Angeles has decided to unilaterally start raising its minimum wage, Jared Bernstein wrote a piece in support.
Sort of. Well, maybe, but … not really.
And here is a mood-affiliated Jared Bernstein piece on the L.A. minimum wage hike; it would have been stronger if all he had written were the simple eleven words: “I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is a good idea.”
Cowen noted that the idea is so bad that labor unions negotiated their way out of it for their shops.
He thinks Bernstein decided to be in favor of stuff like this first, and then collected arguments that support his position (even if he had to hold his nose while doing so).
* The vXgirl was a tween, and a slightly militant feminist, when that song came out. It’s hard to tell her that … um … it doesn’t imply nice things about women at all.