Friday, October 18, 2013

The failure of the Conventional Wisdom

As Galbraith described it, the Conventional Wisdom is "adequately predictable".  And so we see today in the discussions of who won and who lost the Government shutdown brouhaha.  The CW is that while the Democrats and Obama lost some popularity, the GOP lost even more and so are bigger losers.

This is adequately predictable given that almost every Talking Head is left of center, or they wouldn't have a Talking Head job (the same argument applies to those who write Op Ed columns).

So what's not being said?  Two items seem to me to be of overwhelming importance:

1. The Shutdown was supposed to be a catastrophe.  Instead, nobody noticed.  Literally, the entire population of the Republic went about their daily jobs without noticing that the Government was "shut down" unless they happened to tune in the TV to one of the Talking Head shows.  Then they must have spent a few moments in confusion trying to reconcile the hyper ventilating from the TV set with their own sense of, well, normalcy.

2. The one thing that people did notice about the shutdown was the thuggish response of the Government, in particular the National Park Service.  This news did indeed get through even to people not paying much attention.  The uselessness and petty vindictiveness of our Government Agents was plain to see.  Those paying more attention realize that this came from the top, in a response to #1, but even those not playing along at home saw the fangs of the Beast, bared at this citizens.

You can demonstrate to yourself that even people who weren't paying attention have absorbed these lessons.  Find a family member, friend, or acquaintance  (perhaps a co-worker) who doesn't pay much attention.  Ask them two questions:
  1. Did the Government shutdown effect them?
  2. What did they think about the government barricading the open air World War II memorial to prevent dying veterans from paying respect to their fallen comrades?
These issues are basic, and very hard for the average citizen to avoid when confronted with them.

And so back to the question of who won and who lost.  This was a complete disaster for the Democratic Party and for the Progressive Movement.  Both are invested in ever larger and more powerful government, acting beneficially to advance the well being of the People.  Both the issues highlighted above show the emptiness of that vision, and indeed the hypocrisy of it.

And the people responsible for this are Senator Cruz and company.  None of this would have happened but for them.

The Progressive brand has taken a substantial hit, with the lesson for any thinking person being "Progressives say to support more useless Government or they'll punish us".  People thinking this have the advantage of being entirely correct.

The Talking Heads will continue being adequately predictable, but the message has been sent, and it has been received.


Scott_S said...

The only thing it has reinforced for me is the fact that my VA disability check is subject to the whims of quite a few people who do not represent me. I'll be working to wean my spending habits off of having it come in though it makes up about 30% of my income.

chipmunk said...

You are absolutely correct about the takeaway lesson from all this. What a bunch of vindictive turkeys.