Friday, September 30, 2011

Living In An Insular Universe

Republicans despise Paul Krugman. -- which is really not surprising. The official position of the Republican Party on any issue is denial. They are truly living in the Twilight Zone. Since 2000,  Krugman writes, Americans have witnessed:

the party’s broader slide into its own insular intellectual universe. Large segments of the G.O.P. reject climate science and even the theory of evolution, so why expect evidence to matter for the party’s economic views? 

And so, everything is President Obama's fault.

Never mind the fact that the housing bubble, the debt explosion and the financial crisis took place on the watch of a conservative, free-market-praising president; it’s that Democrat in the White House now who gets the blame. 

Republicans argue that it does not help their cause to analyze the reasons for their country's economic problems. What they seek is not solutions but power. And it's good politics to blame Obama for the crisis they caused.  The strategy could work -- if the public's increasingly short memory gets shorter.

But good politics can be very bad policy. The truth is that we’re in this mess because we had too little regulation, not too much. And now one of our two major parties is determined to double down on the mistakes that caused the disaster.

It all makes sense if you live in your own insular universe.


The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Owen. I posted a bit today on a Baylor U survey of some troubling beliefs held by the radical religious right, both ordinary Americans and their elected officials. You know Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of the marketplace? They figure that's the hand of god. They basically have the same variety of theo-fatalism we commonly ascribe to Muslims - "Allah's Will" and all that. They see no need for science or facts when, after all, everything is in god's hands.

Owen Gray said...

It will be interesting to see what kinds of response you get, Mound. I'm sure the faculty at Baylor is above such foolishness. But I'm also sure that there are fools in the neighbourhood.

When I was a student in North Carolina, a fellow told me that segregation had been sanctioned in the Old Testament. After Cain killed Abel, he said, God sent Cain and his descendents into the Land of Nod, where he put the mark of Cain on them.

The land of Nod was Africa, he said, and the mark of Cain was a black skin -- the result of God's descion to turn former Caucasians' skins black.

All black people were descendents of Cain, he said; and, therefore, all righteous people should keep their distance.

People attempt to justify anything and everything by claiming divine sanction.

The Mound of Sound said...

I believe what you're referring to, Owen, was behind the Mormons' policy of prohibiting blacks from holding office in the LDS church. As Mitt Romney points out, his church officially abandoned that in the late 70's. I'm guessing his church got word their tax exempt status could be at risk on a civil rights violation.

Owen Gray said...

As I recall, the guy was a proud Southern Baptist, who went to church on Wednesday night and twice on Sunday.

But, now that you mention it, I also recall that the Mormons used to hold that belief.

Perhaps taxes had something to do with it. Or perhaps -- when Mitt's father ran for president -- they realized that such an article of faith was problematic.