Monday, July 16, 2012

Loudly Declaring Our Stupidity

I have a feature in my Firefox browser called "Pocket." It used to be called "Read It Later" because, well, it allows you to read stuff later. It puts a button in your browser's address bar, and when you click on it, the address gets stored for you to come back to later. It's a short-term bookmark.

Or at least the designers probably intended it to be a short-term bookmark. In my case, it's a very long-term bookmark. That's how today I got around to reading a Forbes article from just over a year ago about the statements policies make about our society.

Carden's point is that price controls are intended to make the statement "we're a society that cares about the working poor" or something like that, but what they really say is "we're a society that doesn't understand economics." Because when the unintended consequences of a policy can be easily foreseen, then just how "unintended" can they really be?

In the year since Carden wrote, there have been plenty of other examples. The cautionary tale of Europe is being studiously ignored by nearly all Americans. "What do you mean we can't have things we can't afford? Somebody get this bozo out of here; he's harshing our buzz." (Yes, in my mind, the collective voice of America uses terms like "bozo" and "harshing our buzz." Maybe we're all 70s disco freaks or something.)

The other night I did a little Wikipedia research on African political developments. I wanted to check for anything new in places like Somaliland, Western Sahara, and South Sudan. I browsed about 20 pages or so, and I found out that Somaliland and Puntland are engaged in a sporadic armed conflict (even though they both want autonomy from Somalia to limit the negative consequences of continual violence), and "South Sudan is at war with at least seven armed groups in 9 of its 10 states...." This despite its status among the absolute poorest of nations. As if they aren't spending enough money fighting wars, South Sudan is also building a capital city.

I can't blame these African leaders. After all, they've been hearing for 80 years how war and monument-building are roads to prosperity. They aren't, incidentally, but--oh!--that's one of those statements only a bozo would make! Let's just bury jars of money in the sand and watch the prosperity roll in!

The largest statement about society being made by current policy is how stupid we all are. Nobody thinks to ask critical questions anymore. Obama is going to give you health insurance for life and nobody asks, "How?" Oh, well, by bending the, um, something-or-other; listen, do you want the free stuff or not? And we keep clamoring for more free stuff, revealing just how stupid we all are.

1 comment:

Steve said...

My fear is not that people are stupid enough to thing "I can get free stuff," but that they are smart enough to figure out "I can get free stuff for ME if I can force OTHER people to pay for it."