Categorized | Politics

Magical thinking on the left and the right

Paul Kedrosky

My friend Barry calls out the right for magical thinking about … everything, a position with which I agree. Their embrace of supply-side silliness in its most extreme forms, evolutionary nonsense, goofball religiosity, healthcare loopiness, and complete derangement about climate are all signs of a movement that values rhetoric over reason.

Having said that, a pox on both political houses. Not to be fair and balanced, because I’m not, but the left is guilty of its own similar abuses. Its naive belief in simple Keynesianism, its fondness for the magic powers of the state, its warm belief in the essential goodness of humanity, its inability to do sums when it comes to favored energy policies … the list is endless.

Let’s just do away with magical thinking entirely. Okay?

It’s not just magical thinking. It’s also that our current-day politics are primarily about attacking whatever the other side supports, regardless of logic or consequences. The antiwar movement disappeared when Obama got elected. Most the protesters were really just anti-Bush and are now totally okay (or at least mute) with whatever wars Obama wants. Meanwhile, some Republicans are now becoming antiwar as a way to attack Obama. Both sides define themselves primarily as being in opposition to whatever the other is doing and neither pay much attention to the well being of the country as a whole.

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