If it is not evident from many posts, TAFKAS is a regular reader of National Review. And his 2 favourite contributors are Kevin Williamson and Jonah Goldberg – both great writers and even better analysts. Enough of the free plug thought.
In a recent post, Goldberg made an observation about US politics that applies well beyond the US. There were actually 2, but the second is Australia specific (will get to that shortly):
One of the reasons our politics are so ugly is that politicians and activists insist the impossible is not only possible, but easy. When the inevitable failure materializes, the same politicians blame it on nefarious special interests and a rigged system. This in turn leads not just to more cynicism but a desire for leaders who will tear down everything, the Constitution be damned.
TAFKAS took out the last sentence from the above paragraph because it related to Donald Trump and TAFKAS did not want to trigger the usual Cats. However, and to repeat:
One of the reasons our politics are so ugly is that politicians and activists insist the impossible is not only possible, but easy.
- Fibre to the home for $20.
- 100% renewable energy.
- Increased taxes to fund increased government spending will increase economic growth.
- Perpetual economic growth requires the government sector growing faster than the private sector.
- Government spending can fix everything and anything can be fixed with just a few more billion tax payer dollars.
- Perpetual and large immigration can fix every social and economy ill.
When the inevitable failure materializes, the same politicians blame it on nefarious special interests and a rigged system.
Kevin Rudd blames the “Murdoch empire”. Bill Shorten blames the big end of town. The LNP blames the ABC. The ALP blames SkyNews. The Greens blame racism and while male privilege.
And on this game is played.
In his recent book, The Conservative Sensibility, George Will wrote about something that has been lost by our governing class, Hayekian or epistemic humility:
Hayek’s career was a long summons to epistemic humility, epistemology being the field of philosophy concerned with the nature and limits of human knowledge. A free market, which is a mechanism for generating knowledge by aggregating information, is a design—an artifact, a political construct, a choice. It is a deliberate arrangement by a central government to enable a policy of decentralizing decision-making. It is a social choice to have government facilitate social change by getting out of the way of the market.
One of the great truths about society is that most of the cumulative results of conscious human choices are not the result of any human design. Most of what makes up society, and most of what is most important in society, is the result of choices too numerous to count, not the planned intention of any individual or group of individuals. Hence the law postulated by Robert Conquest, the historian and poet: Everyone is conservative about that which he or she knows the most about. This is so because when one knows something well, one knows its complex antecedents and evolution.
Our representatives believe that government can fix any problem, and when government fails, it is solely because of a lack of funding.
TAFKAS makes these observations as the lead story on the SMH website by its “Senior Economics Correspondent” is:
Big surpluses on the way as tax take from lower-income earners grows
Oh and here is the other nugget Goldberg wrote:
A majority of Americans are concerned about climate change. But when the issue moves from virtue-signaling to actually paying for it, they blanch (as Australian voters recently did). According to polls, a majority of Americans are unwilling to spend more than $24 a year on electricity to combat climate change.
Shame Australian’s weren’t given a choice about paying for it.