Americans can sense the irrationality of the current gestalt.
The first step in recovering the sanity of our nation is to stop accepting the irrationality. Rational people must learn to recognize how certain factions of our society are continually venue shopping for minds that will accept their irrationality.
The issue is that those behind such irrationality are very logical. There is a method to their creation of madness.
They never participate or believe in the intellectual bilge they produce. Their goal is to create and propagate internal and external chaos and confusion – because confused people in the midst of chaos are very, very easy to control. Force and coercion are not required when suggestions will do. Force of arms is not required when pliable minds can be “nudged” in a particular direction.
Cass Sunstein, former Obama official and the husband of Samantha Power (the former Obama UN Ambassador and currently Biden nominee to head USAID), co-wrote wrote a book with economist Richard Thaler on the subject a few years ago. Titled “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness” which dealt with the subject of “choice architecture”, which proposes that people can be directed to the “right” decisions if only the choices are structured “correctly”. Sunstein and Thaler noted that people tend to err in predictable ways, and influencers/leaders/regulators should intervene to correct those cognitive failures by nudging individuals toward optimal choices while still preserving the freedom to choose. “Nudge” asserts that something the authors call “libertarian paternalism” which aspires to prod people toward outcomes that rational people would select if they only knew what the “experts” know and they only possessed the self-control to act on such information.
I am not sure there is a more obvious oxymoron than “libertarian paternalism”. Given my own understanding of libertarianism and paternalism, those two words seem to me to be exact opposites of each other – at least they are consistent with the contradictory nature of progressivism. When one runs across such an oxymoron, one that forms the primary basis for an entire book, one should be very skeptical of the conclusions the authors draw.
What was ignored is that their definition of “nudging” requires one to answer the same question Vlad Lenin supposedly posed, the “Who, Whom?” question. F.A. Hayek described this question as “Who plans whom, who directs and dominates whom, who assigns to other people their station in life, and who is to have his due allotted by others?” Hayek also identifies the real issue when he writes, “These become necessarily the central issues to be decided solely by the supreme power.”
In the case of Sunstein’s “Nudge”, who decides what is the “right” choice? Who are these “experts” who are so wise in the ways of science? Who chooses them and by what authority? How can people know what the “experts” know is true, accurate and in the proper context? What accountability and responsibilities do these “experts” have to the people?
How can people be sure the choice architecture is not designed to advance the goals of the supreme power, rather than resulting in rational choices while letting the proverbial chips fall where they may? How can the people know that the goal is the best choice and not the satisfaction of a particular sociopolitical agenda?
The answer is obviously that the people cannot know.
Clarity is not the objective of the politicized “science” and “experts” these days. If our society were honest and rational, Anthony Fauci’s multiple reversals over the past 12 months would end his career – and yet, he is running the pandemic response and is the highest paid federal employee at $417K a year plus bennies (more than the president).
Anything having a political objective or component can be, and often is, corrupted to the benefit of one faction or another – and that is what the current irrational gestalt is all about.
In the past, the media was a bulwark against such irrationality. It was their job to ask questions like “How are elective abortions healthcare and how many cancerous tumors have been born as humans?”, “How does forcing law-abiding firearms owners into restrictions stop criminals from using guns?”, “From whence will the electricity for all those electric cars be coming?”, “Why do you classify your opposition as ‘domestic terrorists’?”, “What is to be gained by impeaching a former president?” and “Is Ted Cruz really the Zodiac Killer and did he really try to murder Sandy from the Bar with his finger guns?”
The job of rationality falls to us.
We must demand our representatives, all up and down the political spectrum, answer our questions. We must also demand they ask those questions of their peers and superiors – and if they don’t, we need to replace them with people who will.
If I were in the House, when Sandy accused the House GOP of being run buy “white supremacists”, I would have immediately challenged her to name them, produce the evidence, or shut up.
The GOP response to AOC’s slander was so tepid as to be beyond belief. Every challenge must be met with a challenge. As Saul Alinsky wrote, make your opponent live by their own rules.
This is the way.