Friedrich von Schiller: “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.”
Paul Krugman, bless his heart, keeps on contending:
When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.
How did that happen? How, after runaway banks brought the economy to its knees, did we end up with Ron Paul, who says “I don’t think we need regulators,” about to take over a key House panel overseeing the Fed? How, after the experiences of the Clinton and Bush administrations — the first raised taxes and presided over spectacular job growth; the second cut taxes and presided over anemic growth even before the crisis — did we end up with bipartisan agreement on even more tax cuts?
Well, other than the US is increasingly scientifically illiterate, statistically innumerate, historically ahistorical, what could possibly be the problem?
How about a president determined to compromise with the brain-dead?
people who should have been trying to slay zombie ideas have tried to compromise with them instead. And this is especially, though not only, true of the president. …
President Obama … has consistently tried to reach across the aisle by lending cover to right-wing myths. …
None of this stopped the right from denouncing him as a socialist. But it helped empower bad ideas, in ways that can do quite immediate harm.
In 2005, Doris Kearns Goodwin published Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a great study of how Lincoln appointed four of his political opponents to his Cabinet. (Here’s the review from the NYTimes: ‘Team of Rivals’: Friends of Abe – New York Times.) I read the book, enjoyed it, and learned a lot about Lincoln from it.
In the first year of Obama’s presidency, I wrote to the White House. My advice was as follows:
1) Find every copy of Team of Rivals in the White House.
2) Burn them.