Why Liberals Fail
Let it never be said that the FutbolGuru is one-sided. Lemmings are one sided which is why they run off cliffs. Or rather, why it is so easy to get them to run off cliffs. What if one of those lemmings in White Wilderness had simply stopped to smell the cameras? Not only would it have been spared the plunge, it wound probably have become a pet of the director and lived to a ripe old age. Not bad for a lemming.
Conservatives fail. But I never said they always fail. And I didn’t disparage their ideas. Conservatives are the idea people for the very reason that they are not the best leaders – because they are highly rational. Which is not to say that there aren’t conservatives who aren’t fantastic leaders, too. Ronald Reagan for instance. Agree or disagree with his politics it can’t be denied that he inspired the masses and got himself elected twice with more than a few Democrat votes. Take a rational thinker and endow him with leadership capability and you have the makings of greatness. It’s like in engineering, a guy who not only understands theory and design, but who also knows how to program the chips, is an indispensable rarity.
Liberals fail, too. And fail spectacularly. But the reasons they fail are wholly different than why conservatives fail. However, like conservatives, who fail because of their strength in one area, liberals, too, fail because of their strength.
I’m reminded of the Alamo, and who knows how many other hopeless battles stretched across the sands of time. The men in the Alamo were besieged by Santa Anna and his Mexican army. They knew they were outgunned, outmanned, outmaneuvered and could not win this fight. It is likely that Santa Anna would have let them leave without harm if they had given up the garrison and laid down their weapons. But Jim Bowie and William Travis knew that the Texas Revolution was on the line and it was important to stall Santa Anna as long as possible. They tried to get reinforcements but knew it was a long shot. Yet they repeatedly told the garrison that reinforcements were on the way. The commanders hoped reinforcements were on the way, but they didn’t know this. In fact, they probably doubted it. So, did they lie to their men? It may have been because the men believed the reinforcements were on the way that they were able to hold out so long. In the end, of course, they all died, but it gave the Texians time to regroup for the rest of the war. The leaders did what they had to do under the circumstances. They inspired their men to hold out and helped win the war, but they paid a heavy toll.
Liberals are like that. And sometimes it is a necessary trait. When a group is under tough times the truth is not always the best thing to tell them. Outright lies aren’t any better, but an expression of hope, even if it is a distant or almost fabricated hope, can inspire people to lengths they could not otherwise go. Liberals are good at this. They have a vision of the future in which everyone is equal, happy, educated, fulfilled, obeying the rules, basically utopia. And it would be really nice if we could achieve this. Unfortunately, its not real and never will be. Keeping a garrison fighting under terrible, hopeless conditions by inflating hope over despair is one thing. But running an army that way on a day-to-day basis will soon lead to disaster. At some point you have to deal with truth.
One of the things Ronald Reagan did well was give Americans back their sense of pride. We’d just lost our first war, an ugly conflict that divided the nation. Nixon had resigned in disgrace only a few years before. Carter had driven the country into the mud through inexperience and naïveté. Iran was mocking us with hostages. The economy was in the tank. Interest rates were soaring. Inflation was up. Being an American sucked. When Reagan took office he knew our biggest problem was our self image. So what did he do? He ramped up tension against the Soviets. He wasn’t a warmonger but he definitely parlayed the Cold War into a tit-for-tat game of chicken that he knew we couldn’t lose. It was risky and had to be carefully managed or it could explode into a shooting war. But it worked and gave Americans something to rally around. A few years later the Soviets folded and we reaped the rewards, the most important of which was a much improved self-image. It was great leadership even though much of it was based on stereotypes and nationalism. And with lower taxes and decreased government regulation to go along with a sense of national pride, Reagan set up the economic boom of the ‘90s.
Clinton on the other hand played to peoples’ sense of class distinction. Class warfare has never been hotter, or worked better, in U.S. politics. President Clinton was a great leader. Perhaps the greatest of our generation. And by leader, I mean his ability to galvanize people behind him. Whether you love him or hate him it can’t be denied that for those susceptible to it, he had an almost Rasputinesque charm. People LOVED President Clinton because basically, he lied to them. He told them whatever his focus-group polling decided they needed to hear at the moment. No matter what decision needed to be made, he would lick his finger and stick it into the wind. While this can work well when a group is under duress, such as during a siege, we weren’t under duress at the time. So what resulted was an entire population that claimed permanent victim status. By the end of his tenure everyone was pointing their finger at everyone else and no one wanted to work together. Predictably, the economy went into the toilet. The recession at the beginning of the Bush presidency had nothing to do with George II, and everything to do with an epidemic of paranoid greed inspired by President Clinton’s class warfare. There is a time for government to conceal the truth, and perhaps even to lie, but it should be saved for emergencies, not become standard operating procedure.
What will President Obama do? Does anyone doubt that he took office and found the economy to be much worse than he’d been told. Was he shocked? Should he be rational and tell us the truth? Do we want to know the truth? Or does it make more sense to play on hope? For the short term, I say he’s doing the right thing. People need hope. People work harder with hope. They can face more difficulties and be less argumentative when they have hope. Giving hundreds of billions to the wealthy probably sucked more hope from the average American than ten nine-elevens would have. Imagine having to overcome a debacle of that magnitude. But a time is coming when the truth must come into the light. And then we’ll need ideas. Debt will come due and bills will have to be paid and the lying must stop. Liberals have shown great difficulty transitioning from generating hope to producing practical solutions. Will Barak Obama be a great leader or just another liberal failure? I have high hopes if only because it best having low hopes.
-Futbol Guru, http://mises.org/community/blogs/not-a-lemming