Wednesday, June 08, 2005

PUPs points to Arnold Kling, who points to Dan Klein, etc. In any case, it's a discussion worth having. James Buchanan mentioned the "romantic view of politics" some years ago. Kling's post is a wonderful summary of thinking and feeling in politics -- to get us thinking.

The bad news is that as people get richer, they are more likely to be rationally ignorant -- and more inclined to take up unexamined views, which are often the romantic tales and postures that Klein writes about.

We get the stock of Popular Unexamined Propositions (PUPs), many of them taught in our schools and universities. Fewer than ever believe that the Moon is made of blue cheese but most accept that the Great Depression forever indicted market economics and that the New Deal forever vindicated top-down economic planning for the democracies.

Kling's good news is that blogging and easy communications may be an antidote. The fight against blogging that totalitarians around the world are trying to pick provides the evidence.

Writing about an earlier conflict, Robert Massie noted that when WW I sailors spotted another ship on the horizon that was both faster and mounting longer-range guns, they knew that they were doomed.