Quote of the Day

Richard Fernandez:

If you had to name ten things “which changed everything” in the last 2 decades nearly all the good stuff will have crept out of woodwork from the inner pages while all the bad stuff was parading above the fold. You can even think of the inner pages as being in an endless war with the front page, in an unending battle between the ordinary working stiff and the self-important leaders. The working stiff makes and the self-important leader taxes and wastes. Booms happen when the regular Joe can temporarily outpace the great men and the years of the locust occur when the opposite is true.

This is a nice post that touches a number of important themes about progress and how people perceive it. Worth reading.

9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. I read every one of his columns. It’s true that bad news attracts attention but part of that is what is going on in politics these days. It is like watching a train wreck.

    The good news is that those robots are replacing low skill jobs just as the auto replaced the horse handlers 100 years ago. Think for a minute about “The Roaring 20s” which are thought of a period of excess, crime and greed which ended in1929 with the crash and a period of penance which was the Depression. In fact, the 20s was a period of great innovation and resembles the 90s, for which Bill Clinton is given credit instead of the GOP Congress elected in 1994.

    We live in an era of great innovation in some sciences like medicine and nanotechnology.

    Politics, however, is a mess and evading its grip is another area of innovation. If we can elect another Reagan or Coolidge, we may see another boom.

  2. If we can elect another Reagan or Coolidge, we may see another boom.

    Assumes great men control our destiny. I don’t share that assumption.

    When we are again ready to elect another Reagan or Coolidge, we will be ready to create another boom. The question that interests me is why we elect them so infrequently.

  3. “Assumes great men control our destiny.”

    No, I think great men and women can influence it. Margaret Thatcher revived British self confidence and even though Blair imported thousands of fifth columnists and Cameron is a squish, Britain is booming and wealthy compared to France or most of Europe. I don’t know enough to compare Germany. Reagan cut taxes, as did Coolidge. What holds us back now is not so much taxes (except the corporate tax) but regulation which is approaching Soviet complexity. We also have insane levels of fake science like global warming and anti-GMO and anti-vaccination.

    What would have happened to Britain in 1940 without Churchill ?

    I think if Coolidge’s son had not died, throwing the father into a depression he never recovered from, and Coolidge was re-elected in 1928, he might have avoided Hoover’s mistakes. Who knows ? It couldn’t have been much worse.

    I think we probably lost our chance to recover without turmoil when Romney lost but hope springs eternal.

  4. “Assumes great men control our destiny. I don’t share that assumption.”

    It follows from this that a really bad man can’t screw things up too horribly. Well… maybe.

  5. Reminds me of this favorite of Glenn Reynolds

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    Robert A. Heinlein

  6. My favorite, and I save these on my blog, is

    1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
    2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left wing.
    3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies .

    — Robert Conquest.

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