David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information

Liberals are often distinguished from conservatives by taking a “reality-based” approach to political issues. Such differences have been obvious on issues such as Iraq (with many conservatives still clinging to false beliefs such as that WDM provided a justification for the war or that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attack) and conservative rejection of modern science (ranging from evolution to climate change). Conservatives also approach economics more as a religion than as something which can be analyzed based upon data, sticking to economic ideas which have no basis in reality. Even some conservatives realize this fault on the part of many conservatives.

Conservative author David Frum has an article in The New York Times Magazine which provides five lessons which victorious conservative Republicans should pay attention to if they are truly interested in governing (the topic of an editorial in today’s New York Times) as opposed to continuing to play partisan politics. The most important lesson is that conservatives “wrap themselves in closed information systems based upon pretend information.”

Too often, conservatives dupe themselves. They wrap themselves in closed information systems based upon pretend information. In this closed information system, banks can collapse without injuring the rest of the economy, tax cuts always pay for themselves and Congressional earmarks cause the federal budget deficit. Even the market collapse has not shaken some conservatives out of their closed information system. It enfolded them more closely within it. This is how to understand the Glenn Beck phenomenon. Every day, Beck offers alternative knowledge — an alternative history of the United States and the world, an alternative system of economics, an alternative reality. As corporate profits soar, the closed information system insists that the free-enterprise system is under assault. As prices slump, we are warned of imminent hyperinflation. As black Americans are crushed under Depression-level unemployment, the administration’s policies are condemned by some conservatives as an outburst of Kenyan racial revenge against the white overlord.

Meanwhile, Republican officeholders who want to explain why they acted to prevent the collapse of the U.S. banking system can get no hearing from voters seized with certainty that a bank collapse would have done no harm to ordinary people. Support for TARP has become a career-ender for Republican incumbents, and we shall see what it does to Mitt Romney, the one national Republican figure who still defends TARP.

The same vulnerability to closed information systems exists on the liberal side of U.S. politics as well, of course. But the fact that my neighbor is blind in one eye is no excuse for blinding myself in both.

Unfortunately, it is far more likely that conservatives will respond to this by attacking Frum as opposed to engaging in any reality checking or ever acknowledging that Frum is correct that many of the economic views which are common place in the conservative echo chamber have no basis in reality. Conservatives frequently fail to understand that markets are created by humans and require regulation to work correctly. Many stick to a religious view of markets as something sacred which humans must not tamper with (unless it involves Republican policies to transfer more wealth to their supporters).

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Comments

  1. 1
    Terry Kerr says:

    RT @RonChusid: David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information #p2 http://bit.ly/atdnZR

  2. 2
    Brett says:

    RT @RonChusid: David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information #p2 http://bit.ly/atdnZR

  3. 3
    Anne Freeman says:

    RT @RonChusid: David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information #p2 http://bit.ly/atdnZR

  4. 4
    Mugwumpie says:

    RT @RonChusid: David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information #p2 http://bit.ly/atdnZR

  5. 5
    William J Reynolds says:

    RT @RonChusid: David Frum: Conservatives Wrapped In Closed Information Systems Based Upon Pretend Information #p2 http://bit.ly/atdnZR

Leave a comment