September 14th, 2012

"Then a Miracle Occurs"

One of the most famous science cartoons ever, and one that's probably familiar to every scientist and science-fiction fan, can be found here:
as well as many other places on the Internet. In it, two men are examining a blackboard in which two presumably impressive blocks of calculus are connected by the phrase "then a miracle occurs." The second man points to this and says to the first man, "I think you should be more explicit here in step two."

That's the way the Romney/Ryan economic plan for the country (and the conservative plan generally) looks. The argument is, cut taxes, government spending, and regulations, and somehow miraculously, we will have jobs and economic growth and stability. Note there is no explanation--not even any discussion--of how this process is supposed to take place. This is a particular shortcoming when we know in fact that the equation "tax cuts = job growth" is false and has been demonstrated false since the intiation of the Bush Tax Cuts.

Magical thinking and "triumph of the will" seem to be a regular part of conservative thought. It's rather like the alchemists trying to make the philosopher's stone--you didn't succeed in the past because you weren't pure enough, didn't want it enough--not because your methods are fundamentally unsound.

So they keep trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results (despite that being one definition of insanity). Don't expect this to change any time soon. After all, the Puritans were sure that by outlawing any opportunity for "sin", they would bring about a moral, godly, and happy society. We know how well that worked then, and when tried again in the blue-law heavy early 20th century. Nevertheless, conservatives still tell themselves that if they control women's bodies, repress homosexuals, abolish sexual education, and make Christianity the national religion, we'll all be living in Beulah Land, despite the centuries-long history of failure of this agenda. This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.