Only a Fool Would Say That

This has to be the most bizarre case of “I told you so” ever, but here goes.

Interesting piece in the NYT (hat tip to Bowen Chung) about a speech at a Tea Party convention where Sarah Palin (!) trotted out an coherent (!!) set of ideas (!!!) that actually make sense (!!!!) and some of which I agree with (the ! key just broke). As I wrote exactly a year ago today:

I think the privileging of local knowledge is a bipartisan issue, or a cross-cutting cleavage, one that elements of left and right can agree on.

From the right: lefty-liberal plans for social engineering are based on the fallacy that human nature is perfectable, and subject to rational planning and persuasion. But the truth is man is flawed by nature (or by original sin), and top-down approaches don’t take into account local realities. “Unintended consequences” are the inevitable byproduct of social engineering, and can be avoided by greater reliance on market dynamics. It’s hubris and folly for a central government to try to plan an economy, much less dictate cultural norms that have developed idiosyncratically over time in local communities. As Ronald Reagan said, “The ten most dangerous words in the English language are, ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” (Quote from this New Yorker article, toward the end.)

From the left: the corporatization of culture, food, and everyday life are a homogenizing force that threaten to erase the diversity that make our communities and nation great. “Grassroots community organizing” is a way to empower everyday people to make their voices heard and have a positive impact on the conditions of their lives through obtaining changes in policy, whether local, state, or federal. To be a locavore is to reject the evils of factory farming, which is an environmental disaster, an animal-welfare nightmare, and a public-health time-bomb. Eat local, know your farmer, avoid GMOs, celebrate the diversity of a specific place.

What they agree on: Top-down solutions are bad, bottom-up initiatives are morally and practically preferable.

Now comes that word that Sarah Palin argued, at a Tea Party event, that there’s a permanent political class, that it’s in the pocket of big business and big government, and that “corporate crony capitalism” is choking economic and political progress in this country by keeping small business down.

I doubt that as the author goes on to suggest, these are signs of a political realignment, but geez, wouldn’t that be something?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to deal with the pigs that just flew out of my, um, symbol for the Democratic Party.

[post title/song title in honor of the great Steely Dan concert we went to last night.]


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One Response to “Only a Fool Would Say That”

  1. The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" » Blog Archive » Bridge Over Troubled Water Says:

    […] written previously about locavorism as a potentially bipartisan issue. There’s something exciting about the possibility of brand-new political cleavages (the […]

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