The State of Denial Address
[Posted by Karl]
My fellow Americans, the State of Denial is strong.
Although Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address and the GOP response both avoided the issue of entitlement reform, that denial is just the tip of the iceberg. Those evasions were no more than symbolic of the political establishment’s denial of our seemingly inevitable debt crisis. Yet the denial of the coming debt crisis is itself merely a symptom of a larger denial. I alluded to this larger denial when writing about Big Media’s ostrich-like approach to the debt, and the lack of forethought about the way the debt crisis may shape political realignment in America for decades. But I never hit the nail on the head as squarely as Walter Russell Mead has been doing in an ongoing series of pieces, including “The Crisis of the American Intellectual“:
[W]hen I look at the problems we face, I worry. It’s not just that some of our cultural strengths are eroding as both the financial and intellectual elites rush to shed many of the values that made the country great. And it’s not the deficit: we can and will deal with that if we get our policies and politics right. And it’s certainly not the international competition: our geopolitical advantages remain overwhelming and China, India and the EU all face challenges even more daunting than ours and they lack our long tradition of successful, radical but peaceful reform and renewal.
But the biggest roadblock today is that so many of America’s best-educated, best-placed people are too invested in old social models and old visions of history to do their real job and help society transition to the next level. Instead of opportunities they see threats; instead of hope they see danger; instead of the possibility of progress they see the unraveling of everything beautiful and true.
Too many of the very people who should be leading the country into a process of renewal that would allow us to harness the full power of the technological revolution and make the average person incomparably better off and more in control of his or her own destiny than ever before are devoting their considerable talent and energy to fighting the future.
Of course, most of the people fighting the future believe they are winning the future. Mead explains the primary problem of ideology: (more…)