2 min read

This Will Never Work

You may have heard the new idea.
This Will Never Work

You may have heard the new idea.

It sounds intriguing at first, but a note of caution is warranted.

First, advocates for the new idea have framed their demands in simple terms, but it’s actually quite complex.

Second, the new idea hasn’t been tried before. You know what that means: there’s no evidence that it works.

Strike three: I looked into some of the claims advocates for the new idea have made and they’re not quite up to my standards, which I’d certainly like to apply here.

The advocates could have avoided this problem if they had simply taken into greater account the studied and important opinions of various people I know, who are, of course, quite important. Big mistake!

And I think we can all agree that the media coverage around the new idea has been inaccurate, alarmist, simplistic and, at times, sensationalistic and misleading. Until advocates get a handle on that, I fear we can’t have a reasonable conversation about any of this.

Now the advocates do have point: the moral righteousness of their cause is hard to argue with. But we must think with our heads, not empathize with our hearts. Even if we accept what the advocates say to be right and good and just and true and of great benefit to millions of people, the public will simply never go along with it.

In fact, I’d say that any politician who backs these demands would lose votes in November. And not just any votes, the important ones!

But maybe I’m wrong. (That’s a little joke!) The thing is, even if you got these policies passed and somehow maintained popular support for them in the face of great opposition, well, there could be unintended consequences.

And not just any kind of unintended consequences: Bad ones! With nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Now to this point, advocates will often say the current system has unintended consequences, too. But this is fallacious thinking: by the nature of it being the current system all its consequences are intended. Anyone with a passing familiarity in logic can see that.

So while advocates certainly seem to have stirred up attention for their cause, this is the sort of issue that requires careful, deliberate study before we do anything rashly or in haste or forthwithly or with great speed, alacrity, pluck, vim, or vigor.

“The United States Senate, A.D. 1850” via Wikimedia Commons

No no, this requires the kind of study done by the importantest kinds of experts. Some economists I know, for instance. And this kind of study takes a long time, too, being as deliberate as it is. After a great deal of study, then can we entertain the kind of thoughtful, civil debate we need to pass real policy through the usual process and regular order. Some of the advocates should have some input, too, of course. This is a democracy, after all.

So I hope the advocates for the new idea take this as a lesson. Before you go getting a bunch of public attention for your demands, you’d be wise to pick up the phone and consult with some real experts in how to build and use political power.

Any other approach is simply wishful thinking.

A Very Important Columnist