The GOP versus the reality principle

BLS trutherism? Really?

I’m starting to think that my quip about the contemporary Republican party as a coalition between the folks who want to repeal the New Deal and the folks who want to repeal the Enlightenment sorta missed the point. The two factions come together in their opposition to consensus reality. Birtherism and global warming denial are bad enough. But fantasizing that all those green-eyeshade types at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are conspiring to monkey with unemployment statistics to rig the election? Really?

R-money isn’t going to say this in his own name, but all the wingnuts are repeating it back and forth to one another, and no grown-up has yet stepped in to call them to order. Yes, it’s funny. But it’s also really disgusting and depressing.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

8 thoughts on “The GOP versus the reality principle”

  1. but all the wingnuts are repeating it back and forth to one another, and no grown-up has yet stepped in to call them to order.

    It’s not a question of the grownups being silent. Who is more of a grownup – more of a reality-based guy – than Jack Welch? Well okay, maybe Jack is acting like a bit of a crackpot, but we have the media to dispose of baseless nonsense – especially the serious-minded business media. Outlets like Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

    Follow the link and what do we learn? That there’s a controversy here. That one of the most prominent, successful businessmen of our time says one thing, and the Obama administration and some bureaucrats say another thing. Hmm. This is all a bit complicated for me, but it seems clear that there must be something to Welch’s accusations.

    As the man said “…we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

    the folks who want to repeal the New Deal and the folks who want to repeal the Enlightenment

    I am absolutely going to steal this. I’ll try to remember not to use it here.

    1. “..but we have the media to dispose of baseless nonsense – especially the serious-minded business media. Outlets like Bloomberg BusinessWeek.”

      Or the Wall Street Journal.

      BTW, Welch was a ‘massager’ of earnings figures, which means that h’e projecting here.

      1. Welch was in many ways one of the first of the modern generation of reality-creators. He cut the heart out of a going concern to increase profits for the short term, took on a series of unrelated investments, some of which happened to pan out, and then tried to loot the company for his retirement. All of which made him a management genius. (Anyone else remember the sobriquet “Neutron Jack”?)

  2. It’s been pointed out (by others more intelligent than myself; I claim no originality to this observation) that this was not merely predictable, but inevitable, in at least two respects.
    First, dismissal of inopportune news as “liberal media bias” at best, and more likely out’n’out evil conspiracy, is Publican s.o.p.
    Second, it’s yet another manifestation of classic Publican Projection: it’s what they’d do, so of course it must be what those evil Dem’s are doing.
    Nor is this just hypothetical: it’s documented and proven that they did exactly this with the “Homeland Security Threat Levels” in the runup to the 2004 election.

  3. Re Grown-ups. The Michael Strain at AEI: “The White House didn’t lean on the BLS and influence them to kick the unemployment rate below 8 percent. That talk should be confined to crazytown.”

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