Friday, July 1, 2011

Willful Ignorance or Forbidden Knowledge?

Consider Obama's background. He grew up among leftists, his childhood mentors were outright communists, and he then went off to academia, where he spent his formative years in an environment where business and profit-making are looked down upon as ugly, dirty, rapacious, immoral. Is it any mystery why he doesn't know about business or economics? Asking him to study the economics of the free market is like asking one of the old New England Puritans to thumb through a manual on sex education. Why immerse oneself in a subject that is so unseemly? Why make a study of how to be immoral?
It is for this attitude that Obama was elevated in American politics. He won the Democratic primaries because, unlike Hillary Clinton, he really seemed to believe in all of the old "liberal" pieties. He projected the sense that he still regarded big government as an untried new idea that would do better than the free market. But to believe that, he had to resist the contamination of pro-free-market economics or any independent observation of the workings of the economy. He had to live through 25 years of ATMs and low unemployment--or, for that matter, of balanced budgets while CEOs still flitted about in untaxed corporate jets--and not let any of it register. He had to preserve a carefully maintained, earnestly burnished ignorance of the economics of a free market.

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