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“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.
“PATTERNS OF FAILURE” (Page 8 of Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed)
A very distinct pattern has emerged repeatedly when policies favored by the anointed (those in power) turn out to fail. This pattern typically has four stages:
STAGE 1. THE “CRISIS”: Some situation exists, whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is routinely characterized as a “crisis,” even though all human situations have negative aspects, and even though evidence is seldom asked or given to show how the situation at hand is either uniquely bad or threatening to get worse. Sometimes the situation described as a “crisis” has in fact already been getting better for years.
STAGE 2. THE “SOLUTION”: Policies to end the “crisis” are advocated by the anointed, who say that these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say that these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and “simplistic,” if not dishonest.
STAGE 3. THE RESULTS: The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z.
STAGE 4. THE RESPONSE: Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies instituted, are dismissed as “simplistic” for ignoring the “complexities” involved, as “many factors” went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only possible cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently predicted improvement. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors.”
With great accuracy and clarity Mr. Sowell then goes on to apply these stages to three contentious issues of the last 60 years — the war on poverty, sex education in the schools and war on crime. He provides actual figures and statistics to back up his position, figures that were provided by organizations that either favored those government programs or had a reputation for unbiased analysis. He provides footnotes galore. The four stages can be applied to every issue where government programs have been instituted to “cure” the “problem.”
I might add that there exists one more ploy used by the anointed to trample upon the views of the opposition — demonization. It has been a tactic used especially by the Left for the past many years for which there is no defense except to either deny it or to make the same accusation back to the accuser. At any rate, it is disingenuous.
Since the Obama administration has become the anointed since his election, of course Mr. Sowell applies his analysis to the liberal programs that have emerged. However, the same holds true for any administration’s policies and programs. His assessment is universal and general.
Once you read this page, look at the various arguments in the media, during political discussions on television and discussions with your various friends and acquaintances and see how all of the arguments can be dissected down to the stages proposed by Mr. Sowell.
This book can be significant and have far reaching effects if read by the many, especially those who worship the anointed.
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