Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Arkansans Vote Yes to More Debt

Congratulations to supporters of the bond issue.  You were victorious in the election.  Time will tell if you are correct in the policy.  

To my fellows who worked against adding more debt:  We lost the election, and badly.  I don't want to sugar coat the political realities of it.  Nor do I want those political realities to outweigh the more important moral and intellectual realities surrounding this issue.   I still believe that we did the right thing and in five years or so it will become apparent that we were right.   Few worked harder than I did against this debt.  Was it all for nothing?  No good deed is ever for nothing, no matter what result may come after it.   Fighting against this debt was right in itself, apart from the question of victory or defeat in a political contest.

This election will have some positive benefits for conservative activists, if we are courageous enough to take up the lessons it offers us.   For one thing, we know our limits.  We are not yet strong enough to take on the establishment in a state-wide contest.    They control the print media, and the Republican and Democratic parties in this state.   They can call up hundreds of thousands of dollars to put into the effort.   The North Little Rock sales tax increase on the other hand, was defeated.    I believe the lesson here is that we should eschew state-wide efforts for the time being and concentrate on local projects.   We cannot yet meet the interests who control the state newspaper and the political machinery of both major parties head-on in a state-wide effort.  If we learn that lesson, we can then focus on battles that we can win.  

We have also learned that there is a core of voters, about 100,000 in the state, who can be counted on to vote for almost any pro-government measure.   They dominated in early voting even more than election day voting.   I will call them "the court house crowd."   If we can't turn out at least 100,000 voters, we are going to lose to the pro-government courthouse crowd every time.

It was also very useful for determining who is really a fiscal conservative and who simply enjoys playing one at "Tea Party" events.  Some grassroots groups, such as Secure Arkansas and the Washington County Tea Party, worked hard to try and stop the debt.   Others dithered.  A few even picked up the pom-poms and cheered for the Beebe-Webb position of more debt.   While it's sad to see people whose actual behavior is so dissonant with their self-image, it's a learning opportunity for the rest of us.  Slapping the term "Tea Party" or "Conservative" on a group does not mean that they are.  Conservative is as conservative does.

In the years to come it will also give us credibility as the rosy predictions about the joys of better living through debt lose their luster.   One of the unfortunate phenomena of mass media is that people tend to listen to the people they have been listening to in the past, even if those people are shown to have been wrong.   People tend to dismiss those the media dismisses even if events show them to be correct.  

My view is that this tendency will be less pronounced going forward.  As the consequences for continuing to listen to those who have led the country to fiscal and moral ruin become more pronounced, people will begin to realize that the costs of just listening to those that the establishment media make it the easiest to hear are too high.  At that point they will cast around and begin to seek after the counsel of those that have been right in the past rather than simply amplified by the media in the present.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home