Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Charles Kesler: Alive and Well and Living in Fantasyland

If all we had to do was wish to make our fondest dreams come true...we might discover we are professors at some university.

"Yet President Trump cannot simply ignore the modern conservative movement. For one thing, its two great successes, victory in the Cold War and reigniting economic growth (through Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, spending policies and regulatory reforms), have made plausible his own visions of post-Cold War foreign policy and a resurgent economy."

--Charles Kesler

He also believes in Unicorns, Trickle Down and zombies

Charles Kesler, a Harvard man, who now teaches at the Claremont College System in California, writing about where Donald Trump fits into the history of thought in American society lets loose a fond delusion embraced and fondled by American conservatives--that America "beat" the Soviet Union in the cold war, that Americans caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and that American conservatives deserve all the credit for that amazing victory.
If you believe in it, it is true

Ye gads.

In this dreamscape, Ronald Reagan spent so much on the arms race the Soviets simply could not keep up, and they bankrupted themselves and exploded trying to keep up with us.

Another fond memory of the land that never was is that Reagan's tax cuts triggered a huge surge in the economy and we lived happily ever after with low taxes and unleashed private sector investments until the Democrats somehow ruined it all.  Nowhere mentioned in this scenario is tax cuts did not result in an economic boom which resulted in more income to the federal government, but instead the national debt and deficits tripled, and the trickle down, voodoo economics were a complete failure. (Sam Brownback, having forgotten all about this, tried to reprise Reaganomics in Kansas and bankrupted his state almost instantly, having forgotten real history was doomed to repeat it.) Oh, no, just say it is so and it is so:  Reagan cut taxes and we've never had it so good. As Lloyd Benson once pointed out: "Give me a check book and let me write all the checks I want and I'll give you the illusion of prosperity."

It's all right there in a passing sentence in Professor Kesler's New York Times piece about Donald Trump.

Mr. Kesler is said to be something of a Lincoln scholar.  I guess history is all one long argument, and you can imagine Lincoln or any other historical figure is whatever you'd like to believe, and somewhere you can find somebody who's written something to support that belief.
Claremont Colleges Campus

But the fact is political scientists, professors like Kesler, actually are not like engineers or doctors or air plane pilots. Engineers, doctors and air plane pilots deal in hard truths, the sort of facts and truths that mean if you don't get it right the bridge collapses, the patient dies or the air plane crashes.
With men like Kesler they can get it all wrong and nobody can prove they were wrong. There is no reckoning, no box score or death or destruction.  They can simply profess, collect their pay checks and go off for a conference in the Rockies or at Davos and the dream lives on.

No comments:

Post a Comment