Publius accuses me of schadenfreude about liberal discomfiture with Obama's appointments.  Schadenfreude?  I supported the guy for president.  I would personally be pleased to see Ingrid Newkirk appointed to head the USDA.

I belong to another small movement that is disproportionately politically active, and also, frequently toys with the lunatic belief that if only there were some structural change in the world, they'd finally get the opportunity to enact their agenda.  Libertarians tend to moon over proportional representation and transparency initiatives.  Right now, progressives are into cabinet appointments. But the underlying belief is the same, which is that if one could only get hold of some talisman, politicians would listen.

Politicians don't listen because they, unlike activists, know that polls lie.  People say they want national health insurance.  They also say they want lower government spending.  But confront them with changing their insurance (with which they are, overwhelmingly, satisfied), or cutting Mom's Medicaid, and they change their minds.  They will still tell you that they want national health insurance and lower government spending, but, you see, not that way, where "that way" is any feasible way to deliver their stated goal.  

Politicians don't listen because progressive and libertarian activists are not pushing minor schemes to benefit themselves greatly at small cost to everyone else.  They are pushing for radical change that will require radical fiscal medicine to effect.  That fiscal medicine will not pass unnoticed, and hence, it does not happen.

This does not make me happy.  It does not make me happy that I can't privatize social security and eliminate the corporate income tax, and it does not make me happy that I can't have radical agricultural reform and a stiff carbon tax.  But the universe is not here to please me.


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