Darth Cheney is right; it’s the mindset! Darth’s point that policy is a reflection of mindset is undeniably correct. No matter the subject; ideology, experience, bias and philosophy are important to identify and understand, that is a mindset’s point of origin; or, at the very least, the point from which perception may evolve.
The identification is a function of two key aspects; knowledge related to the history of ideas and the ability to identify tangible symptoms for the thought processes they represent.
If you’re a control freak it’s likely difficult for you to operate in an entrepreneurial environment and vice versa.
If you grew up surrounded by Marxists you have a mindset, a world view, a political orientation that colors your intellectual landscape. You will, despite efforts to the contrary, eventually expose your mindset.
In Europe as the global economy hit the skids people went to the streets: the demand? “Hey, you guys in government, fix this!” A fair representation of a European mind set. The Europeans wanted someone, anyone to just fix it, their engagement limited to delivery of the “fix it” message.
As the skids were hit in America, people also went to the street with a different message: “Hey, you guys in government; get the hell out of the way, stop making this worse, we can fix it; we’ve done this before we can do it again!” Americans, in large numbers, figure they can fix it themselves given latitude and barrier removal, also a mindset.
It’s the difference between Formula 1 and NASCAR. Formula 1 is elegant, based on cutting edge technology but if you touch the car just a smidgen too firmly, the wheels fall off. In NASCAR if you’re not beating, banging and holding the damn thing together with duct tape and spit you’re just not living. A Formula 1 pit stop has 14 guys each one with a single function at a single station, some just waiting in case something happens. NASCAR depends on teams racing around the car, doing more than one thing in more than one place. Two approaches to auto racing, two different mindsets and inherently representative of cultural differences.
Me? I like them both for what they are, see them for what they are, which is, after all, the point.
We occasionally need to be reminded of fundamentals. The mindset of the left is focused on dominant government institutions, central planning and rule by elites. It assumes, and sometimes says out loud, that you’re just not capable of grasping the complexities.
The mindset of the right focuses on the individual. The mindset on the left grows out of a progressive history that includes socialism, communism and fascism. The mindset on the right grows out of a tradition that rejects the very idea that socially engineered centralized planning can produce prosperity and, most importantly, the protection of natural rights. The war of ideas is about whether we focus on redistribution that results in a hypothetical collective good or whether we rest on the idea that individual accomplishment is the rising tide that raises all boats. It is about managing outcomes regardless of skill and motivation or creating the environment where outcomes are a function of individual accomplishment and commitment.
We may see it or simply sense it, but we must see it for what it is. The White House is convinced that resistance to Health Care and Cap & Trade is a messaging issue. For most of us it’s a policy issue; for most of us it’s simply unacceptable overreach that too severely limits individual choice and fundamental liberties. The White House and a significant portion of congress will not abandon their approach to policy. They can’t! The policy is the result of a mindset. To speak a bit slower and get us knuckle draggers to, finally, understand and accept the wisdom of it all is a tactical representation of that mindset.
They simply have to soldier on. They can’t do anything else at the risk of simultaneous exploding heads all over Washington as politicians and staff attempts to accept and sell an idea outside of a mindset that they are, no doubt, sincerely committed to. If you’ve absolutely sure you’re right and that you do know better, it’s a tough intellectual hill to climb with no current evidence that particular hill has even been spotted much less approached and climbed.
It is the same on the right. There is a mindset. The difference is that the right abandoned their mindset for a time intoxicated by power and we’re punished. The left, really never did abandon their mindset.
The argument, at its lowest common denominator, is about competing mindsets. Policy can be confusing. Facts are not agreed on. Spin dominates issues. But, in the end, Americans are capable of sensing the mindset and seeing the symptoms for what they are. 2010 will be a choice between competing mindsets. Even if we don’t call it that, that’s what it is. Dominant government or a constitutionally limited government? A choice between more spending or more restrictions on spending; more debt or more fiscal responsibility? 2010 will be a choice between massive government intrusions or more space for individual accomplishment? It is a choice between freedom of outcomes or managed outcomes.