Long been in love with certain ideas, many ideas in fact, all kinds. I was in love with ideas for business models that could be categorized as a little “out there” by traditional standards. I cared not, love you see. In love with a model that looked to peoples better Angels and the belief that respect, support and atmospherics would carry the day. A type of open classroom for business, everyone would do the right thing because oxymoronic organizational structures were abandoned in favor of the individual and what the individual could contribute. The best people, an environment focused on change, initiative and creativity; all would be well1
Sound good? It has not worked, not a single time. The realm of fault and the associated degrees remains questions absent an affirmative answer. Yet, I’m still in love with the ideas, still hope they might work some day, just not today; love unrequited.
In every case, reality forced a return to more traditional methods. Things got out of control. Expectation of self imposed accountability, on which the ideas rested, never occurred. The point being, had to change back, situations demanded it, love affair or not.
In that context, we look to Washington, can the political class approach the painful reality that it’s just not working. If it doesn’t work, do something else and if that doesn’t work, change again, try something else. Maintain change until acceptable change results. Deconstruct, reconstruct, search; look at everything! The only prerogative, don’t continue on the path that created failur in the first place.
Progressives and Conservatives alike are in love with ideas. However, our reality, in real time, are Progressive ideas coming to fruition: income redistribution, the vast majority of it subtle and out of the spotlight, Health Care, clamping down on investment and business in general, higher taxes, Union influence out of balance with the actual number of workers represented, limitation of life styles, social deconstruction, internationalism, de-motivation of achievement, questionable domestic security policy, central planning and Keynesian economics. There can be little doubt that The White House is populated with, to be kind, people in love with those ideas.
The question is simple; is it working for you? Do these ideas address your needs and expectations? How would you represent your sense of optimism verses three or four years ago; your sense of security? How do you feel about you’re children’s future; will they have the opportunity to satisfy your inbred desire that they do better than you did?
Peggy Noonan believes that last question is the critical one. It is! It’s the question that forces a broad consideration of present context! She believes a red line has been crossed that bodes no good. It’s difficult to disagree, I have that concern. (My children are, of course, exceptional. It’s not just me; everyone who knows them thinks so. Really!)
I maintain the fear Ms. Noonan writes of; it’s not night and day, eat you up, fear. It’s the fear you experience when you attempt to think it through. The fear you have when you approach the point when it’s not “all about you”. Can “A” possibly lead to a logical “B?” “Is there a sequence of events that leads to a positive end result? Polls clearly indicate that the answer is “no”! We don’t see how this works in the real world. The Progressive vision is failing again and it remains nearly impossible, to see a scenario where it turns a corner to success as we have traditionally defined success.
The base line problem is that Progressive ideas fail…..unless….there is a general abandonment of who we have been, who we are. Progressive ideas demand a degree of surrender; the surrender of the individualism and initiative that built the most successful country in modern history.
Progressive ideas focus on elite management and a compliant collective, the individual willing to comply with the needs of the collective. Progressive ideas demand that we shred Constitutional traditions as ideas out of time. They demand we adopt a degree of multiculturalism that simply accepts the premise that all cultures are equal regardless of their history, priorities and intents and by extension an abandonment of our own sense of exceptionalism and pride.
Failure is near at hand each time you fail to take critical factors into account. You don’t take account because you’re in love with the ideas. Love will overcome all. Love demands a peculiar blindness and that blindness is on full display.
Progressive ideas fail to recognize things American, things that don’t easily show up in polls; spirit, generosity, initiative our constitutional DNA; the things that make us Americans. From all over the world, people come to us; good people, worthy people, smart people. They are in love with an idea too, the American idea.
The question remains, if the ideas are not working do you change up? Bill Clinton did! Worked out fairly well for him, all things considered. Will President Obama put aside his love of Progressive ideas considering the conflict with reality he faces? Can he?
To the best of our knowledge President Obama has been surrounded by Progressive ideas since childhood. His mother clearly leftist, as were the individuals he, himself describes as role models. It is safe, again based on his words, to assume that a vast majority of his educational experiences were, at the very least, sympathetic to Progressive ideas; his professional career could be similarly described, his political life, not in question.
The President’s current Congress is the most Progressive Congress in recent memory. Congressional approval ratings are worse than the president by half again. No joy there. Do we change course? If the current Speaker and Senate Leader remain in power they have already answered that question. The answer is no! We are not only going to continue, we will do even more! Congressional Leadership attitudes can be fairly characterized by “You’ll just have to wait for your reality to “catch up” with our vision, sorry for your luck, hang in there, we’ll get to you.”
Love is blind, as it should be; unfortunately, it is also, on occasion, deaf, dumb and stupid. I’ve seen my ideas fail frequently enough to see the headlight of failure coming down the tunnel.
We are confronted with choices and difficult admissions. Do we realize that we’ve been lazy? Face the fact that we did not fight all the battles we should have? Commons sense battles. We did not educate ourselves. We did not read our children’s textbooks; paid little attention to school board elections. Failed to realize that not standing up to a hundred “small” battles is how you lose the war; look around and wonder how the hell it happened?
Ideas are important! Ideas should evolve based on the pressures of being contested and a sense of reality. Ideas must be held to account and the performance of the ideas in application viewed dispassionately.
We should love ideas, but we should also evolve them, transform them and adjust them to knowledge and experience. Love is not enough!