The Problem With Majoritarian Politics: A Case Study

A commenter at Uncommon Sense, giving unintentional support for that site’s title:

Why would Bush knowingly promote the WMD aspect when the success of that argument would cause him to send the military to uncover the fact he lied in the first place?

So the utter lack of “WMDs” (in scare quotes because the term is rife with dishonesty) is somehow proof that Bush & co. acted in good faith by insisting, over and over again, that there were such items in Iraq?

Let’s apply a little bit of Occam’s Razor here. Which is the simpler explanation for the conspicuous lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction (so-called) in Iraq?

A) The President of the United States acted forthrightly and honestly and presented the most accurate case established by American and allied intelligence, which as it turned was totally wrong, or

B) The whole “WMD” scheme was a cynical ploy to help sell this stupid war to conservatives, who blindly cheerlead this nonsense even after it’s been exposed for what it is.

You’d think that if a mistake of this caliber was made, the Republican end of the political spectrum would be just a tad outraged. I mean, let’s suppose that their dreams all come true and they get the war they want with Syria, or Iran, or whoever. If an ememy’s capabilities could be honestly overestimated to this degree, couldn’t they be underestimated as well? “Well, Mr. President, you know how we determined that the Iranians didn’t have nuclear weapons? That turns out to not be the case…”

The overwhelming silence on this matter is instructive. What that silence indicates is that not even the most true-blue O’Reilly Factor conservative out there thinks that this WMD fiasco was even one quarter based on reality. They wanted a war to avenge September 11th, never mind on who, and they got it. Now they can feel better about things.

So why rock the boat about dumb ol’ facts?

This one drop of stupidity serves as a lesson on the problem with mass politics. The reality of the situation is that facts don’t matter in mass politics, because the participants don’t pay a price for their own mistakes. This is in stark contrast to markets. A driver who holds on to the idea that his car can run just as well on water as on gasoline pays a signifigant price for his folly, and so his goofy notion is soon corrected. A voter who holds on to the idea that there are WMDs in Iraq is never corrected, because he gets the exact same government as everyone else does.

This is also why rational argumentation is usually futile at changing people’s political opinions. People are generally comfortable with their routine habits and thoughts. Changing that routine, even if it means dropping incorrect ideas in favor of correct ones, comes at a price of some discomfort. So why would the average person pay that price when there is no direct benefit to them?

Answer is that they won’t.

They’ll continue, despite reason or logic to the contrary, to hold wrong ideas. Again this is because they suffer no consequences for doing so: Bush voters got the same government that Kerry voters got, which happens to be the same government that nonvoters such as myself got.

15 thoughts on “The Problem With Majoritarian Politics: A Case Study”

  1. A) The President of the United States acted forthrightly and honestly and presented the most accurate case established by American and allied intelligence, which as it turned was totally wrong, or

    B) The whole �WMD� scheme was a cynical ploy to help sell this stupid war to conservatives, who blindly cheerlead this nonsense even after it�s been exposed for what it is. – John Lopez, above

    “Occam’s Razor” doesn’t do much to help us decide between either one of the two halves of this stacked deck. I can’t tell which of them is “simpler” to believe, let alone whether there is any reason to accept that these are the only two choices we have.

  2. Bush said we’d find nukes, chemical weapons, etc in Iraq. Since this didn’t happen, it’s simpler to believe that early on Bush just decided to be dishonest, as opposed to objectively examining each piece of new intelligence month after month to determine if Iraq indeed had WMDs.

  3. Dishonesty requires some degree of intelligence – It’s even simpler to believe that Bush is just stupid. He probably still doesn’t know what he’s doing in Iraq.

  4. its amazing that you idiots can even type. i mean it is obvious to me that you and people like you can not see beyond the tip of your noses. you are blinded by such hate because you poor little babies have lost the power to try to control every aspect of american life that you cannot see the common good in any situation that deals with any kind of war. wake up smell the well in your snobbish case smell the starbucks coffee and see that this is for our good. you idiots can keep going like you are because you will never regain power as long as all you want to do is destroy our way of life. maybe after we win the war on the jihadists we should turn our sites on you traitors. as long as you idiots are around there is always the danger of our nation falling victim to you commies.

  5. you are blinded by such hate because you poor little babies have lost the power to try to control every aspect of american life that you cannot see the common good in any situation that deals with any kind of war.

    What the hell???

    I leave Lopez in charge for a couple of months and we lose the power to control every aspect of American life????

    Uh, Lopez? When were you going to mention this little merry-fucking-christmas present?

  6. “we lose the power to control every aspect of American life?” – kennedy

    “well, (poo). who had it last?” – steadman

    maybe some small silent creature was just looking for donuts and maybe that small creature just found something somebody (like lopez, maybe) had maybe misplaced or something and maybe that small creature took it so it wouldn’t get lost or swiped by a bad person.

    maybe.

    lung is not saying it was lung. or another lung. it probably wasn’t. maybe.

    lung loves the banana splits! lung thinks they will reunite and be on TV 24/7! they will be very popular! everybody will love them! LA LA LA, LA LALA LA! ONE BANANA TWO BANANA THREE BANANA FOUR! yay!

    the modern music scene needs some changes and they will probably start happening really fast, now.

    lung,
    cultural arbiter (now)

  7. Lopez is En Enmascarado de la Seattle.

    Incidentally, studying evolution is a bad thing, as seen in this synopsis of the film LOPEZ VS LAS LOBAS:

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe visits Kennedy, claiming that he is a scientist studying evolution. He invites everyone to a dinner party at his house; Kennedy declines, but Lopez, Kipawa, Stedman, Lynette, and Courtney go. The party seems friendly, but after a while some of the guests turn into werewolves and attack everyone else! The protagonists make their escape. Back at the Kennedy residence, Santo finds Kennedy half-changed into a werewolf. He says his family bears the Chappaquidick curse, but he’s a good werewolf. Lopez–for some reason–will also change into a werewolf (according to Kennedy) if he doesn’t destroy Hoppe by the night of the Great Red Moon (which just happens to be the next night).

    They prepare for an assault by the werewolves, handing out rifles to the workers (Lopez reminds them to use silver bullets–sure, everybody’s got a box of those in their house). They try to send the children away in a station wagon driven by Lynette, with Courtney riding shotgun, but the werewolves ambush the car with big rocks and flaming bundles of brush, forcing them back to the hacienda.

    That night, the werewolves attack. Lopez takes off after the king of the werewolves, Hoppe, who runs a long way until Lopez finally catches him and throws him off a cliff, just as the sun rises. The End.

    http://www.wam.umd.edu/~dwilt/review2.htm#vampiras

  8. Lopez–for some reason–will also change into a werewolf…

    Family lore says that “Lopez” is a derivative of “Lobos” (wolf). Teh Internets confirm: Lopez -> Lope -> Loup (Lupus).

    Perhaps that tattered tome that my great-grandfather “borrowed” from Miskatonic University would give me more information. Let’s see, I left it near the Power To Control Every Aspect Of American Life…

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