Sunday, November 11, 2007

Care Bears Versus The Green Latern

Julian Sanchez:
The Care Bear Stare was a sort of deus ex machina the magical furballs could employ when faced with some insuperable obstacle: They'd line up together and emit a glowing manifestation of their boundless caring, which seemed capable of solving just about any problem.

In politics, Matt Yglesias has identified the neocon's version of the Care Bear Stare, which he's dubbed the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics. It holds that, like a Green Lantern's power ring, the American military can produce just about any effect imaginable if only the Will of the American People is strong enough. When any foreign intervention fails, this is proof that our will was insufficient, presumably due to the malign influence of fifth columnists in the media.

The left, of course, has its own version, which can be seen in claims that we know perfectly well how to solve problem X, if only we cared enough or had the political will to address it. A common variant holds that some vital function can't be left to the market, since only government can guarantee the right result, presumably by putting the word "guarantee" somewhere in the relevant legislation.

This is a little unfair, as there are plenty of policies which we do, in fact, know would succeed, but are seen as politically unpalatable for a variety of reasons (sometimes good, sometimes not). By contrast, there is not a lot of proof that the failures of the American military to turn the world into the land of rainbow sunshine are the result of not clapping hard enough.

But even still, there is at least some element of Care Bear-ism among the left when they fail to acknowledge the negative externalities that surround their favored solutions. I would say, however, that it is just as common for genuinely good solutions to run onto the rocks for no better reason than some massive entrenched special interest sinking $15 million dollars in an effort to shut it down.

H/T: McMegan

No comments: