24.8.06

LOSING CONFIDENCE IN CONVENTION. I have come across a number of posts by some of the cooler heads around the internet that suggest great discontent with established ways of doing things, as well as the potential for great social upheaval, of a form not yet clear. It would be depressing to address all of them in turn, but I'll not lack for material rolling into the new semester.

Start with an Arnold Kling column at Tech Central Station.

The main prediction from this essay is that we will see an outbreak of popular frustration in the next few years. I think that many people are tired of political spin machines, diplomatic "solutions," and fancy intellectual models of the world that fail in practice. They long for a leader who talks straight and who can make the plays work on the field the way they were designed to work on the chalkboard.

The failures of elitist thinking will create an adverse environment for haughty, cerebral politicians such as Tony Blair or Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead, I expect more populist figures to emerge, which gives me considerable misgivings. I think that populist economics is mostly bad. If voters turn to populists on the issue of national security, my guess is that the economy will suffer for it.

But I think that the popular instinct is that the elites so far have not gotten it right on security and Islamic militancy. And in that regard, the popular instinct is right.

The tiredness is out there. Additional examples over the next few days.

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