Hypocrisy and Hope

Clifford Winston and Robert W. Crandall, writing in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, criticizing the incompetence of Congress and the FAA in regulating airline safety: “Imagine owners of a Rolls Royce relying on a government agency for directives on how to properly maintain their vehicles.”

Well put! And it’s ironic, given how many of those owners of expensive cars seem to be supporting the candidates most in favor of government regulation this election year. The problem is that even reality-oriented people lose their sense of reality when it comes to government. Somehow, “government,” when considered in the abstract, can do no wrong and is capable of essentially anything. Yet the very same people who have internalized this premise would never, in an individual case, trust a government agency or bureaucrat with anything remotely important.

What does this tell you? It tells you a lot of things. It’s the great hypocrisy and yet, in an odd way, perhaps the great hope for our society. We have so much to lose, and we will lose it if we entrust it to people and agencies who cannot provide it for us. Yet even the people supporting the wrong policies, in the abstract, would never, in day-to-day reality, impose on themselves (or even others) what their abstract policies call for in practice. We’re counting on the honest among them to eventually change and correct their course, so civilization, as we know it, may continue … and continue to thrive and expand.