Scott Sumner is nostalgic, too, but in his case it’s for the days when it was progressives who were stupid:
Yes, I know all that, but everyone is shaped by what was happening when they were young. I recall:
1. Progressive hostility to the hard truths of cost/benefit analysis.
2. Hysteria over chemicals in food, even though science didn’t back them up.
3. Denial of the role of money in inflation and support for crack-pot solutions such as wage price controls (Yes, I know about Nixon, I’m talking intellectuals now.)
4. Denial of the disincentive effects of welfare programs.
5. Soft on communism. By that I don’t mean pro-communist, I mean anti-anti-communist. When I was young calling someone an “anti-communist” was basically an insult in liberal company. If you called Mao or Castro a brutal tyrant you were viewed as an embarrassment; as something of a something of a McCarthyite. Chilean economic policies were viewed as evil. Now the Chilean socialists have adopted them.
6. Denial that punishment deters crime.
And I could go on and on. It seemed to me that liberals weren’t willing to engage in clear, hard-headed, logical thinking.
I don’t think that any party or ideology has a permanent franchise on stupidity or a permanent grasp on power. To be human is to be stupid. And every party or ideology once in power will do what it can to insure it has a permanent grasp on power even when those actions are inimical to its purported aims and objectives.
I don’t see my own views as having been forged in my youth and thereafter forever immutable. As long as I’m having new experiences I’m learning and changing. I’m evolving. I can be persuaded but I can’t be browbeaten. I’m indifferent to status.