Sunday, December 2, 2012
You Don't Know How Lucky You Are
Random Sunday afternoon thought: on November 6, 2012, America dodged two bullets, and Romney wasn't the biggest of the two. The other bullet was anti-empiricism in the political arena. Nate Silver was the nominal target, but if the second bullet had hit, it would have taken out all facts in the public discourse for decades to come. "Skewed" polls would become the norm, and narrative would have ruled the land. All of the very considerable amount of data about climate change, growing inequality, the negative effects of lower tax rates on the rich, the exorbitant cost and low performance of our health care system, scientific measurements of the effects of polluting chemicals, and on and on and on, would have become irrelevant. The explosion of anti-empiricism would have had deeply harmful effects on the overwhelming majority of people in this country, and on the rest of the globe. But the American people dodged that bigger bullet, mostly without even knowing it was headed our way.