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Conservative Hackola: Go Slow

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The pitch of conservative hacks is well articulated by the New York Times columnist David Brooks: Life and society are complicated, therefore it's best when making changes to go slow.

A half step forward from the 19th century's Alexander Pope, who told his time that "Whatever is, is right"--meaning no change at all. "Dear me, Alex, are we not to change anything and just die of Scarlet Fever?"

But consider the Brooks mantra. The ostensible reason for going slow, according to Brooks, is the complexity of life and society. That's the idea--it's complicated, not everything is understood, therefore it's prudent to go slow in making changes.

Sheer hogwash hawked the way one hawks snake oil.

You have a four year old who runs and jumps around the living room like a wild monkey. He trips and falls against the coffee table, gets a sizeable bleeding gash over his right eye. Life is complicated, biology is complicated, medicine is complicated. Relax. Go slow. Never mind the nearest emergency room, sit back, think about it, be prudent, what's the rush? Have a nectarine, half a plum, half a peach, hell of a fruit. GO SLOW.

Hawking complexity as a reason to go slow is not only stupid, it's boorish. Judgments about whether or not to go slow should be made on a case by case basis and not in accordance with some silly ideology that upon inspection has no intellectual merit.

Next step: What is the real reason why conservative hackola wants you to go slow? If you want to know, follow the money. The real reason they want you to go slow is to protect the wealth and privileges of the leisure class. Protection of the leisure class is their reason for advocating stasis, not complexity. The fear of the leisure class is always fear of change because change may reduce or remove the wealth and privileges of that class--especially changes that involve more taxes on the rich or more regulation of nasty behavior by corporations blind to the health of the public that feeds them.

America was never a go slow nation. A go slow attitude would have doomed the American Revolution before it started. A go slow attitude would have allowed the secession of the South in 1861. A go slow attitude would have doomed the spread of railroads across the continent, changes in the training of physicians, the banning of snake oil medicines, the entry of the U.S. in the First World War, a military response to Pearl Harbor, and so on. We are not a go slow people.

In our time, conservative hackola, the spread of leisure class propaganda by think-tankers and media commentators and columnists, all of it abetted by new technology, is the most insidious and dangerous political phenomenon in America since the German Bund in America, in the 1930s, urged the American people to support Adolf Hitler.

Meanwhile, if your kid gets a bad bleeding gash in his head jumping around your living room, drop what you're doing and get him to an emergency room pronto. Never mind go slow.