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Cartoonland

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Editor:

Reading Barton Swaim’s insightful ruminations (July 10) on progressives’ despondency over their sudden awareness that Joe Biden is unaware, and that Americans might actually vote in droves for Trump, prompts this realization: Too many people – mostly on the left, but increasingly also on the right – understand reality in the way of kindergartners.

The world is populated with helpless children whose fate is determined by the outcome of cartoon-character battles: cape-adorned superheroes battling for control of society against mustache-twirling supervillains. There are no shades of gray, no ethical dilemmas, no legitimate disagreements, no economic trade-offs. There’s only Good and Bad – only good guys and bad guys, who are easily identified by their stated intentions. Good guys promise to remove every discomfort and all anxieties that might be suffered by the children, while bad guys, with sinister smiles, offer the unsuspecting kiddies candied apples laced with poison.

Truth and goodness are clear and easily expressed in slogans (preferably ones that rhyme). And everything that occurs is by design, for society is so straightforward that there never occur consequences that are unintended.

Not only all evil in the world, but even the failure to achieve bliss, is the result only of the bad guys’ wicked intentions. All would be well if only our heroes could win a final, decisive victory!

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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