The Fifty-Second Percent Problem


Going back through my archives, I see I first noticed this pre-Obama. There would have been value in describing the problem succinctly, but this was not within my efforts, nor within my achievements. Since then, I’ve made some references to it, on my way to noticing something else, but I’ve not been giving it the attention it truly deserves.

Now, it seems we are on our way a post-Obama age; whether future events show that to be overly optimistic or not, we will have to ponder the “big takeaway” from the slow-motion train wreck we’ve been watching. And, the more I think on it, the more the Fifty-Second Percent problem is the big takeaway.

Here it is, phrased as concisely and precisely as I can manage:

Visionaries within our political class can be sorted out into two groups. Not conservatives vs. liberals, but rather, leaders versus dictators. Our ability to recognize the difference between them, is invested in our opportunity to watch how they conduct their election and re-election campaigns. Leaders value the inspiration within the constituency, the collective will, to become a part of the vision. A dictator cares only about his power to compel the constituency to come along, regardless of, in that moment, whether or not they would choose to. The leader therefore wishes the virtues of his plan to become evident to as many people as possible; a dictator only concerns himself with securing the allegiance, at some critical moment, of a majority.

New paragraph. Tying it all together. Litmus test: A dictator cares a great deal more about capturing the votes of the fifty-first percent, than of the fifty-second. He couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about the fifty-second percent.

End definition.

Now, to swivel back around and observe the events in the manner to which we are more accustomed, to shift the paradigm back to the conservative/liberal divide…we notice something. The divide doesn’t move very much. That’s why my earlier piece is called “What is a Liberal?” A consultant on the conservative side might come up with an idea to win eighty percent of the votes, as opposed to fifty-one — if the idea is good, he’ll get attention. From all we’ve been seeing and hearing, the same is not true of the liberal side. For an example, I can point to nothing better than ObamaCare. From beginning to end, it was all about ramming through as much brittle, uncompromising, hardcore proggy-lefty-liberal goodness as could possibly be rammed, into the already ballooning billowing body of regulatory work, during a closing window of opportunity during which Congress was dominated by democrats. With such a saturation, that everyone involved understood damn good and well things wouldn’t be staying that way indefinitely.

Now, I’m sure there are exceptions — conservatives who seek to exert their will on the entire constituency after securing simple-majority approval, and moderate liberals who would fail the test, caring too much about building a genuine consensus. But, once you observe them for awhile, watching what they do & ignoring what they say — not many. (My description of a real leader, above, matches up well with what Obama was pretending to be.) Part of this has to do with the nature of liberalism & conservatism in the twenty-first century. This thing we call “liberalism” is more like “statism.” Really, it is. Come up with an idea for those in government, to tell those outside of government, how to do something…to exert power over them. You can bet money, the liberal will like the idea and the conservative will not. To hear the libs talk about it, theirs is the mindset of “new ideas,” and there is some truth to this. But the new ideas, are all new ideas about expanding the role of government. They only pretend to have anything to do with much of anything else…

So we should expect the so-called liberals to have become infected with this Fifty-Second Percent disease…burrowing, like a pig after truffles, for some time-window of opportunity during which extremist, government-expanding, bureaucrat-emboldening legislation can be rammed through. Theirs is the side of extremism. “Hey, how about we pass a law to…[expand the power of government some more].” Forgetting entirely that, down the road, here & there, government just might be run by those other guys. Conservative says, let’s not & say we did. That, essentially, is a moderate position. The conservative, after all, is not saying “the people who make the decisions now, without your legislation, the ones who are outside of government — they are perfect and infinitely wise.” That is not his position at all. His point is all about proper ownership of problems. Yes, mistakes can be made, and they will be made, but let them be made by those who can learn, and have a real personal stake in the outcome. Keep people free.

Liberal says: Because you are resisting my plan, I shall cast you in an ugly light, and convince lots of other people you are evil, wrong, prejudiced and dumb. That is an extremist position (it’s also pretty consistent, you’ll notice, as well). And so — yes. The liberal advocates extremist positions. It makes sense that he is going to pursue extremist tactics. “Pass the bill so we can see what’s in it,” you might say.

It is easy to see they are extremists, because all of their campaigning interest is invested in going after the fifty-first percent. They don’t care about the fifty-second.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Washington Rebel.

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