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October 04, 2013


Jim M.

I fear that any admonition of the fair Ms Flanders will fall on deaf ears, for she has gone over to the dark side!


Luis Enrique

I don't know about this. Is it possible to imagine a world in which we do not admire the rich and powerful in this fashion? If so, in such an imaginary world, if we had a non-admired Chancellor of the Exchequer say "I am going to enact a policy which will entail some suffering but is necessary and will do good in the long-run" and then some years later "See, now the economy is growing: may plan has worked" I conjecture that people would still take the claim seriously, simply because many people would say it looks like a substantial argument. And possibly agree with it, whoever was making it.

Plus the counter argument is pretty convoluted. I think the counter argument is that the suffering was not necessary and the eventual recovery is no sign of the policy having done some good. I don't think these ideas occur very naturally to many people.


Perhaps before your awareness of UK politics, Luis, but the UK had a grey Prime Minister in John Major. He was the UK PM who presided during the first Gulf War, cold war transition and Northern Ireland peace discussions. And Black Wednesday and ineffectual wibbling over Bosnia.

John Major achieved good things, and failed on other occasions. Few people recall his positive achievements.

Disclaimer: I have never voted for the Conservative party.

Steven Clarke

"What is clear, though, is that moving requires us to ditch some centuries-old cognitive biases. "

Most people aren't aware they have them, and I suspect even those that do would find it very hard to alter their thinking.

Ralph Musgrave


You are quite right to constantly refer to the Overton window. Personally I’d like to give it a more brutally realistic name like “robotic, intolerant, myopia of the man in the street” (RIMMIS for short). But then I always err on the side of insults, foul language, etc. Just my style. Do you think “RIMMIS” might catch on?..:-)


@ Luis: many subcultures haven't admired the rich and powerful; why couldn't these become mainstream?
@ Ralph: I sympathize, but I'm not sure you persuade people by insulting them (or - what is often the same thing - telling the truth about them).

Luis Enrique

I expressed myself poorly - I just meant to tee up a thought experiment in which I argue Osbourne's claim would be taken seriously even if we didn't put public figures on pedestals.

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