Part 2—Sheriff hides behind Emma well: In our view, Paul Krugman—our longtime policy MVP—is often quite weak on the politics.
In our view, that's how his new column starts. Without naming names or providing links, Krugman complains again about post-election journalism:
"There have been hundreds if not thousands of stories about grizzled Trump supporters sitting in diners, purportedly showing the out-of-touchness of our cultural elite."
Krugman offers no links to these "stories," which have supposedly misserved us all.
For what it's worth, those Trump supporters are the people whose votes put Trump in the White House. In even a slightly rational world, it wouldn't be a bad idea to understand why they voted the way they did—to understand how they view the world.
That said, we don't live in a rational world. We live in a world run by humans, a species which loves fairy tales.
As he continues, Krugman evokes one very famous fairy tale, though his overall point could be right. We may be entering a time of major political change, Krugman says.
That could be right, and it could be wrong. Here's the way Krugman explains it:
KRUGMAN (2/27/18): Political scientists have a term and a theory for what we’re seeing on #MeToo, guns and perhaps more: “regime change cascades.”Is such a "cascade" under way? In perhaps a bit of a buzzkill, Krugman goes all the way back to 1848 to offer three examples of such cascades—and he notes that the cascade of 1848 is commonly said to have failed.
Here’s how it works: When people see the status quo as immovable, they tend to be passive even if they are themselves dissatisfied. Indeed, they may be unwilling to reveal their discontent, or to fully admit it to themselves. But once they see others visibly taking a stand, they both gain more confidence in their dissent and become more willing to act on it—and by their actions they may induce the same response in others, causing a kind of chain reaction.
Such cascades explain how huge political upheavals can quickly emerge, seemingly out of nowhere.
That said, it's possible that the current moment will lead to a "regime change cascade" in which an old order falls. As we read his presentation, we thought about the most famous example of same, from the realm of fairy tale.
Good lord! No cascade took effect more quickly than the one described by Hans Christian Andersen in his famous tale, The Emperor's New Clothes:
No one could see what a fool the emperor was—but then, out of nowhere, a single child shouted it out! In that moment, a perceptual dam gave way. Everyone linked arms with the child. Sanity came to the land.
"And a child shall lead them!" It's a staple of fairy tale, but in real life, this conceptual framework can be childish, dishonest and cruel.
Consider the way a certain sheriff hid behind Emma Gonzalez, age 17, during last week's CNN town hall event, a maelstrom our pseudoliberal journalistic elites all rushed off to praise.
Emma Gonzalez is 17 years old; she's a high school student. However "precocious" she may be, there's no reason why someone so young should be asked to lead a regime change cascade.
There's no reason to think that someone so young could know how to do that. There's no reason to think that someone so young wouldn't be harmed by the imposition of such a burden.
Gonzalez, who is 17, shot to viral national stardom in the first few days after the Parkland mass shooting. That first weekend, she gave a defiant speech in which she said she "was calling BS" on a number of politicians and on their political stands.
In a land which lacks uncompromised adults, the child may seem like a giant. A few days later, Scott Israel, sheriff of Broward County, was on national TV, hiding behind this very young person's (lack of) skirts.
CNN staged its town hall on Wednesday, February 21. Israel was already under fire for the performance of his office, and he almost surely knew that there was more to come.
Had Israel's office failed to perform? If so, was it his fault? We can't answer those questions at this point. Beyond that, we'd advise against seeking out scapegoats.
We do know hiding when we see it. His deputies are said to have hid behind cars. Speaking with NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, he hid behind Emma Gonzalez:
ISRAEL (2/21/18): There's three things we need to do in America to keep America safe. Number one, we have to use, through crime prevention, through environmental design, build schools differently so they're harder to penetrate. Number two, we need to be empowering police officers and deputy sheriffs throughout the nation, to be able to take people who are an immediate threat to themselves or, or an immediate threat to someone else—We'll note that the sheriff has little regard for people "who say different." At any rate, the key word there is (APPLAUSE). But also, "Emma and I."
ISRAEL: —to be examined. And we need to take guns away from them forever. They should never get them back. They should have to go through a psychological evaluation.
And if we—or have a doctor or a clinician have to sign their John Hancock and say, "That person should be given back their Second Amendment right." We're not going to see doctors do that.
But lastly, we do need to have some gun control reform. Eighteen-year-olds should never have a rifle. An 18-year-old kid should not have a rifle. Eighteen-year-old kid, they're not adults yet. They're in high school. These kids should not have a rifle.
Bump stocks should be illegal. They should be outlawed forever. Automatic rifles should be outlawed forever. And anybody who says different, I don't know about other people, but Emma and I, we're calling BS on that. So—
We don't know if Sheriff Israel failed to perform, in some way, in the run-up to this latest mass shooting. We do know that this big grown man was hiding behind a high school student in that highlighted, crowd-pleasing comment.
His deputies had crouched behind cars. He chose to hide behind a teen-aged high school student.
Almost surely, Emma Gonzalez, age 17, was poorly served by that. Tomorrow, we'll look at other examples of pandering conduct aimed at this student, this time from our liberal journalistic elites.
In the wake of that town hall event, Dahlia Lithwick rushed to say that the Parkland students are sharper than her own elite cohort. In fairness, there's little doubt that Lithwick was right about that.
Still and all, a range of failed adult elites are hiding behind those young people. Those high school students are suffering nightmares, and they are, in fact, very young. Balancing that, our adult elites are compromised, shameless, incompetent, and have been for many long years.
In the Andersen fairy tale, the clarity of a single child touches off a revolution—a major regime change cascade. Our lazy, compromised adult elites seem to hoping this pattern might emerge right here, in the actual world.
Tomorrow: A portrait of the struggling child as a beard for compromised adults