The Political Price Of Epistemic Closure

A reader writes:

Speaking of Ted Cruz and the possibility of a “one-man default,” you ask, “One wonders what kind of demented ego lies behind this reckless, phony demagogue?” It’s not “ego” in the normal sense of the word. It’s paranoia – as in Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics. For example, here’s a commenter on Krugman’s NYTimes column headlined “The Dixiecrat Solution:”

The Republicans are trying desperately to save America from the self appointed Czar and his Democrat henchman desperate to save their jobs. Your dire prediction is only shared by those of you in the Socialist media that also drank the Koolaid. Too bad you cannot be voted out of office too.

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 12.00.10 PMThat’s what’s really behind this recklessness. They don’t believe default will have any real consequences; they do believe the repeated warnings – “dire predictions” – are nothing but left-wing “socialist” propaganda, meant to squelch their movement and perpetuate the currently ascendant sociopolitical regime.

So there’s every reason to believe they will deliberately push the nation into default for no other reason than to call this “socialist” bluff, explode the “dire prediction” for the empty propaganda it is, validate their vision of the world, and completely reset the terms of any future debate. In other words, they want default. They want a showdown. And they may deliberately sabotage any attempt to avoid it: “Bring it on!”

Cruz may be reckless, and a demagogue, but I suspect he shares this commenter’s worldview – all of which is much scarier than mere “ego.” Maybe this has to happen. Maybe one side or the other has to explode, has to be exposed for what it is. They’re convinced that it’s the “socialist” mainstream that will be exploded. We think otherwise.

The only problem is, a great deal more than an abstract political vision may be exploded during the test.

(Image from Twitter user darthredpandacare)