Daily Bread for 4.13.22: The Environment That Populism Creates

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see scattered thundershowers with a high of 69.  Sunrise is 6:14 AM and sunset 7:35 PM for 13h 20m 46s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 87.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1970, an oxygen tank aboard the Apollo 13 Service Module explodes, putting the crew in great danger and causing major damage to the Apollo command and service module (codenamed “Odyssey“) while en route to the Moon.

  The conservative populists, filled with energy (and often exercising that energy within their own echo chamber), speak and act in communities that aren’t always receptive to their messaging. In some cases, they underestimate the strength of motivated opponents. See Mequon-Thiensville School District Rejects Recall and How Mequon-Thiensville Residents Saved Their Schools. (This spring, residents of that district again rejected two candidates who were in favor of last fall’s failed Mequon-Thiensville recall.)

In other cases, the populists underestimate not a diehard community opposition but rather a broad desire to avoid the tension and turmoil they bring. See Energy and Exhaustion and 4 Points On Whitewater’s Spring ’22 Election.  

Populism represents a challenge both for what it will do if in power (they’ll spend as much as anyone, while imposing their cultural demands on everyone) and for its opportunistic nature (they’ll make any argument, or seize on anyone else’s argument, in pursuit of office).

They argue in bad faith.

For those who present a critique in good faith, a populist faction represents a pre-election impediment: they’ll take good-faith arguments and use them for in bad faith for their own ends. They’ll talk about fiscal prudence until they assume office and spend. They’ll talk about open government until they assume office and insist that there are facts they simply cannot reveal (‘there are things you don’t know’). They’ll talk about respect while treating others shamefully. They’ll insist on their liberty as a faction while denying individual liberty to others.

The populists make others’ good-faith claims about spending, open government, academic success, and managerial competency harder to make, lest they leverage those sincere claims for their own, immediate advancement.

Anyone who cared about his or her community would see that populism represents two risks, not one: bad ideas, and co-opting good ideas for bad ends.

Whitewater is better off for populist failures this spring, as the opportunity for a fair critique is therefore unencumbered by others’ destructive ambitions. A serious critique should be made, in any event.  It’s simply easier to make in a climate free of populist insincerity.

Window Washers Work on a 92-Floor Skyscraper:

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