James Delingpole examines “the liberal-left’s extraordinary capacity for cognitive dissonance” at Breitbart.
You may ask why is this relevant, but it most certainly is. We can learn a great deal by watching politics in other countries. Nothing Labour or the Greens are doing here is unique or groundbreaking, they simply follow trends overseas.
And so we can learn about the inherited cognitive dissonance of the leftwing.
On this week’sÂ Radio Free Delingpole podcastÂ I discuss with Peter Foster of Canada’s Financial Post an issue which has long puzzled me: the liberal-left’s extraordinary capacity for cognitive dissonance. Or, if you want to put it more bluntly, for epic self-delusion.
I’m thinking, for example, of Ed Miliband’s proposals to introduce rent controls, despite copious historical evidence that this measure always and inevitably has exactly the opposite effect of the one intended: creating more housing scarcity; hurting the poor.
I would include in the same category several of the measures introduced by the Cameron administration: the 0.7 per cent of GDP ring-fenced for foreign aid, despite all the evidence that the billions of dollars bombarded on Africa have had the unintended consequence of leaving some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as poor (sometimes poorer) than they were 50 years ago; the minimum wage which – as any sane economist can tell you – is a tax on jobs and therefore a disincentive to employers to hire labour; the “green jobs” the Coalition’s drive for renewables has allegedly created, even though they are in fact nothing more than Potemkin jobs, entirely dependent on taxpayer subsidy, and therefore a grotesque misallocation of scare resources which would otherwise by directed towards real, lasting jobs in areas of the economy which create genuine value.
All this, as Thomas Sowell would put it, isÂ Basic Economics. So why do so many politicians – from the Obama left to the Cameron faux-right – not get it? And why, for that matter, do all those voters who applaud their statist measures and urge still more government intervention not get it either?
This is the question asked by Foster in his superbÂ new bookÂ Why We Bite The Invisible Hand: The Psychology of Anti-CapitalismÂ (Pleasaunce Press). And he comes up with some fascinating answers.
My favourite is his suggestion – though he puts more politely than I do – that people on the liberal-left are insufficiently evolved; they are too much in thrall to their “monkey brains” – monkey brains which of course those of us on the right possess too but with one crucial difference: we’re clever enough and advanced enough to allow the logical part of our brains override them.