Back in college, it was a matter of some classroom literary discussion that relativist thinkers still went about their daily lives as if they believed something to be true. (True enough, it appeared often to be that they deserved tenured sinecures that allowed them freedom to ruminate.)
To broad readers of conservative political commentary, this sort of peculiarity feels like cognitive dissonance, especially in Rhode Island. The world is crumbling around us and the sense is that we must flee to cover, and still people behave as if partial turn of the key will open the door. From the town level to the national level, the sense of leaders' message is that some minor technocratic tweaks will be sufficient to set things right.
In my view, RI's pension reform was a spectacular example, erroneously capturing the imaginations of even those on the right.
"We are headed for the most predictable economic crisis in history," says Paul Ryan. And he's right. But precisely because it's so predictable the political class has already discounted it. Which is why a plan for pie now and spinach later, maybe even two decades later, is the only real menu on the table. There's a famous exchange in Hemingway's "A Place In The Sun." Someone asks Mike Campbell, "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways," he replies. "Gradually, then suddenly." We've been going through the gradual phase so long, we're kinda used to it. But it's coming to an end, and what happens next will be the second way: sudden, and very bad.
And so, one wishes to believe that Rick Santorum's new video is much too like the latest eerie prime time series to be other than a laughable dramatization of a political message:
Here's the thing: Our society encompasses a range of experiences. For some people, some families, some towns, Santorum's prognostications will prove understated. For others, especially among the upper classes who make up our upper crust of decision makers, the lives of the lowly are already akin to televised fiction.
A deeper problem, one supposes, is that the remedy ultimately does not require an active fix from Washington or the State House, but the determination of people to turn their own communities around and the realization that the first step is to get distant politicians out of the way.