A Stunning Paradox

Five days ago, Roger Koppl shared his Politics in One Lesson:

It is better to signal goodness than to do good. That’s it. That’s the lesson. Democratic politics is mostly about signals not substance.

Barack Obama, a dedicated student, has executed this lesson masterfully–proving himself to be “temperamentally but not substantively different from his predecessor.” It’s a stunning paradox that obtaining a monopoly on violence can merit an award for peace.

The pronouncement is also ironic given that, in 1986, James Buchanan received the Nobel Prize in economics for “his development of the contractual & constitutional bases for the theory of economic & political decision making,” work which he considered “Politics without romance.”


One Response

  1. Wow, signaling versus doing. So concise. So accurate. When I listen to political speeches, my response to the rhetoric is: “Yes, but how? How will we achieve this vision you are putting before us?” It’s all so rapturous, isn’t it? – this grandiose nothingness of the of “signal.” Afterward we feel a bit better but still have no idea how we’ll get there.

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