My personal blog-reading strategy is to cycle around, subscribing to any individual blog for a while in my newsreader and then dropping it after a while. You can’t read everything. So I used to read Matthew Yglesias, but haven’t been recently. I clearly need to start again, because this (via Brad DeLong) is extremely smart and powerful.
I’ve come to be increasingly baffled by the high degree of cynicism and immorality displayed in big-time politics. For example, Senators who genuinely do believe that carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to a global climate crisis seem to think nothing of nevertheless taking actions that endanger the welfare of billions of people on the grounds that acting otherwise would be politically problematic in their state. In other words, they don’t want to do the right thing because their self-interest points them toward doing something bad. But it’s impossible to imagine these same Senators stabbing a homeless person in a dark DC alley to steal his shoes. And what’s more, the entire political class would be (rightly!) shocked and appalled by the specter of a Senator murdering someone for personal gain. Yet it’s actually taken for granted that “my selfish desires dictate that I do x” constitutes a legitimate reason to do the wrong thing on important legislation.
It is kind of a mystery. Why is it a heinous crime for one individual to act directly against another, but business as usual for a powerful politician to act knowingly in ways that will bring harm to the nation or the world? Is it just that one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic?