Yes, another blog post about the Debt Ceiling. I will keep it brief, so as to not waste your time (or mine). In fact, I’ve been avoiding saying anything about it, except for a tweet-critique of Obama’s condescending, fallacy-ridden speech earlier this week. That was easy — a warm-up, I guess.
In the last day or so, I’ve been thinking about why we are so involved in this debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling. A little bit of reading confirmed what I had suspected was true, based on bits of information I had collected thus far: this debate is similar to those that have been going on for decades. We are being threatened by our President with default, and/or with a failure to issue Social Security checks; we’re being threatened by others with various horrible consequences associated with our level of debt reaching unprecedented heights. Congress wants assurance of significant spending cuts — perhaps even a Balanced Budget Amendment — before agreeing to an increase. Both sides are jockeying for political gain. Etc.
So how is this debate any different, particularly from an Objectivist perspective? Why is it so important to us? I think there are two (related) reasons: First, this is the first time that we have seen Ayn Rand’s ideas explicitly brought into the debate in any significant way. Since we know her ideas are true, and therefore good, we have, for the first time, some real hope that those ideas might win the day and our politicians might do the right thing. Our expectations have been raised. The second reason follows from the first: Because we see that Rand’s ideas are being aired and considered, we might for the first time be faced with the prospect of our politicians choosing to evade the truth, should they decide, this time around, after hearing arguments based on Rand’s ideas, to raise the debt ceiling or increase taxes. As things stood before, we could view our politicians as ignorant. Now, if “business as usual” — i.e., a smoke-and-mirrors calculation of spending cuts, and/or promises of a future “committee” to “investigate” cuts — prevails, we must conclude that our politicians are consciously choosing the wrong — evil — approach.
Or must we? Do enough politicians actually understand Rand’s ideas, such that we can say they are choosing to evade reality if they compromise on the debt-ceiling issue this time around? Or is it still too soon? What do you think?