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Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:50 PM

Why the U.S. Can't Solve Big Problems

JULIAN E. ZELIZER at the Atlantic



Not only is the American government separated and fragmented, but private interest groups hold tremendous sway. Through lobbying and campaign contributions, outside actors like the Koch brothers can make it painful for politicians to support beneficial, even popular policies—including climate change regulation— that would hurt their private interests. When President Carter pushed for a bold energy conservation program in the late 1970s, he ran directly into fossil fuel industry representatives who had little appetite for what he was selling.

American anti-intellectualism stands in the way of change, too. The historian Richard Hofstadter famously accused Americans of harboring “resentment of the life of the mind, and those who are considered to represent it.” The cultural suspicion of expertise has only become worse since 1963, when Hofstadter published Anti-Intellectualism in American Life; politicians now, including the president, feel no shame at all about dismissing expert opinion.  

Perhaps as influential as anti-intellectualism is anti-statism: the resistance to strong government, and accompanying confidence in the private marketplace, which hampers lawmakers’ ability to mobilize support for the large-scale regulations or programs needed to tackle big challenges.

One last obstacle is American Exceptionalism—the notion that the U.S. is immune from the same kinds of problems that face other comparable countries. There is a misplaced sense of confidence that the scariest predictions just won’t come to pass here; the U.S. will always finds a way to avoid the disasters other nations face. Somehow America’s scientists and business leaders will figure a way out. The belief in American Exceptionalism also pushes many American leaders to resist the kind of international agreements—such as the Kyoto Pact on Global Warming and the Paris Climate Agreement—that are the path to real progress. Those who feel that America is different and superior than the rest of the world are reluctant to concede that it can’t do whatever it wants, on its own.


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applegrove Nov 28 OP
EndGOPPropaganda Nov 28 #1

Response to applegrove (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:54 PM

1. We *have* a solution: vote against Republicans


The best thing you can do to stop climate change is to vote against Republicans
It’s so much bigger than Trump.
By Matthew Yglesias@mattyglesiasmatt@vox.com Nov 27, 2018, 9:00am EST

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