2017 - 36 years since the last renaissance

© 2016 Jim Spence - I find myself thinking about the retirement of Thomas Sowell more and more.....even after paying tribute to him in my previous column. Sowell isn't dead, but 2017 won't be the same without him.

For the last thirty-three years I have worked in an industry where there are great rewards for being correct, and very severe penalties for being wrong. At Spence Asset Management we work in the belly of free market capitalism, a place where risk and reward are a way of life and clear thinking is a must. The price of being dead wrong is often so severe it keeps us up at night. I do not get the impression that most Democrats ever even consider the idea they might be wrong, let alone what being wrong might cost them. It is not their world to pay for thinking errors. They prefer to think deep thoughts and deny failure. This has been a way of life for Mr. Obama.

The cold reality of confronting risks regularly explains why I hold a very deep aversion to any sort of extended contact with progressive Democrats where ideas are exchanged. Astonishingly, their approach to decision-making is simply not based on risks and rewards or results. I say this because there are far too many policies that clearly don’t work that progressive Democrats want more of. 

It is hard to count all of the failing policies we have seen over the last eight years that Democrats continue to pretend are working. Rather than provide a long list of all of the bad ideas Democrats insist on embracing, let’s get to the heart of this conundrum. Why would anyone pretend that a litany of bad ideas that are proven failures are actually good? 
Thomas Sowell provides the answer with this gem of a quote - "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." 
Democrats are very much into their feelings. It is the most bogus of all alleged substitutes for actually thinking. Quite often Democrats will delude themselves into believing their feelings are actaully critical thoughts. Engage a Democrat for a few minutes. I know this is going to be very tedious, but if you haven’t done so recently, please do it. Notice how they will always tell you how they “feel” and rarely tell you how they “think.” It is the essence of progressive Democrat to feel more than they think, and this essence leads to an endless supply of costly follies. I asked a Democrat a couple of years ago why with strict gun control laws in Chicago, were there so many shootings (60 over Christmas 2016) and why would laws like those everywhere improve public safety. He admitted there was no data to support the safety argument. He said he would......get this......"feel better" if there were more laws making it harder to buy guns everywhere.

Michael Swickard wrote a wonderful column (see below) on barking less and wagging more. He referenced a bumper sticker for this cheery thought. I saw the same sticker on another vehicle and liked it too. My problem with the proverbial wagging of my tail at progressive Democrats is they do not live in my world where doing stupid things is extremely costly. Again it is Thomas Sowell who best summarizes how dumb this is with the following quote -
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
Let's return to a basic question. Why do so many Democrats pretend Obamacare works? The answer is they pretend it is working because Obamacare has NOT cost them dearly, like it has millions of other Americans. They do not share the burden of stupid policy. Those who have paid the price hate Obamacare.

Why do most elected Democrats pretend there are no risks associated with bringing Muslim refugees into the U.S. from countries that teach all children and adults to hate America? Again the answer is simple. It is because they work in places with armies of armed security guards. They never consider soft targets like those in Orlando or San Bernardino simply because they do not occupy places that are soft targets. It is very easy to simply be in favor of disarming law abiding citizens when you yourself have armed guards protecting you. There is no cost to them.

Of course the bad ideas Democrats support kind of goes on and on. As we move into 2017 Donald Trump has said in ways never before heard from an elected official heading to Washington, that he is going to begin to correct many of the things that have cost Americans deeply.......but cost elected Democrats still in Washington absolutely nothing. We shall see about these Trump promises in good time. A lady asked me the other day if I was optimistic about Trump. I told her I had learned to keep my expectations of what can be accomplished in Washington D.C. very low because most people who work there, both Democrats and Republicans pay no price for being wrong.

What is wrong with America? There are still far too many incumbent Democrats pretending what they vote for is working, while they pay no price whatsoever for being dead wrong about how they "feel."

It is my guess that 2017 is shaping up to be a watershed year in America. It is either going to be a renaissance the likes of which we haven't seen since 1981, or a major disappointment. Let us pray for the former.