This blog’s unfailingly superb commenter Edward Hamilton writes:
Neoconservative intellectuals, 2003: We must immediately depose Hussein’s Baathist regime. We’re pretty sure they have been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. We will discover the evidence of this after invading. Also, the war will mostly pay for itself when we install an oil-rich West-friendly democratic regime.
Neoconservative inellectuals, 2004: OK, no sign of the WMDs. But as long as we’re here, let’s sink half a trillion of your dollars into creating that democratic state, which we’re sure will pay off in the long run and totally not collapse back into perpetual civil war with Islamic radicals. Also, anyone who disagrees with this is an unpatriotic traitor.
Investment banks, 2006: Please keep interest rates permanently low, so we can leverage ourselves at ridiculous ratios using borrowed money and hedge our investments in ways that will never ever go wrong.
Investment banks, 2008: Whoops! Please cough up hundreds of billions of public dollars immediately to keep the financial world from descending into anarchy. Also, we’ll need those interest rates to stay low forever, ideally low enough to double corporate profits as a percentage of GDP and allow us to go back to being even more filthy rich than we were before. By the way, we still expect our alums to have major roles in the new Obama cabinet. Thanks!
Social liberals, 2004: Why do you keep passing these ridiculous ballot initiatives? No one is proposing national gay marriage, you are just doing this to be spiteful. America is Jesusland on the brink of total theocracy, and we just want enough principled federalism to give a few deep-blue states the freedom to dissent from your religious tyrrany.
Social liberals, 2012: Welcome to the wrong side of history. Please comply with our non-negotiable request to reject several millennia of your religious traditions and adopt some views about sexual morality that we literally didn’t embrace until five minutes ago. Should you fail to comply, you will be permanently barred from all participation in public life. Oh yeah, since these issues are far to important to be trusted to the voting whims of cretins like you, we’ve just invalidated all those ballot initiatives you passed.
The non-Fox media, 2012: Romney may look innocent and guileless, but he is actually a vile racist who hates the poor, wants to stuff women into binders, and loves torturing dogs.
Every urban elite, 2014: Stop whining about your lost jobs that were outsourced to Asia. They are never coming back, plus they are helping important people like us get stupidly rich by lowering our labor costs. Instead, abandon the dying towns where your last six generations of ancestors have lived, move to big cities where your accumulated life savings will get you the downpayment on a two-bedroom apartment, move your lazy stay-at-home moms into the workforce, and shoulder tens of thousands of dollars in debt to get a proper STEM education. We’re pretty sure these new high-skill jobs will be totally immune to replacement by foreign tech workers from rapidly modernizing countries like China and India (or automation). What are the odds of that happening to multiple sectors of the same economy within a century, right?
All the above groups, 2016: Have you taken leave of your sanity? Why would you trust an obvious charlatan with a third-grade vocabulary rather than sensible centrists like us? He’s an extinction-level event. All of these attacks on neoconservatives, the corporate media, social liberals, and investment bankers are just Hitler-ish dog whistling with a horrifying subtext. You have to trust us, this is important. You have to trust us!
Why don’t you trust us?