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Why the ‘Unexpected’ Keeps Happening

Why do so many journalists describe Obama's foreseeable economic failures as “unexpected”?

by
Paul Hsieh

Bio

June 29, 2011 - 12:00 am
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If a driver noticed that the real-world landmarks no longer matched his GPS map, he would take it as a wake-up call that his GPS unit was malfunctioning. (Tragically, every year a few motorists choose to ignore their eyes and instead continue blindly following their computer maps, resulting in what is now called ”death by GPS.”)

Similarly, the repeated occurrence of “unexpected” economic news should serve as a wake-up call to supporters of increased government control over the economy. In the words of Ayn Rand, they should “check their premises.” The “unexpected” is reality’s way of telling them they should stop relying on their faulty map of bad leftist economic theories. Otherwise, America may soon face the economic equivalent of “death by GPS,” as is already unfolding in countries like Greece.

Unfortunately, too many journalists and pundits prefer to dismiss inconvenient facts that don’t fit their preconceived theories, thus abdicating their professional responsibility to report and analyze the truth to their best ability. If a doctor treated his patients with the discredited medieval medical practices of leeches and bloodletting, we would not let him off the hook simply because he later claimed his patients’ deaths were “unexpected.” Neither should we let journalists and pundits off the hook who insist on characterizing each new failure of discredited economic theories as “unexpected” or an “anomaly” or “misfortune.”

As writer Robert Heinlein once wryly observed:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”

President Obama claimed that he wanted the country to hold an “adult conversation” about our economic future. If so, the first step will be to hold newsmen and pundits to responsible adult standards of reporting, rather than letting them get away with the journalistic equivalent of driving like drunken teenagers.

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Paul Hsieh, MD, is a member of the Colorado chapter of Docs4PatientCare (www.Docs4PatientCare.org) and co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (www.WeStandFIRM.org).
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