Darkness at Dawn
As a matter of astronomical fact, it is not actually darkest just before the dawn.
The brightness of the night sky is largely determined by the phase of the moon, a famously fickle celestial body. In the middle of the lunar month, for instance, it’s darkest right after sunset.
It is not darkest before the dawn in politics either.
There is a temptation among certain types of ideologues—I count myself among them—to assume that once things get bad enough, the political classes or the general public will have a collective eureka moment, at which point everyone adopts the ideologue’s worldview, policy prescriptions, and cultural preferences.
The appeal of this notion is obvious. Perhaps the suffering imposed by our messy politics will be worth it, we think, if it means triumph in the end.
I recently spent a deeply frustrating hour on the phone with the U.S. Postal Service looking for a box of ’80s-era Baby-Sitters Club books that had been lovingly packed and shipped to my daughter by a family friend—and promptly lost in a warehouse of undelivered parcels. Surely, I thought, everyone who does business with the post office must naturally end up as a libertarian.
That moment is the genesis of this month’s cover story by Christian Britschgi, an investigation into why the U.S. Postal Service suddenly became such a controversial mess in the face of spectacular slowdowns and an election conducted in large part via mail-in ballots. As Britschgi notes, “Libertarians and other critics who have long warned about the inefficiencies of a government-run postal monopoly could at least feel some vindication when they found their mailboxes empty.”
Similarly, I remain incredulous that just gazing at a W-2 the evening before Tax Day doesn’t make every salaried worker a few degrees more libertarian. Or that local zoning boards aren’t converting homeowners into libertarians on a daily basis.
And the spectacle that the two major parties put on during the last election cycle, with credible accusations of profligacy, authoritarianism, and deceit flying in both directions, should surely be enough to put voters off the status quo and lead them to call for better choices.
But a person who hasn’t imbibed decades of articles and white papers about the des
Article from Latest – Reason.com