The concept of diminishing marginal returns suggests that it makes sense to pursue policies that sound like a good idea only in moderation: if you do X and it seems to succeed, then maybe doing Y is a good idea, but Z probably is not at all a good idea.
But in the real world, nobody ever seems to expect diminishing marginal returns: Hey, X worked, and Y didn’t blow up the world, so Z must be a slam dunk.
iSteve commenter JoeyJoeJoe writes:
After more than a half century of political observation, I think that human beings just aren’t capable of sophisticated thought. They can hold on to one idea, and carry it to its logical conclusion, then overthrow it with another idea, and repeat the process. They can’t seem to debate limits or tradeoffs.
This is intricately related to Hegel (thesis-antithesis-synthesis), and it is intimately related to Thomas Kuhn’s structure of scientific revolutions (essentially, a prevailing philosophy dominates science-even to the point of science actually attempting to defend it rather than refute it-the antithesis of science-until its inherent contradictions make it impossible to defend, when a ‘scientific revolution’ takes place and a new idea takes root).
The one idea that the West has been holding onto for my entire life (and basically since perhaps 1965) is EQUALITY. Those of us on the Right somehow think there has been an ongoing battle between EQUALITY and MERIT, but it really hasn’t been happening. EQUALITY dominates, and wins, in spite of its obvious inaccuracies (and just as in a scientific dominant idea, those inaccuracies are not reasons to question the doctrine: they are reasons to question opponents of the doctrine). It will continue to dominate until its inherent contradictions are too much for the theory to bear, and a new dominant theory (a ‘political revolution’) will replace it with something else (who knows that that is).
This is why the structure of discussion of race in the country over the last 50 years has been what it is.
Old Theory: races are inherently differently abled
New Theory: races are equal
Problem: Give blacks access, and they don’t do much with it
Solution (not ‘maybe races aren’t equal after all…’) : give blacks more stuff to help them (affirmative action).
Problem: They still don’t seem to be doing much with it
Solution (not ‘hmm, time to rethink our thesis..’): give blacks more stuff to help them (reparations, different standards of achievement, etc etc).
Problem: we shall see.
This is tied to the ‘scramble for America,’ because if all races and peoples are equal: there is no logical endpoint for immigration (I think we all sense this). America will not wake up at 50% white (or 40% or 30% or …) and suddenly say: ‘THIS multiculturalism is just right.’ There is no plausible argument for it (just as, under the prevailing theory of EQUALITY, 90% white-before mass immigration even started-wasn’t a logical endpoint for immigration).
This is true of every political argument in our society (homosexuality is morally equal to heterosexuality. Transvestitism is morally equal to homosexuality is morally equal to heterosexuality. XXX is equal to transvestitism… and so on).
So until EQUALITY is overthrown as the prevailing philosophy of modern politics, there is really no answer or argument against it. Immigration will continue, and reparations will continue, until one of two things happen:
1) EQUALITY is no longer the prevailing philosophy of the West (and USA in particular), or
2) The USA is no longer attractive to immigration-when the USA economically no different from places immigrants come from, immigrants won’t want to come here.