The Reality Deficit

Newly elected Premier Wynne is about to run into the fact the bond raters don’t think much of the most progressive budget in Ontario history.

It turns out that the Sunni Triangle never went away and the jihad is are taking full advantage.

The IRS has “lost” two critical year of email communications with external agencies on its targeting of Tea Party groups.

Surface temperatures are the wrong way to measure the effects of global warming/climate change (possibly because they don’t show any for the last 17 years).

The promise of amnesty, or even its discussion, leads to waves of illegal migrants.

Humans, especially well meaning, sincere, progressive humans, like to be optimistic believing that an appeal to our better angels will somehow change facts so as to fit the preferred narrative. They hope that human nature, and indeed mother nature, will see the justice of their cause and adjust itself accordingly.

Suggesting otherwise makes one a racist or a denier or an islamophobe or some sort of xenophobe. The bond raters and climate scientists and policy analysts rude enough to pay attention to reality are excluded, attacked and marginalised.

Which creates what I would describe as a reality deficit. It is very difficult to get big questions exactly right. Every answer to a big question will be a little bit wrong in its details. It will be an approximation subject to revision as more information and data is brought to bear on the question. Sensible people understand this.

However, when new information or data is ignored, suppressed or filtered through an ideological lens understanding is undermined. The narrative begins to depart from its underlying reality.

As the reality deficit grows the ability of policy makers to reach good decisions is diminished. In the long run this is a self correcting problem. But the cost and pain of adjustment back to reality is huge and grows with every decision made on faulty data or flawed premise.

Whether it is government spending, climate policy, the legal morass of the IRS or a pragmatic response to the jihad is the bigger the reality deficit the nastier the adjustment shock.

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