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It is a well-worn trope of the left — from the mere ‘liberals’ to the looniest of the loony left — that politics should not be the art of the possible, but rather the art of making the impossible possible. No less a deep thinker than Hillary said “The challenge is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”
Who can doubt that the left has been spectacularly successful at this? To take only the last few years, compulsory state adoption of SSM, ObamaCare, and executive amnesty have accomplished what was routinely declared impossible within the lifetime of this website.
More insidiously, the very institutions of society have been co-opted to continually redefine the possible ever-leftward. The Fourth Estate, the universities (and education as a whole), the entertainment industry, charity, and organized religion all hew to the line that — whatever the problem is — more government is the answer. And now science as been dragooned to the statist cause: if there is no actual crisis, we’ll invent one.
Playing by the rules — limiting oneself to the ‘possible’ — is to lose the game before it starts. So we see Rep. Paul Ryan’s breathtaking audacity in trimming a percent from the acceleration in the growth of the increase in the real size of government. It’s scored by the CBO! Parts are bipartisan! To suggest anything different would be … impossible! Or on amnesty and illegal immigration, to suggest anything but surrender is to push against the limits of the possible.
Another way of acting would be to see where these limits come from and remove them. Journalism? A dying industry. Help it on its way, don’t pander to it. And for goodness sake, don’t let it define the terms of selecting candidates. Education? Doesn’t work, can’t work. Shut it down and let the market — that is to say, people — develop a thousand alternatives to the monolithic, government dominated, state-worshipping boondoggle it’s become. Charity and organised religion? Cease all cooperation (co-option) with (by) government. No government grants to NGOs to spend on lobbying government. No government programs that involve churches just as long as they render all to Caesar. No government sponsorship of social justice talkingshops.
Radical? Yes. Unrealistic? Not really. There was a reality where there was no self-important Fourth Estate, no giant education/statist complex, no government takeover of morality. Impossible? Certainly, if one is to play the game. I note that the other side doesn’t. And they’re winning.
If you think politics is the art of the possible, you aren’t playing politics. Politics is playing you.