#65 | Political Theatre: Practical Questions at the End of the American Experiment

Perri Gardner, instructor of Political Science at the College of Southern Idaho, speaks with me about the US political system and government in the age of Trump, the cognitive dissonance political leaders have regarding Big Government vs. Limited Government, the decline and disintegration of the Great American Experiment, the recent British election, and the "Oh, shit" moment.

Episode Notes:

Check out Perri's TEDxTwinFalls talk "The Participation Problem: Solutions to Increase Voter Participation"; https://youtu.be/_OYe8hviIAo

Quoted in the episode: 

'I often think of the “Oh, shit” moment that comes along with a catastrophe. This is the moment where someone realizes that everything they thought was true was totally wrong, that what seemed impossible was actually quite possible indeed, and that there is no way to go back and fix the problem. It’s the moment where we become fully cognizant of the fact that there was no real logical reason to assume the thing wouldn’t happen, that we had just kind of assumed it because contemplating it was so unbearable. The last big “Oh, shit” moment was the night of Donald Trump’s election. Over the course of the evening, those who were horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency, but were dead certain that he would lose, realized that they had been conflating desire and reality. They realized that actually, the polls had showed a close race, and the experts’ confidence had been completely unwarranted. They realized that the fact that a Trump presidency was inconceivable didn’t actually affect whether it was likely. But by the time that realization came, it was over. There was no way to go back and adjust one’s actions accordingly.

My fear is that nuclear war could be similar. It won’t seem possible until it becomes inevitable. And once it becomes inevitable, we will have an “Oh, shit” moment. We’ll realize that everyone’s certainty had been totally groundless, that it had been based entirely on wishful thinking rather than fact. But having the moment of realization doesn’t actually let you go back and undo anything. It’s too late. All you get is those two words. Oh, shit.'

- "PRETENDING IT ISN’T THERE: How we think about the nuclear threat…"
by Nathan J. Robinson: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/pretending-it-isnt-there


Credits:
*  "Lavender (Feat. Kaytranada", "Sour Soul (Instrumental)" and "Speaking Gently" by BADBADNOTGOOD