I was struck by the fact that what struck Prof. Franklin as "stupid" was not anything in Leuders' question -- not, eg., the apparent assumption that what causes deficits isn't those entitlements you have been reading about, those vast giveaways to ordinary citizens, but giveaways to the rich -- rather it was the people themselves who are stupid.
In my questions to Franklin, I noted that the public seemed to vote against its own interests and stated desires, for instance by electing candidates who'll drive up the deficit with fiscally reckless giveaways to the rich.
Franklin, perhaps a bit too candidly, conceded the point. "I'm not endorsing the American voter," he answered. "They're pretty damn stupid."
"Thank you, professor," I responded. "That's the answer I was looking for.
The exchange reminded me of a poem that Communist Bertolt Brecht wrote in the wake of the revolt against the East German government in 1953:
|Die Lösung |
Nach dem Aufstand des 17. Juni
After the uprising of the 17th June
The English translation is from Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956, eds. John Willett and Ralph Manheim (Methuen 1976), p. 440.