Friday, September 18, 2009

Let's Talk Tipping Points

Like President Obama, bestseller writer Malcolm Gladwell is mixed race. Perhaps that qualifies him to write bestsellers like The Tipping Point.

Gladwell's book makes the obvious point that things tend to go on as they always have, in spite of winds, tides, and good old pushes. And then there's a Tipping Point.

Seems like we just reached a tipping point on ACORN all of a sudden. We've known for years that ACORN, the astroturf community organizing outfit, is a corrupt and partisan political organization that does all kinds of shady stuff for Democrats, from beating up banks to registering phantom voters. But nothing changed. Then, one fine day, Andrew Breitbart publicized a couple of young conservatives posing as pimp and prostitute in a series of gotcha videos. They showed ACORN employees advising them on how to break the law. Tipping Point! All of a sudden, Democrats are running from ACORN and voting to de-fund it.

Then there's the Race Card. After decades of playing the race card whenever they were bothered by opposition, liberals are taking a pasting on race. They are accusing the president's critics on health care of being racists. Nothing remarkable there. Liberals always play the race card. But conservatives are fighting back. Tipping Point! Maybe it's because we just elected a black president. After all, how can you call white Americans racists when they just elected President Obama?

How about Big Government? For years Americans have talked a good line about the evils of big government, but they kept electing people that grew government. It's enough to make you discouraged. Perhaps Barack Obama won because conservatives stayed home, discouraged after eight years of Bush big government.

But now Americans seem to be really riled up about the trillions in extra spending that's baked into the cake of ObamaCare. Tipping Point! Well, we don't know, exactly, on that one. A lot of the opposition, I think, comes from seniors who reckon that the president's plan is really a mis-direction play to reduce their Medicare benefits. So they are opposing ObamaCare not because it will increase spending, but because it might decrease their benefits.

Then there's Global Warming. Everyone is in favor of fighting global warming when it's just a question of repeating after me: solar, wind, and renewables. But when it comes to facing an annual cost of $1,761 on each family, well, Tipping Point! Ordinary people aren't willing to pay big costs now on the possibility of fixing a problem that won't be serious for a century.

Do you think there could be more Tipping Points in our future? I hope so. I'd really go for a tipping point on government in general. Government is force, so whenever you say: "there ought to be a program," you are saying that the only way we can do this is by force.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I'd say you'd be wrong.

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