Some commenters think that Republicans can?t be far-sighted, and they didn?t like it when I said that far-sightedness is a bipartisan issue. Fair enough, up to a point. But only up to a point. I don?t like much of what the Republican Party wants to do, but I think we?re smarter to look for allies than to assume they aren?t there. The stakes are too high.
koreyel asked some questions the other day that I?d like to pick up on. Are all governments short-sighted, and are there examples of government that are not? Are democracies especially prone to myopia, and are lobbyists the heart of the problem?
My take: not all governments are short-sighted all the time or about all the issues. FDR?s plans for the United Nations were very long-range. Democracies definitely have a bias towards the short term because that?s the way political incentives are set up. But democracies are much more likely to permit and even encourage farsighted insights and policies than are other systems, which lock error in place without hope of change.
The problem is less with lobbyists than with public attitudes. This is good news: lobbyists never change their message but the public sometimes changes its mind. And this is the other message that seems to be coming from the commenters to my earlier posts. We?re not going to get longer range action until the general public starts telling politicians to pay attention to the longer term.