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nihilism: total and absolute destructiveness, especially toward the world at large and including oneself

July 14, 2011

I got an assignment today to write about the debt ceiling. Though I intended when I started this blog to do a lot of writing on politics, it turns out I have felt rather shy about it. I know I get women’s issues, fitness, and theater because I’ve studied them. But politics is a hobby, and I don’t want to get things wrong in public. I really hate getting things wrong.

I can direct my assignor and anyone else interested to this summary of the issue and recount of recent events. I can tell you that this is some interesting speculation about the White House strategy in the ongoing talks. Likewise this is intriguing speculation about the Republican strategy. The evidence is overwhelming that default would be a disaster. Lest you think I’m only interested in what the “liberal MSM” thinks, here’s why Bruce Bartlett thinks so. And here’s the Economist explaining why it’s a big deal, and why Republicans will be to blame for the disaster if we default.

The politicians who are refusing the raise the limit are the Republican members of the House brought there in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and other Republicans who are afraid of the Tea Party’s power to similarly defeat them in primaries. The Tea Partiers themselves believe that The Treasury and the Fed and every respectable economist in the world are lying, and that none of the bad things they say will happen if we default will happen. This despite the fact that Moody‘s has already put our credit on a downgrade watch and even the influential Business Roundtable has urged action, warning that “Even if we get a deal, the hit to our reputation could be irreparable.”

It must be really hard to live in a world that you think is engaged in a massive conspiracy against you. I don’t know that I could handle the anxiety I’d feel if I believed that history, education, science, and government were all trying to dupe me into something. If I felt the country was full of traitors determined to bring us down. It is an incredibly nihilistic perspective, and could have a very nihilistic effect on our economy. Right now, it’s not looking good.

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