One common suggestion for those who wish to be aware of current events and engage in civil dialogue is that they should seek out alternate opinions and actually listen to the other side. This practice does create a deeper understanding, but deeper understanding doesn’t necessarily bring a softening of reactions. That was my thought while listening to former long-time PR guy for Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo, Michael Raia, on the Bartholomewtown Podcast.
Listening to Raia talk about opportunities for our state and region, I couldn’t help but feel my impressions of the Raimondo administration affirmed and my concern about its type of thinking amplified. The listener can hear how confident Raia is that he’s got the region all figured out, as if a society is just a puzzle for which placement of the correct pieces provides the solution.
Whether it’s the operation of businesses and the economy, the development and modification of the infrastructure, the operations of the healthcare system, or the quality of life of particular demographic groups, like senior citizens, one gets the impression that Raia has a firm belief that he and other go-getter experts can think it all through, plan it all out, wind it all up, and set the great society in motion. Unfortunately, the human community doesn’t work like that.
Intelligent as they may be, the Raias and Raimondos aren’t smart enough to plan a society even if everybody wanted to live in neighborhoods like the ones they prefer and spend their senior years playing pickleball. Such an accomplishment would require infinite expertise and a God-like perspective.
The fact of the matter, though, is that most other people do not share the tastes of what Charles Murray called “the new upper class” in his book Coming Apart, and those people have a right not to have their societal preferences bulldozed aside by a powerful government. Moreover, as Murray explains, the ethos of that new upper class is destructive of society in the long run.
Even in the immediate, direct trends of the economy, we can observe the economic sluggishness since Governor Raimondo took office, which suggests that her approach does not work. In February, Rhode Island was the only state in the country that had fewer jobs than it did a year before. Yet, one hears no trace of doubt in Raia’s voice that maybe (just maybe) crafting a society isn’t so easy.