It's Not Just the GOP Where the Paradigms are Shifting

Everything is going wrong at once. On the economy, the Federal Reserve’s economic models have been overpredicting economic growth ever since the Great Recession. On climate, the IPCC’s climate models have been overpredicting global warming ever since the beginning of the Pause. On national borders, the international ruling class has suddenly rediscovered them as half the Middle East heads for Europe.

And in the GOP rank outsiders lead in the presidential race to the consternation of the party establishment.

Who could have seen this coming?

Well, Thomas S. Kuhn, for one. In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions he argued that science doesn’t proceed in the orderly fashion that we imagine.

Most, of the time it does. Kuhn called this “normal science.”  La Wik:

Kuhn explained normal science as slowly accumulating detail in accord with established broad theory, without questioning or challenging the underlying assumptions of that theory.

“Normal science” works pretty well, with scientists beavering away solving problems under the current underlying theoretical assumptions, until the current assumptions, the current “paradigm” doesn’t work any more. Then all bets are off.

Kuhn was too modest. Not just science, but all human activity is a kind of “normal science,” with everyone trusting that current memes and beliefs are true, until “anomalies” in the current paradigm reach a crisis and it is not possible to go on in the old way anymore.

You can tell there is a developing crisis in climate science because of the “normal scientists” that call for siccing RICO on the embarrassing and hateful deniers, as the delicious Gang of 20 is proposing.

We are seeing the same thing with the European border crisis. For decades the European ruling class has confidently practiced the “normal science” of open borders and anathematized anyone that disagreed. But the rulers never thought that President Obama, their favorite Nobel son, would break the Middle East and persuade millions of Middle Easterners that they are outa there. So all of a sudden, in just a week, borders are back. The paradigm has changed.

Here at home, Republicans and conservatives have been agonizing for years over the anomalies in the “normal politics” of our Beltway ruling class. But the Beltway RINOs have always managed to beat down the rebels and the troublemakers. Why not? For them, “normal politics” is working just fine. But the Trump-Carson-Fiorina phenomenon shows that the “anomalies” in the current “normal politics” are becoming unbearable for a big chunk of the conservative and Republican base. “Normal politics” just isn’t working for us.

Now, Thomas Kuhn’s theory argues that the “anomalies” in the current “normal science” tend to accumulate, creating more and more tension in the normal science community until there is a “crisis.” The crisis merely means that the authority of the reigning “normal science” has broken down and that people are forced to begin to look at alternative explanations for the way the world works. Pleasant and satisfying autos-da-fe of heretics and deniers fail to head off the crisis. And so scientists have to consider new paradigms that explain the world better, and the slog along the road to a new “normal science” begins.

Kevin D. Williamson reminds us of the necessary political slog in his latest Sunday Special on NRO: “The Question No Candidate Will Answer.” Kevin wanted presidential debate honcho Jake Tapper to ask the GOP candidates real questions, like what they were going to do about Social Security, Medicare, etc.

But this is the equivalent of asking the Founding Fathers in 1776 to get beyond all the cheap rhetoric about “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” and get down to specifics: How soon things would get back to normal after we had summarily kicked the Brits out by Christmas? The real answer would have been too horrible to contemplate: seven years of war, eight years of political futility only solved by the new paradigm of the Constitution, adding up to fifteen years of economic misery only ended by Alexander Hamilton and his new paradigm of the funded National Debt and windfall profits for the holders of state debt and paper previously “not worth a Continental.”

You can see what I am getting at. It is exciting that the old “normal politics” is breaking down. But this is just the beginning. Rank and file gentry liberals don’t even realize there is a problem yet, for all is quiet on the NPR front. Let’s go with Bernie for another $18 trillion in new spending, with one more Big Push for the good old liberal “normal science.”

We are in for a long war of the paradigms that will make the Gramscian march through the institutions look like child’s play.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.