Reality Based Community

I, too, am a proud member of the reality-based community!

That said, it strikes me as fairly unlikely that Suskind’s source was really positing a kind of power-based ontological constructivism. Maybe, maybe. I have no doubt that much faith-based nutjobbery is afoot. But some people do have a bad habit of using ‘reality’ in a confusing de dicto sense according to which different people have different “realities” simply because we are separate centers of experience and hold sometimes conflicting assumptions. It strikes me as eminently plausible to think of the liberal-ish press corps as sharing a set of assumptions about the politically feasible, call it “the conventional wisdom,” according to which certain kinds of policies and programs are outside the pale, and this poses a serious public relations problem for politicians like Bush. It’s the task of a conservative administration like Bush’s the act forcefully in a way that shatters the conventional wisdom, shows the insufficiency of the accepted categories, and remakes the de dicto “reality” of all those pointy-headed pundits who are so blinkered that they confuse the CW, “reality,” for reality.

As Bush’s hero Karl Marx wrote: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

(The problem with reading too much Davidson and Dennett is that it makes it hard to accept that people are speaking perfect nonsense.)

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center