A few years ago, on a train, I overheard a woman telling why she didn’t vote for a candidate for US president. It seems he changed his mind. Once. But once was enough.
What is this idiotic notion that government officials should never, ever, change their minds? In the ideal world, when irrefutable evidence turns up that should overturn some commonly agreed upon lie, you’d hope that politicians would recognize that they have to change course and press ahead with the new information.
Since this is not usually the case, the next best thing might be to simply to keep changing governments, churning through them so they can do as little damage as possible. In some sense, this seems to be working for Italy, as David Horton points out in Those Crazy Italians.
Italy has one of the leading economies of the world and is part of the G8 group of nations. It has apparently happy people, an extraordinarily rich culture and history, cars and designer clothes that people everywhere long for, great food, a pleasant countryside, great footballers. By any test I can think of, having, on average, a new government every year for 60+ years has done the Italians absolutely no harm at all. On the other hand Zimbabwe, one man rule for 27 years, is the poorest country in the world with a basket case economy, culture shot, brutalised people fleeing the country, and little, if any, happiness (only Robert Mugabe, I guess, is happy), but stable at the point of a gun.
Yup, that there’s what I’m talkin’ about. Stability, like gravity, sucks.