2021 was a year of awakening for all but the most obtuse among the woke. It was the year when we realized, or relearned, that inflation isn’t a thing of the past. It’s something that happens when government largesse helps create excess demand. And it stings.
2021 was the year when we realized, or relearned, that attacks on the police and a reduction in police funding, coupled with prosecutors whose sympathies lie with certain types of criminals, produce sharp increases in violent crime.
It was also the year when we realized that if people receive money for nothing, they might well decide not to work. And in a related lesson, 2021 was the year when we realized that goods don’t just magically appear on our shelves. They turn up there thanks to a complex system — the supply chain — that depends, among other things, on people being willing to work.
Finally, it was the year we realized that bad things happen when the U.S. military withdraws from countries where we’re all that prevents our enemies from seizing power, and that even worse things happen when we withdraw incompetently.
My generation learned lessons like these in the 1970s. We learned them well enough that 12 years of Republicans in the White House ensued.
It’s unfortunate that these lessons in the obvious had to be relearned, but not very surprising that they were forgotten after more than four decades.
It’s probably too optimistic to expect the awakening of 2021 to produce another 12-year period of Republican presidencies. But if Republicans play their hand well, it might put the GOP back on close to level terms with younger voters and on better than level terms with the rest of the electorate.