The reason for optimism is this. One senses the end of an era, as protectionism collapses into a mass of contradictions and absurdities. From the current shambles people are learning that free trade tends to get the goods produced by those who do it best, and we all become richer as a result. It is also easier than trying to micro-manage. Perhaps those who learn will include Mr Mandelson, who is also a very good learner.
Let’s hope so.
I get the feeling here that Madsen Pirie actually knows Peter Mandelson, that Peter Mandelson actually knows Madsen Pirie, that Peter Mandelson might actually read that, and that it might actually help to change his mind.
Far too much “propaganda” is just bombastic name-calling of the sort that hasn’t a prayer of changing the mind of the man being criticised. The text is: You fool! But the sub-text is: He’ll never actually listen to me, (a) because no one important listens to me, and/because (b) I am too much of a fool. For a thousand examples you need look no further than the political, “Bliar” (how I despise that word) type comments on Samizdata.
The Madsen Pirie quote above is the opposite of all that drivel.
(By the way I am not trying to persuade such commenters to mend their ways with what I am saying here. I am trying to persuade you not to imitate them. You are persuadable and worth persuading. They are not and not. Although, come to think of it, if you denounce a class of people as idiots, rather than picking on one of them by name, maybe you will persuade some of the idiots to leave the herd and mend their ways and become ex-idiots. So maybe I am trying to persuade these idiots to mend their ways. Yes.)
The technological comments on Samizdata are quite different and frequently superb. See, e.g., some of the comments attached to this posting about nanotechnology that I did there last week.