David Frum

03.31.13

When It's Time to Stop Talking About Politics

For each of us past a certain age, the future holds decline leading to extinction. It's hard for us not to believe - even to wish - that the fate awaiting us as individuals is also the fate awaiting society as a whole. Who wants to think that things might radically improve after our precious selves depart the scene? This psychological fact explains the perpetual allure of prophecies of doom.

The New York Times published one such prophecy today, David Stockman's prediction of an imminent gigantic global economic smash.

As economics, Stockman's piece is primitive. As advice, it silly. (Stockman both predicts imminent raging inflation and urges investors to liquidate their investors and hide in cash.) But as an insight into the gloomy mindset that overtakes us in older age, it's a valuable warning to those of still middle-aged that once we lose our faith in the future, it's time to stop talking about politics in public.