Bill Murchison

The Democrats who rule Washington, D.C., know what America needs. We know they know because they tell us so. We need -- they say -- a health care system with far more uniform characteristics than the one we have now. We need -- again, they say -- energy sources more in keeping with the ethic of conservation. We also need, it seems, new kinds of cars -- here we segue into the General Motors nightmare -- with higher gas mileage and, consequently, larger price tags.

We need. That's the Democrats' mantra. They know. What the rest of us know isn't of much account. Except, to be sure, when the car showrooms open one of these days with the revamped GM models that fit Democratic conceptions of our needs. The Democratic theory is that we'll rush in to buy. Maybe. Also maybe not. What if we don't like the cars the government gives us? What if we like privately owned Ford Motor Co.'s cars better? What if we like -- gasp -- Toyota's better, or Honda's, or someone else's? What if we prefer SUVs to compacts?

The one proposition one can bank on, when it comes to the marketplace, is that consumers won't buy what they're merely instructed to buy. They'll buy what they want. They'll judge for themselves, no politicians needed, no bureaucrats, no bureaucrat-worshiping journalists, no presidential orators.

When Engine Charlie Wilson memorably aligned the interests of America and GM, he saw both as driven by the same desires, the same itches, the same sense of opportunity. Even if GM is changing, it seems doubtful the customers have. The kind of change we probably still can't believe in is the kind that assigns to Americans sheep-like gullibility as to how to live and buy.


Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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