We’re already 20 days into 2011, so it seems pointless to look back over 2010. I thought, however, I’d take a second to look back at what I said last year, throw out some parting thoughts about 2010 and look ahead to 2011.
I was right about the economy improving without jobs. I was a little off on the election — the GOP took the House. Sarah Palin did not begin to fade, although I see her star waning now. My sports predictions weren’t too bad — at least the Colts and Rangers made the final. My foreign policy predictions were way off: Iran seems stronger than ever and Afghanistan is still a mess. But I was right that it would be a so-so year in TV and film. And I was right about science. We saw a fantastic year in science, including several knock-out blows delivered to the anti-vaccine nonsense.
When I look back at 2010, what really crosses me is the sense of smugness so many seemed to radiate. There were so many people making smug smarmy remarks from false confidence. It was a year when people who were wrong about everything loudly and arrogantly talked about how right they were. No one exemplifies this more than the aforementioned Palin, whose every speech drips with condescending sarcasm and arrogant ignorance. But she wasn’t the only one. Bad climate skeptics proclaimed Global Warming to be dead based on incorrect analyses of Climategate and an inability to read declarative English sentences such as “this study on ocean level rise has been withdrawn in favor of studies favoring more ocean level rise”. Tea Party critics dismissed legitimate concerns about the direction of the country, branding the Tea Partiers as racists and extremists. Pro-torture advocates ignored the established record of civil trials and proclaimed civilian justice was a failure in the wake of Ghailani trial. And, in the sports, the Sports Media Twerps were as arrogant, condescending and wrong as ever — ranging from OSU arrogantly asserting that their eight home games proved their toughness to the HOF voters covering up their complicity in the steroid scandal by refusing to vote for suspected users.
It was a frustrating year, but one we could see coming. I said 2009 was the Year of Fantasyland. No one is more smug than the person who is being proven wrong day after day.
2011 is shaping up to be a year of reality. It will be a year when the Tea Party is going to have to actually govern instead of complain. It will be a year when the free markets, free trade and regulatory sanity will be absolutely critical. It will be a year when we have to shrug and grimly put our shoulders to the boulder. I think this will happen. Because I am, at heart, an optimist.