And I'd Like a Pony

Magical thinking is one of the worst barriers to solving political problems sensibly. I was reminded of this upon hearing a story on the radio about what to do with Playland, the only government-owned amusement park in the U.S. The park has been losing money, and the county plans to sell it. The newscaster said residents were firm about three things:
1) It should stop costing them money;
2) It should remain an amusement park; and
3) It should draw more people, because that would overcrowd the area.
(And they want a pony.)

Supposing that the county wasn't seriously undercharging for ride tickets (and since they can just check the prices at other amusement parks I imagine they weren't), the only way to keep the place an amusement park and stop the bleeding of funds is... to draw more people!

The same sort of magical thinking is apparent in people  who drive around with anti-gas-pipeline bumper stickers on their SUVs. They are unwilling to stop using fossil fuels, and against every project that supplies the fossil fuels they won't do without. (And they want a pony.)

Life is about tradeoffs, baby.


  1. Looks like magical thinking goes back a long way with these folks:

    "Local residents concerned about what a County report described as "unsavory crowds" induced the Westchester County Park Association to purchase two existing theme parks, Rye Beach and Paradise Park, and planned a local-government-sponsored amusement park in their stead."


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