There are two marketing problems when it comes to creating interventions for the public good.

The first marketing problem is that when it works we take the intervention for granted. The world doesn’t fall apart, and we don’t notice, because our expectation was that the world (whatever world matters to you) should stay on course. The intervention might have made a huge difference, but we don’t notice the persistence of good things.

The second marketing problem is that if an intervention doesn’t work as well as we expected, we rarely acknowledge it would have been even worse if we hadn’t done anything.

Banning cigarettes in bars saved thousands of lives. Car safety standards have saved more than a million. The ozone layer is in better shape than it would have been, and cars seem to run fine on unleaded gas and even electricity.

And yet there are revisionists writing books claiming that Ralph Nader destroyed the car industry, that Joe McCarthy was a good guy and that we don’t need to make sure that voting rights are preserved. Not all interventions work, but the ones that do are often hard to notice.