Tuesday, January 25, 2011

GOP war on logic vs. Dem war on logic

Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed piece titled "The war on logic" where he talked about the illogic of the Republican attacks on health care reform (and confirmed by www.factcheck.org and www.politifact.com). My response (#149 on the article's comment thread):

Speaking as an Eisenhower Republican--hence as someone who will have nothing to do with today's so-called "Republican Party"--I have to agree with Professor Krugman as far as he goes.

However, he rarely touches on the ways in which the Democratic Party conducts its own guerrilla war on logic, to wit:

1. The belief that race and ethnicity trump economics--that the son of a wealthy black doctor deserves more of a helping hand than the daughter of a poor Southern white sharecropper--that a judge can fine someone guilty of a "hate crime" more than someone who did exactly the same thing to someone who isn't a "victim of color."

2. The belief that citizens of other countries living here illegally deserve a helping hand at the expense of American citizens (unless those citizens are the children of citizens of other countries living here illegally). This belief devalues the concept of nationhood and of citizenship, as well as devaluing the societies these interlopers came from.

It also rests firmly on the totally illogical assumption that there's no such thing as overpopulation--that America has an infinite human carrying capacity, as well as the countries who are outsourcing their overpopulation problems to us, first and foremost Mexico.

3. The belief that government employees deserve more total compensation and more job security than those doing comparable work in the private sector. This imbalance may be overstated by Republicans, but one local newspaper publishes the pay of all employees of local cities, and in city after city it's obvious that there is a substantial differential--and one that is tied to a pension time bomb that's going to consume more and more of these governments' assets and abilities to provide services to their taxpayers. The outrage of the City of Bell's kleptocracy won't be the last to emerge from the shadows.

4. The belief that someone who can't speak enough English to read a ballot deserves citizenship and the franchise.

5. The belief that Republican namecalling (socialist, jobkiller, totalitarian, traitor, fascist etc.) is heinous, while Democratic namecalling (no-nothing, racist (automatically assumed when any white accuses any "person of color" of anything), fascist, nativist, anti-immigrant (when someone is actually anti-illegal immigrant) etc.) is simply just and accurate.

6. The phobic reaction to nuclear power, even when the ecological cost of the fossil fuel alternative is becoming catastrophic, coupled with a refusal to accept the fact that Yucca Mountain in Nevada is where American nuclear waste should go, Nevada NIMBYs notwithstanding.

7. The use of logical fallacies in speeches. For example, when now-President Obama was campaigning for the presidency, he said in a speech I heard that since we can't deport 12 million illegals, we must "bring them out of the shadows" and ultimately give them citizenship. But no one is proposing deporting them--they're proposing denying social services to them wherever possible, using ID checks like E-Verify to deny them legal work in this country, and other measures to make it economically unsustainable to stay here. Obama knew this was the actual alternative--he's no dummy--and I'm certain he knows what the false choice fallacy is--yet he chose to use this as a form of reasonable-sounding demagoguery.

8. Creative accounting. Neither Democrats nor Republicans talk about money in a way that anyone versed in GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) would accept. Both parties are forever doing things that would get any private company downgraded by honest analysts, audited within an inch of their lives, and sometimes facing criminal charges. Both parties traffic in rosy dreams alternative with false horror stories, depending on circumstance.

9. The belief that our winner take all electoral college system makes sense. This has nothing to do with the wildly disproportionate voting of (mainly Republican) small states' citizens vs. those of large (mainly Democratic) states. It has to do with the fact that nothing prevents us from sending Electors to the Electoral College in proportion to the vote in that state, instead of stiffing the minority--Democrat or Republican--even if it got 49% of the vote. Of course doing this on a state by state basis would advantage one party, but not if all states adopted it. And then instead of every President being picked by the voters of a handful of swing states, everyone in both parties would get their votes counted. That's the only logical thing to do, and both parties refuse to get off the dime.

10. Complicity in the continuing trade embargo of Cuba, while getting in bed with China, whose human rights violations dwarf those of Cuba. Not to mention our good friend Saudi Arabia. We have no consistent correlation between our foreign policy and the human rights status of other countries.

We'll never make headway with the Republicans' war on logic until we end our own.

1 comment:

n1ck said...

Even though most political rhetoric can be analyzed through many filters to find the truth and non-truth, Americans in general just don't care.

The population of the US was the first population to be mass-indoctrinated through psychology via radio and television advertising to pick a brand and then stick with it.

The Republican and Democrat parties are brands, pure and simple. Yes, there are some political differences, but ultimately, do any of them ever solve any real problems? Or do they sometimes offer a solution that only works for awhile before causing new problems?

Our political system in the US rewards slow, conservative (small c) changes over actual progress. Hence our electoral college which is a complete affront to ANY type of democracy.

Ultimately, neither party is concerned about telling the truth. Instead, they try to maintain their brand image and quality, just like Pepsi and Coke.

Ever notice how here in the US, there are often two big rivalries in the corporate world, with smaller companies subsisting on the periphery, or being bought up by one of the two major corporations?

Coke "products" involve Coke and other companies it bought. Pepsi "products" involve Pepsi and other companies they bought.

The "Tea Party" politicians are all Republicans. Many "green party" candidates are basically environmental Democrats.

We've been branded. This whole country.

Here, please, watch this documentary. It is not only brilliantly made and informative, it is actually entertaining.

"The Century of the Self", by Adam Curtis.

Adam Curtis has made a number of documentaries for the BBC over the years, and I recommend viewing any of them.

Watch at least the first part of "The Century of the Self", and tell me that you don't see how the political parties are just brands, devoid of any type of inherent political logic. They don't care about truth. Just their bottom line (what percentage of the government they control).

You can either torrent the documentary, or watch it on Google Video. Seriously, give it a watch. I think you'll find it to be brilliant.