Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diane Ravitch distills leftist talking points about Wisconsin

I was forwarded a copy of the Huffington Post article by Diane Ravitch, Eight Civics Lessons from Scott Walker. I read the article and, in a surge of masochism, read the comments, trying to get a sense for why people would buy into such a silly collection of shaky talking points.

Every one of the points is nonsense, either outright false, a misrepresentation, or a distortion. Yet the leftist comments are largely kudos from people who have swallowed it whole. I used to consider myself liberal, until I started actually paying attention. Then, as I read more about economics and politics, and started following current events, I gradually had to abandon all of those emotionally attractive but foolish liberal positions.

A big part of the problem comes from primate "team" psychology. As soon as somebody "joins" a team, identifies with a particular group, then he more or less automatically starts to think of the people on the other team in a negative way: stupid, thoughtless, evil...any negative character trait. While the people on "his" team are all smart, insightful, sensitive. Any positive character trait.

Leftists, in particular, always assume that the motivations of the people who oppose them are venal, greedy, or selfish. So they're starting from a position of paranoia in the first place.

In this article Diane Ravitch tries to claim the high ground, saying 'Leaders may not agree with the people on the other side of the aisle, but at the end of the day, they recognize them as "my loyal opposition," not my enemy. That spirit of comity is at the heart of our democracy.' But one of the main points that she makes in the other talking points is that Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republican senators have evil motives. It's the equivalent of saying "if only the Republicans weren't greedy, selfish, power-hungry assholes, then they wouldn't be doing this". This characterization is hardly in the "spirit of comity".

It seems that she is so blind to her misunderstandings of their character that she cannot even tell when she is doing it.

I see no attempt whatsoever to understand a complicated, difficult situation, where the government spent  more money they took in, and needs to make some difficult, painful adjustments.

The way it looks to me, the Republicans are trying to be the adults; they're attempting to  balance the budget. The leftists are stamping their feet like six year olds, yelling, "It's not fair!"

In all of the comments, I didn't see anybody who applauded Ravitch's talking points bring up alternative ways to balance the budget. They ignored the money issues entirely, or claimed that there was no problem. Somehow if we just close our eyes and pretend it's not there, the budget problem will...just go away. Not.

And they don't seem to realize that insulting the other side and calling them names is not the way to have civil, bipartisan discussions.

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