Sunday, November 22, 2009

Clearing Up Some Misconceptions for the Left

Listening to lefties talk, reading their books and editorials, and hanging around on their message boards, has taught me how they view those who disagree with them.  And they tend to completely misunderstand not only what their ideological opponents believe, but also what motivates their opponents' beliefs.  For example, pro-lifers aren't against abortion because they are "anti-woman," or believe women have to be chained to a stove, or are sexist.  We're against abortion because it takes the life of an unborn human being.  Attend any pro-life event, visit any pro-life pregnancy help center, and what will you find?  Women.  Lots of them.  Look at Sarah Palin, do you think she's anti-woman, hates women, thinks women belong in the home and not the office?  Oh, that's right, lefties cannot rationally discuss Sarah Palin.  Shouldn't have brought her up.  Sorry.

Anyway, I wanted to address some of the more common misconceptions and myths I see coming from liberals.  I won't go super-in-depth on any one of these, just touch on them briefly.  Many times on Democratic Underground I've wanted to interject to clear something up, but of course I'm not allowed to post.  So I hope some of you guys/gals/misc. read this:

1.  We're not "anti-union" because we're "anti-worker," we're are simply opposed to the tactics "unions" (and I put unions in quotes because the modern, legally-enforced unions are really rent-seekers and not true examples of collective bargaining at all) use, and we are opposed to the special enforcement unions get from the government in non-right-to-work states.  We fully support the right of workers to organize and voluntarily associate, so long as they remain within their rights and are not given special rights (rights which infringe upon business owners as well as their own fellow workers) to do so.  We believe unions can only be a force for the greater good when they have to stand or fall on their own merits.  We also believe that there is a major difference between merely organized labor and the modern-day legal construct we call "unions."  I know I said it earlier but it bears repeating.  We believe that artificially raising wages (this includes non-pecuniary benefits and the increased risk associated with strikes) above market levels leads to greater unemployment among non-unionized workers.  For that matter, so do virtually all economists.

2.  We're not all rich.  I know, some of you already know this.  Unfortunately, you also seem to think that if a person is a rightie and is not rich, then it's because they want to be rich and so cling to a "pro-rich, pro-business" ideology, or because we've been duped by our corporate masters to be too scared to vote the way that would most benefit us, since you lefties are all about taking away our Bibles, guns, and turning our sons into fags.  I'm satirizing your own satire there, in case you didn't notice.

3.  There's actually more ideological diversity among us than you might think.  Though not nearly as paralyzing as the special-interest splintering I see on the left, there are atheist libertarians and gay-hating, 700 Club-watching, protectionist, welfare-state backers among us, and a jillion other varieties I could mention.  I spend some time on Free Republic, and at least half of that is spent arguing with my fellow righties.

4.  We read.  And not just the Bible and Sarah Palin's book.  I literally have more books than places to put them.  I read 19th-century classics, left-wing 20th-century authors such as William S. Burroughs, Albert Camus, and Kurt Vonnegut, all sorts of economics texts both positive and normative, sci-fi, fantasy, the list goes on.  Most righties I know also read voraciously.  In fact, I don't think anybody quite enjoys reading history or economics more than righties.

5. We don't hate the environment, although we often make jokes about driving extra miles on Earth Day and clubbing seals just to tweak you guys.  In fact, since a disproportionately high number of us are rural or suburban dwellers who enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating, you can bet we care very much about keeping the environment pristine.  But we don't buy into your trendy hysteria or your attempts to prop up a dubious hypothesis on the weather as a means to enact government control over the economy and hence, over peoples' lives.  And be honest lefties, that's what the global warming scam is all about.  So go ahead and pat yourselves on the back for bringing the world clean air and water, but pat us too, since basic conservationism and restricting pollution are non-partisan issues that nobody has a claim to.

6.  You're actually not more educated than us.  I know, the figures show that the more graduate level education a person has, the more leftie they are.  But you are forgetting that an enormous number of public school teachers, public administrators, bureaucrats, social workers, "education" specialists, etc., make up most of those numbers.  These people depend on the government's giant welfare state (and its growth) for them to have a job.  They naturally tend towards leftiness.  Most righties I know have a better understanding of history and of the political process, and studies bear that anecdotal evidence out as well.

7.  We're not all about making money.  In fact, we give more to charity than you do.

8.  Not many of us actually "hate" gays, and if and when we vote against gay marriage (and not all of us do), it's because we don't want to be forced to recognize a marriage that conflicts with our religious beliefs.  And that's what it's really all about.  An orthodox Jew shouldn't be forced by the government to eat crab legs and bacon, a Scientologist shouldn't be forced to see a psychiatrist, a Wiccan shouldn't be forced to shave her legs, and I shouldn't be forced to recognize a marriage that conflicts with my religious beliefs.  I happen to believe that the government shouldn't have any role in marriage at all, so that I am not forced to recognize a marriage that conflicts with my values and also I am free to marry whoever I want.  Lefties wanting gay marriage sanctioned by law are seeking a government solution to a government-created problem.

9.  We don't travel less because we're backward, uncultured xenophobes, we travel less because we aren't as rich as you and we have entire families we'd have to bring along.  It's funny how out-of-touch you can be with the culture in your own country, yet consider yourself cultured because you know how to order coffee in Paris.

10.  Palin never said she could see Russia from her porch.  That was an SNL joke.

11.  That offensive Rush Limbaugh quote you heard?  Taken out of context.

12.  We don't love Bush, we weren't brainwashed by Bush, and it actually is possible to be in favor of the Iraq War, against how the post-war occupation was conducted, and not be either a Bushbot or a soulless Nazi.

13.  What you consider torture is actually not even as bad as the routine training exercises we inflict on OUR OWN TROOPS, but since so few of you know anybody serving, you wouldn't know.

14.  When we take a stand against the public education monopoly, we aren't "against education" or "against kids."  Anybody in favor of educating kids would be appalled at our system, not an ally of it.

15.  Islam is not a race, so any criticism of Islam cannot be called racist.  For that matter, Judaism is not a race either.  So you hereby have my permission to criticize Israel without me calling you a racist.

16.  Criticism of Obama is not racism, criticism of Hillary was not sexism.  When you have to resort to irrelevant insults rather than actual reasoned argument, it's time to rethink your stance.

17.  Deficits are bad no matter who makes them, and yes, we criticized Reagan and Bush for their deficits.  We are criticizing Obama more merely because his are so astronomic.

18.  You may not know this, but the stimulus theory has been debunked.  In fact, one of Obama's chief advisors, Dr. Romer, wrote a paper explaining how stimulus has no effect on the economy.

19.  Media consolidation is actually a sign that the traditional media has gotten too big and is shrinking (or about to), not that it has "gotten more powerful."  To wit, recent nosedives in news ratings, paper and magazine subscriptions, etc.

20.  We dislike Nixon, love Reagan, don't care for Bush Sr. and are lukewarm on Bush Jr.  Stop assuming we love and are brainwashed into obedience by every GOP president.  Stop seeing people as products of society or of powerful wealthy special interests, and start seeing them as individuals for a change.

21.  The current recession was not caused by Reaganomics.

22.  Reaganomics doesn't mean what you think it does.  Neither does trickle-down economics, a term which is used more by the left than by the right, and which right-of-center economists didn't invent.

23.  The Reagan deficits were due to increased spending, not tax cuts.  Revenue soared throughout the latter two-thirds of the 80s.  But spending, driven by Congress, soared even more.  Thus, deficits.

24.  "Tax cuts for the rich" don't mean what you think they do.  Despite what you may have heard, the wealthy pay a disproportionately high share of taxes in this country, not lower.  What's called tax cuts for the rich are really attempts to "flatten" the tax system.

25.  We think Cheney's an idiot when he said "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

26.  Only a regressive tax, not a flat tax, falls disproportionately on the poor.  A progressive tax falls disproportionately on the wealthy, and a flat tax doesn't fall disproportionately heavy on anybody.

27.  Those 91% income taxes of the Eisenhower era?  Three recessions.  It was your hero JFK (who would be a Republican today) that turned things around with tax reductions.

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