Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Church of Emotion

Political Polarization Breeds a Breakdown in Communication

I’m a working guy. I worked various jobs until I got on the FDNY (New York City’s Fire Dept) in March of 1986. I’ve always worked hard, so you’d think I SHOULD be precisely the kind of person hardcore Leftists would want to court.

But that has not been my experience over the last three decades, in fact, far from it.

See, I work at a blue-collar job and I’ve also run my own business, so I’m innately turned off by the anti-business rhetoric you so often hear coming from the Left, especially the precincts of the Far Left.

Over the past few years (actually for the past SIX years), I’ve sought to engage various Left-of-Center people in online discussion.

The result has been enlightening.

You’d probably think, as I initially did, that “enlightened Liberals” would kindly and patiently seek to help me understand why their way was best and why more government spending, higher taxes, etc., were really in MY best interests.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve found that most far Left people CANNOT make credible arguments for their views. What’s more, they rarely, if ever, actually try.

Moreover, they’re often immune to the truth. For instance, when government’s own documents show that lower across the board tax RATES result in higher tax revenues as more higher income earners defer LESS of their incomes, they either ignore the data, or claim that the data is flawed, without offering any evidence of those flaws, of course.

I’ve been both surprised and disappointed in my discussions with Leftists over the past half decade. I’ve often spent time forging full, detailed and documented arguments, only to be assailed for excess verbiage – the equivalent of, “What are you doin’ goin’ and puttin’ in all those facts in there for?” More often than not, the responses have been ad hominum and personal attacks.

What those who’d convince me that “Capitalism is evil,” lack in facts (they offer none), they make up with passion. One of their most passionate arguments is that people like me (Blue State working people, as well as most “Red State people”) are “voting AGAINST our own best interests when we vote against Liberals.”

But while they’re passionate in that view, they offer nothing in the way of facts that might back that up. Apparently, most Leftists believe their viewpoints are self-evident, but if that were true, (1) those views (last put into action by Carter) would work and by “work,” I mean deliver more prosperity to more people – Carter’s Keynesianism didn’t do that, but Supply Side policies sure have...and (2) Conservatives wouldn’t outnumber Liberals by better than 2 to 1 in America, as they do.

See, I believe in government. Without question, we NEED a court system, a criminal justice system, emergency response (Police, Fire, etc.) and of course a Military, e even NEED the FDA, SEC, NTSB, etc., etc., but they should ALL be as streamlined and cost-effective as possible.

Of course, I tend to oppose government social services, I’d rather see all education provided by private sources, even if that required government vouchers and grants for all to attend such places.

I support the RIGHT to violent self-defense (the Right to bear arms), as well as equality before the law and equal access to opportunity, which is why I oppose both race/gender preferences and thought-crimes/hate-crimes legislation.

I believe that taxes should be kept low, no one should pay more than a third of their earning in total to the State, local and federal governments under any condition...and yet we do, many of us pay close to two-thirds of our earnings in various taxes!

I believe that ideally no one should be taxed on their income/productivity, we should all be taxed upon our spending/consumption.

And yet there are those people out there (I found them) who somehow feel we “aren’t taxed enough!”

Once again, I’ve never heard ANYONE support that view with ANY facts, just as I’ve NEVER heard anyone support the view that folks like me are “voting against our own bet interests, when voting against Liberals, with any kind of facts at all.

Communication as a Casualty

Worse yet, the communication divide has widened along with the widening political polarization.

Some would point to the Clinton impeachment as the first salvo in the deepening political polarization. It certainly deepened an already deepening divide and it, in some ways, is probably responsible for some of the far-Left vitriol against the Bush administration, but it goes much deeper than that.

Increasingly we find ourselves in a situation in which there is no common ground. Leftists routinely dismiss any sources (from National Review to the Wall Street journal, to FoxNews) as “tainted,” while Conservatives dismiss the NY Times, the WaPo, the LATimes and most of the MSM as hopelessly Liberal biased.”

In other words, increasingly neither side can even agree on the definition of terms or on what the basic facts are, so both sides, more often than not, simply talk PAST each other instead of to or with each other.

I’ve come to realize that THAT’S why today’s Leftists don’t seem to even care enough to make sound arguments for their ideas, nor care about convincing or converting others to their viewpoint, they’re like religious fanatics or cultists who take the tenets of their belief system on faith and consider those who disagree with those articles of faith, heretics.

I know, I know, that’s what some Leftists have said about “Right-wingers,” but that analogy doesn’t really work.

Look, there’s no argument, that Keynesianism (“more government spending, higher taxes, and more social programs”) was tried for about two decades in America, from LBJ’s rein, beginning in 1964 through Jimmy Carter’s which ended in 1981.

It failed!

It didn’t fail because of the oil crisis, or because investors sabotaged the market, it failed because it took money out of private hands, restricted consumer spending, investment and savings via excessive taxation and ultimately ended up at STAGFLATION; double digit interest, inflation and unemployment rates!

More government spending and higher levels of taxation failed and failed miserably.

Supply Side policies, on the other hand reversed the Keynesian stagflation and delivered an unprecedented quarter century plus worth of prosperity. Starting with Ronald Reagan, we haven’t had a single administration that deviated from the Supply Side policies that reversed the Keynesian disaster.

And yet, the cultists would throw out this overwhelming, real-life evidence as “heresy,” a “heresy” that exists right before all our eyes, to argue that Keynesian policies are somehow preferable.

Who else but a cultist or “religious fanatic” would argue against reality (ie. Supply Side policies work, while Keynesian policies DON’T) and instead of facts or statistics, use “belief,” or FAITH?

Some might say, “Let's go for it. Make everything free for those below a certain income level, with no requirement that they participate in any kind of service or production. Then I'll quit my job and rejoin them (spent a good part of my life below what they consider "poor"), as will many of my overloaded middle-classed taxpaying mule friends. And we'll live on someone else's nickel. Whose? I dunno. "THEM!"And that's exactly where this "house of cards" that is contemporary Liberalism falls apart, Will.

The top 25% of income earners drive the economy. They are the professionals (physicians, attorneys, accountants, etc), the small business owners, Corporate managers, etc. and when they're tax burden is increased they either defer more of their income &/or work...and produce less.

That's disastrous for the economy and it's why Keynesian economics ("government spending, especially social spending is GOOD") always fails...and fails miserably.

The idea that food, housing, healthcare, etc., are "rights" and should be provided to some people (let's call them "shirkers,” to be kind) is predicated upon the belief that "All people are NOT equal."

That is, that some people (ie. farmers, doctors, and other producers) MUST work and produce all the "free stuff" that must be given to all those who do not work and do not produce.

But any view that values the non-productive so highly, ultimately makes slaves out of the most productive...and that is not only morally wrong, but it's economically unsound, as well.

Liberal extremists don't seem to understand even that simple fact.

The Church of Emotion

The saving grace for Conservatives and Libertarians is that the vast majority of Liberal extremists base their beliefs almost entirely on emotion. That’s why among such extremists topics like Global Warming and anti-poverty programs are rooted in faith. That’s why those who disagree with Liberal extremists are responded to as heretics.

The good thing about that is that it’s virtually impossible to make rational, logical arguments for beliefs rooted in faith. In fact, the dogmatic nature of such beliefs more often than not turn away many who initially find Conservative and even Libertarian ideology too hard, or tough to take.

Personally, I'm glad Liberal extremists don't seek to convince or convert, in fact I'm ecstatic that most of today's Liberals are "religious extremists," adhering to "Church dogma" on things like Global Warming" and anti-poverty strategies.


Dan O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan O. said...

Very nice piece, JMK. And exactly the reason I stop going to blogs where the Libs hangout for the sole purpose of insulting those who oppose their ignorant, touchy-feely views.

As you state, they rarely have indisputable facts to offer and dismiss any offered in return.

Keep up the good work.

BTW, check out TMCNews at look at the ladder truck from a nearby city.

JMK said...

Will do, Dan O (I'll check it out directly).....And as to, "they rarely have indisputable facts to offer and dismiss any offered in return" (Dan O).....that's the sad thing about the contemporary Far Left - the Moore-Gore-Soros-Franken Axis their views are "faith based," not grounded in logic.

Early in the 20th Century more moderate Liberals took on great causes - opposing child labor, fighting for women's suffrage, championing the 40 hour work week, I'll even throw in Social Security, though it would benefit greatly from privatization and MUST remain a "pay as you go" system, save for SSI, which should be a separate system anyway. And they based their support for those things on FACTS and made logical, rational arguments for those things.

Today's Extreme Liberals champion no great causes and actually quite often exhibit a pronounced antipathy toward working people (supporting tax hikes that'll hurt those folks most of all) and even excoriating ethnic minorities who refuse to toe the Far Left line (ie. Condi Rice and Mike Steele).

A year ago, a favorite tack of that group was to compare America unfavorably to France and Germany, with their eight weeks of vacation per year, 35 hour work weeks and moribund job creation.

"We should be more like THEM," was the call, but a funny thing happened over the course of that year, both France and Germany elected more "Americanist" leaders (Sarkozy and Merckel respectively) and have begun to abandon the failed policies of "Euro-socialism."

Is there even a moment's introspection on the Far Left?

Not at all!

In fact, they ignore the fact that the French and German electorates very loudly said, "THEY want to be more like US!"

Ironically enough, the Far Left, despite their railing against "religious extremism" in the form of the Religious Right, have become "religious extremists" themselves, arguing for their Far Left views based solely on Faith and considering those opposed "heretics" or worse.

JMK said...

Just checked out TMC News - that's bizarre!

Although NYC has a pretty poor maintenance record of its own - spare rigs are at stretched pretty thin and on occassion, some apparatus with dangerous conditions have been put into the field. There've been some real horror stories - guys pitched out of Tower Ladders becasue the side door latch failed, and one Ladder Company once responded to a fire with member's Pick-up and a few portable ladders, but I've never seen a rig lose its rear axel and gas tank.

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