Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Republicans, Delusion Is Thy Name

When someone takes a look at an ideology, which is already an abstraction -- the driving philosophy behind concrete actions -- and makes certain assumptions about its validity, one must decide more than the ideology's efficacy. One must not so oddly enough also examine the motivation and inspiration for advancing that ideology.

Since I'm of the view that politics is money and power (not so original an idea), when I observe what the Republican Party puts forth as its agenda for our national future, I have to ignore the white noise of political obfuscation to get to the nub of their intentions, as it were. Politics has a great deal of white noise to it. Conservatives are better at managing this white noise. In fact, it's their stock in trade.

What do I mean by that? As rhetoricians, conservatives have long outstripped liberals. One only needs to realize that conservatives treat the word "conservative" as though it were deified, while treating "liberal" as if it were gum stuck underneath a theater seat for forty years. And they've done it so consistently that it has taken on the status of a zombie lie. It's almost impossible to kill, leastways by actual liberals.

So, as I take on the conservative memes, I already feel at a disadvantage, one that we progressives have to actively and fervently shake. We can only be successful by treating the word conservative more the way it deserves to be treated in the current context.

What passes for conservative thought in the current political mainstream can be summed up in one word: delusion.

 (I want to add parenthetically here that the word "conservative" could have an acceptable, even welcome, connotation. For instance, conservatives could be and should be an ideology that actively supports conservation and preservation of the environment; that wishes to control debt but is willing to engage in Keynesian stimulus to protect a weakening middle class in order to underpin and stimulate broader, sustainable, economic growth; that realizes the value of an educational system that preserves the longstanding American advantage in university and government-driven research and development; that understands that the health of the nation's workers would benefit business interests by increasing productivity. For reasons that should be painfully obvious, "conservatives" represent no such ideals.)

Now, the first challenge to be faced, once one realizes that the conservatism of the Republican base, the so-called tea party adherents, is delusional is to come to grips with why it is so. It's not so stunning an insight: the Republican base is delusional because its leaders have promulgated the delusion.

What are the tenets of this delusion? a quick laundry list of Republican ideals as we head into this election year:

Lower taxes are always good. Who cares if this lower-taxes concept means we have to constantly be lowering taxes to live up to this proposition. When we do this, we have to cut services to people. These services are known as public goods. What are some of these public goods? Education, civil and criminal justice, public safety, public health, the social safety net, clean water, clean air, land management, air traffic control, regulation of commerce, financial regulation, communications regulation, international diplomacy, and defense. Why delusional? If we are always cutting taxes, we are always allowing these public goods to degrade. And they are, rapidly. According to Republicans, this is good for the country. No, it's good for the wealthy who don't care about public well-being.

Okay, a bridge collapsed. But taxes are low, so it's all good!

Private sector solutions are always better. Leave it to the private sector. Why delusional? Private-sector solutions must always turn a profit. Without it, there is no private motivation. When the private sector handles the role of government in the area of public goods, these goods generally cost American citizens more money. This in not actually conservative thinking. 

Private prisons: $46.73 per prisoner per day. Public prisons: $42.36 per day. Free enterprise win!

Government spending is inherently bad because it leads to public debt, which is also bad. Therefore, we have to lower taxes -- generally on the wealthy -- to reign in public spending. Why delusional? Lowering taxes while lowering public spending leads to the same level of debt. The debt remains the same while the general welfare declines and living standards fall.

Not complicated: too much spending, higher deficit; not enough spending, higher deficit! Capiche?

Private-sector jobs are better than public-sector jobs, therefore shrinking government by slashing spending is good, even if it eliminates jobs. Why delusional? A lost job is a lost job, and a federal, state, or local government worker laid off because of slashed spending doesn't pay taxes, leading to both lower consumption and lower tax revenue, leading to slower economic growth and higher public debt, with multiplier effects (I lose my public teaching job, I don't pay taxes or into Social Security or Medicare, I don't buy a new car, so someone isn't needed in Detroit, who then doesn't buy new tires, etc. and etc.). Big Government shrinks, everything shrinks, even in the private sector. Also roads go unpaved, bridges fall apart.

These people were not taxpayers, whether laid off by U.S. Steel or County Parks and Rec.

Environmental regulation is bad for the economy, bad for business. While this is demonstrably true in certain cases, it depends on your viewpoint. For example, air-pollution-control devices on cars, factories, and power plants can be seen as reducing profits for companies -- no, because companies move the costs to consumers -- or raising costs for consumers -- not necessarily, because paying for your asthmatic son or daughter ain't cheap -- but the overall cost of higher air pollution will inevitably be borne by all. The delusion? What's good for business is good for the nation as a whole. Not! Have you been to Beijing lately? Even the Chinese boil their tap water before drinking it. But Chinese economic growth is great!

The Chinese have kept their business costs down by not regulating air quality. GDP win!

Socialized medicine is bad, even evil. If we call it the "public option," Republicans will still cringe and give you that are-you-a-communist look. "Health care is best left to the private sector where competition will lower costs." Why delusional? The U.S. has the highest healthcare costs in the world while being 37th in healthcare outcomes. By every possible measure, U.S. healthcare is not the envy of the world. What's the most delusional aspect of Republican talking points on this subject? That's easy: "America has the best healthcare system in the world." Bunk. Medicare, very much a government-run program, has the best record of controlling healthcare costs in America.

Americans don't live as long, but we spend a lot trying to. Greatest country on Earth?

The government should not mandate that any business, religious or not, must provide insurance with no-copay for women's preventative healthcare, including contraception, testing, and other gynecological services. Republicans insist on this, saying that it is a matter of religious freedom. Why delusional? The Obama administration does not demand that churches and their legitimate religious institutions provide such services. It only directs church-operated institutions that directly serve the public, such as universities and hospitals, provide such insurance. And, as an extra layer of insulation, the insurance companies themselves must bear the costs of such preventive services. 98% of all American women use such services at some point in their lifetimes. Women then have to bear costs that men do not. That's discrimination pure and simple. But violation of religious freedom feels better to the Republicans, even if no one is forced to violate their beliefs on whether or not to use contraceptives.

All that government money going to abortions. Oh, ah, 3%? Oh, that's right, by law, none.

Man, religious women sure don't use contraception. You betcha!

Clearly our country doesn't use preventive measures to avoid pregnancy.

The wealthy in this country are the job creators, so lowering taxes on them gives them more money with which to create jobs. Why delusional? The U.S. has low taxes on the rich already, and we've had many economic booms when taxes were higher. What creates jobs are customers. The principal customers of American business is the middle class. Income equality has never been greater -- the richest 20% of the U.S. population own 85% of the nation's wealth, while the other 80% own the remaining 15%. That 80% includes all of the middle and lower classes. Where are the customers that will spur the economy to create jobs?

Co-owned by Larry Ellison and David Geffen. Think of the jobs they created for the crew! (Probably illegals, saves money)

The Republicans hate illegal immigration and want to stop it. This is a major delusion. Republican leaders love immigrants from south of the border. Undocumented workers create downward pressure on wages and take jobs away from low-skilled U.S. citizens. Study after study confirm this. If the Republicans are the party of business, they want more illegal immigration. That's why they've resisted immigration reform. They like the status quo. It's my opinion that the most extreme members of the Republican coalition are making trouble for the greater Republican interests by passing laws like the one in Arizona that would drive away illegal immigrants. Maybe they're just getting wise and making room for low-skilled Americans to take back their jobs at Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Burger King.

Finding workers outside a Home Depot. What carpenters union?

Spending more on defense than all the other countries in the world keeps us safe. Being able to win any war anywhere makes us the most powerful nation in the world. Why delusional? From Reagan to Bush the Greater to Bush the Lesser (and even Clinton in between and Obama as the capper), we've spent enough money on defense to pay off our national debt many times over. And yet 19 guys leveled the Twin Towers killing 2,606, smashed into the Pentagon killing 125, and destroyed four planes killing 246 more people. Meanwhile, we lost over 50,000 in Vietnam. Why? We lost 4,486 lives -- with 33,184 wounded -- in Iraq. Why? We've lost 1,857 lives -- with 15,322 wounded -- in Afghanistan. Why? Let's not even go into the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who've died. Still, why? Are we safer? Really? Generally, we just piss off most of the world by our military aggression. (Examples of good outcomes? Two military operations carried out under President Clinton, in Bosnia and Kosovo, ended bloodshed in those two regions without the loss of a single American citizen. That's a model for military intervention.)

Holy shit. I'm here because? Oh yeah, the projection of American power. Booyah!

Here's the one delusion that binds them all: if we preserve the individual imperative, if we prevent government from taking over our lives, then we as a nation of individuals with individual prerogatives will prosper. Why delusional? Nations that maintain strong democratic ideals yet restrain individual prerogatives for the greater good fare better in today's world. Examples of this are Japan, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Bhutan, Luxembourg, Iceland, Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and New Zealand. The U.S. never is ranked near the top of healthy and happy countries, even when reported in such conservative magazines as Forbes and Businessweek. The U.S. has one of the highest poverty rates of any developed country in the world. Most measures place the U.S. as having the 23rd highest poverty rate in the world. That's out of 196 countries.

We're number, ah, 23rd! highest in poverty. Oh well, home sweet home.
If Republican leaders are dishing out the talking points that are meant to delude, who are the effective targets?
  1. Some call them the Tea Party.
  2. Some call them the Republican base.
  3. Some call them the Real America.
  4. Some call them the Heartland.
  5. Some call them white, non-college-graduate evangelicals.
  6. Some call them white Christian males, mostly from the South.
  7. I call them the victims of the echo machine, the good ole boys pissed that a Negro got over on them and got elected president while they were so busy drinking Lone Star that they flunked their third attempt at the GED.
  8. I call them the dead-enders, the 28% who still think George W. Bush was a good president.
  9. I call them the people who think as long as taxes stay low they'll be even richer when they win the lottery, even though chances are they'll spend more time hating that Indonesian Muslim Hawaiian black man in the White House than they will trying to figure out why they don't have a pot to piss in and why there are so many fucking tornadoes.
  10. To be honest, I bet thousands of them make $160,000 a year working for Archer Daniels Midland Group or John Deere Tractor or Monsanto, or some such decent living, while drinking on the weekends with friends in downtown Kansas City, wondering why they should pay for the fucking bastards, forgetting that they went to public schools all their lives (paid for by other fucking bastards), and drive up and down the Interstate highways (paid for by other fucking bastards). Oh, you get the point.
How do I know all this? I know it because I've been around the bend with my eyes open, and I recognize zombie lies when I see them. Oh, and I'm someone who doesn't mind paying for the fucking bastards because I'm a liberal who loves public goods, and social programs, and paying into Social Security and Medicare, and plan on fighting for a single-payer healthcare system like those I experienced while living in the Netherlands and Japan, where they are healthier and happier and live longer than the citizens in the Greatest Nation on Earth. I was even sick, really sick one time in France, and the doctor who cured me didn't even charge me because it was too much trouble figuring out what the hell to charge a foreigner. And besides, he was well-paid and happy and healthy, even though he lived in France, fucking France.

Oh, and I've listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and a whole bunch of white, Christian radio asshats, and they suck. And if you listen really carefully, they are completely delusional and their main message is hateful, and you're gay or a Jew or Satan and my Jesus is the bad-ass Jesus, you know, the one who loves guns, the death penalty, and hates the poor and welfare and public goods, and loves the rich, and my Jesus can kick your ass. (But I'm pro-life!)

So, deluded victims of the dead-enders whose heads are stuck way up into the right-wing, Republican echo chamber, please stop. Please reevaluate. Please research, study political systems and social outcomes around the world. Examine the way people do stuff in other countries. Compare them to how we do stuff in the U.S. and check the statistics that shine a light on the outcomes. If you do this with an open mind, you just might emerge from the dark side, the wasteland flattened by those who would, and have, deluded you. Get a real, fucking education. And join human society. We're waiting.


Finally, something makes sense. G'night.


  1. Here's why I'm frightened for America: No one--NO ONE--has commented on this brilliant and wonderful essay thus far (May 13, 2012). Yet take yourself to any good ol' boy's Obama-bashin' blog, and the comments on every inane post number in the dozens, at the very least. The only hope: At least a few liberals leave intelligent comments on those same blogs, to counter the mindless gibberish left by the far right "thinkers" populating such spaces. Kudos to you, my friend. Keep the faith.

    1. Thanks. I agree; it's hard to realize the cause of the ignorance, or the inattention. It worries me about the future of our country. Comment whenever you can. It helps.


    2. I do not have a special account to link and probably will not return to post again but I will comment on some of your opinions. I will have to post this in multiple parts since it is limited on characters, I tried to respond roughly in order to your sections.

      Lower taxes are always good is not what most my fellow Tea Party types are saying. What we are saying is spending is too high and raising taxes does not fix it. What is needed is equal taxing at a ratio to say GDP of an area. Yes, that means in some less populated areas they may fail to maintain all roadways ect and will have to choose what is really neccesary to tax them selves to maintain the services they want.

      The lower taxes statement is a rally cry of do not give nut jobs who are out of control spenders more money as they will just mismanage it as they are already doing.

      Your right, private sector does cost us more for a product alot of times when competition is scarce for that service or product. What you do not mention is that profit usually causes expansion, job creation and more spending as well extra money in anyone's hands usually causes them to buy and do more. Your arguement implies private sector takes more money from individuals but it also supplies more plus all money used in the government sector.

      You state this is not conservitive thinking, which is false. Conservitive thinking says spend as little as possible? No is does not, is says spend little as needed which no where states that you do not pay what someone asks for thier work or service. You make is seem zero sum as if they have no choice but to choose too over pay.

      Next you say Governement speding is inherently bad, this is same arguement as above only restated with the heart felt jab of hurting the underprivilaged. As you cry out how we want too protect the rich. Nope, argument is for equal treatment, because they did good does not mean take more from them.

      You also over simplify the austerity equation, and you imply that public spending increases standard of living and to cut it hurts it. That is only true if your reliant upon public spending for your welfare at which point you have made bad choices. This does not include roads, schools, police, fire and such as I already stated the view is we need a fixed point of income based upon services desired for an economic area.

      Your right job loss is job loss, but your wrong in stating one does not benefit an economic model better. Public-sector jobs rely on private-sector taxes to fill the lion share of payment. You cannot pay your self $10 bucks while taxing $1 and expect too keep paying yourself, so Public-sector is not self sustaining while private sector not only self sustains it fills in the other $9 to pay your theortical teacher.

  2. Once again you do the heart string pull and wrongly imply us austerity guys want Government so small that infrastruture will fail. No we simply want the system audited and spending regined in and taxed at a level that keeps more money in the pockets of individuals who generate it while maintaining roads ect. Your graph is correct in math but no one I know wants zero taxes, we all talk about flat or consumption taxes with links to GDP for national and local areas. Once again that does mean someplaces will be nicer than other but that is a factor of live as it was not meant to all be the same.

    EPA is nice but it is a quasi-police force unto itself that does not help those hurt by immoral business practices. It does generate money by fining and control private business by choosing those who will and can succeed through its regultory practice.

    EPA in its current form was created for good reasons, but I think it is gone off the rails. I do think EPA should exist to investigate and create suggested standards by which things should be done. That information then should be used to inform those being hurt by bad practices so they might ban together and inform or get reimbursement from bad practices. As it sits the EPA can virtually do what they want which is scary.

    Health care in America needs reform, but we have several miss stated problems.
    Insurance is something we buy too offset something we fear happening to us. It is not welfare, which is something to pay for what we cannot.
    Not everyone will need professional services for healthcare in life and many have lived a good life without every getting any. It is falicy and fear that has created the need to goto a doctor for everything that ails us now. It is also fear what wants a system to hold our status in life if we should have a catastrophic issue.

    Sorry, you do not owe me anything and I consider it debase to take from you with out your consent. Welcome to the founding notion of America. Yes, I flipped the statement because it is true to look at it from the other point of saying, "You do not have the right to take from me with out my consent as that is debase thinking."

    Many say that is a non-Christian tennent because it is Christain to help all. That is false, what is true is to not hurt others. If you think I hurt you because I did not pay for you when I could then that is your own silly opinion.

    Not to confuse anything I do agree US heath system needs something but I do not think complete Government control is it. You state the Medicare controls, well it is keeping payment low to the point that many doctors now refuse to participate because they cannot keep afloat as a business because of the low payments and extreme paperwork needed to participate in Medicare and get any payment if you do not keep up proper filing practices.

    Your "The Cost of a Long Life" is also falicy. What it does point out is another factor affects life expectancy more that spending and since it could be assumed that is lifestyle. Lifestyle being a composite of personal choices and geographical factors not too mention what is the trade off. Many might argue that smoking will kill you, all those I have argued it with tell me if they lose the last 10 years of life for that pleasure then so be it. So I no longer argue with them how bad it is for them but accept they and most Americans choose a plethera of excesses that shortends life. That being the "Greatest Country on Earth" statement by some points of view would be valid as it is false too you.

  3. The Government mandate on birthcontrol is wrong for it makes me pay for your choices. No I do not use medical or manufactured contriceptives nor shall I pay for yours as I think you debase for asking me too just because your different. I am different so why dont you pay be to be so. Mandating a company shall supply something imposes a cost to them for which will be charged somewhere else, see above issue.

    Planned Parenthood and all like Non-profit groups such as Art and other feel good groups should not get government public money. Public money is to maintain infrastucture and defense not excess. Planned Parenthood should generate its revenue through community outreach via fund raisers and private contributions. Which would put them more interactive into spreading what they do and keep slander in place. The simple fact is no money should be spent here from Government.

    Back to this class war junk, the issue is not too keep it low so they can create jobs but because it is fair to tax everyone equally. You state customers create jobs but that is half truth. If there is no product or service then there is no customers either... which is correct or the full truth? Personally I think you find a product or service people want and can affort which creates customers and a viable business is born which can then make jobs. We call that being an entrepreneur which I thought created most the jobs.

    I think your mostly right on the Illegal immigration but I find your low-skilled comment once again to be a veiled mean spirited bit of tripe. Those are great jobs for the young to start out and learn the value of work for money and for some they rise up to managment and even own those businesses. I know a low educated black man who started at one as a teen and now owns three McDonalds in his 60s. There is potential there and it should not be mocked.

    I agree with the Defense spending issue mostly as I think Ron Paul has it very right. Though I think the world we live in would be a much darker place if America had not done alot of the spending it did. Remember two world wars was the reason why America changed it's non-intervetion policy and started the many small wars too prevent large ones CIA approach.

    It is also the miss applied Chistian thought that we harmed others by not helping when we could.

    Imagine the USSR and China unchecked and the US just stitting in North America all this time. Do you really think they would not have attacked the US eventually after conquers all the rest of the world? Do you think the world would be as technologically advanced as it is if not for the US? Japan and South Korea surely would not be what it is if we did not provide the defense for them all this time, nor alot of other countries we just assume are doing so much better than us but would not be for our military protecting them and our economy fueling thier's. Just a tid bit too think about but overall I do agree US policy is bloated and wrong at this point.

  4. The poverty statement is off as our idea of poverty is not the same around the world. Extreme poverty is the same but that is actually not that high in the US and comparable to what we call poverty in many other nations.

    Individualism in the US has never been meant to supplant working and living in groups. The model was designed to deal with problems at the most local level and only step up when needed. First you fix the issue, if you cannot resolve it then you move up to the next group till you wind up at State and Federal levels. No where in the model does it state do not be proud and contriute to community.

    Generally it is quite the opposite, you applauded for donating and participating in community.

    I have listened to your hated Rush, Sean, Glenn, ect and do not need to call names to see where they go off the bend.

    Rush chooses to be aburd in how he points outs falicies and many dont get that or are just offended.

    Sean repeats alot of stuff but has the most guests from both sides.

    Glenn is a conspiricy guy but he says this is "his" belief and he does his research well and says over and over check what he is saying with your own research and call him on it. He actually begs people too.

    Your end rant on how your enligtened is just ranting and personal proclamation of being right so it must be so?

    Tho I understand frustration and share it.

    Good Luck too you and I appologize for I did not edit or spell correct what I have written as I am time pressed.