Sunday, August 31, 2008

How Each Side Sees The Other

Here's a YouTube video of some liberals' mocking/satirical view about how conservatives think. When the URL was posted on an email list of which I am a member, the following was posted as a rebuttal:

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

*I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

*I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq, I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

*I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as IT sees fit.

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy-headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, they'll come over here, and I don't want to have any guns in the house to shoot the terrorist invaders.

*I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.

*I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Hard to argue...

(Note: I received the author's permission to reproduce the above comments here.)

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm voting Democrat because I think that government can do it better. I want them to own all the factors of production, service sector, insurance, and research and development.

Gramma Rose

Scott McCall said...

have u ever studied the "Poisoning the Well" fallacy? Ask any English teacher who studied fallacies, they'll tell you why that author is not a credible source based on "Poisoning the Well"

KauaiMark said...

See it all here...


"I'm Voting Democrat"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU03RHHH1Qk

Darren said...

The author is credible to me.

Donalbain said...

1) Or maybe they agree that there are certain services that ARE best provided by government rather than individuals.

2) ...

3) Or maybe they are not convinced that what is happening in Iraq actually does stop the bad guys attacking America.

4) There is a massive difference between climate and weather. Strangely weather is harder to predict. An analogy might help. I cannot tell you what Dave Schmoe will do at 5pm on Friday. That is roughly analagous to the weather. I can tell you, with a great deal of certainty, that at 5pm on Friday, a large number of people will be in their cars, causing slower traffic. That is, roughly speaking, analagous to climate.

5) Abortion? No thanks, not on the internet!

6) Well, no Democrat has proposed banning profit, so thats a silly point.

7) Judges interpret laws. That is pretty much one of the foundations of how the system works. Loving vs Virginia being the classic example.

8) Well, again, that makes the rather large assumption that actions in Iraq have made the US safer.

9) Stupid, stupid, stupid analogy. The fact that two adults can now enter into a legal contract that other human beings have entered into for years is nothing at all to do with bestiality.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'm voting Democrat because how I feel is more important then what I do.

I'm voting Democrat because the livelihoods of thousands of people is not as important as a bird.

I'm voting Democrat because I measure success by whether I feel good, not whether I do good.

I'm voting Democrat because a gun in the hands of a criminal isn't worth discussing but a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is a cause for fear.

I'm voting Democrat because forcing poor people to live in filthy, crime-ridden warrens built at government expense makes me feel righteous.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe in taking forceful action against imaginary problems and refusing to deal with real problems.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe in the essential goodness of brutal, murderous dictators while fearing and loathing people who disagree with me.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the content of a man's character is unimportant and the color of his skin is.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe taking money from people under force of law to give to others is an expression of generosity and giving money voluntarily is evidence stupidity.

I'm voting Democrat because killing religious zealots who've done no harm is unimportant and killing religious zealots who've murdered thousands of my innocent, fellow citizens is a terrible crime.

I'm voting Democrat because all men aren't created equal.

michael mazenko said...

While there are many valid criticisms of both Republicans and Democrats, the video and the response represent none of them. From an argumentative standpoint, both these sources resort to logical fallacies such as oversimplification and reducto ad absurdum. Sadly, none of these approaches contributes to healthy debate, but instead rely on the biases and ignorance of the average voter.

Certainly, Republicans are not choosing Walmart with the purpose of stifling small business - I shop there for the prices I can afford. And, to argue that Republicans don't want cures for cancer and AIDS is ignorant, simply because they trust the free market to do it. Think about the potential profits for a company that discovered these cures. Would companies oppose this? Most of the other debates are cultural - and issues such as abortion and homosexuality are far more complex than the video allows.

On the other hand, a Democrat doesn't simply think the government will do a better job of spending his money. There is legitimate argument to Oliver Holmes' assertion that "taxes are the price we pay for civilized society." The average person can't and won't build his own roads and bridges, the free market doesn't provide police and fire protection, and churches are not going to step in and provide all the help citizens need when earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes decimate large segments of our population and infrastructure.

Keep in mind that conservative Edmund Burke said long ago, "the revenue of the state is the state." America's first attempt at central government failed because the government had no ability to tax. Subsequently, the first power given Congress in the Constitution is the right to tax. Thus, while I am fiscally conservative and seek efficient government spending (which is not an oxymoron), I acknowledge that some level of taxation is required, and too much anti-tax action goes before that floor, and the U.S. ends up $9 trillion in debt.

Both the video and the response diminish the argument, and that is America's greatest problem.

Anonymous said...

Re:

"Scott McCall said...

have u [sic] ever studied the "Poisoning the Well" fallacy? Ask any English teacher [...]"

If you recognize this is an example of said fallacy, why don't you explain to everyone why it is so?

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'm voting Democrat because how I feel is more important then what I do.

I'm voting Democrat because the livelihoods of thousands of people is not as important as a bird.

I'm voting Democrat because I measure success by whether I feel good, not whether I do good.

I'm voting Democrat because a gun in the hands of a criminal isn't worth discussing but a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is a cause for fear.

I'm voting Democrat because forcing poor people to live in filthy, crime-ridden warrens built at government expense makes me feel righteous.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe in taking forceful action against imaginary problems and refusing to deal with real problems.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe in the essential goodness of brutal, murderous dictators while fearing and loathing people who disagree with me.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the content of a man's character is unimportant and the color of his skin is.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe taking money from people under force of law to give to others is an expression of generosity and giving money voluntarily is evidence stupidity.

I'm voting Democrat because killing religious zealots who've done no harm is unimportant and killing religious zealots who've murdered thousands of my innocent, fellow citizens is a terrible crime.

I'm voting Democrat because all men aren't created equal.

Ellen K said...

Yeah that pretty much says it all doesn't it. Just relieve us of our money and our freedom to choose and we will be just fine. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo State......

Darren said...

Not entirely, Ellen. You could still have the "freedom to choose" to kill your unborn child....

Anonymous said...

Donalbain,

You are concluding that, in general, the positions of many Democrats are rationale. Most of us "conservatives" see that Democrats largely base their policies on feelings or humanistic ideals. Feelings are temporary and humanistic ideals assume the best of men (unless of course they are Republicans).

Donalbain said...

Sure. Only conservatives are rational. Blah blah blah. On a liberal blog it says the exact opposite. THIS is why it is rather pointless for Republicans to make lists of why people are Democrats and vice versa.
If I want to know why a liberal believes something, I ask a liberal. If I want to know why a conservative believes something I ask a conservative.

I am a liberal. I am worse than that. I am a European Liberal, and in Europe, Barack Obama would be on the right hand side of the political spectrum. However, I came to my political conclusions as rationally and as sensibly as any conservative. It may well be that we come to differing conclusions, but that is not the issue at hand. Simply writing off your oponents as illogical, or as irrational makes for sloppy thinking.

Darren said...

It's not sloppy if they *are*, in fact, illogical. And the ponzi scheme of socialism--especially with Europe's declining population--is unsustainable. I thought lefties were all about sustainability?

Donalbain said...

OK.. lets go for an example.. name a "leftie policy" that has actually been proposed my a mainstream western "leftie" and explain to me how it is "illogical".

rightwingprof said...

"Or maybe they agree that there are certain services that ARE best provided by government rather than individuals."

I'd like to see cold, hard evidence to support that.

Darren said...

Socialized health care--unsustainable. In fact, socialism itself--unsustainable. And totally incompatible with personal freedom.

Next.

Donalbain said...

Well, the NHS is being sustained in the UK as we speak.

Darren said...

I can't imagine how anyone but the most extreme could be proud of that system, but vive le difference.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> Well, the NHS is being sustained in the UK as we speak.

As I recall there's a popular television program in the UK that humorously celebrates the ingeniousness of NHS health professionals in overcoming the deficiencies of the system: inadequate supplies, antiquated equipment, nit-picking, in some case cavalier, bureaucratic oversight.

I guess the question is the amount of fact that's necessary to underpin the fiction.

Quincy said...

From an argumentative standpoint, both these sources resort to logical fallacies such as oversimplification and reducto [sic] ad absurdum.

Since when is reductio ad absurdum a fallacy and not a valid argument? Methinks someone needs to check his logic texts again.

donalbain -

I challenge you to tell all the people being bumped off NHS waiting lists because they've been there longer than allowed that the system is being successfully sustained. Balancing the books at the expense of the mission is NOT, nor will it ever be, a success. When held to that criterion, the NHS and most other socialist projects including Social Security are absolute failures.

Ellen K said...

I'm voting Democrat because any Ivy League graduate is more able to tell me how to live my life.

I'm voting Democrat because the rights of small, sometimes illegal groups of sexual deviants are far more important than the safety of our children.

I'm voting Democrat because although I don't believe in God, I am fearful that I might be wrong and I don't want His or Her name invoked against me.

michael mazenko said...

I am always intrigued by people who disparage "socialized medicine," as it seems most who do so haven't actually lived under it. Darren, I'm wondering if you have. I lived in Taiwan for five years under a system of national health insurance, not health care, and it was every bit as satisfying as the health care I had in the States before I left and since I returned. In fact, it was preferable to the $1700 a month I spend for a family plan these days. If anything is "unsustainable," it is premiums that cost middle class Americans as much as $15000 a year. (Note: I chose to return to America for a myriad of reasons, and I'm simply pointing out that the American system can be improved, so I hope no one reading this simply replies that I should go back to Taiwan - I'm not a big fan of the love it or leave it argument) While I can find many stories of awful health care in European countries, I can find as many in America. That said, it's not enough to speak anecdotally about horror stories in either system. For every American who praises the system, you can find some shocking stories, and that situation is true for Europe as well.

That said, it is fairly obvious that we are reaching a tipping point in the U.S. concerning health care. We will have reform because we can't afford not to. And, the Republican platform that calls for tax credits of up to $5000 a year for premiums that average $12000 nationwide is not going to work. Neither will attempting to implement HSAs for everyone. I currently have an HSA plan for my family. The problem is I don't have any money left at the end of the month to put into it. Thus, these band-aids on a compromised system are sad excuses for reform. However, plans such as the Wyden-Bennett plan, or the extension of FEHBP to all Americans, both of which blend choice and public and private coverage are really the best and only hope for reigning in the problem.

I really wish people would stop throwing the words "socialism" and "socialized medicine" around as anathema while ignoring the harsh realities of the situation. Middle class workers and voters simply can't afford for this sort of ideological bickering to continue. Instead, let's solve the problem.

Darren said...

Wal*Mart wants to put small clinics in its stores but is stopped from doing so at several turns.

I grant that what we currently have is less than ideal, but I have seen precious little evidence that our government can improve the situation.

I'd trust Wal*Mart before I'd trust Washington. Seriously.

Quincy said...

I really wish people would stop throwing the words "socialism" and "socialized medicine" around as anathema while ignoring the harsh realities of the situation.

Government's intrusion into health care in the US *is* the harsh reality of the situation. Every fault in the system that leads to high costs with little added benefit can be traced right back to Washington or the statehouses.

If you want to fix health care, not empower bureaucrats, you'd do the following:

1) Take the tax break currently given to employers to buy health insurance for their employees and transfer it to the employees themselves.

2) Get rid of any and all coverage mandates. There are many things, mandated by the states, that break the insurance model the US is wedded to. This includes *all* mandates that routine and preventative care be covered by insurance.

3) Transition away from Medicare. As it stands, that program and its sister program Medicaid drastically underpay doctors and hospitals using arcane payment schedules, with the end result being the working stiffs getting caught paying the extras.

4) Repeal the laws that empower the AMA to control medical education and the supply of medical practitioners. Darren's Wal*Mart example above shows what happens when a total monopoly is allowed to control who is allowed to practice medicine.

While there are more, these are the "big four" that will lead to lower health care costs for all Americans. And they all involve dumping government for the free market.

michael mazenko said...

Darren notes that Walmart (or Walgreens or CVS) clinics are a good idea, and I completely agree. Walmart - and the small market clinics - can do much to alleviate the cost over-runs in the system. However, they're never going to handle gunshots and cancer, and we need a system that can respond to the larger issues for all citizens. I shop at Walmart when the price is right, but - to respond to to rightwingprof - there are many jobs the government does better than the free market, most notably is protect individual rights.

The most obvious answer is national defense. There is no way to argue that a private sector militia could more effectively defend the United States. In fact, I can’t think of any time in history when a privatized military force has defended a nation’s citizens. Would the private sector have been able to assemble the forces currently fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq? To quote Bill O’Reilly, “that’s ridiculous.” Not even Grover Norquist, who wants to “shrink government until it’s small enough to drown in the bathtub,” would eliminate the nation’s military.

Being fiscally conservative, I regularly lament Alaskan “bridges to nowhere” and other examples of bureaucratic disasters. However, I will concede that the government is best at providing not-for-profit services. Fire protection is another obvious example. I support volunteer fire departments, but no private organization could or should replace tax-supported firefighters.

Additionally, as scandalized as many police departments have become in recent years, I can’t imagine a single community in America choosing to disband its police force. You cannot rationally argue that private security forces – the likes of which patrol malls and gated communities – could adequately replace police departments.

When government programs such as these become corrupt, the only logical solution is to reform them, not eliminate them. There are simply some tasks that must be done by the government. Interstate highway construction, nuclear energy regulation, NASA, The Clean Water Act, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Institute of Health are other examples of effective government. As America’s original libertarian Henry David Thoreau said, “I ask not at once for no government, but for a better government.”

Quincy said...

Michael -

You miss one incredibly important point about the services that government does well at--they are geographically exclusive. Any time it doesn't make sense to have more than one entity do something, whether it's defense, roads, utilities, etc, then government becomes an option because viable competition has gone out the window.

Health care, charity, mortgage funding, media, and the thousands of other ventures government tries that are not geographically exclusive will invariably be less efficient than private, competative enterprise. In some cases, like the Federal Reserve actions leading to the depression or the creation of a credit bubble by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they can be incredibly destructive.

I'm sure when Thoreau asked for a better government, he was not asking for a government that could give him more stuff, but one that did the job of securing life, liberty, and property better. Why am I sure? Because this idea of government as provider didn't exist in his time.