Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A very important point.

Okay, I'll be honest. Normally Kos (of Daily Kos) pisses me well off; most of the commenters there even more so. There are a couple of regular front page posters I like and every once in a while you get a great diary, but mostly I read it for the poll data.

However, this is one of those times when they manage to come up with a rose.

The point of this article is that for the past 30-40 years (i.e. the conservative movement, which started with Nixon) Republicans, small-government beliefs aside, have deliberately obstructed any real government solutions because people would then gravitate to the Democrats. This is because one of the fundamental principles of the conservative ideology is that government cannot. Government cannot solve your problems. Government cannot provide any workable solution to anything. Government offers you no hope. So don't try.

The post goes on to suggest that the rise of idiotic nonissues (flag pins, etc) has largely been as a result of the spread of this belief. If government can never solve your health care problems, it really doesn't matter what the two candidates say or plan to do; neither of them will ever make a difference. So you might as well vote on who you'd like to have a beer with or who has a funny name.

I have always staunchly believed that good government should fundamentally be about helping people (see John Dewey in The Crisis of Liberalism and, you know, the New Deal), and I have always considered that to be a bastion of liberalism and (in theory) the Democratic party. I have always felt, sometimes on a nonverbal level, that the right is about "freedom from" and the left is about "freedom to", and I know which one I prefer.

However, it never quite occurred to me in this way that Republicans would deliberately stop government from improving people's lives in their own self-interest. Not because they genuinely believed that, say, healthcare reform was impossible through the government and so those dollars should go to letting people buy their own, but because they knew it would probably work and decided that was bad for them. The former is called a disagreement--a disagreement with potentially huge ramifications, but nonetheless a debate in good faith. The other is called craven and shortsighted, a corrupt and self-perpetuating machine to no good purpose.

If you don't believe this is possible, follow the link at the top. Oh, and something to keep in mind--the man who wrote one of the memos that most nakedly demonstrates this? William Kristol. Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, which is of course a DISGRACEFUL BASTION OF LIBERALISM.

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