"These people, usually friends of mine, are gentle, sweet and very nice, except when they drift into a certain tone I interpret as 'listening to Rush Limbaugh too much.' Then their voices take on undercurrents of anger, resentment and frustration. It is the dittohead voice, and they've learned it off the radio. If you listen to Rush, you quickly realize that it isn't what he says but how he says it. He has an unending capacity for counterfeit astonishment. It has been very effective in long-distance behavioral modification.This counterfeit astonishment is also effective at forcing a zero sum game in politics. It isn't just the right who practices this, of course, though they seem to have it perfected the tactic. And we see it now, from some, though certainly not all, of those Republicans opposing the stimulus.
The second point is about how we know what we know:
That wise man Mark Twain told us: 'In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from others.'"As Ebert notes, that is true for him in some areas, and also for most of us (in some capacity). What bothers me to a great extent is the numbers of people in office who seem to have very little understanding or thought about their approach to government. That applies to the left as well, but I have to say that glaring contrast between conservatives who defended every tax cut, and every dollar spent in Iraq (without oversight, I might add) but who now claim fiscal responsibility as their governing principle--well that contrast is just too much to take right now.
The other part of Twain's quote is most annoying to me right now, and something I have written about before. I don't have a problem with people having half-assed opinions about stuff. We all do that. We all opine on how the government should work, or how the referee missed that call, or how the recent warm spell in February relates to climate change. None of that may be true, or factual, or knowledge based in any way, but we do that. What seems different to me, is that assertion of that same quality of knowledge as justification to govern, or as an assumption of proven fact.
This is partly due to dealing with people who have no understanding of science telling me that evolution is false, or those with no understanding of history telling me about God's unique relationship with our American founders. But it is partly related to LB's thoughtful comment in the last thread. I simply do not believe that most conservatives have really thought through their supply-side (not conservative=supply-side) economics through. Their adherence to the deregulation, lower taxes, smaller government mantra is repeated as a faith -based assumption, with no or little recognition of the historical reality. I am not saying there are not some arguments to be made on this economic philosophy--but I am saying that most people who repeat the "less government/lower taxes" mantra have not though through the salmonella in their peanut butter or their economic system failing through mismanagement.