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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Question for my American Readers

I have been relatively quiet recently on the topic of politics. That is largely due to the fact that I am on vacation and thus I am not being overly attentive to current events, but another large factor is simply the fact that I really don't know what to say. I remember my dejected incredulity when George W. Bush was elected for the second time in 2004, but even that doesn't compare to the absolute lunacy that seems to currently pervade a good portion of the United States. Has a significant chunk of your country honestly gone fervently insane? Between Glen Beck's public paranoia, the fact that there are still prominent politicians who deign not to laugh with incredulity at the birthers, contrived conniptions over the President of the United States addressing American school children to urge them to do well in school and thereby cultivating a "socialist-fascist cult of personality", the insane demonizing of actual attempts at humane health care reform, the bald-faced hypocrisy of the most popular news organization as it proceeds to rip baselessly into the President of the United States during a time of war with blatant disregard for the troops*, to this most recent heckling of the President of the United States in the middle of a policy speech by a member of Congress, I am left utterly bewildered. All of my previous posts agonizing over the philosophical role of evidence in policy decisions seem to now be an exercise akin to a man devoting himself to the careful selection of the correct type of drywall while his house collapses around him due to lack of a frame. Is it just me who thinks the level of crazy seems to be ramping up on overdrive?

* I in no way think that criticizing the President amounts to harm to American troops, but for seven years that is precisely what was insisted by the very same people who now most venomously launch tirades against Obama.


Ryan said...

Read James Morone's "Hellfire Nation" and you'll understand.

Robert said...

I think it is evidence of just how gullible people are, and how they have such short memories.

As for the rest, I am too utterly bewildered. The right in this country is utterly and completely concerned with scoring political points for their side, and not allowing the democrats to score any themselves. This traps them in a concern by having to say that Obama can do nothing good. Even a speech to school children telling them to do their patriotic duty for america and stay in school is crap to them, because the minute they admit Obama does something good, it counts against their position.

Take heart. I do not think this type of insanity represents a majority of the population. Over 70 percent of the public still, despite all this, support a "public option" in health care reform. I think the insanity that you see in America is really confined to about 30 percent of the population, and the media. The key there is that the media is hyping this up, making it seem like a bigger issue than it really is. Also, because I think the media is involved in the insanity, I think it doubles the amount of loony people in the country. ie, 15 percent of the country is just loony, but 30 percent is loony today because the media gives the loony position legitimacy. My understanding is that it is well established that people will believe something, uncritically, if it is said to them from someone that is in a position of authority. The media has that authority, which makes their fanning these flames extremely dangerous.

Also, I am no 9-11 "truther" but I would point out that while I find that conspiracy claim to be nuts-o, I don't think it is as nuts-o as the claim that Obama supports death panels. I say this because crazy nuts-o conspiracy's on the right like death panels always seem to get more coverage, and more gentle coverage, than nuts-o conspiracy's associated with the left.

Anyway, I am at work, and have spent the last two hours writing this comment (not straight...but writing two sentences, then getting distracted by work, then coming back to it, etc). Sure this rambling on because of that.. Oh well.

BeamStalk said...

I agree with Robert. The media really needs to calm down and start doing its job again. Now they are in this accommodationist stance that treats all ideas as equal, when some clearly aren't. These conspiracy people on all sides need to be called crazy and the media is not doing it.

Mozglubov said...

What I really worry about is that if the media keeps hyping this kind of crap, the center of opinion eventually shifts toward the crazy side of things.