I got an email the other day from a conservative (who else) that made me (1) roll my eyes and (2) got me thinking about our modern political discourse.
WAKE UP (ed.note: No good ever comes form an email that starts out this way!)Yeah… you DO have to keep this one circulating. Just take off the lame joke about Obama being “made in Kenya,” and add something instead reminding people which Political Party (the Republicans) and which political philosophy (Conservatives) it was that made “protectionism” to come to be perceived as such a bad thing. I’m not saying it’s a always a GOOD thing - merely that, as this email unintentionally points out - it’s not entirely BAD and the free trade policies advocated for by the Right are have hardly been entirely GOOD. The fact is that this could have been a LIBERLAL’S email, were it not for the stupid Kenyan joke tagged on at the end. Cut it off at “wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA,” and you've got a pretty great anti-Republican, anti-Conservative, anti-Free Trade email on your hands to send to all your friends in the TRADE UNIONS.
John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock
(MADE IN JAPAN )
for 6 am. While his coffeepot
(MADE IN CHINA)
was perking, he shaved with his electric razor
(MADE IN HONG KONG)
He put on a dress shirt
(MADE IN SRI LANKA),
(MADE IN SINGAPORE)
and tennis shoes
(MADE IN KOREA)
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet
(MADE IN INDIA)
he sat down with his calculator
(MADE IN MEXICO)
to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch
(MADE IN TAIWAN )
to the radio
(MADE IN INDIA )
he got in his car
(MADE IN GERMANY )
filled it with GAS
(from Saudi Arabia )
and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.
At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer
(made in MALAYSIA ),
John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals
(MADE IN BRAZIL),
poured himself a glass of wine
(MADE IN FRANCE)
and turned on his TV
(MADE IN INDONESIA),
and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA
AND NOW HE'S HOPING HE CAN GET HELP FROM A PRESIDENT
(MADE IN KENYA.)
You gotta keep this one circulating!
....If you subscribe to that kind of thing.
Personally I don’t think humorous emails are the best forum to discuss serious political issues, but I’m just a liberal so what do I know? Well… ONE thing I've come to realize is that a lot of the people who send these out have NO IDEA what ideology is really behind them, and that just as many of the exact same emails said “Bush,” just a few years ago and “Clinton” before that. (And if you ever receive one that says “George Carlin,” both the late Mister Carlin and myself can assure you that there is rarely more than about 10% or so of ACTUAL Carlin material in them!) So it’s mostly just revealing your ignorance for all to see (a more technologically advance form of Bumper-Sticker Politics) by just blaming whoever’s in office (Beagle Politics.)
I'll call it IN-BOX POLITICS. Which combines the following two schools:
BUMPER STICKER POLITICS: Forget the 30-second sound bite. What we've REALLY got to do is boil every issue simultaneously down to a message that (1) Fits on a 4" x 12" sticker, that (2) Can be easily read from 30 feet away, while (3) Driving though traffic at 55 mph. Because, you know, that's a really effective way to have a political conversation!
And I don't use the word "conversation" lightly - because it's hardly a monologue! Consider the "Darwin Fish" in answer to the "Jesus Fish." And then they came out with the "Truth" fish. And then we came out with the Darwin Fish EATING the Truth Fish. (And now they've done it the other way.)
Or, more simply: (1) My kid's an honor student. (2) My kid beat up your honor student. And now... (3) My honor student sued your bully!
- - AND - -
BEAGLE POLITICS: I won't claim this as my own, nor try to explain it as well as The Grey Path does, but this is basically blaming WHOMEVER IS IN OFFICE for all the world's problems. These are the people who blamed Bush'41 for the '92 recession that got Clinton elected, and who blame Obama for the current economic mess... which started under Bush'43... who ALSO wasn't really responsible for it... (bet you didn't expect me to say THAT!)... because the biggest single cause was the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act, which happened under Clinton... who also is not to blame, because it was legislation written by Republicans and based on the failed Libertarian Philosophy that the Right is still pushing to this day!
See how stupid this is? See how stupid ALL of this is?!
Now, really... the two serious schools of thought we hear the most about are Neo-Conservatism and Neo-Liberalism or Progressivism. Now... I'm going to be honest here... I don't have the slightest idea what the difference between "Progressivism" and "Liberalism" is, or the difference between "Neo-Liberalism" and "Classic Liberalism" or "Neo-" and "Classic Conservatism," for that matter. I don't know... AND I DON'T CARE! (So don't bother trying to spell it out for me.)
Since I don't let an ideology do my thinking for me, I don't really care what positions fall under which label. I really, just DON'T CARE. I'm not trying to Liberal here, I'm just trying to be RIGHT. (As in "correct," not "wing.") And the way I see our modern discourse going, there are really only two groups that matter:
One is very strictly and narrowly defined, and I've written about them here, here, here and here. And to be in this crowd, you must accept EVERY bit of Dogma, even the ones that contradict other ones; you must swallow every lie, accepting every bit of obviously questionable evidence, and utterly reject ANY evidence or argument to the contrary of ANY point. What's more you must accuse your opponents of committing all of the sins that you do, and you must HATE them, because they are "out to destroy this country." You must believe in your own perfection and the perfection of your positions and that you have a mandate from God that justifies this belief. At worst, the weakest in this camp merely keep quiet, fail to criticise the big-talkers, and silently tell themselves that it will all, somehow be OK, since at least the OTHER GUY'S not winning.
Then there are the people who simply can't abide this kind of insanity. And almost regardless of what positions they actually hold, the people in the first camp call them "Liberals" and demonize them.
So, from my POV, there are really only two school's of thought: Radical, Right-Wing Reactionary Authoritarianism...
...and those who reject it.
They have robbed the words "conservative" and "liberal" of any real meaning. Not that I care... I don't really buy into labels...
...which apparently makes me a Liberal.