Friday, June 1, 2007

George W. Is a Moron (and I'm Not Talking About Bush)

I usually count on guys like George Will and David Brooks to offer salient conservative points of view... you know, the ones where you can say, "You make a good argument, but I disagree" and move on. But after today's Will column, I'm starting to think he's just a pseudo-intellectual version of Sean Hannity. I'll explain the caption later, but bear with me here.

Will writes:

"Today's political argument involves perennial themes that give it more seriousness than many participants understand. The argument, like Western political philosophy generally, is about the meaning of, and the proper adjustment of the tension between, two important political goals -- freedom and equality."

Nicely written, but... what? I guess I'd always assumed that freedom and equality were interdependent, not "in tension." Can you have freedom without equality? Equality without freedom? Weird. Okay, go on...

"Today, conservatives tend to favor freedom, and consequently are inclined to be somewhat sanguine about inequalities of outcomes. Liberals are more concerned with equality, understood, they insist, primarily as equality of opportunity, not of outcome."

Sounds intellectual, but... wait a minute, here's another false choice: "equality of opportunity" vs. "equality of outcome"? Again, aren't these two things correlative, not oppositional? Can you have equality of outcome without equality of opportunity? Now I'm starting to get a little irritated. I mean, liberals "insist" on "equality of opportunity"? Well, yeah asshole, the Declaration of Independence says, "All men are created equal," not "All men are entitled to equal outcomes." I mean, by this line of thinking, a free man could look at a slave, scratch his head and say, "I just can't figure out why you didn't arrive at the same outcome as me."

Ridiculous. Assinine, in fact. What else?

"Liberals tend, however, to infer unequal opportunities from the fact of unequal outcomes. Hence liberalism's goal of achieving greater equality of condition leads to a larger scope for interventionist government to circumscribe the market's role in allocating wealth and opportunity. Liberalism increasingly seeks to deliver equality in the form of equal dependence of more and more people for more and more things on government."

Oh, Lordie, here we go. I thought Will was above the old "liberals love government" thing, but apparently not.

George, listen. Do you remember "The Jerk"? Yeah, I love it, too. Remember that scene where the sniper is shooting at Navin (Steve Martin) while Navin is trying to fill his gas tank? And remember how the bullets keep missing Navin and hitting the oil cans instead, and Navin says, "Wow, this guy really hates cans!" This is the type of argument you're making.

The liberals you're talking about don't love government. Instead of childishly dividing the world into "good guys" and "bad guys" (like we live in some Marvel comic book), they tend more to think of every person as capable of good and evil. They think this because it's human nature, and it's true.

On the good side, capitalism, the profit motive and the quest for money and power inspire people to work harder, innovate and make life better for everybody. They earn rewards for their efforts. This is just. On the bad side, the same forces can inspire people to cheat, kill, enslave and make life worse for everybody but themselves. This is unjust.

When there is injustice, the only force that can correct it is one that is not centered on the quest for money and power, but on the administration of justice. That manifests itself in things like, oh... court systems, law enforcement, legislative bodies, and in extreme cases, the military. These are all "government" entities. The liberals I know love justice, not the government. It's connecting with that phrase "all men are created equal" that makes them misty-eyed when they read "To Kill a Mockingbird"... not because they love that Atticus Finch works for the government.

Look, there's an easier way to distinguish between liberals and conservatives. Several studies have found that when you send out identical resumes, except that one is from "Shaniqua Johnson" and the other is from "Ashley Johnson," Ashley is about twice as likely to get an interview. A liberal looks at this fact and says, "Okay, since most people in management are white, this proves that racial inequalities still exist. That's un-American. Let's do something about it." A conservative looks at the same study and says, "Shouldn't name your daughter Shaniqua."

2 comments:

Stephen Dashboard said...

Bravo! Nice post, Bellamy.

Vegas Gopher said...

You can make that last point work for you, of course. When you reach the inevitable soccer sign-up age for James, be sure to register him as "Seamus." He'll make the team, for sure.