Looking Left and Right: The Broad Brush # 6 (Reality)

IMGP0219

[NOTE] In this “Liberal LiesBroad Brush series+, I’m offering observations, examples, and comments about our Left versus Right conflicts and the stereotypical attitudes we carry about “the other side.” Insights on related topics/themes will help to shape our understanding about why we’re so fiercely partisan, the consequences, and suggestions as to different approaches.

If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.

[Discussing a study by and quoting Lilliana Mason]:

‘[I]n terms of our attitudes towards issues, we are no more polarized than we were decades ago. But our emotions, and the behaviors they drive, have largely uncoupled from our actual analysis of the issues.’
Essentially, the Stony Brook University scholar argues, our identities have become increasingly intertwined with our political affiliation. As a result, we feel ever more certain that our party is right and the other is wrong—even in cases where their positions aren’t far apart.
Our attitude towards the opposing party has become, basically, tribal: We detest them simply because they’re the other side….
‘If your party is strongly aligned with your ideology (as is the case today), you are very biased in your assessment of the other party,’ she said. ‘That makes it very hard to have a kind, generous assessment of the other party’s intentions….’
That leaves the rest of us: People who feel kinship with our own side, distrust toward the other side, and wariness regarding compromise. [1]

The ideological ‘culture war in the U.S. is, in part, an honest disagreement about ends (moral values that each side wants to advance), as well as an honest disagreement about means (laws and policies) to advance those ends. But our findings suggest that there is an additional process at work: partisans on each side exaggerate the degree to which the other side pursues moral ends that are different from their own. Much of this exaggeration comes from each side underestimating the degree to which the other side shares its own values. But some of it comes, unexpectedly, from overestimating the degree to which typical members of one’s own side endorse its values….
[T]he moral stereotypes that liberals appear to have of conservatives: liberals see conservatives as being motivated by an opposition to liberals’ core values of compassion and fairness, as well as being motivated by their own (non-moral) values of ingroup loyalty, respect for authorities and traditions, and spiritual purity (they may be particularly likely to focus on issues in which these values come into conflict). This misperception is asymmetrical: conservatives did underestimate liberal moral concerns with the binding foundations, but they were no more likely to underestimate than liberals themselves. [2]

A few months ago came across a stunning display of right-wing perspective on policy. In an article by John Hawkins (“15 Lies of Liberalism”), the wide net he cast without troubling himself with facts or context was certainly impressive! While there are countless others expressing similar attitudes and commentary, this one struck a chord as a prime example of the stunning and—for those of us on the Left side of the divide—nearly incomprehensible and unrecognizable assessments about liberal and progressives.

The problem remains intact: how on earth do we all move forward if this kind of nonsense is the starting point for conversations? And if that’s the point, why is that acceptable?

~ ~ ~

Here’s more of this “fascinating” assessment of Liberals and and examination of several more “lies”….[All quotes are from the referenced article.]

FACTS CAN BE YOUR FRIEND … TRY THEM!

Mr. Hawkins’s assessment of the liberal governing philosophy is no doubt pure red meat for those on the far Right, although it’s connection to reality could use some fine-tuning … perhaps based on a fact or two.

10) …it’s going to deliver equality of outcomes for everyone, which is true, if by ‘delivering equality of outcomes’ you mean ‘make everyone poorer.’

We on the left are much more concerned about equality of opportunity than we are with outcomes. And while I’ve admittedly never held elected office, I’m quite confident that no official I’ve ever known pursues a “make everyone poorer” strategy.

Dismissive nonsense offered as confirmed fact is a simpleton’s approach to thinking and responsibility. We should probably be better than that.

Worth noting that by ascribing blame to a philosophy entirely disconnected from reality, this conservative assessment neatly absolves the Right from any responsibility for the consequences of its “Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, Cut Spending for Everyone Else and Especially the Poor” strategy … that’s the one with real evidence and real facts and real legislation.

THE COMMON GOOD IS NOT SO COMMON

The horrendous disparity in income and wealth offers us an opportunity to elevate the quality of life for countless millions while affording the wealthiest the chance to continue to enjoy lifestyles  most Americans will only dream of.

A society — any society —- is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted from many of these same public institutions) help pay for everyone else.
‘Privatize’ means ‘Pay for it yourself.’ The practical consequence of this in an economy whose wealth and income are now more concentrated than at any time in the past 90 years is to make high-quality public goods available to fewer and fewer. [3]

Why is this a good thing? (A “good thing” for the 98% or so; it’s pretty obvious that the 1%-2% have little to complain about.)

STEPPING AWAY FROM REALITY

 In what I have to assume is a related theme on the liberal governing philosophy, Mr. Hawkins added this. If it makes sense to anyone, an explanation would be greatly appreciated.

12) ….it’ll help the poor — and it does. Liberalism helps poor Americans live in ghettos with just enough food and money to survive so they can stay dependent on liberals. It’s the same sort of help a farmer gives a chicken while he harvests its eggs and waits for the right time to wring its neck and toss it in the frying pan.

All I can offer by way of reply is a deeply-felt: Huh? I’ll add an equally passionate WTF?!

As for this next comment about Liberalism, I can only assume Hawkins walked back a good distance from the chasm separating delusional nonsense from reality when he made this leap (and he had to have had assistants with him … this is way too big a brush to carry by himself:

13) …liberals are the only people who care about black Americans and want to help, which doesn’t seem to square with the fact that just about anywhere and everywhere liberals have been in charge for decades, like Detroit or New Orleans, most black Americans are in dire straits.

One does not necessarily follow from the other, of course. But to add facts or context would ruin the red meat narrative. Keep it simple; keep it stupid. (And of course, the right-wing “austerity and spending cuts” philosophy has nothing to do with the challenges faced by some.)

Worth noting that the recent fiscal woes of Detroit and New Orleans are occurring under the watchful eye of two nitwit Republican governors … if facts matter. Seems to me that the severe troubles endured by residents of New Orleans may have had something to do with a rain storm a while back … I think it was referred to as Hurricane Katrina. The relief efforts (such as they were) occurred under the watch of a Republican President.

Also worth noting:

A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren’t sure who to blame. [4]

Just … wow! Never let facts get in the way of ideology, Right?

One more to go….

The final post of this Series will appear tomorrow
See the info below for upcoming features

~ My Photo: Day Lilies – 07.31.13

 

  ^ Watch for some new features debuting soon at this website:

 * THE MIDDLE AGE FOLLIES

This new column begins on February 3, 2014. It’s a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50.

* THE TRETIAK AGENDA

A political thriller filled with unexpected plot twists and drawn from real world historical events, this eBook is scheduled for Publication on January 28, 2014. I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 6th. A few teasers will appear between December 16th and December 31st

* LIFE WILL ANSWER

(The inspiration for the other blog at this website). This eBook is scheduled for Publication on February 12, 2014. 
I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 15th. A few teasers will appear beginning right after Christmas

 

I’m a writer Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
by sharing observations about the ideologies
which motivate our political, economic, and cultural discussions.

Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi

This blog is offered to encourage more enlightened public discourse—by sharing observations about the ideologies which motivate our political, economic, and cultural debates. The simple hope: shedding light on current “strategies” will prompt more of us to realize a different approach is at least worth considering … assuming a better future is worth pursuing. (It is!)

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein

Sources:

[1] http://www.psmag.com/politics/our-increasingly-tribal-electorate-48977/; America’s Increasingly Tribal Electorate by Tom Jacobs – 11.01.12
[2] http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0050092; Graham J, Nosek BA, Haidt J (2012) The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50092. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050092 [Editor: Liane Young, Boston College, United States of America] – Published: December 12, 2012
[3] http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Robert-Reich/2013/0822/The-rise-and-fall-of-the-public-good; The rise and fall of the public good by Robert Reich – 08.22.13
[4] http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/poll-louisiana-gopers-unsure-if-katrina-response-was; Poll: Louisiana GOPers Unsure If Katrina Response Was Obama’s Fault by Tom Kludge – 08.21.13

+ links to the other posts in this series:

http://richardturcotte.com/looking-left-and-right-broad-brush-1/
http://richardturcotte.com/looking-left-and-right-broad-brush-2/
http://richardturcotte.com/looking-left-and-right-the-broad-brush-3/
http://richardturcotte.com/looking-left-and-right-broad-brush-4/
http://richardturcotte.com/looking-left-and-right-broad-brush-5/