In a recent column, The New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof described the plight of a middle-aged friend of his who was dying of cancer. The friend had quit his job some time ago, as part of a mid-life crisis. In a cruel twist of fate, the friend soon thereafter found himself diagnosed with a deadly disease—and with no access to health insurance. Kristof movingly described the situation of the friend, who had agreed to allow Kristof to put a real person’s face on the abstract concept of a “pre-existing condition”—and, for that matter, “the uninsured.”
Kristof’s column apparently brought forth a torrent of responses. Most took the author’s concerns seriously, discussing how our health care system cruelly dooms people to premature deaths that many would likely avoid in a system with universal health coverage. In a follow-up column, however, Kristof expressed his horror at a string of emails he had received from people who basically said, “Hey, your friend got what he deserved. Why should I pay for his mid-life crisis?”
Even though Kristof’s friend acknowledged that he had made some mistakes, the point of the column was that the consequence of those mistakes was so extreme—premature death, as the price of putting off buying health insurance. That did not matter to the cynics. For them, it was all about their fierce belief that they are “not responsible for anyone else.”
Kristof’s response to the letters he had received at the Times after his column ran began with an important assertion: “To feel undiminished by the deaths of those around us isn’t heroic Ayn Rand individualism. It’s sociopathic. Compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but of civilization.” Did Kristof go over the top in using the word “sociopathic”? And even if he did not, was his description apt only for a tiny fringe of macho poseurs who gain attention by taking shocking positions, or is this sociopathy more widespread than we would like to think?
In this column, I draw the unavoidable—and quite depressing—conclusion that the emergence of sociopathic attitudes is no longer confined to the lunatic fringe. While most Americans—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—remain healthy, well-socialized human beings, a group of people whom—we must now admit—can accurately be described as sociopaths has taken over the modern Republican Party, enforcing a new orthodoxy that is just as cold-blooded as what we saw in the responses the Times received to the story of Kristof’s now-deceased friend.
In other words, while most rank-and-file Republican voters are good people, their party has been stolen from them. A combination of factors—party loyalty, distorted news coverage, horse-race politics, and many others—has allowed one of our two major parties to continue to be viable even after this hostile takeover. A win by the Romney/Ryan ticket will, unfortunately, validate that group and unleash it to do serious damage to America and the world.
How Widespread Are These Anti-Social Attitudes, and How High Up Do Those Attitudes Go in the Current Republican Party?
In one sense, Kristof should not have been surprised to receive hostile, hateful emails in response to his heartfelt column. During one of the Republican Presidential debates during the 2012 primaries, after all, a moderator had asked a hypothetical question that was eerily similar to the facts of Kristof’s dying friend’s situation. When the moderator asked: “Should a hospital refuse to treat this uninsured, dying person?” some men in the partisan crowd started yelling, “Yeah! Let ’im die!!”
Even knowing that those attitudes are out there, however, one cannot help but be taken aback when confronted with them directly. It is simply shocking to most people to hear someone uttering unthinkably cruel things.
The bigger question, however, is whether such incidents simply reflect a very loud, tiny minority’s reveling in its ability to shock the sensibilities of emotionally healthy people, or whether they have spread deeper and wider. There is, unfortunately, growing evidence that these debased attitudes are no longer confined to a few crazies.
Consider that one of the most popular right-wing authors in the country, Ann Coulter—who routinely accuses liberals of “treason” and other crimes—now considers it acceptable to refer to President Obama as “the retard.” (Her practice led to a rebuke by a Special Olympian, but she keeps on using the word.) Consider, too, that the highest ratings in talk radio go to a man, Rush Limbaugh, who demeans women as “sluts” for defending women’s access to contraception, and who mocked the actor Michael J. Fox’s involuntary movements due to Parkinson’s Disease. These people are only the leading edge of an entire industry of people who delight in mocking the entire idea of social cohesion, reinforcing a twisted Darwinian notion of “just desserts” that is unrecognizable to a civilized notion of society.
Still, people like Coulter and Limbaugh might be dismissed as mere entertainers—corrosive to society, perhaps, but not possessing any real or direct power. Even if one finds that a compelling argument, however, it is not difficult to find examples of Republican Congressmen and Senators who excitedly agree with those views, espousing equally primitive viewpoints that should shock the conscience. For example, one Freshman Senator, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, won election in 2010 even after announcing that the federal government should not be allowed to prevent businesses from refusing to serve African Americans.
These are not, moreover, meaningless back-benchers who are otherwise well-controlled by the Republican Party’s leadership. Indeed, the entire Republican Congressional delegation has signed a pledge not to raise taxes that is enforced by an unelected powerbroker who has directly likened the estate tax to the Holocaust. Yes, you read that correctly. Because the estate tax is only collected from a tiny percentage of the population, imposing that tax is—according to the leading conservative voice on tax policy in this country—morally comparable to exterminating a religious minority group in a brutal genocide.
What Is a Sociopath? Understanding the Breakdown in Social Order That Is Inherent in the Current Agenda of the Republican Party
While all of these examples are troubling, and even shocking, to many people, is it possibly over the top to apply the extreme word “sociopath” to describe a person who holds some combination of these views?
The answer, I believe, is no, because current Republican orthodoxy takes as its starting point that the norms of social order do not apply to the economic elite in this country.
While there are many different definitions of the word “sociopath,” there is a common element to all of them: sociopaths lack the normal constraints of conscience when it comes to pursuing their own selfish ends. Other people, in their eyes, are “lesser,” and it does not matter if the “people who really matter” do whatever they see fit, no matter if that means ignoring the rules everyone else must live by.
One dictionary, for example, defines “sociopath” as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”
In turn, “antisocial” is defined as “opposed or detrimental to social order or the principles on which society is constituted,” and “of or pertaining to a pattern of behavior in which social norms and the rights of others are persistently violated.” Indeed, the clinical definition of “antisocial personality disorder” includes a “[g]ross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.” (The clinical distinctions between that disorder and sociopathy are not relevant here.)
Just as we see with all psychological disorders, the problem is one of degree. Surely, even the healthiest people will occasionally break a rule or a law, in pursuit of their selfish desires. The problem comes when a person or a group of people acts in extreme ways, persistently harming others in the apparent belief that other people simply do not matter.
Within the last few years, we have seen the people at the top of the Republican Party, supported by an extensive infrastructure of pundits and news organizations, go far beyond merely advancing an agenda that is arguably less good for society than other agendas might be, as a matter of policy. They have, with increasing intensity in theTwenty-First Century, openly advocated policies that harm innocent people—and they have adopted methods to achieve those ends that simply ignore the rules by which other people behave.
For example, Republican politicians have embraced the idea that illegal immigrants should be made miserable—so miserable that they will “self-deport.” Even though such an approach involves deliberately harming those immigrants’ children, who have no legal culpability for their situation, that consequence apparently does not matter to these Republican leaders.
To take another example, the Republican Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a recent report, advanced an agenda during last year’s contrived debt-ceiling standoff “to reduce programs for the poor, including eliminating nutrition and education financing, increasing work requirements for those on food stamps and cutting certain job training programs. Those efforts underlie the fight over legislation to this day.”
One of the top Republicans in Congress considers it an absolute priority to reduce funding for nutrition programs for children. That is simply shocking, but, sadly, it is no longer surprising.
This lack of conscience—so aptly captured in my Verdict co-columnist John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience—extends to Republican leaders’ desire to eliminate or radically reduce anti-poverty programs (demonizing food stamps, for example, with racially-coded language), and even to their refusal to understand that the middle-class support program known as unemployment insurance is necessary during extended economic downturns.
The rationalizations the Republicans offer have become ever more extreme, of course, as the degree of anti-social behavior has become ever more difficult to justify. The bottom line, however, is that we now find ourselves in a situation where one of our two major parties openly advances policies that are designed to make life more difficult for those people who are not currently well off.
The 2012 Republican Ticket Is the Perfect Distillation of This Sociopathic Phenomenon: Cruel Policies, and Self-Serving Tactics
Surely, however, one might still cling to the belief that no party would enter a Presidential election with a sociopathic agenda, advanced by sociopathic candidates. One might think that in “safe” congressional districts, it might be possible to get away with nominating candidates who are extreme and even anti-social, but surely no party would be so crazy as to nominate candidates for President and Vice President who exhibit such behavior.
Would that it were so. The Republican ticket now includes a Presidential candidate who spent the entire primary season embracing the most extreme views of modern Republican dogma, and who then chose as his running mate the author of Republican budget plans that would turn those extreme views into law. Healthcare for poor people? Cap it, and send it to the states. Healthcare for the elderly? Raise their costs right away, and make sure that the federal contribution shrinks over time for those who need it most.
In his most infamous moment, of course, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was recorded admitting to his wealthy supporters that he has no concern for any of the people who will be harmed by his policies—that famous 47 percent. They will, he said, never take “personal responsibility and care for their lives,” so they apparently deserve what Romney would do to them as president. And we now know what that is: Romney would follow the orders of those who believe that, in our society, the “takers” are morally inferior to the “job creators,” and thus would reorder society to intensify, rather than ameliorate, economic and social inequality.
It is not, however, just the lack of concern for others—nor the policies that would harm the weakest members of society—that makes this Republican ticket qualify for the labels “sociopaths” and “anti-social.” It is also their tactics. In a Romney aide’s infamous “Etch-a-Sketch” comment, we learned that the Republican strategy was simply to say whatever is necessary to win. That strategy has now been seen in its full glory during the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, as both halves of the Republican ticket have walked away from their own records, in an effort to sound as if they are not the extremists that they really are.
Finally, it is not even merely the opportunistic changes of position that we have seen from Romney and Ryan that are so shocking. In all of the debates, as in so much of the campaign, the Republican candidates have simply been caught in one lie after another. Yet none of that has seemed to matter to any top Republicans (or, for that matter, in the polls), and the Republican candidates have simply refused to admit their lies or change what they say. This disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations has reached an awe-inspiring level. Everyone knows that politicians will act opportunistically, but until now, there have been limits. The current leaders of the Republican Party act as if those limits do not apply to them.
No one wants to believe that an entire political party has been hijacked like this. As the few remaining moderates have been drummed out of the Republican Party, however, we have seen the center of gravity of the party move to a place that few thought it could ever go.
There are many good people who will vote for that party’s candidates on November 6. Few will realize just how bad things have really become at the top of that party, or how much damage to real people those party leaders are doing—and will do, with even greater ferocity, if they are elected to the top offices in the land.
There is a fundamental distinction between exercising the freedom to help one’s neighbor and being compelled by the State to assist strangers (e.g. through forcible confiscation of earnings) at the point of a gun. Surely, you can see the difference. Having moral objections to abusive, counterproductive and outrageously expensive federal programs which force productive people to work and think for other people they do not know (and who they cannot evaluate) does not make a person a “sociopath.” Stalin and Hitler commonly spoke of the “common good” in exactly this way in an attempt to demonize individuality. These extremists used exactly this argument to put alleged “sociopaths” (e.g. people who objected to statism) in the Gulag and in the gas chambers. This article dismisses valid arguments without reason or justification. You should learn a bit about the other side’s arguments before spouting off in such an ill-informed way. You certainly have not made a serious attempt to understand Ayn Rand, either.
1: The first problem here is the frame of reference within which you posit your ideas. If you consider taxation as inherent theft then you really need to just stop pussyfooting around it and say what you mean.
You want to abolish federal governance, federal governance I’d add that was created explicitly counter to the article of confederation so that taxes could be collected. So your actual problem is not with any specific government expense but rather the mere existence of a Federal taxing authority.
Given that, it appears you’re disguising your actual argument in your language so as to make the idea seem less extreme and more socially acceptable. But, in doing so, you muddle the language so much that your ideas appear quite crazy on the surface to a great many people because you simply are arguing things in a way that makes no rational sense. I didn’t exactly agree with the two wars we participated in, but my tax dollars went to fund them anyway. I’m not suddenly decrying the existence of a standing army as trampling on my rights as a citizen (although I do disagree quite strongly that we need such a big military) because as part of the social contract I understand that there will always be compromises that have to be made and things will get funded I don’t always agree with.
By jumping into the argument from the perspective that helping people is different when government does it with taxes you betray your real position. You apparently believe this violates the fabric of our social contract, and are now ready to just rip it up. But the government quite often does things that are wasteful and unproductive with tax money, so that’s not an actual strong argument. The only way you can parse your statement is that you have an inherent disagreement with Federal taxing authority and that you’re willing to swallow your pride long enough if the government keeps to using it to fund areas you personally might agree with. This means that you would see your tax dollars as fundamentally yours and that the government has no right to spend even one penny in a means you do not approve of. There is no way to read this other than that you believe taxation is illegitimate and that is why you lay a strong claim on how every penny is spent.
When you have a fundamental ideological difference with the majority of the country you need to own that difference and honestly argue for why you believe your approach is the correct one. You need to convince people that the federal government has no moral right to tax people, that it should be funded by some sort of system of voluntary donations, and you need to be quite honest that this is a personal belief about what constitutes moral justice and not any kind of rational argument regarding how to effectively help the poor.
2: In the case of both Stalin and Hitler, if one were to critically evaluate their ideas you’d see they were ridiculous rationalizations meant to give legitimacy to their own cultural biases.
Just because someone says “common good” does not immediately mean: S.S./K.G.B. agents will be knocking at your door tonight to disappear you. It may seem mysterious at first but it’s really not. Politicians are people with records that can be fact-checked and observed. You can see what people mean by what they do in relation to what they say, who funds their campaigns, etc. It requires a lot of work, and that’s probably why it’s such an unattractive pitch, but you can actually figure out what animates most politicians and to an extend forecast their voting behavior on a given bill.
3: If you’re being so misunderstood then why can’t you offer a stronger counter-argument than “All taxation is illegitimate!?” disguised in weasel-words to relate the position to the current subject.
Can you actually put together a well-sourced argument not that it’s morally objectionable for government to help people, but that private charity or private industry could somehow fill the gap if all social services were to stop?
If so I’d love to read it, because usually these disagreements are all based on what people perceive to be the moral authority of government (Moral Authority meaning areas government is allowed to act upon) rather than being able to firmly prove with empirical data that the private sector could or would in any way be able to offer comparable quality and levels of coverage. Empirical data is vitally important, as without that you’re only arguing based on ideological assumptions and that’s not an argument that actually has an end. it’s an argument about what you personally think will happen, which of course I can’t change your mind about something that hasn’t happened yet. But with data we can point and say “This is what DID happen, and we think this is why.”
I look forward to your future response. :)
Which sort of Romney supporter are you [O’connell]? I now classify them under five Rs. The Rich category is easy to understand, though I think a lot of people who regard themselves as “rich” are due for a surprise when they get pushed down. The other four are Religious extremists, Right-wing authoritarians, old-fashioned Racists, and the new Rapists for God. You sound like an authoritarian, but in my probing I’ve found it is often a disguise for the neighboring positions.
Spot on, O’Connell, and the current vote tally on your post (7 up, 9 down) proves your points beautifully. But, given the other posts above, it soon became clear to me that, like the original article, there’s very little “unbiased, middle-ground” here.
So brilliant and so profound. In a fairly inchoate way, I’ve been mentally struggling, but failing, to expand my own understanding and personal experiences with sociopathy into Professor Buchanan’s large-scale analysis of our society and especially the pathological behavior of Republicans. But I get too angry to be articulate. I am grateful to the point of tears for this essay (which has calmed me down) and have linked to it on my advice blog, Sidebar for Plaintiffs. Everyone needs to read this.
It is not psychopathic, To not acknowledge a death, any death as tragic is wrong. However, what you are stating is that because we don’t want to be held to others poor decision making that somehow that leads to a mental disorder. No, its called bad luck, very unfortunate. I must ask since you are so utterly concerned and a Professor and you wanted to help. Why didn’t you pay for his medical care? Instead of lashing out at those who are already paying more then there fair share into the system.
One person is not an island, and one person’s bad life affects us all. For example poor people using the emergency room for all medical care makes everyone’s hospital bills ridiculous. If we just paid to let them get preventative care, everyone saves far more (Since your taxes pay for Emergency room visits as much as Obamacare, Obamacare just costs you less.) Here’s something I want you to consider as a thought experiment.
You are voting on a ballot measure. You can either vote for a $1.00 a month tax to be levied on every American with the ability to pay, which is distributed into a fund for disadvantaged people and will guarantee an end to muggings. Or you can vote no, chose to keep that $1.00 but as a result suffer a chance of one in five odds of being mugged every month. Sure you might get your money back, sure there’s police to prosecute the criminal. (We’ll say the odds of them catching/prosecuting any mugger is at 50/50.)
But what do you consider the better deal and why? Do you find the $1.00 deal morally objectionable even though it guarantees a vast collective benefit?
What more needs to be said? Thank you Mr. Buchanan, for a sad, yet honest and insightful analysis of the wretched, inhuman condition of the present-day Republican Party, and the moral apathy towards politics in general. They actually believe that if they bully long enough, people will capitulate to their Malthusian agenda. Thus far, their suppositions have worked. However, in the final analysis, I pray that once again, Good will stave off and prevail over evil.
Point out to me one time in human history where everyone has been equal. You cannot. You seem to think that equality is gained by force from the state but no state has or will ever produce billionaires honestly. Yes . . . honestly. But Hugo “Ratface” Chavez and other dictators live unjustly as would a billionaire while the poor get poorer
Persons of great wealth often give that wealth away. Bill and Melinda Gates are anything but conservative but they don’t want their wealth being misspent by misguided politician and bureaucrats so they’re giving almost all of it away.
Warren Buffett (who has become misguided in his old age), John D. Rockefeller and countless wealthy people in history saw their wealth as something to be used for the public good so they kept it from the government.
If all of the wealth from all of the millionaires in the US was just taken from them, it wouldn’t make even an appreciable dent in the amount that the country is in debt now nor would it do much to address the future costs of the socialist society that is being formed.
You contend that the Republican party is supported by an extensive network of pundits. You conveniently fail to note that the major news outlets in the US are anything but independent. They were (and still are) solidly in the tank for Obama to the extent that NBC just did not mention the gun running scandal of the Obama’s justice department for an entire 18 months. 18 Months! Not one syllable!
EDITORIALIZERS (pundits) talking is free speech but news organizations fabricating lies and actively ignoring the news is just plain wrong. When the “news” is “reported” by most of the mainstream media, it is skewed and embellished to prop up Obama and his failed policies.
You attempt to portray the belief that individuals should try to be independent as something akin to a social pathology of cruelty when just the opposite is true. It is far more cruel to have to stand with your hand out to the government hoping for that crust of bread. Further, it has been tried – the whole means of production belonging to the proletariat crap – and it has failed and continues to fail.
China and Russia both found there is more prosperity for more people when there is the rule of law and property rights. That said, there will not be prosperity for everyone and to deny that truth indicates a childlike expectation that the world could be different.
I am stunned when I see pathetic individuals with their Iphones marching with their 99% signs. It shows that they know nothing if the history of the world and the character of human nature. It is evident that they don’t realize that they are actually part of the 8% richest people in the world as most if not all of them have access to a mere $20,000 in resources every year.
There is no equality period. We may all be equally human but we aren’t equal in any other way and I doubt that there will ever be a time in the future of humans where all humans will be. I can say with certainty that there is more dignity in a job than there is a handout. And, there is no greater equalizer than opportunity.
France has just announced that the top tax rate will be 75%. That means if you make just one dollar (franc) too much, you would have done as well by just working less and making less. It will kill the already dead economy of France and the ranks of the poor will swell. The rich will just move.
I challenge you to show where a strong and dominant government has ever produced a society that is more prosperous and fair than the society in the US.
Finally, climb down from your ivory tower for a moment. More importantly, grow up! You talk about the Romney aide’s Etch-A-Sketch comment as if the democrats do anything different. All politicians are trying to get or keep a job and few have ever won by forcing the bitter syrup of truth down the throats of the electorate.
I didn’t vote for Obama because I didn’t buy his rhetoric. However, there are plenty of blacks that voted for him and will vote for him because he is perceived as black. Of course he isn’t black nor is he white. He certainly is nothing more than the 1st president that is not primarily identifiable as white. Too bad he is feckless when it comes to leadership and understanding how opportunity is created and how wealth is actually obtained.
1: Many Native American societies were surprisingly egalitarian and
their system of government, especially the Iroquois Nation, resembled
ours in a way; Except that their representatives were much more firmly
bound to the will of their respective villages and could be easily and
immediately replaced if they did something wrong.
2: Let’s separate the consequences of public policy (what politicians actually
do) from what they CLAIM THEY ARE DOING when they give speeches. If I
say I am handing you a candy bar in the name of freedom, but am in fact
shanking you in the kidneys with a shiv then does what I’m saying I’m
doing really matter? Dictators in foreign countries often claim they are
doing things in the name of the people when in fact they are lining
their own pockets. This is not any substantial argument against policies
WE CAN PROVE EMPIRICALLY REDUCE POVERTY.
You are committing a Red Herring by comparing policies of the Chavez government to policies of the Obama administration. Want to contest this? Don’t bother me with insipid arguments reeking of “SOCIALIZMZZZ!!!!” Give me an actual list of important bills from both administrations, make exerts and compare and contrast the two to show how they are substantially the same.
Because if your argument is: “We can’t pass the American Jobs act or let the
Bush tax cuts expire BECAUSE CHAVEZ!!” you are being ridiculous. You
need to actually do the work to make a real argument against specific
policies being proposed and not fall back to sound bytes and
3: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is largely a
fraud masquerading as a charity. That’s not to say they don’t do some
good, but it’s a lot like a tapeworm. I’m sure some people really
appreciate getting to eat a lot and always stay skinny…the majority?
not so much…
4: This is not even an actual argument. “countless wealthy people in
history saw their wealth as something to be used for the public good so
they kept it from the government. ” They wanted it to go to the public
good and so they kept it from the government? What the hell does this
even mean? Did they say that? Or are you assuming? More importantly:
Even if they did SAY that, can you prove that would actually be the
I mean, more appropriately can you compare the
overhead/margins and fraud from private charity to a government program
and conclusively show how the charities have far more efficient
operations that enable a much higher volume of their money to be spent
aiding the needy rather than paying salaries/benefits? A lot of
non-profits are actually just clever scams since they can pay their
employees however they want, letting senior management snag any extra
cash made as a bonus or something like that.
So can you say, figure out which charities Rockefeller and Buffet are donating to, examine their financials and show me conclusively that those charities spend better than the federal government? Are you actually prepared to do your work here and put some facts behind those words to show how they’re not just hot air?
5: I’ll give you a chance to reformat your argument here because (I’m hoping) you simply used the wrong words by mistake. The Net worth of the richest 400 Americans is $1,700,000,000,000, enough pay off the ransom Republicans are demanding before we go over the “Fiscal cliff.” So if we simply “took all of the wealth” as in repossessed enough to get their entire net worth we could close up the deficit pretty well by taking from them actually. If you meant to say something regarding taxes or tax policy then please rethink your argument, add it in your response and we can go from there. :)
6: Again this lame media-all-in-the-tank-for-obama argument. Show me some real empirical data, show me a peer-reviewed paper (and not the Tim
Groseclose study; its measurements are bunk because it assumes a think
tank on a whole is liberal or conservative based on how many times
politicians cite it in congress. This is useless because Politicians
often cherry-pick their numbers for their arguments and without deep
analysis of the policy papers proposed by any given think tank one does
not have the context necessary to evaluate whether in specific the media
outlet citing them was citing them to forward a liberal or conservative
agenda. After all Democrats often cite the CBO, which is nonpartisan,
because their numbers suit their arguments. This does not mean the CBO
has a liberal bias because it confuses the cause and effect. The cause
being that liberal politicians wish to persuade people for their
policies, the effect being they cite numbers from a think tank which
will support their conclusions. It does not however mean that was the
intention of the think-tank or CBO to provide in specific ammunition for
liberals.) that backs that up.
Anecdotes are simply not good
enough. Besides if you want to say the media has a liberal bias how can
you explain the blackout of coverage during the height of Occupy as well
as the smear even liberal outlets like the NY Times, and every other
major paper gave towards the group? Reporting verbatim Law Enforcement
press releases which were later debunked by the movement itself thanks
to heaps of video evidence.
7: Blah blah blah, burn the TVs,
they’re all forwarding the LIBERAL AGENDA! BOOGAH! Scary, oh man, you
got me there. I almost thought you were trying to be serious, whew! Next
time you want to do this don’t just say “LIBERAL MEDIA, BOOGAH!” take
five minutes to find three examples of liberal spin, cite them, explain
where they occurred (which networks, which shows, which pundits) and
explain the skew and why it is liberal. Actually lay out facts and
explain how they are covering up the truth through subterfuge. Can’t you
please bother to do some work to back up your arguments if you’re going
to spend so long writing them out online?
8: Independence sought at the cost of all other things certainly can be sociopathic and asking for the ability to act independently specifically because you want to jerk your employees around or go beat you some gays certainly is textbook sociopathy. The world is not made up of seven billion
completely independent people anymore than your body is made up of
approximately ten trillion completely independent cells.
The reality is that we do not live in isolated fiefdoms operating
independently. We live in an inter-connected inter-dependent world and
the consequences of one person’s failures affect us all. By callously
ignoring this and insisting on selfish behavior (in the name of being
independent) even when all rational analysis shows altruistic behavior
will net both YOU and the other people involved massive cumulative
benefits is so destructive that the only way one can describe such
irrational behavior is sociopathic.
Because let’s be honest here, you’re not talking about blanket grants of independence here, you’re complaining about specific regulations or restrictions meant to keep you from say, hiring a factory full of workers in a factory lined to the brim with asbestos. Or hiring workers to work indefinite shifts that end whenever you please. Or ensuring they have proper safety gear when working with toxic chemicals or nuclear waste. Or rather, those are what Republicans in congress are talking about when they’ve mentioned “Job killing regulations.” Things like keeping mercury (which is neurotoxic)
out of our air and water for major industrial companies is not some
gross usurpation of freedom. (Or perhaps you’d like to retry this
argument and cite specific regulations you’d wish to argue? I’m all
ears!) It’s meant to keep people from being poisoned through cumulative
neurotoxicity. Are you saying it’s more important we allow the Rich to
poison us than dare allow the government to tell them what to do? it’s
not like if we allow a single regulation on a single company the Gestapo
gets unleashed from its ancient puzzle box to abduct all the
good-little-americans like a thief in the night and send them off to
And who has to deal with those employees when they
get sick or injured from mercury? Maybe you don’t, but someone does
unless we’re going whole hog and saying “Yes, let them die in the
streets, the beggars!” (which I might add has far greater consequences
for public sanitation than anything else.) then we ALL pay for them when
they go to the ER.
Someone ends up footing the bill no matter
which way you cut it. So if we’re already doing that anyway, what is the
rational argument here that we should not smartly allocate our moneys?
Obamacare ends up SAVING us money long term (The CBO rates it as saving us approximately $109 billion over ten years) by allowing the poor to
see a doctor and not stick us the taxpayers with their ER bills when
they break something.
9: China and Russia are irrelevant. Did I advocate for a planned economy?
Did the Author advocate for a planned economy? No?! Then DON’T TREAT US LIKE MORONS BY INSISTING that we did! This is an argument for
conventional policy as proposed by the Democratic party of the United
States and last I checked they weren’t even willing to go as far as
advocating single-payer healthcare because of the aneurism it gives
Republicans. So stop with the slippery-slope-if-we-allow-one-liberal-policy-the-usa-becomes-soviet-russia. You’re being so misleading it’s worrying me you have a case of paranoia here…might want to see a doctor about that buddy. ;)
10: You know this is just not a good argument for anything. That’s like saying: “In Somalia there are no laws against kidnapping or rape, that means I could tie you to a chair and force you into sex slavery. So shut up
about that time I slipped you a roofie and left you tied up in my van
for a week!” The argument that because the rest of the world is poor our
poor should simply thank their lucky stars and grovel before the rich
is cruel and senseless.
You have not explained why things must be this way, only that they currently are and that you prefer this. So what? That’s like saying you’d prefer there were no laws against date rape so that when you slip that hot girl a mickey it would be legal. It’s not exactly a compelling argument for anything other than the idea that you’d sure love to be powerful enough to abuse people.
Show that YOU know something about history and human nature. MAKE A REAL ARGUMENT backed by peer-reviewed data showing that this is the only sustainable setup of civilization. Don’t merely argue against straw men
like Soviet Russia and China. Show me how poverty rates in America will
drop if we were to do away with minimum wage, show me how cutting taxes
has a causal relationship with an increase in employment. Show me
evidence that right-to-work laws guarantee more equitable worker pay
versus unionization for a given skilled trade.
Without that, all you’re doing is projecting your own opinion, biases, innacuracies and all into the public sphere and hoping no one notices. Show me the facts, show me hard data.
11: We can never prevent 100% of all murders or rapes. Is that an argument that we should give up in trying to prevent them? Make an actual argument for WHY PURSUING SPECIFIC POLICIES TO INCREASE SOCIAL/ECONOMIC EQUALITY ARE BAD DECISIONS. Things like
repealing the Bush tax cuts (for only the upper income brackets), things
like the American Jobs act or the Senate Farm bill. Right now you are
just spewing venom randomly.
12: Do you even understand how income taxes work you foof? It’s A TAX ON INCOME EARNED NOT INDIVIDUALS. Your tax rate is not a cumulative rate applied to all dollars you’ve earned. Your income (not you as a person) will fall into a tax bracket and be taxed at a specific marginal rate. What does this mean? Let’s say you make $500,000 in a given year and you’re single.
If you earn $500,000 you pay $150,284 in Federal income tax (for an effective income tax of 30% despite the fact you hit the top marginal rate of 35% by making over $388,000). It’s really simple and you can look this stuff
up, you should also know by know that the Franc no longer exists and
was superseded by the Euro. It only happened 13 years ago after all. Oh
yes, and France’s Wealth taxes use brackets just like ours, you can look
that up too (I provide sources, unlike others.)
13: I don’t need to point to another government. I only need to point to
the U.S. during FDR’s entire presidency as evidence that Keynesian
economics work, that attempting to balance the budget during a recession
is horribly stupid (Roosevelt Recession) and that direct stimulus
works. WWII was the single largest stimulus in American history.
Military spending went from 2% of GDP to 45% of GDP and that alone
managed to get us back out of the depression, into full employment, and
thanks to measures like the G.I. bill (which today would be called
socialism!) enabled an unprecedented era of shared prosperity and
Did I mention what tax rates were back then? The top rate
was 90% until JFK knocked it down to 70%. Yet surprisingly EVERYONE did
better in America and somehow the world didn’t collapse into socialism
like you make it sound. The simple fact is America has already
experimented and succeeded with policies you’d call socialist today. I
don’t need to refer to any other nation.
14: Nobody’s saying Democrats or other politicians don’t lie. They simply
don’t do it nearly as often nor with anywhere near the sheer mendacity
of today’s GOP and Romney. Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare? Not
under anyone human’s definition, the cuts were to provider overpayments
(not individual benefits) and they were for services that should not
have been purchased. This is nowhere near the same as the Doc fix which
sets physician reimbursement rates (which determines if your doctor will
accept medicare patients.) And what about the ad talking about Jeep
sending production to China? That’s simply not true by any standard.
Jeep would be building a factory in China because China levies steep tariffs on imported foreign cars and they want to expand their market there. Jeep is in fact expanding its American facilities and merely contemplating
expanding into China to sell to Chinese customers. Nowhere near the same as saying they shipped jobs overseas, causing a net American Job loss.
These are two very bold examples of Romney
lying, being fact-checked on it, and simply not caring and running with
the ad anyway. This is before we get into the debates where he would say
things so misleading they border on lies. He’ll cover pre-existing
conditions? Yes if you contort the definition to mean “I won’t force
anyone’s insurance to kick them off. But yup, THEY can totally refuse to
cover you for a condition you have prior to obtaining it” which mangles
the language so much the obvious deceptive intent just makes it the
same as a lie.
But no, please, cite me three examples of prominent Democrats doing this, and do your diligence like I did and EXPLAIN THE LIE loud enough for the entire class to hear. ;)
15: How is opportunity created? How is wealth created? If you want to accuse
Obama or Liberals of not knowing these things then by definition YOU
NEED TO so that you can show how you are competent to hurl such an
accusation. Because it seems to me the evidence shows that when every
American has the opportunity to work for a good wage everyone does well,
even the very wealthy, despite high tax rates or horribly socialist
policies like medicare or social security. Somehow we survived the years
between 1945-1978 or so when the wages for all workers grew roughly
proportionally in the economy. (Around 1980 income gains became
consolidated in the top 1% of the economy.)
That about sums it up. I sure hope that since you’ve taken so much time and
effort to post, and myself to respond that you’ll continue with this
lovely spirited argument. After all, if you have a point then surely you
can take the time to write out a cogent argument for it and put
liberals like me in their place, right? I mean it’s not like you don’t
have facts on your side, right? So there shouldn’t be any reason for you
to not respond with a full fact-based response showing how you’re
right, I’m wrong and all the evidence agrees. ;D
pretty sure charities are better than the gov’t in many and most instances…not all…. glad you were not around when the country was founded on…wait for it…. LIMITED GOVERNMENT
I’m sure you are, and until you present Data which shows
this is actually the case you’ll have to excuse me if I treat what
you’ve just said as nothing more than wishful thinking at its very best.
Did you see what I just wrote? And you can’t even bother to cite one
source? Yes I’m sure in the school of hard knocks that exists only in
your mind private charity is always more efficient, government is evil,
and if only those gosh durned Lib’ruls would listen to reason they’d see
the amazing treasure trove of untold pearls of wisdom you hold.
Sadly this is still the Planet Earth and on Earth you have this thing called the burden of proof. It falls upon the one making a claim to actually provide evidence they are correct and not just making things up out of whole cloth. That goes double for the Internet where for all either one of us knows we could just be paid shills pimping ideology out on message boards to slide the national consensus.
Limited government? LMAO, this country was also “founded” on Slavery and the idea that the only people who deserved any rights were White Male Landowners (which at the time were predominately the wealthy elite class.) So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t accept “Because the Founders believed in it!” as an excuse for allowing millions of people to starve, suffer and die due to poverty and all of the extraneous circumstances that come with that.
The founders also were largely deists and did not believe Religion or one’s religious beliefs should be a factor in determining public policy. They founded America as a secular Democracy and codified it in law when they ratified the Treaty of Tripoli. Yet most Republicans see no problem going against the founders on that point.
I see no reason why we should accept such simple blanket excuses when we discuss what role government has in the lives of people. They’re essentially compound logical fallacies (Appeal to authority, Appeal to Emotion and Appeal to Belief all wrapped into one.) That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take into consideration the concerns the founders had when contemplating such a role. Tyranny is still real, but takes a far different shape now than it did then.
These concerns of the founders should be expressed within the context of how any of them are still largely true today with the best evidence we have showing what they are and how we can address them. This is not 1781 anymore, and the world is a far different place.
Just like those who read the bible choose to ignore huge parts of Deuteronomy (because it basically codifies that Christians are to wage Holy war against all non-christians and raze their cities.) and interpret the text within a more modern understanding of one’s problems, the constitution similarly needs such care taken to it.
After all, isn’t that literally the whole reason we have a Judiciary? To Interpret important things like laws and apply them to real situations?
Suggestion: TRY HARDER ;D
Considering OBAMACARE< sure it will save the government because by refusing or limiting seniors—-They are oldand useless, just let them die, why prolong the inevitable, the same mind set for the disabled. And people think this will be great. Will they feel that way if it is one of their parents or grandparents???? THINK People. Obamacare is literally a death panel, take care of your health or you will be in one of them too.
Therefore save millions to use for those who are worthy.
Oooh Gubb’mint DEATH PANELS! BOOGAH!!
As opposed to the Death panels that existed before in insurance company board room? The very same panels, I’d might add, with every incentive to find reasons to get out of paying for your coverage?
Yes, if that’s going to be the case then I’d much rather have the people who make that decision draw a government salary based on ensuring I have a cost-effective yet dignified set of Golden years as opposed to someone who might get a bonus for pulling my plug prematurely and forging documents to make it legal after the fact.
But no, don’t let the fact that the IPAB has no power to actually ration care (only make recommendations the patient/doctor can choose to accept or ignore) get in the way of a good scare line!
Source (on the IPAB and other Obamacare Myths)
So what should one call the Democratic Party’s history of promoting/causing the millions of deaths of the unborn and calling it freedom of choice? Insanity?
The problem with the whole “Right to life” stuff is that it attempts to basically masquerade a “Because THE BIBLE SAID SO!” argument in sheep’s clothing.
America is a secular democracy and it’s meant to serve people of all religious persuasions. If you want to argue that we should ban abortion you either need to make a medical argument for the personhood of the zygote (As in define why in specific a zygote has qualities that make it distinctively human, qualities no animal on Earth shares and not merely “potential” qualities. Because if you want to talk about cognitive potential then that means your average Chicken or dolphin deserves the right to live far more than your average toddler.) or you need to make an argument that allowing abortion leads to some other sort of harm (with figures and data to support it from an acredited source) such as an increase in crime or disease.
If you don’t have the ability to make a secular argument against abortion then it just doesn’t count. Or rather, it counts about as much as PETA, which is almost next to nothing.
Also, if you’re really in it because you believe abortion is murder then that also means you need to be in favor of things like free contraceptive coverage and comprehensive sex education. Both have been shown to bring abortion rates down and yet are vehemently opposed by the pro-life movement.
In many cases the Pro-life movement really seems to be the Anti-Sex-For-Pleasure Movement cleverly masquerading itself. But I’d be happy to hear you explain to me how all of the above just isn’t so. Come on, show me HOW I’m wrong. ;D
This piece places a name on what I have not been able to articulate about Romney and Ryan. It s a harsh word but as I followed Mr. Buchanan’s article to it logical conclusion, it became clearer and clearer that we are dealing with people who are acting like psychopaths. His analysis is harrowing in its implications
Pure silliness. This is simply the changing out of one group of criminals with another. The sociopathy you so clumsily assign to the GOP is endemic to the upper echelons of both parties.
Until you get that, you’re nothing but a source of amusement.
Now you see, that’s just not true at all. Do we have bad Democrats? Of course! People like Ben Nelson, Max Baucus who are avowed corporatists. We have people who are for the Drone strikes and against Bank Regulations. Our bad Democrats are basically somewhat more Bellicose and pro-corporation.
But to say the GOP comes anywhere close? Democrats do not as a party have a pattern of supporting, endorsing and harboring Rape Apologists like these:
Nor do the party leaders endorse and spread outright conspiracy theories like Birtherism.
As well, you have to consider that while Obamacare is certainly far from perfect and nowhere near as good as Single Payer it still does provide assistance and will enable the majority of Americans to acquire insurance. The GOP wants to repeal that and toss all those people back out into the cold of an unregulated private market (and even worse than that, the GOP plan is to allow insurance companies to pick the state with the most lax regulations, set up shop there and sell to the entire country.)
Similarly the Democrats do not harbor the level of anti-science, anti-fact, bias the G.O.P. does. They appoint people who hate science to the science comittee:
I just don’t see the level of Orwellian-ism from Democrats on that like I do from Republicans. But what is the point in all of this? Democrats are imperfect, fragile and need a lot of work. But they’re still fundamentally capable of the introspection necessary to grow and evolve as a political entity into something great (If we the electorate can keep ratcheting up the Pressure on them to be more stalwart defenders of Progressive policies.)
Republicans on the other hand are locked down hard to an ideology that prevents their evolution. They can’t move to the left hardly at all without risking the loss of the base who they’ve been cultivating since the days of Nixon. Both sides may do bad things, but it is utterly disingenuous to say they are in any way committing a similar scope or level of offenses compared to the G.O.P. It’s like comparing a nervous convenience store robber to BTK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Rader).
“It’s easy to say No.” The beauty of this great land is we don’t say no to those in need. We owe it to our founders to nurture that character, not replace it with “pick yourself up.” How can Christians ignore the “good Samaritan” parable?
Will there be an op-ed on the over the top crazies in the Democratic party? Such things as global warming and “love thy terrorist” are key-marks of the current in vogue liberal thinking. Just those two items are to liberals as the literal interpretation of the Bible is to others.
Why should there be? By the way, Liberal crazies are the Animal/Earth Liberation Front, PETA, and Greenpeace. They are not supported nor even given room to speak by the vast majority of Democrats and certainly not party leadership. Compared to the outright Birther conspiracy-theory that the G.O.P. leaders entertain there’s no real comparison as far as who supports their crazies and who marginalizes them.
Global warming is a conclusion backed by the vast majority of scientists involved in the field of climatology and the dissenters really don’t have any data to back their arguments up.
But no, please, go ahead and prove me wrong. Show me how it’s all bunk, cite a LEGITIMATE PEER-REVIEWED-STUDY showing me how global warming is all a hoax, proving how wrong I am good sir, I beg of you.
Secondly, love thy terrorist? So apparently calling a dirtbag like Terry Jones a dirtbag for trying to incite violence means we love terrorists? What the bloody ‘ell do you mean here? Cite examples and explain what you just said so that it actually has context and people can see your argument isn’t just a bunch of hot air.
Literal interpretation of the Bible? Dude, I hate to break it to you but if you as a fundamentalist were to take your bible literally Deuteronomy (13:13-13:17) is pretty strict on the need to murder all unbelievers and lay their cities to waste. The mere fact that you aren’t rounding up every Jew, Muslim, Atheist, New Ager and throwing them all into concentration camps already means you are not adhering to a literal interpretation of the bible.
wow, this author and Chris Gregory who comments are really on the fringe
I know right? It’s just crazy! I use facts, cite references, and insist on good faith debate! I mean, you just don’t get more radical than that! Real ‘Murricans don’t need no namby-pamby Intellectual Authority, they speak with their fists until one side can no longer stand!
Why, even that crazy commie leftist Che stopped at merely insisting people not openly lie to his face. But no, not I! It just wasn’t far enough for me! ;p
Read most of article, and notice he did not bother to mention the left biased News Media, NBCMSNBC, Et.al. therefore this was certainly a biased article. The Republicans are the peoblem, but the Democrsts are the cure. Speculating that we have a republican House. My questionis:::Why didn’t anything get done his first 2 years when the DEMS had control of Congress??His job is not a learn as you go, get the experience on the job or the Trial and ERROR. I am an R.N. and I got my experience before I graduated, but with an R.N. or instructor at my side. Trial and ERROR could mean someone’s death, which is what we have to contend with;;;;death of America.
1: What bias? Do you actually have examples to illustrate your point?
People love to scream about media bias but in only a few cases does the
data actually confirm this. The Gold standard of bias though is when you
can say an entire News Network is so bad it leaves you WORSE INFORMED
than if you’d watched NO NEWS AT ALL.
Do you have any credible examples of media bias that you can actually show
are a pattern of unfair treatment? Can you cite me instances of say, when statistics were purposefully munged to make the numbers appear much
worse than they actually are?
Do you say, have evidence they supported outright conspiracy theories with
no credible evidence and yet treated the discourse as if it was a
matter of fact?
Or how about where they purposefully ignored something big, like their
preferred candidate race-baiting, something that a lot of other news
outlets did notice.
Got any evidence of bias like that? ;) Because if not your words hold about
as much water as a vegetable strainer. Bias is not a News Anchor saying
something true that you dislike about your candidate. Bias is not fact-checking someone saying something false. Truth is not something you
get to decide for yourself, you decide whether or not you accept it but it exists beyond you. Reality is that thing which, despite our most ardent efforts, refuses to go away when we wish it to.
2: Democrats did not have full control of congress for the first two years.
Due to the death of Ted Kennedy, obstinance of Norm Coleman and other
health-issues Democrats only had a supermajority for about 24 working
days of 2008-2010.
(Note: If you want to dispute the above have your own sources, please.)
3: The U.S. Presidency is a job unlike almost any other, not even
Governors of major states come close to having the same level of
responsibility. The idea that you can really prepare someone for that
sort of responsibility (beyond a little general experience with the
responsibilities of an executive) is ridiculous.
Every President does a lot of learning “on the go” because the job constantly adapts with the world around it and as the world gets busier so does the job.
But more to the point, what are you even trying to say here? I mean if you
want to say he’s done a bad job then you point out HOW WITH EXAMPLES he is doing a bad job AND EXPLAIN HOW EACH EXAMPLE IS BAD FOR AMERICA.
It’s a little late to bring up “He’s inexperienced!” as any sort of a major
demerit. The man’s been President for four years and that means he’s
already gotten as much training and experience as he can have for the
next four. So whatever was the case after his election with regards to
experience it has long since become moot.
If you mean to say he’s killing America you need to not just say “He’s killing America! BOOGAH!” You start by citing three examples of things you believe are disastrous for America. You explain how each one is bad in detail, highlight the President’s role in each example, and then you conclude it with: “If he keeps doing stuff like this, as you can see America is Doomed!”
That is how you make a real argument without sounding
like someone who needs their TV talking heads to do their thinking for
them. Give it a try, I’ll still be here! ;D
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