Believing Instead of Thinking

There have been a few articles recently berating liberals for failing to appreciate what conservatives are saying. Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are concerned that their lives are becoming insecure, and that the things they value are becoming less significant. Fair enough.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is that Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are not thinking clearly about what they hear from the right, from their kind of people. It’s not that there is only one way to tackle a problem. It’s that Mr. & Mrs. Iowa have not examined what they have been told by the right wing echo chamber, and they have accepted far too many things that are patently false.

Lest we liberals take too simple and prejudiced a view of who Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are and what they are capable of, let me offer the following observations. If Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are farmers, they are college educated, and understand multiple facets of a reality of which most city dwellers are completely ignorant. They probably manage a business worth several million dollars. They are experts in a dozen aspects of agriculture, from financial and crop management to animal husbandry, that are completely beyond most of us.

If Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are not farmers, they perform work pretty much like the rest of us do. They work at manufacturing, sales, teaching, medicine, and so on. The point is, in spite of the stupidity of some fragment of Tea Party folk, those folks on the right are just like the rest of us.

Here are three examples of what Mr. & Mrs. Iowa are being told, presented by Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future, and charts showing exactly the opposite of Republican claims:

  • Obama spending is ruining the country

  • Deficit spending radically increased under Obama

  • Obama’s jobs stimulus was a failure

Johnson’s accompanying charts speak for themselves. Government spending under Bush was much higher than under Obama. The deficit increased sharply under Bush, and decreased under Obama. Jobs were lost under Bush, but were increased under Obama, until the stimulus ended.

What would it take to get Mr. & Mrs. Iowa to actually study the evidence? The stakes are high. If we were to have the country run on the basis of the beliefs of most of the Republican campaigners it would be a disaster with numerous unprecedented, unappreciated, and unexpected consequences.

Why, then, do they fail to see that so many of the things they believe are absolutely untrue?

The answer to that is that they believe what they are told by the conservative media they follow, so the question becomes: Why do conservative spokespersons, media, and politicians get their facts so tragically wrong time and time again?

This is more than an idle question, and the only answer I can come up with is that they are simply not interested in reality, in facts. Their goal is entirely ideological. They believe in the conservative cause, and it makes no difference to them that what they are claiming is demonstrably incorrect, completely wrong, as long as it’s “conservative”. Unfortunately, we will all pay for their misrepresentation and lies.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The other explanation is that Mr. and Mrs. Iowa hear only one side of the argument. Not everybody has the leisure to sit down and spend time each day to check these things out on their own and, even if they did, it would not be obvious where to begin.


  2. John, I think they get by with this misrepresentation largely because so many people get their news from only one source. People who watch Fox actually think they’re watching the news,and they don’t balance that out by occasionally listening to BBC or NPR or even MSNBC. It’s very different from the times when you and I were growing up, and most Americans got their news from daily newspapers and watching the three networks — networks whose newscasts were not a profit-making side of their programming.


  3. PS – I like your charts, by the way. The illustrations showing the opposite of what the statements claim.


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