Thursday, September 23, 2010

Polarized Politics, or How Republicans Can Earn My vote

There's a blog I read, written by a one Shaun Duke, entitled "The World in the Satin Bag. It's primary focus is typically based on speculative fiction of all strips, but, on occasion, Mr. Duke steps out of that particular comfort zone and creates articles about other things. Well, he recently did just that with a post entitled Polarized Politics and How Republicans Can Earn My Vote.

In said blog post, Mr. Duke describes those things that he feels he needs, as a defined and explicit GOP platform, for the GOP to earn his vote.  What I'm going to do here, is summarize Mr. Duke's list and then write out my thoughts on each bullet point.

Anyways,  Mr. Duke's list (again, as summarized by yours truly) are thus:

  1. An economic policy not involving tax cuts
  2. Rejection of anti-gay rhetoric, and endorsement of gay marriages
  3. Green-based environmental policy
  4. Admitting that all those liberal "-isms" still exist and plague our society
  5. Universal Health Care
  6. Abandon "No Child Left Behind" style tests, and give money to schools which are "predominately non-white"
  7. The government stating that a theory cannot be taught
  8. A Federal law regulating religion
  9. Promise to not lie, misinform, misdirect and to reject money from corporations (but not lobbies!)

Now, that's an interesting list, and one which I view as both misguided, and distinctly of a "Leftist" tilt.  From its reading, one should automatically assume that Mr. Duke would vote GOP on the provision that they become Liberals/Leftists. It could happen after all. It wasn't that long ago, that it was the GOP which was the bastion of liberal-based policies.

Yet, it is still a fundamentally flawed list, as is typical in most Liberal screeds.

First, the economic policy. It's a great thing, to believe that the government can be some grand equalizer, sharing out wealth and handing out bags of gold and food to everyone who stops by. But, that's an unsustainable form of growth. Government can not create wealth. It cannot create jobs, and it cannot do anything but take money from those who do create wealth and jobs, and hand it out to others.  Typically and traditionally, we call those who take things they have not earned thieves, and those who wait with open hands for handouts beggars, yet when Congress is involved, we call them the Taxman and Welfare Recipients.   But, in a sense, he is right, in that we do not need an economic policy revolving around extending Bush-era tax cuts. After all, those did not go nearly far enough. Instead, we need to cut taxes even more, and do away with un-Constitutional programs and departments. Taxes and Government spending only removes capital resources from out economy.

Second, I actually agree with some of what he's asking for here. There should be no difference, from the Government's point of view, between homosexuals and heterosexuals.  Yet, that does not mean that two men (or two women) need to be married. There is strong scientific evidence that a two-parent (male/female) nuclear family is the best form to raise children. That is the purpose for which society supports the concept of marriage, and thus two people of the same sex don't need to be in that type of recognized union.  Much the same way that the government does not need to recognize when someone marries their dog.

Thirdly, there is no truly reliable data concerning global warming.  There is evidence at wide-spread data tampering. There is evidence of scientists being ostracized for speaking out against the science behind global warming.  There is evidence that we have fewer weather reporting stations in the data streams, and they are all from warmer climates. There is even evidence that numbers are often made up in the UN reports related to global climate change.  Additionally, there is serious evidence that the environment works in cyclical natures, and we're just experiencing a truly natural upswing in the ambient temperature.  Additionally, such things as the "Cap-and-trade" laws currently before  Congress would do nothing but add billions in costs to our industrial base (again, killing jobs and harming the economy) while the estimated change from the law is well under statistical significance.

The fourth dealing with racism, sexism, etc…. you know, actually, I do agree with this now that I think about it. I mean it. There are still colleges out there that determine admittance based on the color of your skin not how well you did on your test scores. There are organizations, especially of the governmental variety, which grant greater higher status to certain genders and races over others.   Sadly, I think I might have misread that particular point.

Anyways, the fifth point above is universal health care. First off, government run health care does not work. Look at Massachusetts out of control budget.  Look at the wait times for doctors in places like France and Canada.  The sad thing is that it was liberal policy which lead us into this mess in the first place. Big government programs created the hassles involving health insurance, which lead to the out-of-control costs involved with health care.  Mr. Duke decries the thought that the private market will handle it, but in this case, as in most others, it is the truth. If the government would step back, the market would handle it. He's right, the private sector is not out there to be nice to people. It's out there to make money.  Sadly, health care is, and always will be, a limited resource object. There's only so much time in every day for a doctor to see patients. There's only so many patients that can be tuck into various medical equipments. There are two choices to make here. We use the free market to regulate the cost, thus granting access to everyone willing to pay, or we make it a "public" controlled system, and institute rationing, where only certain people gain access.   Cheap health care for all will never happen.

The sixth point is actually two fold.  The first bit, about going away from test-based performance factors make sense. After all, the teachers should not be indoctrinating students, but rather helping them learn the skills necessary for them to survive in this world—which includes such things as critical thinking.  The second part seems to falter on the course of the fourth point though.  The fourth point, claims he wants equality, and for the government to be color-blind, yet here, he wants something different. Schools are traditionally funded based upon the property taxes collected by their districts. He's advocating that some schools be given money based solely on the number of students of a particular skin color.  Instead, we should make schools accountable for the performance of students.  Additionally, we should make each school have to actually earn its keep. If it cannot teach students, or provide them a decent education, then parents should be free to remove them from those schools. Of course, this only works, if parents are willing to actually involve themselves as an active participant in their child's education.  Something which the generations of Mr. Duke's "predominately non-white students" since Bill Cosby was a child have apparently not been able to do.

The seventh point amuses me most of all, especially as a speculative-fiction fan.  I mean, here's someone who is supposed to be a critical thinker (after all, he wants to be a spec-fic writer) who is endorsing the government to quash a scientific theory. Intelligent Design may not have the same level of support as Evolution, but that doesn't negate the fact that we can neither prove, nor disprove either.  Having the government quash one, is just as bad now, as it was during the Scopes Trial.

The eighth just shows how little he knows about U.S. history, especially as it relates to the foundation of our country and Constitution.  The clause that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" was actually explicitly added to the Constitution so that Congress could not get rid of the religions mandated by the given States. After all, it was a power grab by the Supreme Court in the last half of the 20th century which applied that clause to the States. I can understand not making a course on a specific religion mandatory in public schools, but there is nothing Constitutionally stating that a school district cannot offer a course on a religion (in either a pro- or con- form).

The ninth, and final point of Mr. Duke's is going on about not lying and taking money from corporations.  First off, there are politicians on both sides of the aisle lie, misinform and misdirect every time they open their mouths. Sadly, those lies, misinformation and misdirections are not always purposefully or maliciously done. Sometimes they are "honest" in the sense that the politician either truly believes in what they're stating or they don't know better. Next, why single out corporations as not being an acceptable source of campaign contributions?  Why not talk about other forms of businesses? Why not talk about lobbies?  Why not talk about Think Tanks?  Why not talk about PACs?  Why not talk about Unions?  Why not talk about individuals?  All of those things given money to politician's campaigns for the purpose of getting specific people into power. To stop one of them, you must stop them all.

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