Sunday, June 19, 2011

The illogic of the right

Right wingers love the following quote from 1770 by Alexander Fraser Tytler (sometimes credited to later interpretations of it byAlexis de Tocqueville specifically about the United States). Righties use it often as a way to prove our country is heading the wrong direction. You have all heard at least a version of it, but have you thought about how those who use it limit their application for it.
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to Complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage."
Here's the thing that I find amazing. First right wingers want their candidates to constantly tell them how exceptional they are and woe unto the candidate who doesn't do it repeatedly. Once is not enough.

But then they find fault with the very government they claim is weak, unable to do anything right, and should be downsized to the point where it only does the things they particularly like. The United States is exceptional except for half its people (or even more) and not at all its government? It's exceptional for a document written at its beginning which has limited information for today but somehow is nearly gospel to a certain bunch.

Ask a rightie what should be cut in terms of spending and it's easy for them-- anything they don't personally use, know that they benefit from, are ignorant about what it does, and never about something that might hurt them. So nothing about cutting the military and a lot about cutting education for the masses. Why should the masses need educating? And yet the very point by de Tocqueville was that a democracy can only survive with an educated populace-- and that doesn't mean just the elites.

Then comes this paradox. While they see that quote as meaning the rabble, the poor, the weak, they do not appear to see it being about the rich and powerful using their money to influence voters and issues. Hence they don't fight for an end to oil subsidies but will fight for an end to anything for the poor. The poor don't need it but the rich do?

Righties don't see the rich in the above quote. Whatever the rich have, they deserve, and they would never abuse the country or not do what is best for us all *gagging*. The rich value clean air and water, hence need no regulations. They also do not need any financial regulations because the rich, well they'd never take what they didn't deserve; BUT not so where it comes to the poor or even the middle. Those folks don't know what's good for us all. They are the ones who prove it isn't good to have a democracy because they will constantly vote themselves more benefits. The rich, oh no way would they do that!

*taking a deep breath and saying a few ohhhmmmmmsssss* because I am really angry and the more time I spend with my grandchildren, wondering what their future will be, the madder I get!


Kay Dennison said...

I agree with you implicitly. I worry about my own future as well given the long life of the women in my family, I've got a shot at being here another 40 years if the GOP doesn't institute euthanasia for old ladies who aren't rich. Is that depressing or what?

Phil said...

I like this example of a common sense budget
In short it points out that we can allocate a portion of our massive defense budget to social issues we would still have the most massive defense/offense in the world by several times any other country. When I point this our to my conservative friends, they cannot fathom cutting our armies. It's just a blank stare. How many times do we need to able to blow up the world anyway?
Most importantly, what kind of world to we wish to live, one that values our world and the creatures that live in it, or conflict and war?
It's a retorical question, even the far right will tell you they value life. It's time we put our money where our values are.

la peregrina said...

Love this, Rain, well done.

Robert the Skeptic said...

With respect to conservatives, I don't think logic or rationality enters into their consciousness. It is strictly ideology.

Ingineer66 said...

Kay, I am pretty sure Obamacare was voted in by Democrats not the GOP. You should listen less to Olberman. Republicans really do not want old people to die and kids to starve.

Rain said...

Ingineer, what programs do Republicans favor that would help the elderly and the young? Nobody is saying they 'want' them to starve but what are they suggesting would stop that from happening? Most of what I hear is let the families take care of it or charities. When a rightie talks of cutting wasteful programs, it's not the oil subsidies or weapon systems that can kill the whole planet twice over, it's always education, health care, housing, environment, anything that helps the little guy. It's one thing to say a program like say 'head start' isn't working and let's fix it. It's another to say it should end and who is it would end it? The right complains about public education and wants to do things to make it even less effective like the testing for no child left behind which denies more actual classroom time for teaching. No, they don't want them to starve but they also are trying to end all programs that would keep that from happening from the government end.

Rain said...

And Phil, you have only recently been coming here or at least commenting, I want you to know how much I like hearing the ideas from others on these subjects. Sometimes that's disagreeing like ingineer, but you don't get a real conversation on issues without having alternate ideas or more info put forth. It means a lot to me when I see those kind of posts. Wally is good at that also. Actually all the regulars here make the blog better for what they put out. Discussion is what we need not condemnation even though it's real easy for me to get into a condemning mood sometimes when I hear what is being put out by the rightie candidates!

wally said...

"education, health care, housing, environment" Maintaining these things keeps our society civilized.