Monday, September 12, 2005

people or things?

At last, someone has come up with a clear description of what makes the Neo-Cons so morally reprehensible. After years of being beaten over the head with Jesus, perhaps these definitions by George Lakoff will help liberals in their fight:
The heart of progressive-liberal values is simple: empathy (caring about and for people) and responsibility (acting responsibly on that empathy). These values translate into a simple principle: Use the common wealth for the common good to better all our lives. In short, promoting the common good is the central role of government.

The right-wing conservatives now in power have the opposite values and principles. Their main value is Rely on individual discipline and initiative. The central principle: Government has no useful role. The only common good is the sum of individual goods. It's the difference between We're all in this together and You're on your own, buddy. It's the difference between Every citizen is entitled to protection and You're only entitled to what you can afford. It's the difference between connection and separation.
I've thought since the Reagan era that (to put it simply) Republicans were just plain mean, but that was never a very good arguement to use against them in any kind of debate. This is much better.
This is a definition of GOP values which we can see at work: In the fight against Universal Healthcare, in the weakening of FEMA as an "entitlement program", in the weakening of FCC rules governing the percentage of outlets one company can own in a given market,...
One of the Neo-Cons "strongest" arguements is that they are the party that represents "morality" and they've seized on this to sway the Christian population of this country. Some Christians (being allowed to speak for all Christians) in this country are feeling picked on, "persecuted" even. They feel that Republicans can represent them better, and are somehow more "godly" than Democrats. "Morals" was an issue cited by twenty-some percent of voters when asked why they chose to re-elect Bush. These people are obviously not paying attention to anything but the words. Because of one issue, abortion, the GOP has steadily gained ground over the Democrats. But if you remove that one issue, how good is the Republican record in moral terms.
Is is moral to cut loose the protections, both legal and financial, for the poor? Is it moral to cut tax rates for the richest people in America, while handing out little $600 bribes to the rest to distract them from the thousands going to people who lready have more than enough to live in complete comfort? Is it moral to then start a war but create no provision to pay for it? Is it moral to hand over billions of taxpayer dollars to a company connected to the Vice President without even any bidding? Is it moral to invade a foriegn country without any real proof of their guilt and cause the death of thousands of it's citizens? Republican morality is a Big Lie.
Liberals are often accused of being paternalistic because they dont think that people can see through (other people's) lies, and maybe they are. But the truth is that much of the American public cannot see through the lies (or dont bother), from either side, until it's too late to do anything but clean up after them! This can include Liberal lies, by the way. Katrina exposed one of the GOP's really big lies: the one that said the "War On Terrorism" was the most important American priority, that said only through the defeat of our "enemies" could we be safe. Instead...
Bush's single-minded focus on the "war against terrorism" has compounded a natural disaster and turned it into the greatest calamity in American history. The US has lost its largest and most strategic port, thousands of lives, and 80% of one of America's most historic cities is under water.

If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history. (Paul Craig Roberts, in Counterpunch)
I need to ask the following question everyday, everyday, in the hopes that it will spread, like a virus, and infect the minds of people everywhere. It's a simple question, one which may have many very different answers, but one which needs to be asked:

Do You feel safer today than you did four years ago?

I think I'll finish this entry with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett. This is from the book "Carpe Jugulum", in which a group of oh-so rational vampires have enslaved the locals, throughmind power (no, not public relations), to make feeding easier (they are, after all, superior beings). No one gets "killed" to feed their thirst, but everyone, from the oldest to the youngest, has to line up to contribute "just a little" to their Overlords. In it, the book's heroine, Granny Weatherwax says this:
"...sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself, that's what sin is."
     "It's a lot more complicated than that-"
     "No. It aint. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried they wont like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
     "Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes-"
     "But they starts with thinking about people as things..."
Ask yourself; which party treats party treates human beings as people, and which one treats human beings as commodities? Which party do you identify with?

Incidentally, at the end of the book, the locals wake up to what's happening, and tear several of the vampires' heads off (the leaders, of course, get away)
(well, sort of, it is a fantasy novel, after all).


Dave said...

Pratchett is far more perceptive than most people realise, especially in the later books. Monstrous Regiment did some great war material.

daveawayfromhome said...

Yeah, I think Pratchett isnt given his due because of the silliness of his books, but I think they're damn brilliant. I enjoyed "Monstrous Regiment" a lot, but I think that "Jingo" fit the current situation better.