Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Conservative" means "Ignorant"

Or deluded, take your pick.

Rep. Todd Akin is a member of the House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology. That's right. As you know by now, he also believes that women can't get pregnant from "legitimate" rape because of some unspecified biological mechanism that doctors know all about.

Paul Ryan is running for Vice President on a platform of fiscal responsibility. You've already read Krugman on this so I'll give you Sullivan, which I would not ordinarily do except to show that Sullivan is not a conservative, even though he likes to tell himself that he is, because he is partially reality-based. (He's also a devout gay Catholic, which makes no sense whatever, but that's for another day.) Quote:

There is no libertarian quite as convinced as a teenage libertarian. And it's the adolescent conviction of Ryan that shines so brightly.
One can call it courage or arrested development. But he is, in some ways, a pellucidly bright plant bred in the conservative movement's hydroponic greenhouse. Barely exposed to natural light, these young fertile saplings are fed with a constant drip of Koch money, sprayed with anti-liberal pesticides and brought eventually into the political marketplace with joyful children, a lovely wife and a set of abs Aaron Schock would die for (and probably has). He has no life or experience outside the greenhouse - which is why he glows with its certainties. Most important, he has that quintessential characteristic of the modern conservative - total denial of the recent past. Ryan was instrumental and supportive of the most fiscally reckless administration in modern times. He gave us a massive new unfunded entitlement, two off-budget wars and was key to ensuring that the Bowles-Simpson plan was dead-on-arrival. This alleged fire-fighter - whose credentials are perceived as impeccable in Washington - just quit being an arsonist.

Then of course there is climate change, which all conservatives are required to take an oath to consider a hoax.

What these and other conservative delusions have in common is that they are all examples of thinking backwards: reasoning from a prior conclusions to purported facts about the world. If the facts contradict your conclusions, the facts must be wrong.

It is a postulate that government regulation does more harm than good, and that the magic of the "Free Market" produces optimal outcomes. Therefore climate change must be a hoax.

It is a postulate that a zygote is morally identical to a human being, therefore abortion is precisely murder. (This postulate is really only a means to an end, which is that women who have sex for purposes other than procreation are evil and should be forced to have babies.) But since this conflicts with most people's moral intuition about pregnancy resulting from rape, that must not exist.

The "deficit" thing is more complex, but the same basic idea. Since actually eliminating the federal deficit would require doing things that we know a priori we cannot do -- raising taxes on the wealthy and reducing spending on the military -- and we know we must eliminate the deficit, it must be possible to do so by other means. And if those other means seem unacceptable to most people, they really aren't what they appear to be. It may look like we want to destroy Medicare, but we're actually the ones who are saving it. By destroying it.

Why in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy would anybody vote for these evil lunatics?


Anonymous said...

My god . . . or for atheists, holy shit . . . What unimaginable degree of cognitive dissonance is essential to declaring oneself a member of the Republican Party in the USA??

As Jonathan Swift supposedly said, "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

Anonymous said...

P.S.--Yes, it is an enigma how someone as intelligent as Obama can believe in war in Afghanistan . . . or anywhere . . . perhaps once one enters the power structure in DC, one becomes infected by all the bullshit. But then again, he did run on an Afghanistan war agenda . . .

Cervantes said...

I think he felt he had to be for continuing the war in Afghanistan in order to have cover for getting out of Iraq. Politics is the art of the possible, I suppose. But he still could have worked to get out faster -- and at this point, it's just going to look like a defeat. Would have been better to declare victory and leave two years ago.