Entrance Ramp

It’s likely to be an interesting election year. I daresay, we’ve never had anyone in the White House as charismatic as Barack Obama. We’ve never had an incumbent with a base so intensely dedicated. We’ve never had a base display such an intensity of dedication without being able to explain why. On the other hand, it’s been seventy years since the President has managed to win re-election in an economy this crappy, with so little sign of turn-around.

It’ll be a nail-biter. One thing that makes me nervous is to look around and see the people who are becoming liberal democrats, without realizing they’re becoming liberal democrats. They’re on an “entrance ramp” to the moonbat highway and they don’t know it. Others, on the other hand, are not liberals and never will be. That means there must be a handy definition, perhaps yet to be fully codified, with regard to the ones who are teetering on the brink.

It seems, to me, to begin with a single word, “should.” And the opposing force is provided by another single word, “how.” There are all these situations that “should” not exist in our real world existence, but do; and there are these other situations that cannot be found anywhere…but “should.” We should not have invaded Iraq, these moderates-who-are-becoming-liberal-democrats tell us with such certainty, such passion, such conviction. Now, at first blush, how do you go about not invading Iraq seems a pretty simple proposition, doesn’t it? Easier than falling off a log. Just don’t do it. But as they ritually and monotonously go about morphing this “should”-ness into an ever-so-popular visceral white hot hatred against you-know-who, they forget the backstory. It isn’t ignorance, in fact it is something they have lived through personally. In fact, the backstory has a lot to do with why the hatred burns so brightly. It is the hatred the Londoners felt against Titus Oates before he was sentenced to be lashed in the town square every now and then, whenever someone got it in their heads to go at it again, permanently. It is the hatred the nation felt against Susan Smith who drowned her sons in the car, and then made up a story about some black guy doing it…which people, then, fell for. It is the hatred felt only by the guy who feels like he got snookered. People who didn’t get snookered, don’t feel this hatred. So how would we have gone about not invading Iraq? Those with a working, functional long-term memory know there is no easy answer to this question; in fact, even knowing what we know today, invading Iraq was not necessarily wrong, at all. That’s why we aren’t unanimous on this.

There are other “shoulds” offset by other “hows.” A lot of them have to do with money. To the lazy thinker, when you say “these people should be paid more than seven-seventy-five an hour,” the only deliberation that may ensue after that, is whether…well, whether they should or shouldn’t. Any opposition to this, therefore, is gutterballed into a straw-man argument that goes something like “no, nobody should make more than that” even when nobody in proximity is saying anything remotely close to such a thing. If they bothered to listen to the opposition, they’d find the opposition is more likely to be presenting a “how.” The so-called moderate, but compassionate, who more often than not fancies himself to be the deeper thinker, is so consumed with one side of the equation that he neglects the other: The money must come from somewhere, right? There are only so many possibilities: the management will willingly come up with the extra money; the management will be required to come up with the extra money; a new program will be started to provide the extra money. We can safely exclude the first of those, since if management willingly came up with the extra money, the so-called “worker” would already be getting it and we would not be having the conversation. The other two options have to do with forcing someone, therefore depriving someone of an option, so could we inspect that please?

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But the answer is no, because people overly enamored with “should” tend to change the subject when the question turns to “how.” That’s just the way people are.

I see other people are on their way to becoming post-modern liberals without realizing it, because they are simply continuing a life-long response to peer pressure. They do not think this is what is happening to them, because they are not necessarily obsessed, like high school sophomores, with wearing the latest fashions. So they think they are on the outside of this. Many, in fact, are quite insistent that they are “strong-willed,” “thinking for themselves,” teaching their kids to do the same, et cetera, et cetera…

The problem is, though, even though they may not be swayed by what a measured majority may think, they still define “a great point” according to whether it has reached plurality. So if they hear an opinion, they don’t put too much thought into whether it might be valid until they hear someone else say “that’s a great point” then tney might take it a little more seriously. They have the fortitude and the backbone to help push that boulder up to the top of the mountain, then; to add their voices to the chorus until such time as it has reached the fifty-percent mark and reached true majority status. And if that fails, they consider it to have been a noble effort, just like any true rugged individualist.

But they don’t have what it takes to be the guy who says “that’s a great point” — the number two. And they fall well, far, short of what it takes to be the guy who made the point, the number one. To them, if they don’t see that moved-and-seconded sequence, then it is absolutely impossible for any worthy point to have been made.

Henry Fonda could go in to a jury room with eleven of these people…and not have a single prayer of turning things around. It wouldn’t happen. These people are succumbing to peer pressure and they don’t know it, because they aren’t evaluating the ideas and the arguments according to content. Until the motion has been seconded, it isn’t worth considering.

I see another class of person getting suckered into becoming a hardcore lefty without realizing this is what is happening to him. Or her. Actually, it tends to more often be a “her” although it is lopsided in that direction only slightly. My home state of California, at this time, looks to be the first of the fifty states to go bankrupt, because of this kind of thought process. A policy is debated, in advance of a potential enactment of a policy not yet existing, or repeal of a policy already on the books. The debate comes down to whether a defined class of people should receive some special entitlement…and they decide it emotionally. Think of the example up above about hiking the minimum wage. This is slightly different. A litany is soon spewed out about “those people have to…” and then you get to hear about some fuzzy narrative. Nurses have to clean up bodily fluids, cops have to pull people over and maybe get shot, firemen have to charge in to burning buildings. And the prison guards, let’s not forget the prison guards.

I see no point inserting the ritual disclaimers about how wonderful I think nurses/cops/firemen/guards are, because my beef is not with the conclusion reached in these exchanges. My beef is with how it is decided. The virtue of this defined class…is speechified…waxed-lyrically-about. And presto! No need to have any further discussion about it. But this is not the way mature adults decide what to do.

It works the other way too. Oil companies and their evil profits. I know you’ve heard that one a few times lately. We have all this “pain at the pump” and unfortunately, everybody who drives a car to work has a good claim on the smallest-violin, just like cops and nurses and firemen and prison guards. All of us who buy gas have a “how would you like to” story to share, if only there was someone we could share it with who didn’t also have to pay $4.65 a gallon. To a rational thinker, a reasonable question emerges — and remains unanswered. How do we get from there…the price of gas is higher than we would like it to be…to over here, which is more congressional investigations (which never find anything), more regulation, more oversight, and would someone please come up with a scheme to take the profits away. You know the old joke about the South Park Underpants Gnomes with the one, two, three.

This is very much like that:

1. Diminish profits derived from anything that has to do with getting gas on the market;
2. ???
3. Cheaper gas prices!

When is the last time —

No, scratch that. Can anyone name for me a single commodity that came down in price, as a direct result of our efforts to make it more expensive, onerous and difficult to bring that commodity to market.

You see, in none of the above cases is it a very exotic or intricate or involved test of practical thinking these democrats-in-training have failed. They are actually very rudimentary thresholds. I would expect any sixth-grader, who has shown the responsibility, drive, initiative and capacity for independent living to walk home from school and be a latch-key kid, to pass these thresholds.

But of course, once you’re a grown-up you become entitled to conveniences. As are kids. But grown-ups get to decide which conveniences they like, and continue consuming them indefinitely. And what are conveniences, other than vacations from the necessity of personally making things happen, getting your hands dirty? And so adults are availed of the luxury of “bowing out” of the exchange, with everything except their wallets, thus gradually forgetting how things come to be. Beef comes from the store. Corn comes from a can. Water comes from a bottle. Clothes come from Amazon.

Therefore, we are all susceptible to this sloppy, democrat-entrance-ramp thinking. It doesn’t have much to do with intelligence. A lot of very smart people slip into this. They get a “should” in their heads that excites them, forgetting about the “how”; they believe no idea is worth thinking unless it’s moved-and-seconded; and they think privileges and punishments should be decided and set-aside only according to how good or bad some class of people can be perceived to be.

Barack Obama has a good chance for a second term, actually. That isn’t to say it won’t be a tough fight for Him. But I would say most of the people voting for the democrat in the 2012 election, as of today they don’t know yet that they’re democrats. But their thinking is just as diseased.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Washington Rebel.

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