Friday, November 05, 2010


Since I've commented on the site of the progressive rag "The Nation", I'm on their mailing list.

This came in today:

Dear Nation Reader,

There's no disguising it—the results of the midterm elections were, with few exceptions, grim, as candidates who are intent on rolling back decades of economic and social progress were swept into office.

But this is no time to despair. It is time to stand and fight for a real debate about ideas and for small-d democracy. The Nation is committed to that work, and to ensuring that our truth-telling journalists lift their ideas into our country's all-too narrow debate.
Decades of economic and social progress?  I thought that had all been destroyed over the "previous 8 years" with George W. Bush and then that evil Republican congress under Clinton.

Plus, like I've always said, it all depends on whose definition of "progress" you go with.

As Newt so adroitly put it the other night when Greta Van Sustren pointed out that Obama delivered on change, and people wanted change ...
 "If somebody offers you a chance to go to Disney World and you get all excited - and they promise to take you to Disney World, and then they didn't quite tell you that by the way the way they're going to get there is they're going to crash the plane into the park ..... ?  The fact that they were going to take you to Disney World may not have been quite as attractive as you thought."
"Change".  I was stunned to see that someone could win over America on such a transparently meaningless word.   All it means is "not this".   I'm sorry, there are a lot of places in the world I don't want to be like.  I need something more concrete than "not this".

Thomas Sowell put it rather well talking about another mushily vague word....

"If there is ever a contest to pick which word has done the most damage to people's thinking, and to actions to carry out that thinking, my nomination would be the word "fair." It is a word thrown around by far more people than have ever bothered to even try to define it.

This mushy vagueness may be a big handicap in logic but it is a big advantage in politics. All sorts of people, with very different notions about what is or is not fair, can be mobilized behind this nice-sounding word, in utter disregard of the fact that they mean very different things when they use that word."

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