Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Conflict of Logic aka No Logic at All

Well, I've been watching the growth of the Tea Party movement. Even though there are a few nuts in the bunch, I've been in favor of its growth for a few reasons. 1) At least they're doing something constructive with their free time (obviously they have lots of free time to show up at the Capitol and peoples' home towns all the time). 2) They're members of the Tea Party and hopefully not one of the other "patriot" groups that have popped up since Obama won the presidency that are actually racist nativist groups. 3) They're making their voices heard in a way that draws attention to an opinion that's opposite from the government majority. Having opposition front and center helps keep those in charge aware that they do not represent everyone, just some people (like me!).

I know that I am a very liberal person, for the most part. I mean, I love the idea of equality being slightly more important than freedom. I am referring to freedom the way the Republicans mean it. As an African-American woman, my idea of freedom concerns a little more than how much I pay in taxes. The fact that I can walk around without someone forcing me to shuck cotton or give up sex without asking permission first is my bigger freedom concern. But, alas, in the eyes of partisan politics, I find equality more important. Through rules and laws about education, health care, taxes, insurance, etc., the government can ensure that those who cannot do for themselves are not left to flail. And the free market never helped anyone but business people. Every single new area of the economy eventually becomes a monopoly in some part of America.
But, on the other hand, I think I'd like to have lots of guns, and I'm quite sure I don't want anyone to take them away. Now, what makes me liberal is the knowledge that as long as I'm not a convict or a person with some diagnosis from the Psych section of the DSM-IV, I can have those guns with a permit from my state. I don't think the government wants to take my guns. They don't. Gun control laws are sometimes a bit over-reaching. But they're not trying to take away my guns. That's just silly.
Also, I'm pro-abortion. Yup, I am strongly pro-abortion. I think that men can decide to not be a father with relative ease. Claim the baby isn't theirs, simply walk away, dodge a paternity test. There are all sorts of creative ways to avoid the burden. Women can't just walk away from being pregnant. Oh wait, they can! The idea of not being a parent should be equal opportunity. I would bet the entire cost of my medical education that if men were still the majority of our leaders and also the ones who had to be pregnant, abortion would be so legal, it would become recommended. The birth rate would decline, and white people would've been the American minority years ago. But I digress. The moral of that digression: I'm mostly liberal, but that doesn't mean I cannot understand the motivation behind people I completely disagree with standing up for what they believe in.
The Tea Party-ers want less government. They want the government to stop forcing taxes on them that pay for services and things. They feel that if left alone, they could face these problems themselves and come up with a viable solution. They are Libertarians and they want to be left alone. But the cognitive dissonance they engage in is too much for me to bear. This article I've linked to on the New York Times website finally confirms some things I've suspected about the Tea Party-ers.
1) There would be far less of them if unemployment weren't so bad. Most of the people quoted in this article cite joining the cause because they had time on their hands since being forced into retirement/being laid off.
2) They are relying on government help while also decrying it. Most of the Tea Party members are receiving unemployment, Medicare, and Social Security benefits. They denounce public benefits as "false philanthropy." This is an extra-special kind of cognitive dissonance. The fact that they receive these benefits is what allows them to continue to feed themselves and keep a roof over their heads while they protest the exact things keeping them afloat. I'll also bet large amounts of money that you'll never see a sign that says "Take Away My Unemployment Benefits and Stop Footing the Bill Now That I've Lost My Health Insurance."
3) They don't pay attention to the facts when they form their opinions. There is a quote from a man who is upset about lack of regulation by the government. At the same time he is protesting involvement. Let me say that again. “The government has allowed free trade and never set up any rules.” This while also lamenting government involvement. Yup, some serious cognitive dissonance.
"He and others do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact."
They acknowledge they aren't looking at the facts. But they don't care. They want what they want and they want it now. Give them more protection from unemployment. Secure their Medicare and Social Security. And do all of it while lowering their taxes and being less involved in their lives. Stop paying welfare rolls and divvying up money for education.
This amounts to a very selfish mindset. They want less government for everything except what would help them. That's how I sum up the situation. They want the government to help them, only in certain situations, and they want the government to not help anyone else.

1 New Hypotheses:

My daddy made a very good point when I talked to him tonight. President Obama was a constitutional law professor!!! I do believe he wouldn't get behind Congress passing something that was unconstitutional. I have the most faith I'll probably ever have in my lifetime in Obama's ability to pass constitutional legislation.

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