The similar delusions of America’s Left and Right show our common culture – and weakness

Summary:   Another post describing the distortions in our thinking resulting from our growing susceptibility to propaganda, a weakness eagerly exploited by elites of both left and right (i.e., both factions of our ruling class).  For the Republic to prosper — perhaps even survive — I suspect we must do better.

The FM website’s mailbag brings a flow of insights about America.  Such as this in response to About the political significance of the conservatives’ health care propaganda.

“The Constitution is not propaganda, and neither the 2008 election nor this legislation was a proper Article V convention to alter fundamentally the fabric of the country. We The People shan’t back down. Pass that to the plutocratic overlords.”

I get many such emails, warning that current events will cause massive changes — even an apocalypse.  About climate change from those on the left.  About growing government power from the right.  I find sad — even pitiful — that neither side sees the similarities between their behavior and that of their opponents:  exaggerated fears, and in response pinning their hopes on empty suits.  Such as Obama and Palin, inexperienced politicos acting out the dreams of their audiences.  Perhaps this is how our great nation dies, in delusion and folly. 

I’ve chronicled the left’s climate doomsterism in many posts.  For examples from the right see “Women’s Suffrage and Other Visions of Right-Wing Apocalypse“, The New Republic, 21 December 2009 — Here are a few of the many gems the TNR staff have assembled.  Fortunately, our foreathers overcame these fears.  The convulsive debate over some minor reforms to our health care system suggests that we lack their confidence and wisdom.  I don’t believe that’s true, and hope that the next few years prove it false.

“It may be impracticable that our distinctively American experiment of individual freedom should go on.”
— Senator David Hill (D-NY), in 1894, bemoaning the creation of a federal income tax

“I fear it may end the progress of a great country and bring its people to the level of the average European. It will furnish delicious food and add great strength to the political demagogue. It will assist in driving worthy and courageous men from public life. It will discourage and defeat the American trait of thrift. It will go a long way toward destroying American initiative and courage.”
— Senator Daniel O. Hastings (R-DE), in 1935, listing the evils of Social Security

“[I]t would make it practically impossible for any publisher in the United States to accept any food, drug, or cosmetic advertising without facing squarely into the doors of a jail.”
— Federal Trade Commission Chair Ewin L. Davis, in 1935, on the dangers of empowering the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the food, drug, and cosmetic industries

“[The Act represents] a step in the direction of Communism, bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism.”
— The National Association of Manufacturers, in 1938, condemning a national minimum wage and guaranteed overtime pay

“The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.”
—Ronald Reagan, in 1961, arguing against the creation of Medicare

“It is socialism. It moves the country in a direction which is not good for anyone, whether they be young or old. It charts a course from which there will be no turning back.”
— Senator Carl Curtis (R-NE), in 1965, opposing Medicare

For more information on the FM website

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Including About the FM website page. Of esp relevance to this topic:

Posts about propaganda:

  1. More attempts to control the climate science debate using smears and swarming, 19 October 2009
  2. About Wikipedia’s handling of controversial topics…like climate science, 20 December 2009
  3. Think-tanks bribe journalists to promote our wars, 24 December 2009
  4. Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again), 20 January 2010
  5. Successful propaganda as a characteristic of 21st century America, 1 February 2010
  6. More propaganda: the eco-fable of Easter Island, 4 February 2010
  7. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
  8. Dumbest headline of the week, 1 March 2010 — More by Glenn Reynolds
  9. About the political significance of the conservatives’ health care propaganda, 23 March 2010

Afterword

Send emails to fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Also — you can now subscribe, receiving posts by email — see the box on the upper right.

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