Monday, March 29, 2010

The Great Derangement – Final

I finished Matt Taibbi’s book. Despite spending a lot of pages describing the lunacy of the 9/11 Truthers (which Taibbi seems to think is a phenomenon of the left) and Fundamentalist Christians, apparently Matt’s primary message is that Washington D.C. politicians want to keep us focused on an “Us vs. Them” mentality so we don’t notice they’ve got their fingers in the till.

While I don’t doubt that politicians love distracting us with imaginary bogey men so we don’t notice what’s really going on, I don’t buy his assertion that the two parties are effectively the same.

There was a time when I would have agreed with that statement but no more. If there was an honest political party I would support that one. But such an animal doesn’t exist so I’m stuck with the Democrats.

What makes the Democrats different? Well, first of all they’re not nearly as greedy as the Republicans and they tend to keep their larceny within acceptable limits. Second, they may be stealing money, but they’re not trying to control what I think and how I live.

I divide politics into three categories, Foreign Policy, Economics and Social Issues.

On Foreign Policy I’m a great believer in diplomacy and avoiding unilateral action. I’m also basically a peacenik. I require a tremendous justification to start a war. I believe the war in Afghanistan was justified. I believe the war in Iraq was not. Generally speaking, the Democrats strike me as more in line with my way of thinking.

On Economics I would like to see a balanced budget and an ongoing reduction of the national debt. In other words I want to be where Bill Clinton left us. I view Supply Side Economics as so much wishful thinking. George H.W. Bush was right when he called it voo-doo economics. I’m also convinced we’re overdue for a serious redistribution of wealth. The current concentration brought about by the financial policies of the Reagan and Bush years is unhealthy and dangerous.

I don’t think either party has what I would consider an acceptable financial policy. The Democrats can’t seem to get it through their thick skulls that you can’t spend money you don’t have while the Republicans continue to fleece the middle and working classes for the benefit of the well to do.

On Social Issues it’s not even close. The attitude toward Social Issues of the Republican Party makes me want to throw up.

So, I’m sorry Matt, while they both may have their fingers in the till, they are different.

Now let’s talk about the 9/11 Truthers. I guess I was surprised that Taibbi labeled them an aberration of the left. I mean, just because they distrusted George Bush doesn’t make them a left wing phenomenon. I also don’t believe his numbers about the size of the movement. As far as I can tell it’s a very small splinter group of people that just have to have a conspiracy.

There are always people that can’t believe that governments, corporations and people just aren’t as smart as we would like them to be.

The Japanese couldn’t have snuck up on Pearl Harbor so Roosevelt must have let them so he could fight Hitler.

One lone nut couldn’t have killed JFK so there must have been multiple gunmen and a conspiracy reaching from Havana to the halls of the CIA to Jack Ruby’s strip club.

The Coca-Cola Corporation couldn’t have been that stupid so New Coke must have been a clever ploy to revitalize Coke sales.

A bunch of Islamic fanatics couldn’t have planned and pulled off 9/11 so the Bush Administration must have set it up so we could declare war on Iraq and steal their oil.

A good rule to remember is never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple human stupidity. The fact of the matter is Bush and his cronies just weren’t smart enough to pull this off and besides, Bush may have been an idiot but he wasn’t evil. Cheney could never have talked him into something like 9/11.

Anyway, Matt’s book is worth the read but I think he’s allowed himself to become a little too cynical. I guess that’s an easy thing to do when one sees the crap that goes on in D.C. up close and personal but I think he needs to step back and look at the broader picture.

Either that or I need to stop being fooled by the politicians.

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