Friday, February 17, 2012

Inducing The Voters

Paul Krugman has a column in the New York Times today, pondering the strange fact that the so-called “red” states which elect the most Republicans are precisely the same states that benefit the most from the government spending that Republicans profess to hate so much. As is typical of people who have lots of money, live in cloistered environments, and make their living studying society rather than living in it, he gets it wrong. He manages to blame it on the Republicans.

He says, for instance, that “working-class Americans are induced to vote against their own interests by the G.O.P.’s exploitation of social issues.” Indeed. Think about that for a moment while I rephrase it for you. “Working-class Americans decide to vote against Social Security for themselves because they want to prevent someone other than themselves from getting an abortion.” And that decision is forced upon them by the G.O.P, according to Paul Krugman. The poor, helpless voter plays no role in making that voting decision.

He goes to great length to point out that a huge portion of people voting Republican do so because they think that “government spending mean programs for the idle poor, not things they themselves count on” and should therefor be slashed, even though they themselves are recipients of Social Security and Medicare. Somehow that, too, is the Republicans’ fault and not an indication of the stupidity of the American voting public.

Paul Krugman makes the same flawed assumption that virtually all liberals make; he assumes that Republicans know that they are wrong, know that what they are doing is bad for the country, and want to do it anyway because they have evil intentions. He is so impressed with his own conviction that it is incomprehensible to him that anyone could not believe as he does. He is an idiot.

Republicans are as fully convinced that they are right as he is convinced that he is right. His convictions look as ridiculous to Republicans as theirs do to him.

Politicians make sales pitches. Right now Democrats are trying to convince us that we are winning in Afghanistan, that the summary execution of citizens is justified, that the economy is booming, and that killing civilians overseas with unmanned drones is a good thing. Republicans are trying to convince us that spending is a bad thing. Both sides are trying to convince us that Reps and Senators being millionaires all is perfectly suitable.

Americans have to pay attention, and they are not. It’s not the Republicans’ fault and its not the Democrats’ fault. The fault lies with it’s the voters who are not voting, or who are voting stupidly because they are listening to and believing lies. They are not “induced to vote” by anything. They vote stupidly because they are stupid, or because they just don’t care.

And that, dear friends, is how democracy dies.

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