Thursday, November 03, 2005

Grover's Leaky Bathtub, and Other Uncomfortable Facts
There's a post at Daily Kos this morning that's one of the best blog posts I've read anywhere in a long, long time. It starts by citing a couple of Orcinus posts I linked to on Monday, and takes off from there into what sounds to me like dead-on analysis regarding why empirical evidence counts for so much among liberals, but has so little effect on the conservative mind.
That is why the most vocal figures of the right are even now continually infuriated with the mainstream media in general, and why there is literally nothing which will satisfy them that no, the press is not actually out to get them. What the press sets out to do on its best days -- expose uncomfortable facts, question government statements and authority, and report meticulously on hidden problems or issues -- are exactly the behaviors that sets the right on edge.

Take this further, and you will see the very nature of the elitist beast that plagues conservatives and threatens to steal their children in the night. Scientists are liberal; the education system in this country is liberal; government agencies are liberal; journalism is liberal; historians are liberal; lawyers are liberal; the medical community is liberal, etc. Everywhere, in every profession that requires a broad span of actual real-world knowledge, the bogeyman of liberalism exists. Is it because those professions are truly liberal, or is it because knowledge itself is considered, by the right, liberal?
It used to be said of journalism that its job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But the sort of journalism described in the piece, in which conservative pundits inject their opinions into factual discussions in the name of "balance," tends to do precisely the opposite. No wonder it's so popular. And if knowledge itself is the problem conservatives have with life on this planet, well then, we're screwed. The guy who said "you can't fight something with nothing" never met a 21st-century American conservative.

Recommended Reading:
One of the facts that infuriates conservatives is that government costs money, and like everything else in the world, the cost of government often goes up, so sometimes taxes have to go up, too. (It's their opinion that government shouldn't cost any more or do any more today than it did in 1948, and that each tax increase represents thousands of dollars sucked out of their individual pockets to be spent by government officials on whiskey and hookers.) Here in Wisconsin, conservatives have been pushing a Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), which would prohibit state and local governments from increasing budgets or raising taxes without permission from voters, and would mandate tax cuts in the event of budget surpluses. It would, in effect, starve local governments, which would be hard-pressed to raise property taxes even if they had a good reason to do so. Colorado has had such a law since 1992--but yesterday, voters passed a referendum permitting the state to keep a budget surplus, and now the TABOR movement in other states is in jeopardy. At TPM Cafe, Ed Kilgore analyzes, and says that the Colorado vote might mean the beginning of the end for TABOR's sugar daddy, Grover "Drown Government in the Bathtub" Norquist.

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