Archive for February 8th, 2012

History didn’t begin in the 1950s.

Feb 08, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

This deconstruction of Charles Murray by David Frum is masterful. If Republicans talked like David Frum, we’d be getting somewhere.

I tramped through a lot of the same research that Charles Murray presents here when I wrote my history of the 1970s, How We Got Here.

As I looked backward and forward in time, however, I had to face this awkward fact: America became more culturally stable between 1910 and 1960 as it became less economically and socially libertarian. As it became more economically and socially libertarian after 1970, America became culturally less stable:

“The greatest generation was also the statist generation. Like them or loathe them, the middle decades of the twentieth century were an entirely anomalous period in American history. Never had the state been so strong, never had people submitted as uncomplainingly, never had the country been more economically equal, never had it been more ethnically homogeneous, seldom was its political consensus more overpowering.”
Murray nostalgically regrets the lost America of his 1950s Midwestern boyhood. But to describe in any true way how that America was lost would require a reckoning of how that America was made. Unwilling, as he acknowledges, to submit his politics to the check of uncongenial evidence, Murray prefers to avoid encountering the evidence that might shake his politics.

The cognitive dissonance required to be a Republican nowadays qualifies as neurological self-mutilation. Going back to the taxes of the nineties is regarded as Stalinism by Republicans nowadays. Looking back to the story of the “Greatest Generation” and how they built a middle class America reveals that we were apparently a sub-colony of the USSR. Republican presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan (yes, I mean that) and George HW Bush were all bleeding pink. As Republicans wrenched us away from the kind of unity we had post-Depression and WWII, the middle class has seen increasingly disproportionate returns, and blue collar workers have ever fewer roads to common prosperity in this service economy. If Republicans intend to explain how they’re going to return us to middle class prosperity with the economic support systems of the 1800s, then they should get started on explaining sooner rather than later.

-hw

Bin Laden dead, wars ending, economy ticking upwards…

Feb 08, 2012 in Crazy Tea Party People, Culture

…so is it time for Republicans to turn to culture war issues because they are quickly running out of things to talk about?

Because no, I do not think that will win the election either.

But after the war on women that the Tea Party waged once in office, I’d say it’s a topic well worth addressing. Is the Republican vision for the future one in which only nice well-to-do families get access to birth control? And then we stop support programs for poor children and everybody pulls themselves up by their bootstraps, resulting in a country where 90% are objectively wealthy? And everybody starts doing this once we permanently ban gay marriage?

Just tell me what that vision for the future is, Republicans. Rick Santorum swept three states literally running on a platform of solving all of our economic ills though family values.

Bring on the sunshine, Santorum! Save the Republicans from Mitt with cultural conservatism, please. As I’ve noted many times, I just can’t lose with this GOP primary.

-hw

Women’s health versus the patriarchy.

Feb 08, 2012 in Health Care, Women

I know which one I choose.

Let’s just keep things really clear, here: Catholics are generally pro-contraception. A clique of drag queens, perverts and pedophile-enablers who’ve never touched a woman sitting over in Italy has decreed that contraception is a sin. Dutiful priests and deacons in the U.S. follow the routine in sermons and have decided that to include contraceptive services in a health care plan is to give in to Satan.

All scientific research points towards responsible sex education and contraception as the best method of limiting unwanted pregnancies, teen mothers, and single-parent households. The public is overwhelmingly, staggeringly in favor of contraception, period. There’s a point where it’s simply a fundamental component of health care, and thus becomes an elementary component of any health care institution.

The question becomes then, how much are we going to let a tiny minority’s religious law designate the standards of basic health care? I confess that I do sympathize with their desire to maintain full control of their private organization, to have a liberty in how they choose to practice medicine. But what if a hospital concluded that its religious beliefs dictated heart patients must use a certain medication proven to increase risk of heart attacks?

So I go back to the original question and ask why this fight exists. And I’m left with the same answer: An out-of-touch patriarchy pimping a dogma that states some imperceptible “natural” law of God that says only man and woman must have sex, and it must be exactly as God designed our bodies to behave, with every sex act concluded to orgasm and deposit of semen within the vaginal cavity.

To me, that’s Lord Xenu territory. I choose women’s health and smart family planning in the hands of the family, not the corrupt and morally bankrupt Vatican. And guess what? Most Catholics agree. So I call it fair.

-hw

UPDATE: Just to be clear, yes, I expect the Obama administration will concede soon.

UPDATE II: You know, I was wondering if there wasn’t a way to get everybody what they wanted…churches want to not offer contraceptives, everybody else wants contraceptives available…so there simply needs to be another actor who provides that contraception coverage, and it seems the Obama administration has figured out a third way. This compromise sounds, on the surface, like a slightly wiser path that takes ammunition out of the religious right’s contraceptive-denying war.