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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Abandon all reason …

… ye who subscribe to “hope and change”.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
— Dante Alighieri's epic poem The Divine Comedy

Profile of Dante Alighieri, one of the most re...Image via Wikipedia
Related source » Works and Days » What We Do Not Want to Hear Anymore: 'via Blog this'
[This related source is recommended in its entirety.]

“We were not forced to buy homes by "them". Some of us were greedy and wanted to keep flipping real estate and got caught when the music stopped. Some were stupid and leveraged their homes to pay down credit card debt and write off the interest — or take on even more consumer debt. Some were always better off in an apartment or rental. True, some just bought at the wrong time; but that’s called "bad luck" and not quite the result of a mustached black-hat forcing an innocent widow at gunpoint to sign on the dotted line. What are we to think when the president thunders, "We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them"? What does "we learned" mean? Did we ever not know? And what does his passive-voice "had been sold" mean? Are we to learn now that it does not mean "bought"? Americans did not "buy" houses, but were [instead] pried out of their beds to have too costly homes "sold" to them? […] Human nature and the laws of physics, not technocratic liberalism, are still the best guides to the madness around us. Money borrowed has to be paid back or the debt eaten by someone, period. Poverty is defined by a want of material necessities, not by lacking the appurtenances that someone else better off enjoys. Gas and oil are miracle fuels and it is very hard to find alternate energies at comparable costs and reliability. And as a rule, the green class of environmental elites usually uses more fossil fuels per capita than do the muscular classes who mine and drill them out of the ground — and who do not jet, drive, or live in the comparable fashion of their critics. The content of our character alone matters; those who are not so confident in their own, usually demand that their tribal affiliations be essential and not incidental to their personas. Most accept that culture, not race matters, but it matters still more not to say that. Most of the political class has no interest in history; dogma is their creed. They assume that everyone (far less noble than themselves) in the past would have agreed with them, or now can be postfacto made to agree with them.” [emphasis added]
— Victor Davis Hanson, January 28, 2012 (

It is a well known truism that you can't reason with unreasonable people. And yet, it is arguable that the overwhelming portion of our political polarization and bickering stems from a fundamental opposition of two major worldviews, not from the myriad of policy differences, which are their consequences. Such arguing over political issues can not be resolved because, at bottom, both sides of the argument are convinced that the other side is unreasonable, unethical, unpatriotic, uncouth, and, yes, unbearable. As a consequence, there are three major groupings that can be distinguished in our American political spectrum.

One group comprises those people who see the world as an imperfect association of imperfect humans who are motivated by self-interest and a provisional altruism of varying degrees. These are the people who acknowledge the inevitability of human failings, are inclined to do the best they can with the hand-of-life they have been dealt, and who rely on free-market capitalism for the growth and allocation of wealth that is demonstrably not characterized by a zero-sum game. For specificity's sake we could call them "realistic conservatives".

Another group comprises those people who see the world as an imperfect association of potentially-perfectible humans who can aspire to and/or be coerced by government to strive for an idealized society of largely selfless members inspired by the notion of brotherly love. We could call them "progressive liberals".

The third group includes all the people who remain outside the first two camps described above. These are the people who either don't know, haven't considered, or don't care which philosophical grouping would serve them best. For all the people who aren't sure where they belong but would like to learn more about one of the fundamental issues confronting our American society today, I can not overstate my recommendation for reading "A Conflict of Visions" by Thomas Sowell.

Post 1,757 Abandon all reason …

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