Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Richard Cohen Is A Troll

Benghazi is a nontroversy because the death of those Americans was a tragedy but not a scandal.

Meanwhile, the Justice report on Ferguson explains explicitly why Ferguson erupted over the killing of Michael Brown.

With Benghazi, the GOP began with a predisposition that Obama is a terrible commander in chief and wants America to be weak.  They then tried to create a scandal in their echo chamber about why Obama left Chris Stephens to die.  Subsequent facts came to light that demonstrated conclusively that Benghazi was a tragedy not a scandal.

With Ferguson, the eruption of anger was over a long train of usurpations and abuses at the hands of the Ferguson PD.  When Brown was killed, that community wide anger erupted.  The police, in this case, had lost the benefit of the doubt from that community.

Subsequent evidence has proven that the Ferguson PD uses its poor, black citizens as an alternative to raising taxes.  They engage in race-based policing.

All of this gibes nicely with Ezra Klein's piece on Obamacare, or rather what Obamacare says about American politics in 2015.  Klein's point is that the more we know about Obamacare, the more we can say it's working.  The evidence is clear, positive and overwhelming.

And none of that matters.

People tend to begin with their a priori beliefs and then organize their world around those beliefs.  And any information that contradicts those beliefs somehow paradoxically reinforces those contrary beliefs.

As Klein notes, Obamacare is costing substantial less than was predicted.  Like a $100,000,000,000 less.  And yet everyone KNOWS that Obamacare is costing more.  And presenting people with these facts doesn't seem to make a difference.

This undermines a hallmark of liberal democracy: that a populace, properly educated, could be trusted with self-governance.  And that an elected body would respond to both the will of the electorate AND the need for efficacious governance.

I would honestly guess that the Center Left - liberals - do a better job of listening to the evidence than does the Right or the Radical Left.  If there is a Center Right in America anymore, I would hope they see evidence, too.

The more ideological your thinking, the less likely you are to differentiate between Benghazi and Ferguson.  Between the dangers of vaccines and the dangers of a warming planet.

Maybe we are doomed after all...

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