Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can you open your mind? (With Update)

cross-posted at oldschooltwentysix
I read at another blog an open message to those on the losing side, an attempt to come together, that ended as such:
So what I am asking of my Republican and conservative friends, family, and readers is this:  IF, in four years, America is not a socialist hellhole, if in four years there have been no moves to limit freedom of religion or Second Amendment rights, if in four years the divorce rate is the same or lower, if in four years Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and Israel is in the same or a better security situation than today and has not been abandoned by this administration...

will you open your mind to the possibility that the above mentioned entities, the Fox Channels, the Allan Wests, the Barry Rubins and Dinesh D'souzas, have all been misleading you?  Will you open your mind to the possibility that these people are simply incorrect, when their predictions don't come true?
Having an open mind is not a one way street. Being misled is not exclusive to one side.

However well intentioned, the premise that only one side must open its mind to the possibility of being misled, or that its leaders may be incorrect, is a shaky one. An open-minded person, as I see it, would also acknowledge that the dire predictions of Democrats about Romney, often seen at such partisan blogs, would likely not have come true either.

If Romney had won, would those who imply only others are incorrect or misled be open enough to give the same they ask for? Those inside echo chambers may believe they are tolerant and open-minded, but they too often seem hardly different in behavior than the opponents they criticize. They are so attuned to the echoes that, I suggest, they are the more easily manipulated and misled as a result. 

A recent Pew poll found that MSNBC was more biased than Fox. It featured 71 percent negative coverage of Mitt Romney whereas Fox coverage of Obama was only 46 percent unfavorable. Positive Romney stories on MSNBC reached all the way to a soaring three percent!

Indeed, Chris Matthews, in an egregious example,  last night said, "I’m so glad we had that storm last week."

There are tons of examples to show it's not just a one-sided affair when it come to dire predictions, fear-mongering and demonization.

In the next four years, it is impossible to know what will happen. Unlike many of those who ask others to be open-minded, Obama does not come off to all as possessing the prowess he wants us to believe. So have these followers been misled? The lead-up and aftermath of Benghazi is nothing to brag about, and may involve instances of negligence and pre-election deception, such as illustrated here and here. Adopting an international approach that seems as interested in protecting defamation of religion as freedom of expression does not necessarily serve our fundamental interests or values, and it is not a close-minded or a dire prediction to believe this will make things more dangerous over time, here and abroad.

As to the election overall, assuming the Democratic candidate is not black in 2016, will he/she start with 95% of the black vote as a built in advantage, not to mention the high turnout? How much of a difference did this one aspect make in 2008 and 2012? In real terms. Ironically, things have become worse for blacks (see here, here, and here), who are subjected to a trickle down economic approach by the Administration. There are many issues and anomalies concerning the election, and I have a suspicion that all will be covered, more than is necessary, and new diversions will arise.

To me, no one should be proud of what just ended, a spectacle awash with money and deception that illustrates the crumbling of democracy and polarization of the polity. Bottom line, however, is that the status quo remains in effect. We are set for another round of seeing if Obama can govern as well as he runs for office. So far he seems much better at the latter, and I don't think I am misled any more than those that tout him in an overly altruistic manner.

UPDATE: Of course, Chris Matthews rightly apologized for saying he was glad for Sandy. The road is littered with apologies by Mr. Matthews, but what else could he do? The point remains that his first utterance was not unique, and tended to show that he and MSNBC have at least as much bias as Fox. Some are just unable to discern this obvious fact.


  1. "So far he seems much better at the latter, and I don't think I am misled any more than those that tout him in an overly altruistic manner."

    This says it all.

  2. I might add I find it pretty narcissistic of someone to suggest that at least YOU of all people have been "misled." It's not like you have YOUR nose pushed so far up some politician's ass you can hardly breath.

    Oh wait, did I actually say that? How un-PC of me. But seriously it does chafe to hear that is how we are thought of...the dirty unwashed MISLED. G-d help us change real quick into the anointed.

  3. What I find interesting is that the author of the piece that School discusses says that it's a message to "conservatives."

    The fact of the matter, of course, is that President Barack Obama supports the single most conservative movement anywhere in the world, i.e., political Islam.

    It is therefore the Obama administration, itself, which is doing more than anyone else in the United States to promote global conservatism.

    Political Islam treats women like property, slaughters Gay people outright, longs for the genocide of the Jews, and is chasing non-Muslims out of the Middle East.

    How much more "conservative" can one possibly get? And yet this is what the Obama administration supports and helped bring into power in that part of the world.

    Although I am not a Republican, the Republican party looks like a bunch of hippies compared to the people that Obama supports.

    I thus find its very premise to be entirely incoherent from the get-go.

    Maybe I will later give the piece further consideration to see if there is anything resembling reason in it.

    Since I recognize the writing style, I rather doubt it.


    I have to tell you guys, these authoritarian-leftists (as opposed to people like, say, Jay) have got to stop pretending that they are "liberals."

    They aren't.

    1. Of course, it is directed at those that criticize Obama's policies or actions, the people who are "deranged" and want to war against women and remove the safety net.

      In the insular circles they occupy, it is impossible to conceive the possibility that in four years they could be the ones who are incorrect. Their circles are too tightly regulated to allow dissent.

      It is this very typed of climate, where speech is chilled, that they are vulnerable to being mislead with political spin, and danger when they unquestioningly accept and then offer it to others as truth.

  4. Of course, this particular conciliatory open message you highlight was quickly buried and undermined (twice) only moments later in that very same space by a cackling simpleton bouncing off his rubber walls while gleefully parading his poo prior to flinging it at all of his 'enemies'... though it was a nice thought.

    But I know that's not your point.

    It's truly surreal stepping into the comments there sometimes, especially considering that I'm proof that, of two particular blogs, one is open to multiple perspectives and even hosts an international audience; while the other is truly an insignificant echo chamber of epic proportions run by, as Mike mentions, an authoritarian who is not in the least bit any sort of liberal I recognize. I'll leave it up to readers to determine which is which.

    oldschool is absolutely spot-on with this -

    "It is this very typed of climate, where speech is chilled, that they are vulnerable to being mislead with political spin, and danger when they unquestioningly accept and then offer it to others as truth."

    You don't even have to disagree with certain of them to be labeled a heretic, you only have to be willing to publicly be civil and friendly with others who do think differently. Ahem.

    1. It seems to me that the word "liberal" has various meaning and denotations and we keep mixing them all up. The first meaning is that of a political philosophy derived from the Enlightenment that stresses democracy, separation of church and state, freedom of the press, and so forth, and that is enshrined in the US Constitution.

      By that definition both Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan were liberals.

      Of course, by the middle of the twentieth century "liberal" came to mean the kind of rights liberalism that emerged, along with the Civil Rights Movement, after WWII. Women's rights. Gay rights. anti-racism. anti-war. This is basically the contemporary meaning of the term in its political sense after the New Left got through with it.

      The thing of it is, tho, "liberal" also represents a way of being in the world and interacting with other people in which tolerance is the key value. This is politics writ small. This is the politics of every day life and social interaction.

      Stuart, for example, however we may disagree, or however much he may feel insulted at some of my opinions concerning progressives, is among the most liberal people that I have ever met.

      What I do not understand, tho, is how one can be an authoritarian in personal interactions with others, demanding ideological conformity, or patrolling the boundaries of acceptable opinion, which is basically the function of a place like dkos, and still consider oneself liberal?

      That's not something that derives from the liberal tradition, but rather the tradition associated with the authoritarian left. Also note that a common tactic on the authoritarian left is seeking to undermine the credibility of one's political opponents through questioning their sanity.

      The Soviets were very good at this, which is why their liberal political opponents often found themselves in asylums.

      It's a very dirty, personally destructive, and illiberal tactic.

    2. Authoritarianism, perhaps, has little to do with political philosophy, but the manifestation of the philosophy by its partisans. Democrats can be either liberal or conservative, just as authoritarians.

      Limbaugh is no liberal under any definition, so far as I am concerned.

      As to the issue of open minds, we really need a leader that can make some progress. Obama talked about it, but could not refrain from small politics, and the social media American Idol infotainment cloud that has descended on the "informed electorate" is depressing.

      Perhaps the issue is whether we should allow Democrats and Republicans to continue with their cynical agendas to lead, or find a better way. All I know is that people are incredibly unaware about things in the nation and world, and those with awareness are too often beholden to one camp or another, thus obligated to destroy the enemy by any means, even if it means saying goodbye to one's principles.

  5. It should also be noted that whoever wrote the note that School discusses shamelessly lumps Dr. Barry Rubin in the same category as FOX News and Dinesh D'souza.

    This reveals an appalling ignorance on the part of the writer. D'Souza is, I think its fair to say, a conservative polemicist. He comes out of the conservative movement as it was embraced by some young people in the Reagan years.

    FOX news, of course, is FOX news. It is a news agency, like MSNBC, that is dedicated to a political agenda, just as School points out.

    Professor Barry Rubin, on the other hand, is one of the most distinguished Middle East scholars in the world today and, politically, comes out of the Labour party in Israel.

    This kind of mistake by the writer indicates that he or she cannot be taken seriously on this topic... at least not by me, that much is certain.

    1. Yep. Cross a certain line and you are a rip roaring EVIL right winger to them. It really is juvenile.

    2. Y'know, Doodad, the reason that I know that Rubin came out of Labour is because sometime in the early years of this blog I wrote a post in which I referred to Rubin as "somewhere to my political right" and he actually emailed me to say that the left-wing Labour party has been his political home.

      I wonder if it still is?

  6. And let me say I'm glad to see School back posting here...