Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Matters In Politics. Nasty But Divine Thoughts.

This is another post of my musings and a bitter one at that. I was reading Eschaton, and Atrios linked to this post:

With the deficit hawks in high gear, people are prepared to say anything in pursuit of the goal of deficit reduction. Remarkably, the NYT is apparently willing to print almost anything. Today the deficit cutting crusade is led by hedge fund manager David Einhorn. In a lengthy column Einhorn bemoans the fact that at least some people in the Obama administration are more concerned about getting people back to work than reducing the deficit.

Einhorn is a bit more knowledgeable about basic economics than many of those who worry that the United States will be unable to find investors to buy its debt. Since he has heard of the Federal Reserve Board, he recognizes that the actual concern should be inflation, not insolvency, since the Fed can always buy up government debt.

Atrios notes:

That so many people are given platforms to assert something which is quite obviously not true is mystifying.

We're at panic levels of national unemployment. If only people would panic about that.

If you didn't break out of the egg yesterday you remember that the Republicans were always ranting about the deficit in the 1990s, then became as quiet as a winter night all through the Bush administration (which racked up gigantic deficits), then woke up screaming and yelling again about a year ago.

There is no economic logic in that but the logic of power is clear to even little children or those just out of the egg: It's about what those in power want, and all means are justified in getting it. And largely people want to have lots of goodies and fun for themselves, less goodies for anyone outside the circle of people just like them and nothing else changed at all.

Hence the deficit concern by the Republicans when they are not in power. They want people to vote the Democrats out so that they can be back in power, to keep on doling the goodies and the fun to their friends and themselves. They are not really concerned about the deficit at all. If that was the case they would have ranted about it all through the latest Bush administration.

This applies to people without much power, too. The Teabaggers suddenly woke up to defend the Constitution, a smaller government, a white United States, their right to have guns everywhere and their own very grumpy god in power. But they were sweetly dozing when Bush indeed was tearing up the Constitution, because they didn't care about the bits which got torn up. They'd go right back snoring if a nice fascist state could be erected.

These examples are all from the wingnut side because I'm "biased" in what I worry about and because the harm greed and selfishness cause is greater when their policies are operating.

But neither are the Democrats driven by some totally alien motives. They want power, they want money, they want to be adulated and accepted and all that crap, and they don't want to deal with unpleasant stuff.

Just like Americans in general: The reason why most in that last opinion poll were just fine with continued offshore drilling is simply that most people don't live in Louisiana, most people want to run their heating and air-conditioning systems and their cars and most people don't really care about animals in the ocean or the environment unless they themselves start slowly roasting to death. When it's too late.

The only way you can quickly change that phlegmatism is through fear. We have all seen how it worked with the terrorists, how it works with unrelated threats such as child kidnapping and how it works with illegal immigration. There's something about fear that can be brought home to people in a way which compassion or general concerns cannot. If we could make those oil-smeared animals appear to be under everyone's bed we would get rapid change in our oil politics. Or would we?

Those are the four horsemen of the apocalypse: greed, lust for power, fear and phlegmatism. (The last one needs a better moniker.) They are going to lead us all on the wild ride into the abyss.

OK. So I exaggerated a lot in this post. It was fun to do and let me ride most of those apocalyptic horses. We are all also motivated by better emotions and values. I'm just not sure how they can be harnessed easily.
P.S. Though this post is not directly on feminist politics, feminists also need to understand its contents and how they apply to pro-choice politics, say.