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Why Must the Good Vote Democrat?

October 31, 2010

Monsieur John Kerry on the state of politics:

“[I]t’s absurd. We’ve lost our minds. We’re in a period of know-nothingism in the country, where truth and science and facts don’t weigh in. It’s all short-order, lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics.”

That’s just a little more blunt way of saying what President Obama has said shortly before:

“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared,” Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. “And the country’s scared.”

If science and reason and facts were so unidirectional, politics of the form that got Obama and Kerry to where they are now wouldn’t even exist. But that’s a topic for another day. I found those two comments grossly insulting to Americans and most specifically to those who aren’t enthused about Obama & Co’s policies who were the obvious targets of those comments. And without wanting to say that Democrat voters are all irrational and anti-science, the French Cowboy thinks that many votes for Democrats come from people who haven’t much of a clue.

Most notably those voters are the young, who vote Democrat because it’s simply out of the question to vote for the evil, greedy bigots that compose the GOP. When reaching the age that makes them eligible to vote, young people typically enter the world of politics with opinions, not with knowledge. And those opinions are “good” opinions: Help the poor? Good! Take from those who look decadent while others live in poverty? Good! Spend more money on worthy goals like public education and biking paths? Good! Let some become immensely rich without entertaining the world community as actors, singers or athletes? Bad! Not give your deadly enemies the benefit of the doubt? Bad!

Seen this way, the GOP clearly is the party of evil. And the mainstream media is feeling very comfortable to promote this perspective as it’s much easier to say that you’re for all the “good” things and against all the “bad” things than trying to explain why the “good” and “bad” are not what they seem on first sight.

This description of what participants of the Colwart rally said about their election plans is a good example of the young Democrat voters’ political world:

Most attendees The Daily Caller interviewed at Comedy Central political pundits Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s rally to “Restore Sanity and/or Fear” didn’t know for whom they are voting on November 2. They did, however, know they’re voting Democrat, down the line, because, they said, Republicans don’t fit their mold of “moving forward” in the country.

For instance, Liz Pifer, a student at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pa., told TheDC that though she plans to vote in the midterm elections on Tuesday, she didn’t know who was running for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat. She later said that she thought Joe Sestak was running, and that she’ll probably vote for him because he’s a Democrat. As for House candidates, she said, “I don’t know who’s running.”

Chances are, that Mlle Pifer knows that Christine O’Donnell is running in Delaware, though.

The French Cowboy’s theory is that young Democrat voters are simply naive. For some reason they instinctively understand and embrace the notion that nature’s resources are scarce and have to be dealt with with care, but they reject the idea that you cannot slap “rich” people with a “sixty, sixty-five-ish” income tax without getting detrimental effects.

If there’s a negative effect to such highly progressive taxes, their thinking goes, then that’s because “the rich” are greedy egoists. Maybe so. But what can be done against it? Logic dictates that you can do either nothing and you build your social system on the false premise that people tend to care more for society at large than for themselves and their own, or you coerce people into obedience of draconian laws and end up in a very unfree society, examples of which can be found all over the planet. So far, whenever the first has been tried, it resulted in the second.

The good news is that letting people keep their free will and their earnings (for the largest part) gives you the best chances for a prosperous and peaceful society. For sustainability, process is more important than end results. You can create neat looking end results by applying a strongly interventional process. But it will make it ever harder to reach a satisfactory level with each turn. A free process may give you less even results, but they will not be static. And with each turn everyone not only has the chance to fare better than previously, but also has a greater chance to do so because of an increasing overall benefit that’s a product of an active and free society.

It’s not all that complicated and I think the main reason why young persons quasi automatically choose Democrats over Republicans is because they never bothered to think things through. The little political knowledge they have is often what they’ve been passed on by their teachers and professors — and we all know what type of knowledge that is.

It’s perfectly fair to think that sacrificing some economic growth for the sake of more evenly distributed net incomes is worth it. But the French Cowboy thinks that the efficiency and effectiveness of such a trade-off is hugely overestimated because of both an exaggeration of benefits and an ignorance of real costs.

So, as far as the accusation of “know-nothingism” goes, I think Democrats should be very careful to suggest that their political opponents are suffering from it. The desire to be on the “good” side of politics will lead you instinctively to the Democrats, the party that claims it fights for the poor and downtrodden; a bit of an intellectual effort, though, that goes beyond the thin surface of an imperfect world, will make you see the dilemma on the left and the (pretty nice) solution to it on the right. Often, getting more aquainted with the tax system does the trick as well.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb permalink
    November 2, 2010 11:30

    Although you make some valid points, you did not cover the entire demographic for the Democratic voter. I’m a middle aged, middle income parent and your opinion of the Democrats is very one-sided to back up your far right conservative idealogical views. The Republican choice in the 2008 Presidential election, especially with the Republican Vice President choice, drove many Republicans to vote Democrat in 2008. I guess you could say the Democrats were the lesser of two evils (pun intended). Maybe you should get a more broad view of all voters before you generalize and put the outcome totally on the young voter. There is good and bad in both parties and the middle is where most people are on the issues. Maybe the American voters, young and old, conservative and liberal alike, are smarter than you think. For what it is worth, I have never accused my Republican acquanitenances of “know-nothingness”. Labels and generalizations are the problem. Integrity and principles have diminshed in politics and that is the scary part. If you will look at American history, you will find that the political climate of late has not changed much. Every American has to vote their conscience and if the outcome doesn’t go their way, then move on and accept it. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

    • frenchcowboy permalink*
      November 2, 2010 13:21

      Hi, thanks for your comment.

      You’re absolutely correct that I didn’t cover the entire demographic of Democratic voters and I didn’t intend to. My intention was only to show that many young people (and also such who stay young) trend Democrat by instinct, not because they’ve given things serious thought. It’s not a reproach, just an observation. And my writing about it was prompted by the meme, promoted from several important Democratic figures, that opponents to the Obama agenda are ignoramuses.

      I fully agree with your last couple of sentences.

      Happy voting today, and viva la democracia!

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