It feels weird writing a post with a title like “Basic Life Lessons.” Especially since I pretty much know the entire readership of this blog personally (their online personae, anyway), and can assure you they need no instruction on life’s basics from me. But since we hope this site will one day become something of a one-stop shop for the refutation of the most common forms of leftard nonsense, I feel compelled to add a few words about the two biggest barriers to true bipartisanship today.
The Fact/Value Distinction. Otherwise known as “prescription vs. description,” “the is/ought distinction,” etc., this is a pretty basic idea in modern philosophy. There are empirically-verifiable observations about the world, and there’s how we feel about them, and there’s no necessary relation between the two. Or: only facts have logical relationships to other facts.
For instance: There is a marked differential in crime rates between races here in the USA. That’s a fact. It might be deplorable. It might be due to culture. It might be due to systematic bias in law enforcement. It might be due to IQ gaps. It might be due to divine intervention. But all of those statements, except the first, are hypotheses, subject to further empirical testing.
Rationally, of course, Our Betters know this — we assume they’re not stupid, reluctant as they are to extend the same courtesy to us — but rationality, as it so often does, left the building a few sentences ago. They really, really, really want those measurable crime differentials to be the result of systematic racism in our nation’s police departments, and so they proceed as if they are the product of racist cops.
At this point, inevitably, Our Betters will try to play gotcha. They’ll cite studies about “racial profiling” and whatnot. These, they assure us, are facts. But: How does someone prove motive? How do you know the cops are racist? How do you know you’re not a racist? Ask any liberal this, and of course she’ll reply that she can’t be a racist — she is, after all, a liberal. Values trump facts every time.
Cause and Effect: Mistaking their opinions for facts is bad enough. It gets worse, though — liberals really do seem to believe that not only does intelligence cause liberalism, but liberalism causes intelligence.
Examples of this are legion, and I’m hardly the first — or the millionth — conservative blogger to point this little truism about Our Betters out. Because it bears repeating, because so many people are still allowed to get away with it. For instance, co-blogger Morgan opines on folks who excuse Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s obvious shame deficiency by… wait for it… blaming Bush:
Maybe this is the epiphany that can help heal the divide, though: “But Bush did this other thing” is not a comparison. I don’t think so, anyhow. I think — it’s a loophole. The person mentioning Bush voted for Obama, and you’ve committed this sin of saying something that makes perfect sense and so, therefore, you are accusing them of having elected a psychopath. What they are doing with the “But Bush” thing is merely providing their excuse. They’re not comparing, they’re saying “I’m not a psychopath, even though, as you accurately point out, it looks like I voted for one.” Number 43 did all these awful terrible things, and they just had to replace him with someone.
Ask a liberal if he’s ever been wrong about anything of consequence. Go ahead; we’ll wait. Finished? I’d bet the national debt that you found plenty of liberals willing to admit their error in small things — Our Betters are nothing if not ostentatiously modest — but there’s a world of difference between not knowing where the nearest post office is and misunderstanding the basic mechanisms of the economy. I was being nice before; I’m pretty sure Sen. Elizabeth Warren really doesn’t know why the minimum wage isn’t $22 an hour. Their worldview is designed that way — if all smart people are liberals, then only liberals can be smart. All the best learning comes from making mistakes, but the entire premise of liberalism is that liberals are never wrong.
And that’s why the Obama voter who is disturbed by Benghazi, the various IRS scandals, Fast and Furious, the AP wiretapping business, Pigford, or any of the others on the ever-growing list of administration scandals has to claim that George W. Bush did it, too. It’s objectively bad behavior, but liberals can’t be bad… therefore such behavior must be characteristic of politicians in general, and of course those guys are all scum. Why, just look at ‘em! Watergate, Iran-Contra, Operation Iraqi Freedom…. yep, assholes to a man. And we surely didn’t screw up by voting for another politician; we were lied to! and besides, that’s the system, it can’t be helped.