Sunday, June 05, 2005

Are there really two sides to every question? 

Alert reader MJS suggests that liberals will look at the facts to find out:

To say that in politics "there are two sides" is to cede so much turf as to find yourself outside of reality, because if there really are only two sides to everything than there are also two sides to that observation, and two more sides to observing that observation...2 x 2 x 2 x 2! There are then also two sides to not having two sides, which are not hidebound to having just the two sides, so there are more than two sides to having two sides. It get very Lewis Carroll-like when you extrapolate homilys to their most distant destinations...

Reducing the conventions of political thought to Hostess Cupcake packages is for the Straussians, becasue they have something to sell you. People who sell things make a lot of money with the "Good/bad" dicohotomy: hair bad? Buy this product. Breath bad? Buy this product. Arabs attacked the U.S.? Go kill Arabs.

I guess a truly liberal counter to such conservative approaches would be in opening all the packages and revealing what is inside, looking at the substance of what is inside, discussing, asking questions. To be liberal is to not just recite dogma, but to get the flashlight out and really examine the "whatness" of a thing!

Forget easy generalizations and you have something approaching freedom of thought: many successful businessmen profit by reducing the complexity of our politics and our world into easy-opening cans. It's almost a battle of consciousness vs. unconsciousness, clarity vs. the opaque, transparency vs. the darkened.

What was the message that got Hansel and Gretel (Woodward and Bernsteing) out of the forest and back into town? Following bread crumbs has its charm (and tragic flaws) but following money is how one truly understands most political stories. Forget sides, Left vs. Right, blah, blah, blah: follow the money. Where is the money going? Where did it come from? How is it moved? Who benefits?

And guess what: Money is made everywhere but it really breeds in the dark.

A liberal government can serve as a corrective to abuses of the market, to abuses of labor, the environment, the buying public. If one is comfortable with a society as a kind of theme park where all the guests have to do is stay inbetween the stanchions and form uniform lines and don't ask questions, then throw your weight towards fascism.

My two bits, anyway...

[Audience sits in stunned silence, then applauds.]

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