With the turmoil in Washington over the current spending bills, it is easy to miss the the serious psycho-political maneuvers by the powers of the current Administration. The critical thinking errors involved in this manipulation of the public consciousness are, "Assuming the Conclusion" and the "Either/Or" Fallacy. When millions do not see it their way, they respond with anger and clenched fists reminiscent of 1960s and 1970s student protests.
The entire Obama phenomenon was and is fed by the vacuum of values and vision left by the previous administration and the manufactured charisma of our first Digital Age President. "Change we can believe in" is a great moniker until we see the changes demanded - yes, demanded - by the comrades in power. "Hope and Change" and "A New Tone" are hailed around the world by nations and coalitions that are pleased to see America humbled and suffering.
"Assuming the Conclusion" is a fallacy many demagogues employ. Terms like, "Everyone knows..." and "We all need..." and "Fairness demands..." sound fine on their face, until you see the foundational ideological and political agendas. "Bipartisan" and "Putting aside the tired arguments of the past" sound great on You Tube; however, it is passionate and principled arguing that produced our Constitution and guarantees our freedoms in perpetuity!
When Obama calls for unity is is not the unity of real debate, but the lock-step "consensus" of the losers falling in line behind the victors. It is interesting to see current Democratic leaders say, "We won - therefore the Republicans need to get in line." Such language from a Republican would be termed Fascist (thank you Jonah Goldberg).
When ignorant Senators call for a Fairness Doctrine for talk radio, it is a sure sign that totalitarianism is on the rise. American history since 1735 is marked by real free speech. Even the most conservative courts have rebuked government attempts at censorship, apart from critical military matters. When we add up all the organs of communication available, there are more than enough ways for people to get information. The fact that conservatives have increased their influence over the last 20 years alarms the crypto-Marxists who feel they know what is best for the masses. By the way, the same folks who want Rush Limbaugh off the air refuse to place pornography filters on computers in public libraries available to children.
The Either/Or Fallacy is working overtime."Pass this bill, or else..." Or else what? The heart of our current crisis is the wicked alchemy of speculative greed and the bad government policies of the last 40 years. Calls for ethics and restraints must be matched with critical assessment of how to spend money. Obama promised a "line-by-line" assessment of spending - what we have in the Congress now is political pork on an unprecedented scale, including millions for leftist "community organizing" and local projects for Republican leaders.
Most members of Congress have not read the entire bill and there is no clear communication about infrastructure and job creation. There is also no "sunset clause" for "temporary government intervention." The tragedy of the last 75 years is that once a government program employs middle-class college graduates, it never goes away!
Instead of giving in to the Assuming the Conclusion and Either/Or Fallacies, how about spending $200-300 billion to help real people with housing and new infrastructure jobs while we seriously debate the long-term issues of ethics, growth and stability? How about asking the hard questions, including where to trim military spending and bloated government systems? How about an energy policy that really unites instead of divides, putting millions into Al Gore and T.Boone Pickens Ponzi schemes? We can judiciously drill for oil and develop new sources. We can carefully develop nuclear options (like Sweden - the darling of the Left) while working for a day that it will not be needed. What about new private/public partnerships to combat inner city and rural poverty and help insure that every able-bodied person can have sustainable employment? No more redlining by corporations. No more expropriation of private property by local commissions determined to end all development.
A final word on the deceptive communication currently en vogue in Washington. President Obama, there is one issue that you cannot have both ways. You cannot export death by paying for abortions overseas and claim you want to protect innocent life. You cannot veto attempts to protect babies in the birth canal and claim pro-life credentials. There are some issues that are right or wrong. We can help with family planning without promoting abortion - it is called birth control that prevents conception. We can protect unwed mothers - it is called adoption and community support. We must also, to paraphrase Bill Cosby, hold the fathers responsible. Freedom includes consequences.
To all thoughtful citizens - READ legislation proposed locally, statewide and nationally. CALL your representatives and voice your thoughts. NETWORK with others to agitate for real freedom. I invite my political opponents to do the same - let's argue with civility and passion and forge something better than the failed plans of both Right and Left.
A final note: FDR was right when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Fear drains our creativity and hope. Fear wounds freedom and opens the door to dependency. Moving forward, we can prime the pump of American ingenuity and opportunity without crippling economic and social freedom. The real sacrifices needed are moral curbs on both greed and political lust for power at the expense of our populace. I challenge the Left to examine the values of Marxism in all its iterations. Stop lionizing Che and Fidel and be honest about the the failures of an over-planned economy and the thousands of dead dissenters. I challenge the Right to stop being naive about the "magic" of the market. Adam Smith made it clear that capitalism requires virtue and oversight to flourish. I do not want the government dictating executive pay; however, if companies refuse to change and produce competitive products (are you listening auto and UAW execs?), they must experience some of the consequences and the government must temporarily step in to care for workers victimized by greed and shortsightedness.
There is a way forward. Let's rediscover the virtues that framed our nation and the valor that has preserved it.