Critique of Conservative Self-satire
written March 29, 2011
A conservative I know posted this article, written by John Hawkins, on his facebook wall, and true to Poeís law, I wasnít entirely sure if the author was a sincere conservative or a liberal trying to satirize the right wing. Although some points have merit--and I will comment on those too--parts of it were so ridiculous, and made me so ashamed to call myself a conservative, that I decided to go through it piece by piece and react with what I think should be considered the sane conservative voice. What follows is the article in its entirety with my comments interjected in yellow.
7 Topics We Can't Have Adult Conversations About in America
In a world where politics has become all-consuming some people actually donít care about the rhetorical head bashing that has become the political environment of today because they know they're not well versed on the issues and would rather dedicate their energies to what they know well and there's an interest group looking for an opportunity to exploit every issue, it has become almost impossible to have adult conversations about certain subjects. The moment you try to do so, legions of grievance mongers, ideologues If you intended "ideologue" to connote a negative quality, youíre conveniently ironically ignoring the fact that your blog and this article itself qualifies you as "a person who zealously advocates an ideology" and bottom feeders start belting out scripted responses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with what they imagine your motivations to be and how ugly, stupid, and flawed they think you are as a human being. If this introduction doesnít scream "get ready for a completely nonobjective, emotional reaction to nothings," I donít know what does.
What this means is that certain crucial issues never really get discussed in this country. Instead, we just end up with people insulting each other back and forth. Apparently your exposure to political discourse is limited to reddit.com/r/politics, angry liberals calling in to conservative talk radio programs, and facebook wall posts between uninformed monomaniacs. That's too bad because these are not small matters. To the contrary, they're rather consequential and they deserve to be seriously discussed instead of treated like partisan footballs.
1) An Overly-Feminized Society: Women have come a long way in the last fifty years, but you'd hardly know it from the feminist rhetoric we hear. There are actually different schools of feminism, and as within all ideological camps, there are extremists and moderates. But hell, gold star for generalizing anyway. Maybe instead of raging against the patriarchy sounds like an awesome name for an all girl rock band, we should start asking if men are now getting the short end of the stick. Does that sound wacky? Tell that to a dad who's fighting for custody of his child in divorce court. How about when it comes to abortions? We keep hearing that it takes two people to make a baby and that both parties are responsible for raising a child; so how come the father is locked out of the decision-making when it comes to deciding whether there's going to be an abortion? If women are earning 57 percent of the college degrees these days, maybe we should be asking how our education system is failing our young men. Women may feel like they still have it tougher, but percentage-wise, there are probably as many men who feel like our gender is the one getting the raw deal. The difference is that men aren't usually willing to say it out loud. Maybe instead of perpetuating this issue on the basis of sex discrimination, we should recognize that not all inequalities between men and women are based on discrimination, but naturally occurring phenomena, for example child-birth. In 1991, women without children earned 95% of what men earned, while women with children earned 75%. The difference isnít between men and women, itís between women with children and those without. Why? Because some careers, particularly in technology and the sciences, rapidly advance and require continuing education and exposure. When a woman has to take time off to bear and care for a child, sheís naturally going to be surpassed by her coworkers—both men and women—who are still immersed in the field, gaining more experience and knowledge, and thus getting promotions and raises. Furthermore, in a constantly and rapidly advancing field such as technology, competition incentivizes an employer to hire those who can stay on for long periods of time without break so as to gain an advantage in the respective market. And thereís nothing wrong with that. We should also be asking ourselves if perfect equality is a pure pipe dream for cosmic justice, and try to appreciate the fact that statistics naturally fluctuate, are inherently flawed, and are easily manipulated to paint incomplete and inaccurate pictures. But you do have a point, however hidden under your defensive rhetoric, that the pendulum may be swinging too far in the same direction. But only in the realm of debate. Like Thomas Sowell pointed out in his book Basic Economics, "If women were paid only 75% of what men of the same level of experience and performance were paid, then any employer could hire four women instead of three men for the same money and gain a decisive advantage in production costs over competing firms." This same line of reasoning applies to your silly assertion that men may now be getting the raw end of the deal. It reminds me of the several times Iíve cited statistics that demonstrate women arenít sexually discriminated against in the workplace and elsewhere, only to get shouted down by hard-line feminists with a chip on their shoulder and an irrational refusal to accept any notion other than the one that women have been, are being, and always will be oppressed due to sexism.
2) Illegal Immigration: If you try to discuss the problems associated with illegal immigration, the only response is, "You just don't want Hispanics here!" That's really shorthand for, "We don't ever want to have a real discussion about the issue." Again, you must only be talking to the research-lazy simpletons on facebook. And might I remind you these super left-wing grievance mongers reflect the super right-wing bible and gun clingers who shout that "Obama is a Muslim with a covert socialist agenda!" Both are laughably ridiculous. Here's the simple reality: Because we have so many poor Hispanic countries near our southern border, the majority of illegal immigrants in this country is ALWAYS going to be Hispanic. We can never seem to get past that fact to really talk about all the other issues associated with illegal immigration. For example, are illegal immigrants putting Americans out of work? Are they driving down salaries that American workers are paid? The irony of this line of reasoning always amuses me. For people who champion the benefits of free-market principles, you lot seem quite adept at forgetting that if labor is cheaper, it results in increased production and cheaper goods and services. We shouldnít be concerned about cheap labor putting expensive labor out of work any more than we should be concerned about Microsoft and Apple putting the typewriter industry out of business. Moreover, the American unwilling to work as cheaply as the Hispanic doesnít simply go wither away in a gutter somewhere because he lost one job any more than the typewriter manfacturer resigns to stamp collecting. The "out of work American" sells his labor to someone else for what they both think itís worth. Again, to quote Thomas Sowell: "More than 17 million workers throughout the American economy lost their jobs between 1990 and 1995. But there were never 17 million Americans unemployed during this period, nor anything close to that. In fact, the unemployment rate in the United States fell to its lowest point in years during the 1990s. Americans were moving from one job to another, rather than relying on job security in one place. The average American has nine jobs between the ages of 18 and 34." If we allow illegals in the country to have citizenship, won't that just encourage more illegal immigrants to come here? The rate at which weíre deporting them doesnít seem to be stopping the influx, so maybe we should focus on enforcing our existing laws more strictly rather than setting up new ones. I say this ignoring the fact that your question rests on a slippery slope logical fallacy. And finally, even if the answer is yes, so what? More cheap labor? Damn it! Does it really make sense to allow millions of manual laborers, most of whom are poor and uneducated, to become American citizens who'll be eligible for welfare, food stamps, and Social Security? Wouldn't that just be importing poverty into the country? They start out poor and uneducated because they werenít able to amass much wealth or human capital in their country, hence their immigration here. But that doesnít mean they donít improve their lot. And if theyíre "stealing our jobs" by virtue of working harder for longer hours, why would they be collecting welfare? Try to be more consistent, it will add to your credibility. Are the millions of illegals in this country actually changing our culture for the worse? This was the point in the article where I started to think you were a liberal trying to satirize the right wing because you sound so blatantly racist. Should we put an end to birthright citizenship for the children of two illegals? No. Donít champion the wisdom of The Constitution and then ignore the first clause of the 14th Amendment (a pretty important amendment) which says, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Again, consistency lends to credibility. I highly recommend you try to practice it. Could it actually be dangerous over the long term to have millions of people here who aren't loyal to the United States and believe they have a right to be here illegally because the southern United States is "stolen land?" Please stop linking to your own opinion articles filled with propaganda photos as though they buttress the validity of your other opinions. Itís a bit misleading and detracts from your credibility. And to answer your question, no. Damn that slope is getting slippery.
3) Legal Immigration: Despite the attempts to conflate this problem with illegal immigration, it's a very different issue. For one thing, most Americans agree that legal immigration is a good thing -- at least to a certain extent. Still, if we start with the presumption that we do have a right to control who enters our country and that the goal of legal immigration should be to improve life for the people who are already here you need to establish whether these are facts or mere presumptions and proceed from there, otherwise itís all hot air that doesnít warrant an "adult discussion", there are a lot of important questions that deserve an answer other than, "You hate immigrants." We need to start asking: Should our immigration policy be based on merit instead of family connections? We're the most desirable location in the world; so why not take the best of the best? Along the beautiful line of reasoning underpinning these two profound questions, we might as well get rid of that pesky birth-right clause in the 14th Amendment which gave you your meritless citizenship, and while weíre at it, start kicking out all the unskilled white people who drop out of high school or college. Bye bye Bill Gates, Daniel Gilbert, and half of the mid-west. If we were actually bringing in rocket scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, then maybe it would be time to ask if we should increase the number of people we're allowing to immigrate to our country. A lot of computer programming is outsourced to India, but if a ton of Indians immigrated here then youíd complain that theyíre stealing jobs from Americans. "Oh no! My own flawed reasoning is blasting gaping holes in more of my own flawed reasoning. Help! Iím being debunked by my own vicious cycle of thoughtlessness!" Our immigration policies are actually changing the racial make-up of our country. Should we put a stop to that? Should we focus on bringing in more people from Western nations with similar cultures? These two question coupled with the sentence preceding them makes you sound incredibly racist. Again, Iím tempted to think youíre a liberal satirist. How about we make immigrants ineligible to receive welfare or food stamps? These are all very relevant questions that we never really have any back-and-forth on. That should change.
4) Our Deficit Spending: A lot of people would argue that we do discuss this issue seriously, but that's not really the case. Many people give lip service to the idea that our spending is "unsustainable" and theoretically agree that we need to do something about it, but they fiercely resist actually getting down to brass tacks and distract, distract, distract when it's time to talk about real world solutions. Realistically, we cannot get our spending under control without dealing with Social Security and Medicare. Donít forget defense spending and other wheel-spinning welfare programs. Moreover, on the state and local level, union pensions have to be dealt with. Then there are taxes. Here's the truth: Taxes must go up at some point and we can't tax the rich enough to fix the problem. What that means is that the middle class must pay more in taxes, not for better services, but to pay for what we've already spent. Youíre presenting a false dichotomy: just because we already tax the rich a ton doesnít mean the only alternative is to tax the middle class more. You sound like a liberal. The best solution is to simply stop spending more than weíre pulling in by cutting unnecessary programs, trimming down the necessary ones, privatizing what we can, and making the rest more efficient. At the same time we should try to foster increased employment rates, business development and growth, and individual income for a broader tax base, instead of taxing the existing tax base more. If you disagree with what conservatives like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have come up with, that's fine and dandy. Just present your own numbers that explain how we're going to pay off a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Medicare/Social Security liabilities without cutting NPR, PBS, cowboy poetry or anything else liberals think is essential. You are right about the importance of the debt, deficit, and downward spiral. But these examples, especially the cowboy poetry one, is pretty solid evidence that your sole source of news is Fox News and conservative talk radio. Iím not saying they are invalid sources of information, but they are biased, and you should balance your information with other sources so your rhetoric doesnít sound so canned, which further detracts from your credibility.
5) Gay Marriage: Our republic has survived for 200+ years without gay marriage. Our republic also survived quite some time with slavery, institutionalized racism, and not allowing women to vote. But that doesnít make it okay. Up until the last couple of decades, even gay activists weren't seriously trying to redefine marriage. So now, suddenly, anyone who opposes it is a homophobe? Yes. I have yet to hear a merit based argument against homosexual marriage. How about we discuss the fact that being pro-gay marriage is incompatible with being a Christian? You just appropriately referred to the U.S. as "our republic," so, champion of The Constitution, letís stop picking and choosing the parts we like. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," and controlling case law regarding the Establishment Clause (Lemon v. Kurtzman) states that "government action may not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion." Therefore it is both hypocritical and invalid for you to base your argument based on Christianity, as Congress is clearly constitutionally precluded from basing laws on religion. Isn't forcing Christian churches to have gay marriages a violation of their First Amendment rights? Again, controlling case law on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states "government action may not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion." So Christian churches canít be forced to do something like marry gays if itís against their beliefs. Try a modicum of research before asking such leading questions. Isn't it entirely possible that gay marriage could cheapen and demean heterosexual marriage leading to less marriages, which would harm society? Holy shit. What possible effect could two gay people getting married have on two straight people who want to marry? Do you have sex with less women because you know two guys are out there banging somewhere? Have heterosexual marriage rates declined in states that have legalized gay marriage? Besides, the harm you speak of is far worse due to high divorce rates and the increased number single mothers. Should we be doing something that helps mainstream an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? Holy homo hater! These statistics in no way indicate that gays are the cause of the issues they face. Itís the antagonists who are responsible, just like itís rapists who are responsible for rape. According to your reasoning, we should blame blacks for the slavery and racism they endured before and after the Civil War respectively by virtue of the fact that they were born black; we should blame women for being born women when they get raped; and we should blame people for carrying wallets when they get robbed. Donít be such a thoughtless boob. Why do we need a religious ceremony for gays when civil unions could supply the same legal rights without being nearly as controversial? First, that battle would be taken up with religious institutions, not the government. Gays are fighting for legal rights, not religious ones, you idiot. But more importantly, why do we need a religious ceremony for anything? Why do we need religion at all for that matter? Throughout history and even today, religion has inspired in its followers the following insanities:
- Genital mutilation: male circumcision in Judaism and Christianity and female circumcision (i.e. cutting off the clitoris) in Islam
- Symptoms of schizophrenia: prayer, i.e. talking to someone who isnít really there
- Homophobia: commanded throughout the book of Leviticus and much of the Koran
- Indoctrination of impressionable children, i.e. teaching faith in the unobservable, fairy tales, and magic, as opposed to teaching reason and critical thinking based on evidence and principles of logic
- Belief in magic: Catholics actually believe bread turns into flesh and wine into blood
- Ostensible cannibalism: Catholics eat bread they actually think is flesh and drink wine they actually think is blood...
The list goes on. Religion is so ridiculous it would be comical if it wasnít so scary.
6) Racism: At what point can we all stop pretending that America hasn't done a 180 degree turn-around on race issues since the sixties? We do have a black Muslim in the White House! He's only half black, but... one drop rule! Hee haw! People yell "racism" so much these days that you'd think Democrats like Bull Connor and George Wallace are still around persecuting black Americans. Could we start by perhaps acknowledging that affirmative action is immoral government-sponsored racism against white Americans that undermines the achievements of all African Americans? There are better ways to say this. For example, "The number of blacks in white collar occupations, managerial, and administrative occupations doubled between 1940 and 1960, and nearly doubled in professional occupations. Meanwhile the number of blacks who were farm workers in 1960 was only one-fourth of the number who were in 1940. These favorable trends continued after 1960 but did not originate in the 1960s. As regards Ďaffirmative actioní which began in the 1970s, they produced little or no effect on the relative sizes of black and white incomes." - Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies. Is it worth discussing the possibility that the sky-high illegitimacy rate in black America is ten times more of a factor in their problems than racism? Yes. How many black Americans fail simply because they've been told their entire lives that they're victims and that the deck is stacked against them? Can this be quantified? If not, donít bring it up, as itís unreasonable to discuss things without the evidence to back it up. How about black racism? Louis Farrakhan, who's well liked in black America, is as much of a scumbag as a KKK leader and everyone knows black Americans supported Obama over Clinton purely because of his skin color. Again, let's stick with the quantifiable. We rightfully condemn racism and race hatred amongst whites; so why do blacks get a pass on the same issue? Chris Rock addresses this issue pretty well. Can we also admit that being black is often a huge advantage in pursuing scholarships, getting promotions, and avoiding getting fired? When the president of the United States is black, isn't that a pretty good indication that racism has become a very minor factor in American life? Racism exists. Everywhere. Even among people of the same skin color. Black cab drivers often refuse to pick up black passengers because theyíre black. Many Europeans are racist against people from other countries in Europe, and even in their own country. Itís never going away. Donít deny it. Deal with it.
7) Radical Islam: There's plenty of talk about radical Islam, but few genuine conversations about the subject because there are so many difficult questions to answer. How do we define a moderate Muslim? How do we tell the difference between the moderate Muslims and the radicals? Shariah law is barbarism that's incompatible with Western civilization. How do we stop it from spreading here? The First Amendment exists, my friend, as does the Second. Be unafraid. Should the unique problems associated with Islam affect our immigration policy? I know I say this at the risk of being lambasted as a racist by liberal apologists, but the threats are real, and the integrity of the Fourth Amendment is at stake, so a balance must be struck: Israel uses racial profiling as part of their security measures, itís extremely effective, and they donít have the same issues we have, like the TSAís increasingly invasive security measures where grannies and four year olds get felt up along with Muslims and everyone else in the name of political correctness, yet people with box cutters somehow still make it through. Why aren't more moderate Muslims speaking out against radical Islam? There are already Americans who've been intimidated by the violent threats of radical Islamists. Oh thanks, we almost forgot about 9/11 and the various attempts after that. What's the best way to keep those threats from inhibiting free speech? These are not bigoted questions; they're questions being asked by Americans all across the country. Unfortunately, instead of talking it over, some people would rather play the victim and scream "Islamophobia." It's not Islamophobia to question why parts of Islam have become so intertwined with murderous violence because violence is advocated on almost every other page of the Koran. Score one more for religion as a champion of intolerance and why more Muslims aren't renouncing that violence the way people from other religions have in similar circumstances.
So that's what I have to say in direct response to this jackal who is giving a horrible name to conservative ideals. To conclude, I implore all members of the far reaching ends of the political spectrum, on all those in between:
- Don't argue issues that can't be quantified
- Don't argue issues you don't know much about or that you don't have evidence on hand to back up your arguments
- Think before you talk Get your head out of your ass
That is all.
Other funny things I've written:
- How to have GREAT sex
- How not to get the girl
- Waiting for my nuts to drop
- Advice for horny Muslims
- How to show your personality on facebook
- Don't drive like an idiot