Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Idiots, and Nuance in Debate

Over the past few months I have been trying to figure out why I don't care about politics as much as I used to care about politics.  I also wanted to know why I have become so much more cynical about almost everything.

My lovely wife thought it may have to do with the somewhat isolating experience and the fact that many of my secondary needs (my wife, my stuff, my "life") were still in New York while I was living in San Francisco.  In other words, my Maslow's hierarchy of needs were down graded.  She has a Master's degree in this stuff so I trust her on that front. 

But I have an other idea. While I still care a bit, I am significantly more suspicious of "true change agents" and "value based conservatives." I can't stand the bullshit of it all any more and it seems like I could very easily unplug and just care about myself and my family.  It would be hard at first, but eventually, it would be easier than hitting my head against the wall working for the fairness of it all.

Unfair: Cheese Destroyed By Earthquake - via The Atlantic
But beyond the "life isn't fair" argument I think the loss of perspective and nuance is what makes me crazy.

Earlier yesterday I posted an article from The Jerusalem Post on my Facebook wall. This article reported that a number of Jewish women were detained briefly by the police for wearing Jewish prayer shawls and p the Western Wall in Jerusalem, to which I commented that Israel can't use the open access of its holy sites as justification of the occupation of the West Bank if the state isn't going to provide actual open access to its holy sites.

The reaction from my right-wing radical friend was swift, saying that these 'brave' (quotes where his) women should also fight for access to Muslim holy sites because Islamic regulations are worse than those ratified by radical regressive rabbis and enforced by the state of Israel.  Even if the world was a series of choices between clear rights and wrongs, without any shade of grey this would still be a stupid ass argument.  But this isn't the only example of the loss of nuance within debate that is bugging me right now. 

Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Deval Patrick have come out in support of Private Equity generally and Bain Capital specifically. Again this is a huge problem for those black and white thinkers. As you most likely know, Booker and Patrick are both rising stars in the Democratic Party and both openly and wholeheartedly support President Obama.  

Now, as you also know Bain Capital is evil because Governor Mitt Romney ran it for many years and now he is running for President.  Bain has created and cut jobs.  There is no denying this. But painting all Private Equity with one brush is just as ridiculous as thinking that three politicians at different levels of government, working for very different constituencies would be in lock step ideologically because they are all black.

However the truly atrocious issue here is that Booker has had to publicly clarify his statements to prove he was loyal to the President Obama.  He said that a company that has a role in the market isn't evil or bad.  Yet the reaction of the press has been as if he endorsed Mitt Romney and the GOP platform. Where is the critical thinking?

We could go on and on but these two examples of all or nothing, black and white thinking is why I am on the brink of being done. 

I do have some hope but not too much.

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