New York Times writer, Nocholas Kristof identified an inconvenient truth, recently, about the liberal mindset. Progressives have great empathy for war victims in other countries, for the poor and even abused chickens, but show little tolerance for conservatives. (Click) As proof, he points out, Republicans, make up 6 to 11 percent of professors in the humanities and social scientists. Defending this form of discrimination, one professor quipped, ”If you want diversity, why not hire idiots?”
Apparently, some people don’t want to be bothered with an open mind. When the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute issued a study of Bernie Sander’s budget proposals — which includes a single payer health plan and a free college education for every child — his supporters raged against its conclusions. (Click) To carry out his plan, the report calculated the government would have to raise $33 trillion over 10 years of which only $15 trillion could be raised by taxing the rich.
The Sanders camp fired back. (Click) Unfortunately, their support is short on facts. The underlying assumption is that if government puts money in the public’s pocket, the public will spend it, creating jobs and stimulating the economy, thereby. (See Blog May 25, 2016). Left out of the equation is the rising inflation that would follow, adding to the debt as the country attempted to spend its way out the budget imbalance. How far would that debt climb before the ship of state began to right itself, if it did? No mention of that. People don’t question what they want to believe. It’s that simple.
Am I being cynical? Consider what Robert Sapolsky of the Los Angeles Times shares about recent scientific discoveries concerning our unconscious minds. “… voters place an outsize emphasis on appearances and gut feelings.” (“How voters actually make choices,” by Robert Sapolsky, excerpted from the L. A. Times in The Week, May 2016, pg. 12) In tests, candidates who looked competent were judged to be competent. The same results persisted in other countries. Most telling were tests among children who were asked to identify candidates they thought would make good leaders. When their gut responses were compared to election outcomes, the kids chose the winning candidates 71% of the time. (Ibid pg. 12.)
Moral of the story? Our politics may be more the outcome of our madness than our reason.