The Power of Opinion

With the economy once again dunking its head in the proverbial toilet as the recovery slows to a near halt, some previously lofty ideological matters suddenly become more concrete and in need of discussion.  One of the more pertinent of these matters is that of economic (as well as other forms) of governmental regulation.  Most of us know the story – the democrats want to tax and regulate and the republicans want to cut spending and let the free market do its thing, but many of us don’t seem to notice much of the sharp polarization that’s going on at the moment.

In the last several years, and strongly spurred along by the Tea Party, it has become increasingly appropriate and encouraged to have a strong, ideologically-charged opinion.  The Tea Party inclination to manufacture increasingly strong stances on issues and reinforce those stances with unwavering stubbornness (especially apparent with the whole debt-ceiling issue), has caused those opposed to the Tea Party movement to adopt equally potent counter-stances, and to no one’s real benefit.

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera put together a very interesting and strongly-worded column on the Tea Party’s perpetual stubbornness on the first of this month.  Here’s a bit from that article:

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise. When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a deal with President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreement was finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

You can read Part II of that article HERE.

The healthier and more helpful approach, it seems, would be a certain degree of pragmatism. The often misguided anger and frustration of the Tea Party makes them look pretty ridiculous after a while, especially when so many of them don’t really understand why they’re so upset.

When asked to discuss which particular policies they have such a big problem with, many are unable to do so, preferring instead to insist that Obama is a socialist or a communist.

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