Quote of the Day


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Mark says:

    Um, Nancy Pelosi never used the word ‘Nazi’ – not even as far as Bill O’Reilly tells me. She said she didn’t think legitimate opponents of health care would have signs with swastikas on them.Report

  2. Avatar Mark says:

    Also, one would be wise to note that the poo-flinging is quite different. Democrats seem to claim that there is fascist-line suppression of free speech (debatable.) Republicans claim that Obama’s health care plan amounts to Nazi eugenics (not debatable.)

    Drawing a false equivalence between two stances merely because one is held by Democrats and one is held by Republicans has become the specialty of the American press. Don’t fall into that trap.Report

    • Avatar Katherine in reply to Mark says:

      Also, one would be wise to note that the poo-flinging is quite different. Democrats seem to claim that there is fascist-line suppression of free speech (debatable.)

      No. The party out of power cannot suppress free speech in a fascist manner. There are many definitions of fascism, but all of them include the control of virtually everything by the state; an oppositional fascist party is one that seeks to gain that control. Neither of those things describe an opposition shouting down its opponents. Absent a fascist political program, the use of violence by a group out of power is simple thuggishness.

      “Fascism” is a far overused term. And even “fascist” is not synonymous with “Nazi”; the use of the latter by either party in the health care debate is nonsensical.Report

      • Avatar Mark in reply to Katherine says:

        What constitutes fascism is a subject of debate – and of course a party in opposition can suppress free speech…

        Umberto Eco wrote a nice essay on fascism, which sounds like a description of the current republican party. He lists its features as: a rejection of modernism; anti-intellectualism; irrationalism; attacks on modern culture and science; “Disagreement is Treason”; “Fear of Difference”; “Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class”; “Obsession With a plot”; “Life is Permanent Warfare”; “Contempt for the Weak”; “Selective Populism”; and “Newspeak”.Report

        • Avatar Katherine in reply to Mark says:

          Other generally-accepted features include:
          – the rejection of democracy
          – a cult of popularity centred around one leader
          – the belief in absolute state control (any argument that the government is too powerful is, by its very nature, not a fascist one)

          As the Republicans are currently dissenting from the government, “dissent is treason” is clearly not characteristic of their position on this issue.Report

    • Avatar mike farmer in reply to Mark says:

      Yes, it’s clear that the Democrats are the rational, fair-minded ones just trying to do what’s best for the people.
      I think we can all see that Republicans are crazy and Democrats are virtuous. As Gore would say — the debate is over. Don’t fall into the trap of doubting the Democrats’ honorable intentions.

      God, it’s so much easier being partisan — I wish I could be one.Report

      • Avatar Mark in reply to mike farmer says:

        You too have fallen into the trap of false equivalence. Democratic viewpoints are much more valid than Republican ones and have been for many years. Situating yourself between the two parties and calling that “non-partisan” is simply a failure to take a real stance on anything. To paraphrase Homer Simpson “Maybe…America is…the land of opportunity, and maybe…the machinery of capitalism [is] oiled with the blood of the workers.” Wise Homer is “non-partisan.” But one would hardly argue that it is partisan to believe that American capitalism is better than Eastern Bloc socialism.Report

        • Avatar mike farmer in reply to Mark says:

          Actually both viewpoints are pretty much the same as they are manifested in government policy. Both parties are complicit in bringing the nation to the brink of financial disaster. There’s big difference between capitalism and socialism, and there’s the history of their sucesses and failures. The recent history of Republicans and Democrats reveal a failed two party system with statist tendencies, and distinctions with very little difference when you measure the results and not the rhetoric.Report

          • Avatar Mark in reply to mike farmer says:

            This is just silly. Tom DeLay didn’t ram legislation through by 2 votes because there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t disagree that John Kerry or Al Gore would have let Greenspan’s randian arrogance destroy the economy, but there is a vast difference between Democrats and Republicans. See gay marriage at the state level or the house vote on ENDA; see Dick Cheney’s torture regime; see enviromental regulation. Long list of etcs. Both the false equivalence and “they’re all a bunch of bums” arguments don’t work for me.Report

            • Avatar mike farmer in reply to Mark says:

              There are some issues that representatives differ on according to what it takes to get them re-elected at home, but on the major issues it’s mostly a joint effort — especially in the sense of what they don’t change — there have been no big movements from either party to limit government power — they are both statist-oriented with, at times, different statist goals. It’s the tendency of both to grow government power through central planning that makes them similar.Report

              • As the tactics of the Democrats and Republicans are exposed, and as the incompetence of both are felt in real lives, because we’re reaching a tipping point, there will be a lot of pressure on all partisans to examine their intellectual honesty. Partisanship is a precarious position to hold now.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Here is my confusion.

    Let’s say that I am a person who supports policy X. “Yay, policy X! Surely the world will be a better place after we institute it!”

    I see that the people who support policy Not X are having a “Let’s Freak The Normals To Raise Awareness” drum circle in the middle of town. They will be doing everything they possibly can to freak the normals with this drum circle. Nudity, defecation, crucifixion of animals. The whole nine.

    As someone who supports X, for my part, I couldn’t be happier. I’d hope that the local, state, and national news would show up to cover the drum circle live.

    But I’m pretty cynical.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Or suppose your a person who supports X but thinks national debates about important issues should be about the issues and policies, sort of wonkish. Suppose you fear that angry mobs using increasingly heated rhetoric and lies leads only bad places as a country. suppose it leads towards violence, tearing of the social fabric, shuts off any debate. that might be bad.

      But is must be the Dem’s fault somehow for the R’s lying and fear mongering.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        “Those people ought to be talking about what I want to be talking about!!!”

        Yeah, I went through that. Best of luck for your own struggle, of course.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          classic contrarian response. quick and easy with the added bonus of not having to lose a cooler-then-thou ironic pose.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            Hee. I’m fat, bald, hawaiian shirted, and in IT. “Cool” is something that, if I ever have been, I ain’t been for years.

            I’m actually under the impression that there are two options.

            The ratio of crazy and evil people who oppose health care to legitimately concerned people who suspect any change will all end in tears is either under a critical mass level or it has reached it.

            If it is well under it, the painting of everybody opposed to health care change as crazy/evil will, in fact, work against those who want to enact health care reform.

            If the critical mass has been reached, however, pointing out how crazy and evil the crazy/evil people are has no downside whatsoever.

            Personally, I’m of the opinion that most (as in a super-duper holy cow 83%+ majority) people are neither crazy nor evil and, if they have concerns, are attached enough to them to be deeply offended when they are treated as if they were crazy and/or evil for letting their (legitimate!) concerns air.

            If you want the debate to be wonkish, then be wonkish. Don’t drop the wonkery. Discuss policy, short-term goals, long-term goals, and numbers, numbers, numbers.

            Make people who disagree with you have to be equally wonkish or risk looking crazy/evil.

            That’s my advice.Report

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    This is classic pox on both their houses crap. He is trying to sound reasonable and fair. He rightly slams palin and that line of “thought” but has to find a way to dig at Dem’s.Report

    • Avatar Rick Moran in reply to greginak says:

      “Find a way…? Didn’t have to look very hard did I.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Rick Moran says:

        I think you’re stretching a bit when you say Pelosi’s calling the protesters “Nazis”. Her specific quote about swastikas was in context given as a reason why she thought the opposition was all astro turf. As in: “actual opponents wouldn’t bother with the absurd comparison of Democrats to nazis using signs with swastikas” not “well they’re neo nazis, so they’re astroturing.”

        There’s literally no equivalence here. The point was that if people had serious concerns, they’d not be using “OBAMA IS HITLER!!!” signs, but actually coming to the meetings with questions and concerns, not to shout down congressmen.Report