Monday, January 10, 2011

The problem with angry people

I don't want angry people in government. Concerned people, passionate people, principled people yes. But not angry. People do reckless things when they're angry. They don't listen to data that doesn't fit their existing world view (this is a problem many people have even when they aren't angry!).

At the moment, I'm seeing a lot more anger on the right than on the left (birthers, "obamacare", the tea-party in general), although the right certainly has no monopoly on this, and in fact I think anger's center of gravity shifts around politically depending on who is "in" and who is "out" of power.

Often I think the anger can obscure perfectly legitimate concerns and overshadow legitimate political philosophy. I agree with the central tea party notion that our deficit and debt are one of the gravest threats to our long-term economic health, for example. I just don't let that confuse me into thinking that all government beyond what we had in 1789 is unconstitutional.

You even see this with the latest fight over the health care law: the law may be good or bad, it may or may not be constitutional (I don't pretend I'm qualified to comment intelligently on the merits of the law), but political affiliation seems to be dictating everything in the debate, down to the name of the law to repeal it, and the stubborn refusal to even use appropriate data in the debate. Heck, here, whose sole mission is to sort out fact from fiction, pressed Eric Cantor's office to respond to their findings, the response was this:

...spokesman Brad Dayspring, told us: "This is a job-killing law, period. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignoring the construct of the health care law and the widely accepted facts."
It seems that if you say something enough, it becomes truth. This is almost Orwellian.

I get very frustrated with liberals when they clearly show that they don't understand market capitalism, religion, or the unintended consequences of good intentions. I get very frustrated with conservatives when they demonstrate a lack of understanding of the very same things.