Sunday, March 6, 2011

Right-wing hypocrisy, example twelve million or so

Hypocrites are deeply aggravating.
We’ve all been guilty of this sin at one time or another. Sometimes without even being aware of it, we’ve behaved in a way at odds with our words or beliefs. It is loathsome behaviour, and we should all apologize for it (but only if we mean it, because otherwise we’re falling into the same trap again).
But the reality is that when little people are hypocrites, not much happens. You think stealing is wrong, but you take pens from work. I think safety is important, but I drive over the posted limit. These things aren’t great, but the world manages to keep right on spinning.
The ones that get me, that really infuriate me, are the people that have the public ear. They get time on TV, radio, and newspapers, to try and bend the opinions of society with their rhetoric. Entertainment stars are terrible, but frankly, no one should care what they think. We’re the fools for even listening. No, it’s politicians and pundits that make my skin go green and my shorts turn purple. And not just any politicians, of course, but right-wingers.
Example: Our local boy Harper says time and again that government should be transparent, yet he operates with a degree of opacity not seen since the days of Stalin’s Terror. But ultimately, he’s a small fish. Prime Minister of a tiny, powerless country... how much damage can he really do? (Outside of his own borders, that is. Inside Canada he’s been a nightmare.)
We've got classic hypocrisy being generated by the Wisconsin issue right now. The Republican governor wants to cut the hell out of union powers, reduce public sector wages, and basically send organized labour about a half a step away from the days when we had strikes broken up by thugs with axe-handles. This move is being applauded far and wide by fiscal conservatives. “Yeah, teachers make too much, they can actually afford cars, there’s room to trim some fat. Sure, we might cut some meat, too, but you can’t balance a budget without sacrifice.”
Okay, fine. It’s stupid, but fine. If you want to squeeze blood from a stone, go ahead. Cut everything you can, balance that budget. But then, almost without pausing to take a breath, these exact same people applaud the extension of tax cuts for the rich. They are, in fact, trying to redefine rich two times in the same argument.
Teachers are too rich because they make 50K a year. Then they say that a family that earns 250K a year is far too economically fragile to absorb a higher tax burden.  Now, maybe my math is wrong, but if you have two teachers in a family working, that makes an income of 100K. That seems less than 250K. How can that be rich and yet not rich? It has to be one or the other!
They complain that the tax-payers have to foot the bill for teachers. Then they applaud the tax-payer money that went to saving the inept banking industry. Public sector contracts can be broken, they say; teachers need to be flexible. But you can’t break CEO contracts! They’re legal documents! These are literal examples of the kinds of two-faced crap they have been spewing.
All I want is consistency. You want to save money, do it. If what you really want is to make the rich richer by breaking the backs of the poor, just admit it. Either way, I’m not going to agree with you, but at least I might start respecting you.
(If you caught my own hypocrisy here - going hard on the people I dislike while being soft on the rest - well done.)

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