Friday, April 29, 2005

The Infantile American Principal

"We are smart; you are dumb." That's the Infantile American Principle in a nutshell.

Professor David Galerntner of Yale University makes this observation at the end of this piece in the LA Times. The trip from opening to close is a long-list of examples and explanation that prove the overall point, though admittedly some of it is over-the-top.

On the issue of Photo-ID to reduce voter fraud in Georgia: For legislators to announce that getting a photo ID is too tricky for their constituents is downright amazing. Wouldn't you expect those constituents to say, "Drop dead! Stop treating us like morons!"?

After all, any 15-year-old half-wit can get a photo ID-- and the governor is promising to hand them out gratis to voters who don't already have one. All you need to do is show up in the right place at the right time-- which is just what you have to do in order to vote. (Unless you vote absentee, which will still be allowed under the new law.) In short: If you can vote, you can get a photo ID. So there's no reason why a single legitimate voter should be excluded.

In otherwords, common sense should tell you that...oh, never mind!

About Social Security, Galerntner writes: How could anyone be opposed in principle to private investment accounts within Social Security? I could understand Democrats arguing that "private accounts are a wonderful idea but the country can't afford the transition costs right now." But mostly I hear Democrats saying they're a lousy idea, and that President Bush wants to wreck Social Security-- because, after all, he wants to let you keep a great big whopping 4% of your payroll taxes in a private account instead of handing over every cent to the government. How on Earth could anyone be opposed in principle to letting taxpayers manage a minuscule fraction of their own money (their own money, dammit!) if they want to? Because private accounts violate the Infantile American Principle, so dear to Democratic hearts. Little kids should turn over their cash to the Big Smart Government for safekeeping.

More bluntly, in the very next paragraph he calls a spade a spade: But of course they can't say that, so instead they say, "Bush wants to privatize Social Security"--as if government were going to wash its hands of the whole mess. The technical term that logicians use for this rhetorical gambit-- applying a correct word for one part of a proposal to the proposal as a whole-- is "lying."

The observations are acute, and in my view, accurate. They are yet more anecdotal evidence that suggests that Democratic politicians, whatever the reason, are married to the idea that they must do things for people rather than find ways to help people do for themselves.

Why do they do it? Maybe they're not content in just being politicians: Democrats are professors in disguise. Scratch a Democrat, find a professor.

And you already know how it ends...

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