People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

If you want to save New Orleans, read this …

Posted by schroeder915 on July 7, 2006

New Orleans is like a patient on a respirator — and how New Orleans fares in the next decade will be a measure of how the rest of the nation fares in this century.

So if you want to save New Orleans, then you have to care about saving America.

And if you want to save America, then you have to care about liberals winning elections.

Why?

Because we have to defeat the depraved conservative ideology currently running our country into the ground by starving out of existence the public institutions that provide social security in all of its variants, by destroying the middle class, and by allowing our infrastructure to crumble.

Here’s George Lakoff:

The conservative vision for government is to shrink it – to “starve the beast.” …

Given this philosophy, then, is it any wonder that the government wasn’t there for the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? …

The response to Hurricane Katrina — rather, the lack of response — was what one should expect from a philosophy that espouses that the government can have no positive role in its citizen’s lives. This response was not about Bush’s incompetence, it was a conservative, shrink-government response to a natural disaster.

Another failure of this administration during the Katrina fiasco was its wholesale disregard of the numerous and serious hurricane warnings. But this failure was a natural outgrowth of the conservative insistence on denying the validity of global warming, not ineptitude. Conservatives continue to deny the validity of global warming, because it runs contrary to their moral system. Recognizing global warming would call for environmental regulation and governmental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regulation is a perceived interference with the free-market, Conservatives’ golden calf. So, the predictions of imminent hurricanes — based on recognizing global warming — were not heeded. Conservative free market convictions trumped the hurricane warnings.

You want protection from future hurricanes? It’s going to take some hard cold cash brothers and sisters, and that is going to require some long-term vision, and long-term investment, by Washington.

Before anyone criticizes me for advocating a “liberal” tax-and-spend ideology, I’m not. I’m advocating a “right” tax-and-spend ideology. I’m asking the rich to pay for the services that make their wealth possible. Why shouldn’t they pay their fair share? The rest of us do. But they get more for what they pay, and it’s far less painful to them.

If our government (Congressional Republicans and spineless Democrats in bed with them) didn’t lavish tax cuts to the elite sliver at the top of the economic ladder, and if our government didn’t have to finance military adventures so that energy companies could tap the oil reserves of other nations, there would be plenty of revenue available to finance our domestic needs.

Oh … what’s that called? “Fiscal conservatism?” It seems the Republicans in Washington have dropped that expression, because starving the government is their game.

From here, I refer readers to the following post by Conceptual Guerilla posted in Daily Kos (cross-posted in Conceptual Guerilla). The article provides a crystal clear strategy for winning the debate for liberals.

A small sample:

Their bumper sticker slogans are much more than slogans. They point to an ideology, that is instantly recognizable to millions of Americans. Where is our ideology? The only version of our ideology recognizable to the voting public is the straw man version THEY tell the public about. We don’t tell them ourselves. Because many of us don’t fucking know.

Now let me anticipate, right now, the response to this. We don’t have an ideology, because well, we’re not “ideologues.” We’re practical and pragmatic. We appreciate nuance and ambiguity. Having an ideology would turn us into the same kind of stiff necked, willfully ignorant idiots that we oppose. …

Their ideology is a post hoc justification. Their policy preferences came first. Government “has no business” improving wages and living standards, for example, because conservatives DON’T WANT government doing that. They can’t say that up front, so they stitch up an ideology that says that government “can’t” do it. …

Conservative ideology is pathetically easy to defeat. I have done so by coming up with a handy moniker that summarizes their ideology in a nutshell. They call us “big government liberals.” Well they are “cheap labor conservatives.” I have gone on to demonstrate the important relationship between public infrastructure and private fortunes. I have undermined the “less government” meme by showing that conservatives are very particular — and inconsistent — in how they use that meme. … We will come up with no “magic bullet” slogan, no set of policy preferences, no list of Republican scandals that will be effective in the long run, until we destroy their ideology. When somebody asks why jobs, wages, living standards, critical infrastructure, and generally promoting prosperity is “the government’s business,” we need to be able to tell them. …

Until then, we will continue to lose.

I’m serious. Read the post (and the comments). It’s really worth your time. I don’t think the argument is complete until you read “Defeat the Right in Three Minutes.”

(Hat tip: Suspect Device).

Related:

Lolis Eric Elie:

In an essay written for The New York Times less than a month after Katrina, Harvard University professor Michael Ignatieff analyzed the response to the disaster in terms of a government’s duty to its citizens.

“A contract of citizenship defines the duties of care that public officials owe to the people of a democratic society,” he wrote. “The most terrible price of Katrina — everyone can see this — was not the destruction of lives and property, terrible though this was. The worst of it was the damage done to the ties that bind Americans together.”

All those old stories about the greatness of America’s past accomplishments are cheapened when compared with the mediocrity of its current callousness. The history of America’s shining moments means nothing, absolutely nothing, unless it informs and guides our behavior today.

(Hat tip: Markus, Wet Bank Guide)

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Iraq |  |  |  |  |  | 

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