Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

3.17.2011

Do As You're Told (Which Is "Be Your Own Person")

A bit more on the importance of perspective. The chart that follows was shared as a link that included the phrase "class warfare." And I suppose in a way it is. How you understand it depends on which class you're siding with. The first time I saw it all I could see was hoarding by the right column, a refusal to share a bit of their excessive wealth to help people who really need it. Conservatives, however, see it as keeping hard-earned money where it belongs--with those who have earned it--rather than forcibly taking it away and turning it into handouts for those who haven't worked hard enough to deserve it--those who haven't been personally responsible. For more on this framework, see recent post Contextualizing Politics.



(Click on the image to see it full size.) Found here.

I think an article explains my understanding of statistics like this as succinctly as anything I've seen, within the current context, is: John Hallinan: The crisis is our unwillingness to make rich pay their share. I'm trying to summarize or pick out highlights to share here, but think if I do I'll end up reposting the entire thing. It's short and quick, so take a moment now to follow the link and read it.

That certainly reads to me a bit like class warfare, but coming in response to attacks from the wealthy. And the thing that's muddying the waters is that it's not being cast as a class debate, but an ideological one. It's a right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal framework that attempts to take class issues out of it. As Lakoff describes in my post linked above. And even more importantly, as also laid out in that post, it's a debate between genetic predispositions we can't control that largely seem to coincide with those political categories. It's literally in our programming to see things a certain way, and the conversation has become such that "contextualists" are more likely to find a home with the liberal way of thinking and the "absolutists" with the conservative.

To further make that point, I want to look at a book I stumbled across in our library collection. First, recall from the previous post a couple of things: "absolutists" . . . prefer a strong group unity with clear leaders, appreciate strict and forceful punishment systems, distrust human nature and outsiders, and are not distressed by inequality. And: The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. . . . And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

I didn't make note of it so only have a paraphrase from memory instead of a clear quote, but in flipping through the book I came across a sentence that said something along the lines of: Producers will always have more money than nonproducers because they are more talented, are more intelligent, or are more tenacious. In other words, the rich deserve their money because they've worked hard for it. This was in the context of liberals wanting to share their money with those undeserving nonproducers. The book:

The Conservative's Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z by Phil Valentine.

I think the subtitle says it all. The dedication: To the memory and spirit of Ronald Reagan, an inspiration to all conservatives. And the table of contents:

1. America is good.

2. Belief in God is a cornerstone of our republic.

3. Character is the single most important attribute in a leader.

4. Drug legalization will cripple America.

5. Entrepreneurs are our lifeblood and deserve every penny they make.

6. Families are the basic building blocks of society.

7. Guns are good.

8. Hyphenated labels are divisive and destructive.

9. Illegal immigration is dangerous to this country.

10. Junk science is behind the global warming scare.

11. Killing through partial-birth abortion is murder.

12. Liberalism is an ideology doomed to failure.

13. Military strength deters aggression.

14. National security is the first responsibility of the federal government.

15. Oppression should not be fueled by American capitalism.

16. Political correctness is the liberal version of fascism.

17. Quotas are wrong.

18. Reagan was right.

19. Schools are best run by local people on the local level.

20. Tax rates should be flat and fair.

21. Unions have outlived their usefulness.

22. Vigilance is the price of freedom.

23. Welfare robs people of their dignity and is the poison of capitalism.

24. Xenophobia is at the root of protectionism.

25. You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your own destiny.

26. Zero tolerance is the only way to effectively deal with crime.

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