Educating the Left

I’m sitting at a Panera near my home taking advantage of their free wi-fi and getting out of the home office for a bit. I hear a conversation between two men in a booth near me. Let’s call the first guy “Eugene” in honor of Eugene Debs. The second guy was pretty much silent.

Eugene: “So I don’t think it would be a bad thing if the economy shrunk. In fact, it would be good for the environment. I could just work in the warehouse for a while or something.”

Second Guy:

  1. Since I have started writing on the Internet, I have learned to my dismay that I am not quite the great communicator that I thought I was. I know where I am coming from; too often, I assume that everyone else does too, but of course, they don’t. How could they? This is a big problem for all of us.

    I dislike Obamacare, but I am not convinced that it is the threat to civilization that conservatives say it is. Switzerland has nationalized healthcare; they also have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, and are a prosperous country. I suspect that the Swiss do nationalized healthcare much better than American liberals will, but I need conservatives to explain why Switzerland is wrong.

  2. dittoheadadt
    Chris O.: Many people deal with the Federal government once a year on taxes, and sometimes, they simply sign the accountant’s bill. For the young taxpayer, they only note the amount of refund and think that it was “given.” They do not yet “own” the income that was lost.

    I don’t know about that.  The young taxpayers I know take one look at the deductions boxes on their first paystub and have a conniption.  And when they (sometimes) don’t get all of the Federal number back (I have to explain to them why they’re not (ever) going to get the SS or Medi numbers back), they are not happy, even with a refund.

    It’s only when they get older that they (paradoxically) think the refund is “given” by the government.

  3. Since making the comment about Switzerland, I have done a little web surfing on it. From what I gather, Switzerland has very little in common with other European health systems; they mandate that people must buy insurance, but there are many competing companies from which to buy, and employers are left out of the equation: it seems that the Swiss buy health insurance the way we buy car insurance. I am a dunce at grabbing links, but if you google “Swiss health care problems”, fourth in line is a Forbes’ article praising the Swiss system. Which does not mean that I support it; I don’t know enough about it. Many conservatives seem to think that those who voted for Obama voted to change America into France; I doubt that. I brought up the example of Switzerland because I suspect that we are far more likely to end up resembling Switzerland than we are to resemble any other European country; Americans will never give up their guns.

  4. Dan Hanson

    The academic and international left has been pushing the ‘low growth’ theme for some time.  The start of that movement can be traced back to the Club of Rome and ‘limits to growth’ movements of that time, and the modern form of that which is the focus on ‘sustainability’.   The modern left believes that we should make do with less,  stop focusing on growth, and live in a ‘sustainable’ manner – meaning we don’t use up anything that we can’t replace.  

    To support this notion, many on the left believe that we should start paying everyone a ‘living wage’ whether or not they work, that we need to transition to a part-time work force, scale back the suburbs and pack people into apartments and mass transit. 

    To such people, high unemployment is only a problem of welfare, and not of jobs. Just tax the rich enough to give the people who don’t work a ‘living wage’, and the problem is solved.   Sure, that will impact growth, but that’s a good thing, because it will help curb global warming and save the planet.  

    That’s honestly how many of them think.    Greece as model for the world.

  5. Chris O.

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments. Ditto, I agree some are outraged, but when I think back to my time living in Chicago, I never heard a peep from anyone even when the local Sales Tax went up more than a percent. The courts later struck some of that increase down before it went into effect, but the point is all of it happened under the unwatchful gaze of millions.

    Colin, re: the BMV, great idea. That might not work here as Mitch Daniels just spent eight years making our state government more responsive, but then we’re not the problem: 54.3% for Romney, though it should have been higher.

    Judithann, thanks for taking a look at Switzerland. The problem with that model is that the state exchanges which are supposed to allow companies to compete for our business have two limitations that will ultimately kill them: 1) services offered will be determined by the government; 2) profit margin will be determined by the government. This means that options will quickly be limited and the plan the government offers can easily undercut the private carriers in both price and services.

  6. Chris O.

    Dan, I agree with everything you said. Those aren’t the people we need to convince. It’s those wanting to work more than part-time, those wanting to get ahead and not simply lead a “living wage” life.

    I’m not saying take the message to everyone, but opportunities do present themselves.

    On a related note, I asked my parents how they made it through the 70′s (I was too young to remember anything other than ‘inflation-fighting’ products at the grocery and the interest rates posted at the bank just under the 20% mark). They said they always had faith something better was on the way.

  7. Jerry Broaddus
    Judithann Campbell: Since I have started writing on the Internet, I have learned to my dismay that I am not quite the great communicator that I thought I was. I know where I am coming from; too often, I assume that everyone else does too, but of course, they don’t. How could they? This is a big problem for all of us.

    I dislike Obamacare, but I am not convinced that it is the threat to civilization that conservatives say it is. Switzerland has nationalized healthcare; they also have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, and are a prosperous country. I suspect that the Swiss do nationalized healthcare much better than American liberals will, but I need conservatives to explain why Switzerland is wrong. · 3 hours ago

    But we aren’t getting the Swiss system. We’re getting a program designed to drive insurance companies out of business. Further, anticipated or not, it will reduce the number and quality of physicians entering the market.

    I could probably live with the system the Swiss have. It ain’t Obamacare.

  8. William McClain

    I think it’s a great cause, and the example of Rubio is wonderful.

    One issue is that contractions in the economy can be a good thing, from a free market perspective (though, not in any particular way for the environment – that’s just stupid).

    In fact, that’s part of the main thesis on why markets are superior to intervention – an economy that shrinks often does so for a reason, and wasteful stimulus spending will rarely be enough to actually correct it and almost never be directed towards where it’s needed.

    If Eugene’s a third of the way there, even if he is a complete idiot when it comes to why he’s a third of the way there, then it’s at least worth the effort.

    The mantra should be: the free market is common sense. Most people realize the common sense, because they live it, but they have no clue what it means. I’ve always found with economics, if you let someone talk it through, then show them how everything they said is gleaned from free market economics – you can start to make a dent.

    Probably not with Eugene, he sounds lost.

  9. Matthew K. Tabor

    Chris, if your game is ‘educating’ small businesses within a sector, you know as well as anyone that if someone isn’t interested in education, nothing’s going to stick — so, the idea of showing the light to the left of center is quixotic and Sisyphean all rolled into one. Tremendous donation of our time/effort for an ROI approaching zero, so count me out.

    What we can do is live well, work hard, and help each other carry out (I mean really do it, rather than just talk about it) our values — it takes a pretty long time, but that’s how a movement builds. Movements are a growing number of people who look at someone else and say, “He’s got it right,” and then doing something similar. That means first and foremost, we’ve got to do it right.

  10. Jerry Broaddus

    Judithann Campbell: Since I have started writing on the Internet, I have learned to my dismay that I am not quite the great communicator that I thought I was. I know where I am coming from; too often, I assume that everyone else does too, but of course, they don’t. How could they? This is a big problem for all of us.

    I dislike Obamacare, but I am not convinced that it is the threat to civilization that conservatives say it is. Switzerland has nationalized healthcare; they also have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, and are a prosperous country. I suspect that the Swiss do nationalized healthcare much better than American liberals will, but I need conservatives to explain why Switzerland is wrong. · 3 hours ago

    But we aren’t getting the Swiss system. We’re getting a program designed to drive insurance companies out of business. Further, anticipated or not, it will reduce the number and quality of physicians entering the market.

    I could probably live with the system the Swiss have. It ain’t Obamacare. · 2 minutes ago

    Excellent point. 

  11. Chris O.

    Matthew, I’ll take that engagement just as well. You’re right about the interest either being there or not, but since you know, you may agree it only takes one that “gets it” every now and then to restore faith…

    btw, I like the font.

  12. The Mugwump

    Let me define “education” for you in its modern sense.  Education is a system of transmission by which elite academics transmit socially acceptable ideas and principles to the masses.  You might through logic convince a liberal that capitalism is a more productive system than socialism, but he will still believe that capitalism is morally wrong.  

  13. Copperfield

    Caveman-Economics.jpg

    Reminded me of this cartoon I saw a few weeks ago. 

  14. Matthew K. Tabor: Chris, if your game is ‘educating’ small businesses within a sector, you know as well as anyone that if someone isn’t interested in education, nothing’s going to stick — so, the idea of showing the light to the left of center is quixotic and Sisyphean all rolled into one. Tremendous donation of our time/effort for an ROI approaching zero, so count me out.

    What we cando is live well, work hard, and help each other carry out (I mean really do it, rather than just talk about it) our values — it takes a pretty long time, but that’s how a movement builds. Movements are a growing number of people who look at someone else and say, “He’s got it right,” and then doing something similar. That means first and foremost, we’ve got to do it right. · 3 minutes ago

    Also, leftists are far more patient than conservatives are; they have been pounding the drum for nationalized healthcare since WWII. They take a long view of things. We must do the same.

  15. Matthew K. Tabor

    Chris, I’m not concerned with faith. I’ve got immovable faith in my fellow man despite his repeated attempts to kill it.

    What I do care about is reality — what’s the best approach given the time and resources I have? (Hint: It ain’t education.)

    Paules touched on something very important — this comes down to someone surveying an idea and deciding whether that’s how they want to live their life. As Paules said, you can make perfect sense all day long and bury someone under mountains of evidence — but if you don’t get that overall buy-in, you’re wasting your time.

  16. Nick Stuart

    “Never try to teach  pig to sing. It can’t be done, and only annoys the pig.”

    True Leftists require some kind of Damascus Road experience (like being left a farm or business and having to sell it to pay the estate tax).

    The reachable who just don’t know what they don’t know, maybe. You really think there’s any money in it?

  17. HeartofAmerica
    dittoheadadt: How many non-Swiss go to Switzerland for critical care, and how many non-Americans come to the US for critical care?  How do the health care metrics compare between the 2 countries, adjusting for non-health events (e.g. accidental deaths, etc.)?  I don’t know the answers; I just wonder whether the Swiss system takes better care of their people than America’s does hers.  Or if it’s the old, “we have health insurance; it’s health care we lack.” · 5 hours ago

    …and is the Swiss system filled with business-busting regulations or other hidden requirements? I would imagine not.

  18. HeartofAmerica

    Yes, please develop some educational materials and send them to me by next Wednesday. I will use this information as talking points during our Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s uber-liberal brothers and their equally kool-aid drinking spouses. Please make it very simple and use visual aids. I already have the hand gestures ready.

  19. Chris O.

    Money in it, Nick? No, I don’t think there is money in it. It’s something that has to be done, though. Other discussions talk about how the conservative message is lost and doesn’t reach the person told over and over that Republicans don’t care. In fact, the market economy lifted millions out of poverty, but people do not hear that and how, precisely, it managed to do that.

    This is a message that has to be delivered and not on the campaign trail. By then, it’s too late and the one bearing the message isn’t trusted.

  20. Cal Lawton

    Eugene does not realize that with a warehouse job, he will be sleeping on the sofa after his wife gives him hell for having lunch at Panera instead of enjoying the baloney and mayo sandwich she made for him.

    Oh, and Panera will be taxed into oblivion because it makes a profit.

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