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SanityNow On February - 7 - 2010

The debate between conservatives and progressives is raging right now and lately, it seems to me that this debate has become more like a shouting match…as if just shouting louder will somehow make one’s argument more valid. It generally has the opposite effect. Prove it to me with facts and history… not volume.

I stumbled across this opinion/analysis gem yesterday while researching a ridiculous op-ed in the WaPo the other day, entitled Why are Liberals so Condescending? by Gerrard Alexander, and no I won’t leave a link for that. You know too much already. As an unintended consequence, I think I may have found an excellent rebuttal. The title of this post is the title of the blog piece. I contacted the author, Jefferson Smith, directly to verify that this Jefferson Smith was not instead a pseudonym for the famous fictional hero of “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.” I am relieved to say he is not but what he is is a serious academician and, of course, a concerned citizen as are we all here on the Planet. Enjoy…

“Suppose you had a friend you had known for many years, one who was very opinionated, who always seemed absolutely certain about everything, and yet who was always turning out to be wrong. He got you to buy stock in Enron and swore it would just keep on rising. He bet on the Yankees to sweep the Red Sox in ’04. He said mobile phones were just a fad, and before long people would give them up and go back to sending telegrams.

Would you trust this person’s powers of analysis? Would you continue putting any faith in his predictions?

“Conservatives,” or those who call themselves this nowadays, have an equally good and much longer record of faulty analysis and wrong prediction. In order to exist as a viable movement, they depend on everyone forgetting that they’re basically always wrong.

Unfortunately, progressives and liberals have obliged…”


Categories: News & Politics

26 Responses so far.

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  1. BigDogMom says:

    Thank you SanityNow for this wonderful article of Mr. Smiths, the part on “The Game of Extrapolation” is what I found most fascinating.

    “Even aside from whether they

    • SanityNow says:

      I am happy you appreciate his work. This is something that needs more exposure. He did a great deal of work in his research and analysis. He wasn’t planning to do anything other than let the interwebs take it so pass it along if you think more people should be exposed to this rational perspective on an irrational problem.


  2. AuntieChrist says:

    Thanx SanityNow,

    I’ve bookmarked it, I’m almost finished (the guy’s amazing)

    His quote framing the conservative mindset:

    Evil is done by evildoers.


  3. KQuark says:

    Cheers sanitynow, way to take these clowns head on. How soon the American people forget conservatives fight any progress in this country any. From the start of the American Revolution on where conservatives where the Loyalists they have stood for the status quo or now stand for going backward to a day that never existed.

    • SanityNow says:

      it is exasperating to say the very least when the other side of the debate refuses to acknowledge shared history and facts of all persuasions.

      Jefferson Smith’s article, while lengthy, is packed with rational logic. I would say it is irrefutable, but as we see these days, the Dark Side will refute its own existence (which is the whole point of the article) if they think it would get them back in power.

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    Fabulous article, Sanity. I haven’t finished it yet, but wanted to stop and say that occurs to me that conservatives long for the world of Dickens’ London.

    Poor Houses, child labor, filthy industrial cities, horses beaten to death in the streets-- the world of beggars and aristocracy. Conservatives see that as good times, plum puddings. And the ideas that supported and enabled that world are the same ones conservatives today spout-- that the poor are to blame (they are lazy and shiftless) and that the rich are deserving in God’s eyes because they are morally superior.

  5. SueInCa says:

    Thanks Sanity. I, too have bookmarked it and will read later today. Good piece. Conservatives always want to make intellectuals look small because they disdain intellectuality. They have never needed it…………….

  6. choicelady says:

    Wow Sanity -- this is GREAT. I am definitely keeping this link since it’s masterful.

    There are elements of “conservatism” that are useful, but they tend to be those policies and practices that worked such as the New Deal and, even older, the Colonial “moral economy” that put the sustainability of the economy for ordinary people ahead of accumulation by the few. But you don’t see contemporary conservatives upholding THOSE values, now do you?

    I think we should start labeling conservative mythology for what it is -- the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Just because they keep saying it doesn’t mean a thing.

    Brilliant post for which we thank you!

    • SanityNow says:

      Choice, your welcome. I was lucky to have found it. Mr. Smith put a goodly amount of effort in to this and I feel it needs the light of day.

  7. boomer1949 says:

    Thanks Sanity — it’s bookmarked and on my reading list!

  8. jan4insight says:

    What a terrific article! No I didn’t read it all, but I did a fast skim through the last two sections, and bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for posting1

  9. Questinia says:

    Ugh! I just saw a picture of my brother-in-law and Sen. Scott Brown side by side.
    My sister, now a brain-washed conservative, was and still is wrong.

    • SanityNow says:

      Your family sounds like a microcosm of our country. It isn’t uncommon and the polarization is getting stronger all the time.

      Enjoy the article and pass it along.

  10. Hopeington says:

    I’m going to go with Patsy on this, whoa, it’s almost a book! But it does lay it out in an understandable and interesting way.
    I only got half way through and will have to check it later.
    Excellent, I NEVER would have found this on my own!
    Thank you Sanity

  11. PatsyT says:

    That is a hefty link ! Great Info.

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