In Which Your Host Decides To Defenestrate A Trending Facebook Screed…

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Yesterday, I spied on Facebook an obnoxious bit of anti-conservative hostility that I hoped was an aberration. It wasn’t. I resolved to post an emphatic rebuke the next time one of my friends posted it, and the opportunity arrived quickly. Here is the original screed:

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE CONSERVATIVE

Joe gets up at 6AM and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast of bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside, and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays, and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It’s noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression and AGAIN under Republican Rule in The 2000’s Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives to his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security (an Earned Income Credit btw NOT an entitlement!) and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have!”

COPY and PASTE if you wish to share.

This was, of course, followed by the usual chorus of seals barking and clapping, which many likes and loves.

Now, I could have, had I chosen to waste an incredible amount of time de-bunking a load of lazy, unresearched garbage  that anyone not already so biased and smugly satisfied with  their inadequate education in history and logic would immediately recognize as such, written a definitive and thorough flaming of this monstrosity. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and the rantings of some pimply OccupyDemocrats hack just isn’t worth it. Thus I spent about ten minutes on refreshing myself regarding some details of what I already knew, and another eight or so composing this, which I have now used to reply to three Facebook Friends. I have also posted it on my own page.

I now post it here for Ethics Alarms readers who may encounter “Joe.” As I said, I could do much, much better, and be much, much more emphatic, but this particular gnat requires only a slap or two…

…not a bazooka. But feel free to adapt  and enhance what follows yourself yourself, and post it as needed:

I vowed to respond to this crap—sorry— the first time I saw it posted by a FB friend. I’m sorry it was you, my friend, though in your case I know you are smart enough to know how unfair and stupid it is. This is pure bigotry, of course, as well as toxic partyism.

Take the first example: water safety. When the Clean Water Act overhaul in 1972 was vetoed, the Senate voted by 52-12 to override, with 36 Senators not voting. Of the 52 Senators who voted to override, 39 were Democrats, 17 were Republicans, with one (Buckley-NY) independent “Conservative.” Democrats accounted for 4 of the 12 “nay” votes. The House voted by a staggering 247-23 to override, with one Representative answering “present” and 160 Representatives not voting. Of the 247 Representatives who voted to override President Nixon’s veto, 96 were Republicans and 151 were Democrats. Democrats accounted for 10 of the 23 “nay” votes.

Conservatives and Republicans were very much involved in rural electrification. A Republican President that liberals reviled, Richard Nixon, established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and also signed into law the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act. They were all bi-partisan efforts. So was Social Security, long before, passed in the Senate by a vote of 77 yeas, 6 nays, and 12 not voting.The student loan program was also bipartisan, and was seeded when GOP (conservative) President George H. W. Bush authorized a pilot version of the Direct Loan program, by signing into law the 1992 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. A conservative President, Taft, established the Labor department...etc. etc.

Every item here is simplified, distorted, and misrepresented. (The characterization of the reasons for the 2008 financial meltdown is especially fanciful.)  This Facebook meme just reinforces ignorance and arrogance. But more offensive yet, it employs the methods and language of bigotry.

Indeed, it IS bigotry. Conservatives have kept liberals from inflicting terrible ideas and overreach many times, often not well enough. That balance is how the system is supposed to work. Yet this “them” vs “us” rhetoric is ugly and calculated to engender hate. It would be easy, for example,  to compose a parallel screed entitled “A Day In The Life Of A Black Lives Matter Protester” using the same cheap tactics. This kind of tribal hate-mongering is beneath you, and should not be COPIED and PASTED, nor SHARED. It is like sharing typhoid, or dementia.

It should be avoided by anyone who wants civil discourse and a functioning democracy; as well as anyone who respects their fellow citizens and has the humility to accept that he or she does not have all the answers,

All Americans, liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican, should want that.

44 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Train Wrecks, Facebook, Government & Politics, History, Quotes, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

44 responses to “In Which Your Host Decides To Defenestrate A Trending Facebook Screed…

  1. charlesgreen

    Completely agree. This is an excellent job of fact-based takedown of emotional generalizations, which don’t reflect well on anyone.

    Well done.

  2. Do we have permission to copy paste your response if any of our dunderheaded associates on Facebook push the meme?

  3. It’s interesting. In the three places I’ve put this, there has been no rebuttal. One friend took down the “Joe” post entirely, and was sheepish about it. These are all smart people—I don’t have any dumb FB friends—and they knew I was right. They knew the “Joe” post was wrong and unfair, but they were pandering to the current progressive hate-fest and meltdown, and thinking about virtue-signalling, cheap “likes” and playing to a biased mob rather than listening to their own ethics alarms.

  4. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Don’t forget that Republican Teddy Roosevelt created the National Forestry Service, and also signed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Packing Act. Eisenhower, a Republican, started the interstate system. Bush the Elder signed the Americans With Disabilities Act. Nixon went to China. Whoever wrote this should have his head hit against the sidewalk 20 times.

  5. I remember seeing an Onion-like “real” fake news item that said “Clean Air brought to you by the EPA” about 25 years ago. I laughed. I’m not laughing anymore. Progressives really believe this crap.
    When I see things like this I try to imagine what the world might be like if we weren’t regulated to death. If I had the ability I’d re-write this imagining what things would look like without all the government agencies who micromanage “problems” that peoples own enlightened self-interest would have solved faster and better. Social Security is one that I could mention. Imagine if we had all been able to manage our own retirement funds and choose the investments that we know work for us. All the personal wealth that has been taken by the government to prop up useless pork and unneeded welfare could have been in the hands of people who would use it to secure their family’s future, and by making their own choices create jobs and opportunities for those who need them.

  6. deery

    I must note that you are conflating “liberal” with Democrat, and “conservative” with “Republican” even though they are not synonymous, especially as the parties have done some hard realignments in the last 50 years or so. “Wacko liberals” like Ronald Reagan championed gun control, and as you’ve noted Nixon started the EPA, even though such stances would be reviled by Republicans today.

    But the piece doesn’t really talk about party affiliation, just whether those causes are considered “liberal” or “conservative.” I think that it most certainly the case that supporting the FDA, the EPA, tougher bank regulations, etc. are considered liberal today.

    • That’s not what the post is about, however; you’re shifting the goalposts. It’s about the origins of various measures, and whether they were opposed by “conservatives” and championed by “liberals.” And if you are using today’s yardsticks, there are no conservative Democrats nor progressive Republicans. So the screed is dishonest no matter how you cut it.

      • deery

        It’s about the origins of various measures, and whether they were opposed by “conservatives” and championed by “liberals.” And if you are using today’s yardsticks, there are no conservative Democrats nor progressive Republicans. So the screed is dishonest no matter how you cut it.

        Yes, the post would be dishonest if it talked about how Democrats originated this or that. But it doesn’t. Just how conservatives take the hard work done by “liberals” (as judged by today’s standards), for granted.

        There are definitely conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans (though more and more rare every day). That is why I don’t think the terms are interchangeable.

        • You cannot be seriously defending this nonsense. None of these measures were ideologically polorized. James Buckley, whom I mentioned in one example, William F’s brother, was a conservative then, now, forever. I worked on public transit issues in the US Chamber: conservatives didn’t oppose that, just the irresponsible way it was financed. policies pushed by Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, among others, did as much to cause the 2008 collapse as conservatives. The post is one long “everything good came from liberals, and conservatives were always trying to stop it.” Your definition of liberal is “if they supported something good, then they were liberals.” That’s bigotry crossed with dishonesty. Disbigonesty, let’s say.

          • deery

            The post is one long “everything good came from liberals, and conservatives were always trying to stop it.” Your definition of liberal is “if they supported something good, then they were liberals.” That’s bigotry crossed with dishonesty.

            Eh. I think the original post was pointing out, in a simplistic way, that the results of causes currently considered liberal are taken for granted by those who currently consider themselves conservatives. A lot of things, like environmental regulations, bank regulations, food regulations, public transportation, etc. are considered liberal causes presently. They may not have been ideologically polarizing at that the time they were passed. They certainly are now however. I think that is part of the point of the post. If they are also considered good, now, with the fullness of time, so be it.

            American Conservatism is a broad system of political beliefs in the United States that is characterized by respect for American traditions, support for Judeo-Christian values, economic liberalism, anti-communism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense of Western culture from perceived threats posed by “creeping socialism”, moral relativism, multiculturalism, and liberal internationalism. Liberty is a core value, with a particular emphasis on strengthening the free market, limiting the size and scope of government, and opposition to high taxes and government or labor union encroachment on the entrepreneur. American conservatives consider individual liberty, within the bounds of conformity to American values, as the fundamental trait of democracy, which contrasts with modern American liberals, who generally place a greater value on equality and social justice. (from Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism_in_the_United_States

        • “He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.”

          So much for that dodge. Or are you really going to argue that this wasn’t a Democrat/GOP dichotomy, despite the specific use of “Republican” as a synonym for “conservatives”?

          • deery

            *Shrugs* Point to you, I guess. Most of the post specifically talks about conservative v. liberal, but at the very end does the same conflation that you did. With the realignment of parties and ideologies, that statement you highlighted, at least a far as parties goes, is not accurate.

            • Just quit. Seriously.

              It’s obvious the intent of the article is to assert via a series of suppressed premises (suppressed because they would ultimately contradict themselves) that whatever progressives support has led to good things for people and that conservatives have opposed these things despite benefiting from them.

              It’s ridiculous. This ignores several key concepts:

              1) There no reason to assume that any of the listed programs were absolutely essential to the goal of said program. That is to say there is no reason to assume the market, left to it’s own devices, would have guaranteed an end result *opposite* the goal of the program enacted. There is no reason to assume that national level of government action was absolutely necessary.

              2) There is no reason to assume that the agency of the government created to realize any of the listed programs has always acted in a limited manner or in a manner actually beneficial to the nation. That is to say the article assumes the listed programs have always been beneficial and have had no negative effects.

              3) There is no reason to assume that any of the listed programs were actually necessary to realize the solution to the stated problem — or that there was a serious problem to begin with.

              4) The article assumes that the even if a particular program actually was useful for the generation enacting it, that that usefulness endured through generations and is still a net benefit now. For example it is arguable whether or not social security has any real benefit or if it is a colossally inefficient waste compared to other options available.

              5) The article assumes that because some programs may have turned out to be useful despite the opposition at the time, that anyone opposing modern proposals are as equally short-sighted as those who opposed some of the programs in the past…as though somehow change is automatically good, or somehow the stated “goal” of new programs is enough to trump deliberation and consideration of negative consequences.

            • What do you mean “the same “conflation”? My post is a response to that one. I deal in the issue as it is presented, using the definition/ equivilency used in the dishonest assertion. The screed’s assumptions are junk, and Republicans=conservatives, ergo Democrats=liberals are part of that junk just like “liberals wise and good”, “conservatives stupid and wrong.”

              You are talking nonsense.

    • Isaac

      90% of the people who worked hard to create all of the things in that Facebook drivel are solidly conservative according to today’s standards, Heck, if JFK ran for president today he would be considered more right-wing than Bush. And what is considered far Left today was practically illegal back then. If you’re going to invoke shifting standards…then the reality is exactly inverse to whatever your point is.

      • deery

        We aren’t looking so much at people as the causes that are considered liberal/conservative. As I’ve stated upthread, there is very little doubt that championing Social Security, tighter bank regulations, gun control, the FDA, EPA, etc. are all considered pretty liberal today.

      • Chris

        Isaac, you could make a similar argument that Reagan would be considered too far left for today’s Republicans. His stances on gun control and climate change alone would have gotten him primaried out immediately.

        It’s too simplistic to pretend that certain policies have always been favored by Republicans and others by Democrats.

  7. But isn’t the rejoinder to this that the parties are no longer the same species as they were? The initial post doesn’t seem to use the word Democrat.

      • Reply: What I just said to deery.

        You’re claiming validity for the No True Scotsman fallacy. No TRUE conservatives supported these measures…baloney.

        • Chris

          But even the terms liberal and conservative haven’t always meant the same thing. Liberals used to be the ones pushing for looser gun regulation, in opposition to conservatives, for instance.

          I’m not defending the meme, which I stopped reading halfway through. I think I’m somewhere between deery and Jack here–the meme is accurate in some ways, though the primary purpose is definitely to push tribalism. I didn’t see any overt bigotry, but again, I stopped reading halfway through. I thought the Schlicter article was pretty bigoted.

          • Deery’s “party vs. ideology” sophistry is rebutted by the screed itself, when it ends, “He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.”

            It seems deery also didn’t read to the end. Not that I blame you, or him, for that.

  8. Matthew B

    I can refute many of these because my life doesn’t fit Joe Conservative’s circumstances.

    I live in a rural, conservative location nearby a small metro area in a blue state.

    I don’t drink public water, I drink well water. It’s clean mainly because the population density is low. Unless someone opens an unregulated waste dump, I don’t have to worry about water quality. My water quality beats the pants of the water in town from the liberal regulated water agency (Flint, anyone? That was a blue state too…).

    I don’t take mass transit. It sucks here, and it’s a 22 mile drive before I get to the system. The roads are wonderful in my county. Why? We are a non-sanctuary holdout county. We spend money on get this: Roads. They’re great here. The moment I cross the county line, they noticeably degrade. I don’t pay for parking. My employer doesn’t cram themselves downtown to force density; I park free in the park lot provided by my employer. I do drive my hybrid vehicle on public roads. It’s a hybrid not because of green weenie reasons, but because it’s safe and reliable. Built by a non-bailout automaker too…

  9. Michael Ejercito

    It is a good thing liberal oppose these:

    – illegal immigration

    – accusing opponents of illegal immigration of racism.

    – colleges expelling people for suspicion of rape if there is only a 20% chance of guilt.

    – the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights pretending to be the Supreme Court, coming up with completely ludicrous interpretations of Title IX such that it requires a preponderance of evidence standard when adjudicating sexual harassment claims, and that it prohibits cross-examination of witnesses.

    – people arguing that rape is as common in college campuses as it is in the war-torn Congo region of Africa.

    – the Justice Department threatening to punish schools for racial discrimination if they choose to punish misconduct.

    – the EEOC suing businesses for running criminal background checks on the basis that it is racist.

    – laws requiring employers to accommodate employees who do not want to do their jobs (transporting alcohol, handing out contraception) if they have a religious objection. (I wonder if this principle applies to a bakery cashier who refuses to sell a wedding cake to a same sex couple)

    – claiming that requiring a photo ID to vote is racist because it places a disparate burden on minorities, while simultaneously supporting universal background checks on firearm purchases, ignoring any concerns about a disparate impact on minorities

    – claiming that the police are racist, while simultaneously claiming that these police officers be trusted with discretion to decide who may carry a concealed weapon.

    – claiming that an employer is imposing religion and denying access to women’s health if they refuse to offer health insurance that includes contraception without co-pay, even though it would be ludicrous to claim that employers are imposing their religion and denying access to women’s wine if they refuse to offer coupons for BevMo.

    Imagine if liberals were not around to stop these ideas from becoming policy…

  10. Spartan

    The Facebook post is oversimplistic and was not designed to be attacked 2L style in a mid-term exam — which, Jack, any of us could do with any Facebook post that has ever been distributed to the masses. I understood the point to be that individuals benefit in ways that they don’t always appreciate from state action. That’s certainly true. Of course, any of use could also write a similar post that details how the individual doesn’t always recognize how he or she is harmed by state action.

    • Point? When supposedly intelligent people post demonstrably false screeds designed to reinforce bias and mislead, they absolutely not only deserve to be taken apart, but demand it. What do you mean it “was not designed to be attacked”? It’s false. It is being distributed by people saying “copy and post this”—but it’s supposed to be left alone to misrepresent and make people stupid?

      I really don’t understand you sometimes. The point wasn’t about state action. The point was that progressives always are right, and mean, bad conservatives are always fighting against health and safety, but hypocritically accept the benefits. That was the clear point. You have to tie your brain into knots to pretend otherwise.

      • Spartan

        I wrote this early in the morning today, so perhaps I didn’t make myself clear.

        I am inundated with these mass posts on FB each day, and I think I am a little unique in that my friend group is divided 50/50 between liberals and conservatives. I don’t take the time to nitpick any of these posts, because: 1) it makes me appear to be over-lawyerly and elitist; and 2) there is no need, because I generally agree (or at least empathize) with the emotion being expressed, even though the mass post was sloppily drafted.

        It’s like Trump. You have been saying lately (or at least I will paraphrase what I think you have been saying) that it is a waste of time and hyper-sensitive to fact-check everything that comes out of his mouth. Well, the same goes with these “copy and share” posts on FB.

        In any event, I disagree with this: “The point was that progressives always are right, and mean, bad conservatives are always fighting against health and safety, but hypocritically accept the benefits. That was the clear point.”
        That was not the clear point. The point in the FB post was that people do not understand how state actions affect the individual.

        • Spartan

          I need to admit to something — I DO sometimes nit-pick some of the mass posts by one of my Libertarian friends. He loves to share Ron Paul quotes like they are commandments being handed down to Moses. But, putting him aside, I tend to ignore mass posts by the left and right.

        • That doesn’t pass the smell test.

          If the only reason were to make the case that we sometimes argue against the very programs we benefit from, then the incessant mentioning that the programs are championed by liberals/progressives and that the subject is a conservative/republican is grossly out of place.

          • Spartan

            Meh. That’s where I agree with Deery to some extent. Even the use of labels has become sloppy, but it is generally true that these programs TODAY tend to be championed by liberals. What those people who championed them at the time should be labeled now is subject to debate.

  11. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    I saw this on Facebook, sent to me by a ‘friend” of long standing, called him on it (although he had 50+ thumbs-up comments), and he took down his post. Only one small correction, but I managed to do it.

  12. Late to the party, but…

    +! for the Robert Frost quote

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