Friday, September 24, 2010

In Which I Tell The Kids To Get Off My Lawn

Like I've said, this is my third year teaching at a classical school.  At this point in their education, most of my older students could wipe the floor with your average basement-dwelling twenty-something atheist (and sundry other contrarians), and don't even get flustered when people try to challenge their firmly held beliefs.  They just bust out a syllogism and a few well-honed rhetorical flourishes and then graciously bandage their opponent's wounds, without breaking a sweat.

Coming up to this election season, though, I sort of wish they could go to Washington and teach logic classes to politicians and pundits.  What do they teach in Ivy-league poli-sci classes these days? 

Interviewer: So, your plan proposes decreasing the size and power of the federal government.  What programs will you cut to accomplish that?

Politician: Well, I think the American people will notice right away looking at the plan, that we're blah blah blah capping discretionary spending blah blah a savings of over $100 million blah blah!  That's a lot of money!  I think the American people are too stupid to follow an actual argument, so I'm going to throw around a lot of patriotic-sounding buzzwords and tell everyone that my plan will guarantee a sparkly unicorn to every family in the country AND set us on the path to financial solvency.  Except I won't use the word "solvency" because I think Americans are idiots.

I: Are discretionary caps enough to result in that kind of savings?  Which programs in particular will be impacted by that discretionary cap?  Also: you're a jerk.

P: Well, again, a $100 million savings in just the first year blah blah financial blah blah gibberish blah.  I think that the American people blah blah times of hardship blah blah lack of compassion blah blah.  Oh, and all those bleeding-heart liberals want to force every American to marry a unicorn and then agree to have no more than one unicorn-human-hybrid baby.  All I can say is, they're just out of touch with middle America.  Midwesterners love unicorns, they support unicorns.  But if they're going to have to marry unicorns, they'd better be able to have as many freakazoid humicorn offspring as they darn well please. It's a constitutional right!

How inconceivable would it be for the conversation to go:

Interviewer: So, your plan proposes decreasing the size and power of the federal government.  What programs will you cut to accomplish that?

Politician: This plan eliminates approximately 220 federal programs.  It does not eliminate the services provided by those programs, however.  It turns their control over to the individual states.  Our Constitution grants all powers of government to the states, and we're very serious about implementing a plan that accords with the law of the land! Besides which, it's just common sense. Rather than the federal government trying, inefficiently, to manage these hundreds of programs, in the future, states will manage them.  This allows states to refine and personalize each program based on the needs of its citizens.  A more efficient system ensures that each citizen receives the services he or she needs without unnecessary delay.

Interviewer: That was... remarkably lucid for a politician.  Wow.

1 comment:

John Roberts said...

Laura, I fear that you are too smart to live in the United States any more. We will be shipping you off to some other place where people actually read and then use the brains God gave them before making decisions.

Oh, wait, you mean there IS no such place left on earth?


Well, keep trying.