Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Difference in Conditions

We wuz robbed!

2000, Democrats: "We wuz robbed!"
2002, Democrats: "We wuz robbed again!"
2004, Democrats: "We wuz robbed yet again!"
2006, Republicans: "Bummer. Oh, well, we'll do better next time."

Note that right-wing pundits and bloggers don't seem to be fixating on voter fraud, despite documented evidence that the Democrats have been doing that kind of thing? Note that Republican candidates who lost very narrowly gave in gracefully, without demanding recounts or resorting to the courts? Why the difference?

I think it's the basic Democrat culture of entitlement showing through. Democrats were angry in 2000, 2002, and 2004 because they felt that they deserved to win. Republicans don't feel that anyone deserves anything. They believe that all rewards have to be earned.

There's another way of looking at this. In 2000, 2002, and 2004, Democrats explained their defeat by looking to see what the Republicans had done to inflict defeat on the Democrats. In 2006, the Republicans seem to be explaining their defeat by looking for all the ways they themselves loused up. The Democrats are showing their investment in the cult of the victim. They didn't lose because of any fault or failure of their own; they lost because of the nefarious acts of villainous Republicans.

It's another manifestation of their epistemological breakdown regarding the principle of cause-and-effect. The Democrats do not fundamentally believe that they are in control of their own fate -- or ours. They were victims in 2000, 2002, and 2004. The only reason they weren't victims in 2006 was that the nefarious Republicans didn't successfully pull off their nefarious plots and plans this time. And in general Democrats demonstrate a broad belief that there's no relationship between acts and results, cause and effect. What matters is motive, not behavior. If you do something with good intentions, the result will be good.

And never mind what road is paved with good intentions. They don't believe in Hell, either.

Raising taxes won't result in decreased economic growth. There's no relationship between the two. What Congress does about taxes won't have any effect on the economy, so why not raise taxes so there's more government money to spread around to those who deserve to receive it?

Why shouldn't we decrease defense spending in the middle of a war? Increased defense spending causes war, it isn't a response to it. If we stop fighting, the war will end. If we reduce our defense spending, we'll be safer. Anyway, the UN will protect us.

Bailing out of Iraq won't result in increased radicalism in the Middle East. (Though we're told that invading the place did result in increased radicalism.) "Redeploying" won't convince the radicals that we're cowards who have no staying power and can be worn down in a long fight. It won't convince the radicals that they can attack us with impunity and that the price of doing so won't be catastrophe for them.

Bypassing the electoral process and using the courts to implement their radical agenda (e.g. legalization of gay marriage) won't cause backlash among the electorate and widespread passage of one-man-one-woman marriage laws. (Ahem.)

Restricting the use of fossil fuels won't cause the economy to collapse. Energy doesn't come from coal and oil, it comes from service stations and light sockets in the wall.

If cause-and-effect don't actually have anything to do with one another, and if good things happen to good people because they deserve to get good results, then all those ideas make perfect sense. We should live good lives, and treat others (e.g. al Qaeda) kindly, and if we do then everything will get better. The bad things that have happened to us (e.g. the 9/11 attack) are our own fault because we act in evil ways, and thus don't deserve good results. Our lives will become more comfortable and better and safer in every way because we'll be virtuous, and thus will deserve it.

Fortunately, there's another election in 2008. Two years is long enough for the Democrats to show their true colors, but not long enough for them to louse things up beyond repair. For six years the Democrats in Congress have done nothing but complain about nearly everything the Republicans have done, without ever offering any alternative plans. Now the Democrats are in charge, and will have to act instead of spending all their time bitching. (Best guess is that they'll switch to spending all their time spending.)

It's definitely going to be amusing to watch them try to lead and to see what direction they think they'll lead us. I think the result is going to be a shambles, leading to a massive reversal in 2008. (Especially if the Republican message in 2008 is, "We've learned our lesson, and we'll do better next time.")