April 12, 2019

NOT ONLY DO WE AGREE ON THE RULES WE AGREE ON THE POLICIES:

Our Political Fights Are Bad Because We Don't Agree on the Rules (JIM GERAGHTY, April 12, 2019, National Review)

One of the reasons our politics is so contentious and angry is that we can't agree on what the rules are. Some of us want to argue that certain policies are good and certain policies are bad. But a vocal chunk of Americans don't really care about what the policies are; they would much rather argue that their side is right. They don't care if these are the same policies or comparable to those they denounced earlier. The system is clogged with bad-faith arguments, hypocrisy, and flip-flopping.

What do most Americans and most American policymakers think of running trillion-a-year deficits? It depends upon whether their party's president is the one running up the debts. When the other guys are in power, it's reckless endangerment of our children's future. When their own guys are in power, it's a necessary step to ensure economic growth.

When someone prominent is accused of a crime, is the bigger concern the rights of the accused and the burden of proof, or the rights of the victim to have her account heard and for the crime to be punished? For many people, it depends upon the partisan status of the person accused. Some people believed the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh instantly and adamantly insisted his confirmation to the Supreme Court was a great injustice; some of those same people take little interest in the women accusing Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax -- and some people reversed their responses in the other direction.

The antiwar movement around Iraq and Afghanistan proved to be an anti-Bush movement; once Obama was in office, the protests grew more sparse and less covered. When one side's leaders take military action, it's protecting Americans in a dangerous world; when the other side's leaders take military action, it's irresponsible warmongering.

For many Americans, when the side they like uses heated rhetoric, it's speaking truth to power. When the side they don't like uses heated rhetoric, it's hate speech and dangerous incitement.

We have so few policy differences at the End of History that all we have left to argue about is which sneeches have star bellies. After all, the deficit doesn't matter; Bret Kavanaugh is indistinguishable from Merrick Garland judicially; and we all agree that Saddam needed to be removed.

Posted by at April 12, 2019 6:03 PM

  

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