Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stop repeating these political fables

Can this be the year that people stop sharing the same made-up, contrived stories to prove their political points?

How many more times will we read about how:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. 
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an “A”... 

Because nothing sets one up for credibility more than calling president Obama a socialist.

Who would write "at a local college" for something to be read on the Internet and what kind of callous professor would fail an entire class of students to get even with them for not understanding economics, the very subject they went to him to learn? I think the author chose to make it an economics class as a cheap trick to make the story more credible.

Then there's this gem: ‎

An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket. at the foot of a tree.  
 Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said "now", the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.

While conservatives try to use economics to strengthen their popular legend, progressives want to drape theirs in the wisdom of children and tribal cultures. Notice this is a generic "African tribe." Africa is 11.7 million square miles and divided into 54 countries with diverse cultures. There is both Egypt and South Africa, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, but in the lazy writing of this fable all Africans are humble, simple-minded, shirtless villagers.

If you want to make an analogy to prove your point, do so, but do it honestly. For example:

This is a VERY simple way to understand the tax laws. Read on — it does make you think!! Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner...

See the difference? No dishonest claims that this is a true story. It comes out and says its an analogy. It doesn't pretend to be anything that it's not.

The smug economic professor and the noncompetitive African children are two sides of the same coin. I think the only fitting response to either one is the other. Not because they prove any sort of point, but because their supporters may recognize the ghoulish reflection and reflect on what they have become.

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