January 02, 2009


Mark Steyn was sitting in for Rush Limbaugh today, so I made sure to tune in. I turned on the radio as soon as I was leaving work and was lucky enough to catch Steyn talking about something that irks me. He was talking with a caller about media bias and was saying that it only appears like bias to rightwingers because nowadays the left-wing position is actually considered the default. He used global warming as an example: the idea that global warming exists and is man-made is treated as the non-partisan, default position in American society.

I was just emailing about something like the the other day with a friend. I had pointed out CVG's post on Civil Discourse to make a point, and my friend countered by saying that CVG granted premises that he doesn't even grant, such as that the federal government should even be collecting income taxes in the first place. Thus, he said, she set herself up for failure in that argument because right off the bat she granted the Democrats most of their premises.

Income tax collection is what Mark Steyn would call one of those non-partisan positions. Not all of us believe the government should collect income tax, which gets us the label of right-wing wackos since that premise is nearly always granted.

The frustration I face vis-a-vis my worldview is that I reject so many of these so-called non-partisan positions. I don't grant the premises that everyone should have affordable health care, that global warming is a high priority, that college should be made more affordable, that guns should be more strictly controlled, that affirmative action helps minorities, etc. So in normal discussions with Democrats, I am always operating from a disadvantage, because "conventional wisdom" or "normal people" usually grant these premises. I'm always frustrated because I don't accept the underlying foundation of their arguments, which makes it hard to have a discussion because to them, this is the normal default position. To a Democrat, there's nothing left-wing about wanting to fight global warming; it's just an unremarkable given.

I believe that the Republican Party will never be a success if it keeps granting Democrat premises. It can't keep trying to find right-wing solutions to things that many right-wingers don't accept as the default. McCain let Obama frame the debates, which was infuriating to those of us watching at home and wishing he'd stop conceding that all of this stuff like health care and bailouts was even necessary in the first place. He was arguing details when he should've been arguing premises. Nobody I know wanted to vote for Democrat Lite, but that's what we were getting served.

True conservative/libertarian ideas can win if people would challenge the Democrat position as the default.

Posted by Sarah at January 2, 2009 04:31 PM | TrackBack

You make excellent points. I would offer that a lot of the default positions are held by slightly more than half the US population to varying degrees.

For instance I do believe that climate change exists and is an issue. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have spoken with people who work in the fishing industry and they can tell you that a one or two degree temperature change in the nations waterways can have a devestaing effect on our ability to produce a needed food source. I study it because I care a lot about wildlife and maintaining a natuaral habitat for them.

I realize that not everyone cares about the same things I do. I also believe that people need to come before animals in the priority list.

My point in a round about way, is that the default position is not necessarily Democratic. I think it's painting folks with a wide brush to say that if you believe in XYZ you're a Democrat and ABC your a Republican.

You have very strobgly held beliefs as do most of us. The courage of our convictions is a most American trait. In the end most people should have the decency to respect your opinions even if you don't agree with them. But don't 'not' have the discussion.

I was at a dinner party New Years Eve with a bunch of friends I had not seen in a long long time. You could have heard a friggin' pin drop when I said I didn't vote for Obama. And I know for a fact there was one other person at that table that didn't either and didn't offfer that information.

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