Warning: I’m ranting. I caught sight of a few newspaper articles today that lowered my (already low) opinion of right-wing opinion pundits. Straw men? Check. Ad hominem arguments? Check. Unrelated issues conflated? Check.
The first was in the Washington Post, and trots out a version of the “War on Christians” trope. “Oh, woe is us,” it all but cries; the ‘lefties, academics, and proud atheists’ treat us badly, especially in election years. It lauds the Supreme Court decisions for the Little Sisters of the Poor, and for Hobby Lobby. The part–actually, the first part–that I found particularly offensive is when the author hand-waves any issues with the outcomes, claiming that “the state should always go to extra lengths to protect religious liberty whenever possible.”
Sorry, I’ve got to draw a line here. Religious liberty extends only so far as it doesn’t trod on the next guy’s religious liberty. You can practice your religion right up until it interferes with me, or with my decisions. This penchant for people to claim “religious freedom” when persecuting others I find utterly despicable, repugnant, and–to borrow a term–evil.
The next part that bothered me was in discussion of a speech by Hillary Clinton. She was addressing the “Women in the World Summit,” and made the following statement: “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” so that women can have free access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. It then supposed that she would reframe her comments had she been speaking to a Christian audience.
Um. Who’s to say she wasn’t? Why is it so un-Christian to want people to have access to reproductive health care? To safe childbirth? To (gasp) contraception–or (double gasp) abortion, even? I understand the moral arguments (“It’s murder!”), but disagree with them on an intellectual, non-emotional level–which is where these decisions (and, indeed, most decisions, IMO) ought to be made. (Note: I’m not advocating abortion–I’m advocating for the choice to be available…)
I won’t even get into the fawning lavished on Jeb Bush or Mike Huckabee, for their “elevated” discussion of Christianity.
The second article that raised my hackles was in the Wall Street Journal, already a bastion of conservatism. It presents itself as an open letter to the graduating class of 2015, and paints a horrible picture of the world–mostly undeserved, I believe.
Apparently, everything is the fault of bad schoolteachers, backed by unions.
Your education was poor, you see, because the teachers were poorly qualified. And since they “can’t be fired,” they’re taking jobs you might otherwise fill. If only we could fire the bottom 5% of public-school teachers, things would be much better (citing a Harvard economist, claiming a $9k increase in lifetime earnings per student, per teacher fired, giving the class of 2015 about $31 billion over their lifetime). Granted, that would put over 160,000 teachers out of a job, which would negate a large chunk of that gain…
Oh, and your student loans will be with you for years.
And Gods forbid that the states establish licensing requirements for some jobs–and that they don’t coordinate across state lines. And that unpaid internships are all but banned. And then, when you do find a job, you’ll have to start paying taxes, mostly to support benefits for older Americans, who have jobs and assets. And let’s not forget your “higher premiums” under the ACA.
Grrr. Yep, you’ll be paying into Social Security. Which, particularly if Congress would get its hands out of that cookie jar, would be doing just fine and able to support you back. And while some individual premiums might be higher, overall I believe the record is showing that they’re significantly lower… And as a young person, they’ll be lower than that old guy who’s a significantly higher risk.
I know, arguing with them won’t help–they’ve got their worldview, and their preferred version of things, and if your reality doesn’t fit their version, they’re happy to dismiss it and use their own. I just get tired of it.
More survival stuff next time–let’s talk unconventional education, and learning new skills. Sound good?