Why do some people take actions that go against their own self interests? It happens on the left and the right, a lot of the time it can be put in the hypocrisy column and other times it seems to be caused by some emotional reason that is overriding that person or organizations own goals and beliefs. Some of the folks over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher, Jon Walker, Emptywheel, David Dayan and others, seem to contort their own beliefs to justify their opposition to the health care bill. They are using very similar tactics as Republicans like using trite phrases, narrow interpretations, denial, suppositions that are false, clinging to old talking points that are no longer true, vilifying people and corporations unfairly and using that vilification to help bolster their flimsy reasoning and narrow agenda.
The biggest example of this is watching the “Hamsher Gang” talk as if we live in a socialist country all of a sudden. They talk from a premise that suggests that democrats somehow have 60 very liberal, progressive votes in the Senate. There is major denial going on in their camp about what is possible with the current makeup of the House and Senate. They expect President Obama to dictate to the congress single payer health care or at the least the public option as if all he has to do is say “you must do this now, I am King Obama.” Well, that ain’t how it works folks. I’ve visited FDL on occasion to try and figure out what their thinking is and have found in the comments section mostly right wing people who simply attack the President personally, attribute ideas and thoughts to him much like the tea partiers do, based in suspicion, rumors, hatred for Rahm Emmanuel and the president and basically no engagement on the issues at all. Sure there are some who are liberal or progressive who have chosen one anti corporation mentality that guides everything they think. When you challenge them on any point, they throw out the fact that insurance companies will make money off having more people covered. No acknowledgment that those people covered might actually get health care, they only focus on the potential money the insurance companies might make due to an increase in people covered.
I’m not a fan of big corporations that have gotten away with all sorts of things during the Bush/Cheney and to some extent the Clinton/Gore administrations, but I’m not one who thinks they are inherently evil, they are driven by profit in a capitalistic society…uh, it’s been that way for quite a while in this country. Did these folks just wake up from a lifelong dream of living in a socialist country. Did they just now realize that we are a capitalist country? Our country isn’t going socialist anytime soon, get over it people. I personally wish we were more socialistic, a delicate balance between being profit driven and exacting controls on them that protect the public. This balance was tilted far to the right during the W years and needs to be tilted back very quickly. Regulations need to be enforced, they are there for a reason.
I was challenged at FDL with a series of questions that asked about liberal principles and I answered them as I would, very liberally. I was then asked if Obama were to do the opposite of one of my answers, phrasing it as “throwing me under the bus”, and I realized that they are admitting that they are choosing one principle and holding firm to it. Now that idea isn’t necessarily bad, but when sticking to that principle causes you to lose all sense of perspective, all views of the bigger picture and the overall goal of a progressive movement, then it becomes self serving and really just plain stupid. When people can actually type “oh, the old people will die argument” and poo poo it as if people dying isn’t important. Now that is when I know that sticking to that principal has made them go off the rails.