SENTIENT MAN'S BURDEN

Posted in Rants on February 18th, 2009 by Ed

Blogging takes time. On some days, depending on the topic and amount of research required, it can take quite a bit of time. My task would be a lot easier and would take much less time if I just made shit up when supporting facts were required. And it would be even easier than that if I did away altogether with the need for facts, asserting that everything I say is true because I say it is.

How convenient would that be? I'd do almost no work at all while critics and readers would have to do copious work to correct and disprove all of my bullshit by citing facts. Such is the life of being a conservative pundit: spend a few minutes ranting off the top of one's head and then hit the golf course, leaving others to clean up the mess. This is the running battle that the left- and right-wing political classes have been fighting for two decades. Being left-of-center in America consists of little more than expending time and energy correcting widely-held misconceptions based on things Republicans make up or, less cynically, believe is true but isn't. It's a battle that can never be won. They will simply make up more crap. Why? Because they derive benefit from doing so and it's free. Hot air is a public good, and unfortunately for those who have to deal with its consequences it is virtually inexhaustible.

It took the House GOP about 90 minutes of strategizing to settle on a unified message based on half-truths, distortions, and fabrications about the stimulus legislation. Conversely, it took the Democrats two weeks and untold time, effort, and money to respond – an effort in which they were only partially successful. It took Ann Coulter five minutes to spout off a paragraph in her new screed about how the Council of Conservative Citizens is unfairly maligned as a racist group. In response it took one or more people at the Southern Poverty Law Center a couple days to collect and present the reams of evidence disproving her claim. The two ideologies live in separate worlds. In one world, facts, logic, and evidence make things true or false. In the other, saying something loudly enough and believing it's true makes it so.

The right loves to exploit this imbalance. They know that every 10 seconds they spend making shit up results in a few hours of work undoing the damage. They understand that even when their nonsense is disproven at great cost by their political opponents, some appreciable segment of the population will continue to believe it anyway. It's a win-win-win: liberals are forever occupied with the Sisyphean task of rolling a boulder of pure bullshit up a steep hill, the GOP doesn't have to put any effort into its agenda, and some voters even buy the nonsense to boot. The talk radio crowd are limited only by their imaginations whereas the rest of us are saddled with the burden of making sense, which is quite a bit more difficult than flapping one's gums and making sound.