Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Convention rhetoric: facts for consensus building

Accepting that 90 percent of what we’re going to hear this week will offend that "reasonable person" standing steely-eyed above the fray, it will be interesting to note how often the celebrated data men leading the Republican Party use facts and evidence reasonably. Stanley Crouch offers a fine reminder that facts, too, can appeal to our better angels.

“In theory, liberal and conservative perspectives should better each other by making realistic demands the opposition can meet. They should use facts like ice water, dousing those who have grown too hot with their own ideology.

“Facts do not dissolve under microscopes of serious scrutiny the way factoids, or half-truths, do. For years, Americans could battle with facts. We had a democratic sense of government that faced human limitations and foibles but remained focused on progress from some kind of ignorance to some kind of enlightenment. Consequently, this spirit of compromise worked past the inevitable corruption coming from the left or the right.

“We have thus created a society of enormous individual freedom and success, but it has been paced by a sense of empathy.”

—By Stanley Crouch in The New York Daily News, August 20, 2012

Will either Romney or Ryan speak in detail about the $billions in tax loopholes that actual registered voters—in their millions—can now do without?

Will they explain how America’s strained social safety net can accommodate their proposed cuts in food aid and Medicaid transfers to the states?

After decades of winning elections explicitly to lighten the cost of government, federal government spending keeps growing. Will they finally ask seniors to vote for less support? Will they explain how more spending on them can be possible, without tax increases and less support for defense and younger Americans?

Obama, they say, has been naïve about how to fight recession, and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke shouldn’t expect to be re-appointed; the two of them let China get away with a cheap currency while not caring to maintain a strong American dollar. Romney and his team claim that Keynesian economics doesn't work, even in a crash. Would they cut the deficit next year even if the recovery stalls at home and globally? Would they cut the deficit and cut taxes at the same time?

Who from literature or economic theory would Ryan quote to justify such a policy?

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