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On uncritical acceptance

Thomas Maranges | Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If you were swayed by either Mark Easley’s “Vote the Bums Out” (Oct. 7) or Ryan Sullivan’s “Time to Remember” (Oct. 11) you’re not paying attention. American politics has historically been a complex chain of causes and effects acting on tangled web of issues, and never moreso than now.

So when Mr. Sullivan tells you that “From 1994 to 2006 [the Republicans] utterly destroyed an American economy” perhaps doesn’t fairly consider how a Clinton White House that signed those bills into law fits into the situation. And maybe he can’t apply without qualification the eighty-year-old New Deals to a modern, globalized economy with a fiat currency instead of the gold standard. And though he lambasts the Iraq War for its contributions to the deficit, for some reason he ignores the fiscal cost of TARP and the bailouts as he admits their tepid impact and promises vague future gains. Are we really to believe that “economists from around the globe” are in complete agreement about this issue?

Mr. Easley is a little better, since he at least acknowledges that neither party deserves complete blame. Still, he doesn’t seem to consider that perhaps too much deregulation helped cause the oil spill that the administration “bungled.” He says that “money is scarce and getting more worthless by the month” which is, as far as I can tell, a blatant contradiction of economic terms. And the “higher taxes” that he warns about are just the taxes that the Bush tax cuts temporarily relieved “if they didn’t work in the timeframe assigned, are they really useful tax cuts? Not all tax cuts are created equal, after all.

If you’re looking for one-sided, polemic rants that ignore facts in favor of ideologies, you can do better than Misters Sullivan and Easley; silver-tongued rhetoricians on either side will gladly trim away the bothersome facts for you more eloquently than either, and more seductively. If you’d rather be critically informed, you’ll have to think critically for yourself; to do otherwise is to deny reality. Right answers are rarely as easy or as simple as we’d like.


Thomas Maranges


St. Edward’s Hall

Oct. 12