Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Behavioral economics and the left

Excerpts from: Democrats' Policies Based on Dogma, Hopes, Dreams, not Reality by Dennis Prager
Given the huge economic failures that the left itself attributes to Medicare and Medicaid and given the economic collapse or near collapse of these systems in other countries, the left's prescriptions can only be explained in one way: The left has made its views a form of religion.

Most individuals on the left are not religious, but virtually all people, secular and religious, liberal and conservative, yearn to believe in dogma, i.e., absolute beliefs that transcend reason. For people on the left in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, belief in the state -- the notion that the state can do a better job at helping people and making a good society -- is one such dogma. This applies especially to educating the young and to health care.

Examples of left-wing dogmas that transcend reason are as numerous as any religion's catechism. One example is the belief that men and women, boys and girls, are basically the same, that the vast majority of characteristics we ascribe to male and female natures are in fact socially induced. . .

Another is the belief that manmade carbon dioxide emissions are heating the world to the point of imminent worldwide catastrophe, including island nations disappearing underwater, mass starvation, inundation of the world's major coastal areas and much more. . .

One cannot understand the left if one does not appreciate the world of dogmas in which most left-wing thinkers live. What the monastery is to monks, the university and the mainstream media are to the left.

That is the only way to explain the left's belief that government-run health care, having the government take over so much more of society, raising taxes yet again, expanding government even more and increasing the number of people employed by the government will all be good for America.

Dogma explains why it is useless to point out to the left how the left has economically crippled California, once the most prosperous, most adventurous, most successful "country" in the world . . . Likewise, it does not matter to blacks what Democrats have done to their cities. As they watch their cities crumble, they will once again vote overwhelmingly for the party that oversaw this destruction.

None of these facts matters because religious-like dogmas are not derived from facts.

In addition to dogma, the left relies for its policies on "hope," which it often substitutes for analysis. People on the left rarely vote based on reality. They vote based on "hope." That's why the word "hope" is so much more significant to the left than to the right. . . The right doesn't have "hope" candidates because conservatives don't live on hope. They live in reality, meaning that people are not born basically good; that investing men and women with great state power leads inevitably to abuse of that power; that people stop innovating if they are taxed too highly; and that a perfect health care system is understood to be impossible.

And, finally, the left dreams. Robert F. Kennedy often cited the statement first made by George Bernard Shaw: "Some men see things as they are and say 'why?' I dream things that never were and say 'why not?'" The left dreams of an America in which health care will constantly improve, health insurance will be given to every American at the same price irrespective of his or her health, doctors will be fairly reimbursed, there will be no waiting lines, and there will not be a dime's increase in the national debt for all of this.

Frankly, I don't yearn for what is unseen. Rather, having a realistic understanding of the limitations of human beings, I am in awe of what I already see -- the unique American achievement of affluence, liberty, decency, opportunity and medical innovations.

And I see this all being squandered for the sake of left-wing dogma, left-wing hopes and left-wing dreams.

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