Monday, September 24, 2012

Parallels

Following the theme of abandoning common sense, here are a few more news items for you.

1. Ultraconservative Islamists are asking the UN to place bans on insulting the prophet Muhammad. This comes after weeks of rioting and decades of instability in the region. As a brief historical note, ultraconservative Muslim groups have spent the better part of the last fifty years gaining power and prominence in the Middle East. They reinstated the requirement that women where headscarves, they turned the fledgling democracies into full-blown theocracies, they required reading of Quran, amongst other things. The changes differ from place to place, but in general conservative Muslim tradition has largely taken over. This push on the UN to ban insults of the prophet is surprising, but so is the response here in the US.

The funny thing, to me anyway, is that this kind of ban is exactly the kind of thing ultraconservative Christians here would want for themselves. In fact, they make a huge issue out of decrying their own victimhood in a country where they are largely accepted and have a lot of protections. What the Muslim community wants is mutual respect, they say. Fine, that is a good goal. I can't believe that American values will be respected by the Muslim countries of the Middle East if we show respect back, as long as their conservative theocrats continue to control them. That's not me being anti-Islam, that's me being realistic. I would love for there to be peace in the Middle East. I would love to see American forces leaving, our bases shut down, and see a growing society there. But that's not happening now, and as long as radicalism is hijacking the conversation for the people of the Middle East, there won't be mutual understanding.

My point in all of this is that, while the Muslim community does seem particularly volatile when it comes to defaming their prophet, they can't expect special treatment because of that. Just as Christians here can't sue you or throw you in jail for criticizing Jesus, Islam should not be allowed to proecute people via the UN for something they find personally reprehensible, but that is protected under another countries free speech laws.



And now for something completely different.....


2. A new report by several key economists expresses that the best way for us to deal with mass amount of deficit and debt is to combine spending cuts with tax increases. A common sense, right down the middle solution to the problem. What could go wrong?

Well, as you can imagine, quite a bit. As it turns out, our politicians don't listen to experts in things like economics and markets when making decisions about the economy. They listen to their party leaders, their lobbyists, and their gut, and they make decisions that score them political points with their base while stonewalling progress. And as those economists explain, it is this lack of knowing what will happen in Washington that is holding things back.

There is a lot that can be said for taxes on businesses, the wealthy, etc. There's a lot that can be said for the deficit and debt. But the thing that really kills job growth is uncertainty. That's true on Wall Street and on Main Street. A business can function if it knows what it's tax rate is going to be, even if it's high. So can a family, for the most part. But not knowing causes confusion and uncertainty, leading to stagnation. These economists suggest that a clear path forward alone would be enough to help the economy. But again, obstructionism (from both sides) and an inability to respond to even the simplest issues, has left us drowning in unemployment.

Again, we see a lack of common sense, a complete lack of understanding beyond political gain, and a lack of interest in the general welfare of our country. This is the core problem in Washington right now: everyone wants to get re-elected that they're neglecting their duties as a congressperson. We can argue back and forth about who is more at fault, what should be done differently, and even what routes should be taken by Congress. But until we can elect people who can put politics aside for the good of the nation, all that talk is just hypothetical. We have to remove the log from the eye of congress before worrying about the bit of dust.

1 comment:

samp said...

I agree with you on this one. The only way to correct this impotent congress is to fire them, i.e. vote them out in November. My God they just took a 7 week re-election break leaving all 12 spending bills undone; plus many many other bills. These men and women do not represent us. They nothing more than con men. They are pathetic.