Friday, June 12, 2009
  Wrong arguments

Polistra often wonders why both of our alleged political "parties" are thoroughly inept at basic communication. Obama is a huge exception to this rule, but his assistants and the Dems in Congress are emphatically not exceptions.

Yesterday's hearings on single-payer medical care show the problem. There is a clear way to argue for nationalized health: simply describe how it works in France and argue for adoption of the French system. Nope, they can't do that for some idiotic reason. The Dems have to re-invent a clumsily compromised wheel when the good wheel stands right there waiting to be copied.

= = = = =

Another missed selling point:



Public transportation gives FREEDOM to poor people.
(And to disabled, elderly and youngsters.)

This has always been true, and Americans explicitly understood this point 100 years ago. Towns of all sizes eagerly built streetcar systems in order to provide opportunity for everyone to work and buy things. Good public transit was a point of pride.

And the argument is even stronger now, because maintaining a car has become an expensive proposition. Not so much the cost of gas; except for brief bursts caused by criminal speculation, gas prices now are about the same as they were in the '20s or '30s. The real problem is maintenance and insurance. Before 1980 you could fix a car yourself or find a competent friend to do the job, and you could afford most replacement parts. Now, thanks to the state-sponsored terrorist organization EPA, repairs must be done by licensed professionals and parts are wildly expensive.

So why don't we hear this appealing argument for freedom and opportunity? Traditionally this should have been the Democrat argument for public transport, while the Republicans daintily clutched their perfumed lace handkerchiefs and sniffed haughtily at the downtrodden hoi polloi.

The only argument we hear now is the Green Lie, which both parties suicidally agree on. "We must bear the awful burden of public transportation because cars emit carbon." Even if the premise were true, the statistics aren't very good; buses are not much more efficient than cars per passenger-mile. So public transit is hard to justify by raw mathematics, but easy to justify on a quality-of-life basis.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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