There is a columnist in town who has a weekly op-ed in the Waterloo Courier that, intentionally, serves no other purpose but to degrade liberalism and to raise conservatism to the rank of flawless and divine wisdom. Week after week I dismiss his rambling demagoguery as merely venting from a confused mind, and even though he has plenty of loyal readers, even they realize that 90% of what he writes is based on made up facts designed only to infuriate liberals. http://wcfcourier.com/news/opinion/clayson/understanding-political-terms-used-by-the-left/article_70dd9c90-907a-11e1-b440-0019bb2963f4.html
He is the archetype of the non-critical thinker who finds purpose in being oppositional, rather than to serve any greater good.
Like I said, usually I read his column, smile at his broad generalizations and move onto the Celebrations section (I love the wedding pictures from 50 years ago matched up against what the couple looks like today). This week, however, Dennis Clayson surpassed his usual meandering premise with a column entitled, “Understanding political terms used by the left.”
This “legend,” if you will, to understand the minds of liberals was….well…infuriating. He got me. My Achilles heel is blatant hypocrisy coupled with self-righteousness multiplied by the arrogance of shallow thought.
From what I understand, Clayson is an intelligent man; he’s a professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa; and I’ve even heard that he’s a “nice guy” when you meet him. Perhaps, he’s one of those people who is shy and unassuming in person but when in the darkness of their den, armed with a pen (or keyboard), becomes an aggressive, nihilistic, mercenary of bent ideology; you know…kind of like Ted Kaczynsky.
A Kaczynsky reference will not win favor from anyone here who is pre-disposed to disagree with me, kind of like Godwin’s Law and any mention of “Hitler”, but I stand by the theoretical comparison; not because I think Clayson is literally dangerous in a physical sense, but I believe he is “literarily” dangerous in a meta-physical sense. Clayson demoralizes good people by demonizing what is good about them and he elevates his own dogma by ignoring facts and using superficial analysis.
Okay…so what’s got me in a bunch this morning? Clayson’s article defines political terms as he believes liberals understand them, and then correcting those definitions with what he sees as the more rational conservative view. For example…
Clayson defines “Fairness” in the mind of a liberal as: “A primitive type of equality based on demographics requiring certain groups are equal…without regard to innate abilities. Example: It is not fair that the rich can afford (things) and the poor cannot.
Oh, Dennis…where do I begin? Apparently you haven’t read the part of the Declaration of Independence that reminds us that “All Men Are Created Equal” and that our system of governance is predicated on equal rights and equal access to justice and freedom. This does not mean that everyone is of equal abilities and that some will not succeed greater than others and enjoy those benefits, but it means that in the pursuit of greatness, this nation will not allow for unfair inequities to determine that access.
Clayson defines a liberal’s concept of “A Fair Tax” thusly: “A tax on the rich. This group must be small enough so that they cannot influence the outcome of an election…”
The highest marginal rate has come down over the past 50 years by 50%. The loopholes and breaks given systematically to the wealthy bring their tax rates down to 15-17%. In the past 30 years the wealthiest Americans have increased their holdings in America by 250% and the top 10% now control nearly half of all the wealth. That means the wealthy have been influencing everything.
Is anyone so foolish as to believe that the “small” number at the top that Dennis opines cannot “influence the outcome of an election” have no power? Does anyone really think legislation has been working against that tender minority and that no lobbyists or politicians (or voters) have been influenced by the billions of dollars they spend to…influence elections?
Dennis, I honestly worry for your safety around scissors.
Clayson goes on to describe the conservative definition of “Fair Tax” as: “A flat tax which requires all income to be taxed at the same rate.”
What is aggravatingly interesting about this is that it was not very long ago that conservatives understood progressive taxes. What Dennis and the other Flat Taxers can’t seem to understand is that LIVING actually costs something.
(I’m going to drill down into this one). Clayson suggests a 20% flat tax, regardless of income, but if someone makes 20k a year, it probably costs them close to 20k a year just to pay a low rent, have a car for work, buy gas, and purchase food modestly. There will be no disposable income; in fact, they may be going into debt.
The average household makes around 50k a year and with Clayson’s Flat Tax of 20%, they will pay 10k in taxes. That means a family will be paying rent or a mortgage, probably need two cars, have children to feed, medical expenses, etc on 40k. That is about break even.
Our economy, and what makes rich people rich, is the consumer who uses disposable income to buy TV’s, refrigerators, goes on vacation, gets a boat or a van, and drives the engine of Capitalism.
Now, to be realistic, the average American is paying around 20% and the limited disposable income is exactly the problem we face, but the Flat Tax only exacerbates the problem. What Dennis does not understand; what fries his noodle; is that the 10k in taxes that the average family pays is a far (far) greater tax burden to their budget than 100k in taxes are to the family that makes 500k a year.
Dennis does the easy math and that’s enough for him. 100k is a lot more than 10k, and for that reason he believes the wealthier Americans pay more than their share, but what Dennis cannot, or will not, understand, is that living on 400k is a lot different than 40k and while I say, “Kudos to success!” (and no one I know is saying otherwise), it is still the spending of the majority of Americans (the 90%) that makes this engine run; and if they are just getting by (or sinking), no one gets rich.
It’s why we have a progressive tax scale, and when we reform it so that the wealthy are not paying a LOWER percentage than the rest of us, then we can begin to recover. This requires critical thinking, Dennis, and I can’t imagine you’ll understand that any time soon.
Clayson writes that a liberal’s definition for “Diversity” is: “A religion found mostly in North America (and) asserts that an earthly heaven or paradise will result if certain groups (politically defined) are treated in an equal fashion. Believers maintain that all groups, nationalities and cultures are innately equal.”
Maybe you don’t believe in God, but even if you don’t, the Theists, Christians and Agnostics that comprised our Founding Fathers believed in the Unalienable Rights of Men (it must be noted that our FF reserved politics for white, male, land owners, but as our consciousness as evolved, we have collectively realized and amended to our charter the inclusion of all human beings). What that means is that “diversity” is the understanding of differences and that the pursuit of such is to be respected equally.
I assume that Dennis is taking what he believes is a patriotic position in favor of American values and taking a stab at….terrorists, maybe?
Clayson gets confused with concepts of Diversity, Equality and Fairness; apparently, each to him is a left wing agenda to manipulate legislation to their liberal bias. What Dennis does not have the capacity to understand is that the liberal bias is nothing but a leaning toward equal justice in an attempt to alter the course of fear politics, divisiveness, and anti-egalitarianism that is propagated by the inevitable prejudices of human beings. So that Diversity, Equality and Fairness are actually relevant and a truer realization of the promise of freedom that America stands for.