Establishment still working to keep Americans running on their mental/political rat wheel
by Mark Horne
A Freakonomics post led me to this article. The thesis is that many people who self-identify as conservative are actually more liberal than they think they are. Given recent voting outcomes, I find this depressing but credible. However, I’m more interested in the use made of this quiz developed by the Pew Research Center.
The only allowable answers to the following questions are completely agree, mostly agree, mostly disagree, completely disagree.
How do you feel about each of the following …?
• There need to be stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment.
• The government should help more needy people even if it means going deeper in debt.
• The growing number of newcomers from other countries threaten traditional American customs and values.
• I never doubt the existence of God.
• Business corporations make too much profit.
• Gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally.
• The government needs to do more to make health care affordable and accessible.
• One parent can bring up a child as well as two parents together.
• Government regulation of business usually does more harm than good.
• Abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
• Labor unions are necessary to protect the working person.
• Poor people have become too dependent on government assistance programs.
At the end of the quiz, after you select your answers, you get to “see where you fit in.” (I came out on the far right end, to the right of the Tea Party, if you need to know that to meet the requirements of your Pavlovian conditioning.)
It blows my mind that, in 2013, the powers that be are still pretending that the spectrum embodied in that quiz represents American politics.
Right now,the US establishment is openly (as opposed to barely clandestinely, as it has been) supporting “freedom fighters” in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime. These resistance fighters are overwhelmingly dominated by Al Qaeda-related terror groups who rape Christians and burn down churches. Our government is openly supporting the same terrorists it arrests Americans for joining. Seventy percent of Americans oppose arming these people or being involved. Yet the Establishment simply ignores them and leads its minority consensus into insane policy after insane policy.
And not one word in the quiz about foreign policy, about foreign aide to radical Islamic regimes, about supporting terrorists. Reading that quiz, you would never know we live in a country with a government that includes a state department.
Since 9/11 there has been an ongoing debate, if not battle, over civil liberties and domestic spying. From the TSA’s groping security theater to the recent revelations of unconstitutional domestic spying and data harvesting, this has been a prominent issue in American politics. Based on this quiz, you would not guess any of this had ever happened. Even if this quiz was created before Edward Snowden blew the whistle, what about Bradley Manning? Nothing about privacy, national security, national secrets, or the Fourth Amendment come up in this quiz, even though it came up prominently in the 2008 campaign.
Also, consider drones, they are being used in ways unheard of in the previous century, both in places both foreign and domestic–for killing people overseas and for “aiding law enforcement” in the US. As far as you can tell from this political quiz, they never happened.
This quiz is not designed to learn anything about your politics. It is designed to encourage you to not think about politics. It is crafted to create amnesia that there have been a few developments since Reagan ran for office.
The left-right system in this quiz is a farce. It is designed to make you not care about ninety percent of the things that our political rulers are doing and talking about doing.
That quiz should make any American who wants to think critically and/or encourage critical thinking among his or her countrymen really angry.