Over at Four Right Wing Wackos I found a link to Michael Totten. I started reading through, and found some good stuff. One post in particular caught me, and brought some things to mind.
A lady I used to know at a dance group that met every week was very big on the idea of socialized medicine. One night she started in on how we should take lessons from Canada, how wonderful it was there. When I pointed out that people are waiting weeks and months to get a scan for cancer, and waiting months/years for knee surgery, she basically countered with "the government covers it". Like that made up for the problems. I'm sure someone who's been told they probably have cancer and is having to wait a month for a test is very comforted by the fact that they don't have to write out an actual check for the test; on the other hand, they might be damn glad to hand over some money if it would get the test done now, which probably accounts for all the people who can coming over the border to the U.S. for treatment. But it didn't really seem to matter to her, what was important was that "you don't have to pay for it". Which of course set me off.
I said "There's no such thing as free health care, we're all paying for it!" Her attitude was basically "that's how it should be". The ineffeciency, the mess, the delays, all worth it because "that's how it should be". At which point I shook my head and dropped it.
Totten's post on not getting tied up in 'analysis' brought it back. This seems to cut to the bone in a lot of things. Gun control? Doesn't cut crime, makes it hard for honest people, but "that's the way it should be". Speech codes that chop at free speech? "Someone might say something hurtful, so that's the way it should be". And so on. Facts, actual outcomes, are not as important as what boils down to "It makes me feel good to be for this, and to push it on other people".
I used to work with a guy who thought I was fairly laughable because I'd get really, really pissed at people like Robert Byrd. He'd pop up with something that took millions of tax dollars to WV so he could have his name on something else, I'd have a fit, and Jim would give me a disgusted, wondering look and say "That's what he's supposed to do". I'd point out that while he does indeed do that, being a senator is NOT supposed to mean 'loot the rest of the country for your home state', and we'd argue. He took it as a given that that's what would be done, and I'd be pissed that he'd just shrug and accept this crap. He thought I was an idealist(guilty) and I thought he had given up. Point of this is, while I'm an idealist on a number of things, I do understand that if something does not work in the real world, the answer is not to force people into it, or throw money at it; the answer is to either a: fix the problems, or b: drop it. The trouble with a lot of the activists is that they can't do either.
You point out that something doesn't work and hear back that either "we haven't worked hard enough at it" or "there's no problem, it's just people like YOU getting in the way!" At which point it's time to go somewhere and have a drink. There is no way in this world to argue this, because to them, YOU are the only problem. You don't care, or you're too cheap to fund it, or if we'd ONLY put it in effect the problems would sort out eventually; enough education will take care of it, etc. 'Education' in this context means 'we'll shut you up so you don't stir up trouble! You're the enemy".
In case someone actually reads this and wonders, I say this to extremists on both sides, those who can't think/see past their slogans. Go away, weenies. You're getting in my light.