Voters say they want Democrats and Republicans to compromise and work together. If it's so easy, perhaps voters themselves should give it a try. I'd like to hear the discussion between the liberal Democrats who think the 111th Congress accomplished nothing of import and the Republicans who believe it created death panels to condemn the old and infirm. One group believes the past two years consisted of establishment business as usual; the other thinks Josef Mengele was named surgeon general. And John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are the ones who need to find common ground?
Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. Yet a bull market in fake facts provides phony justifications for every false premise. At a memorial service recently, a man peppered me with questions about the sinister conspiracy called the Federal Reserve. I demurred, suggesting he consult the oracle at Wikipedia. But he persisted, first expressing suspicion about nefarious “elites,” then conjecturing something about the Fed being a “private business.” (Like WalMart, perhaps, but with better cash flow.) It dawned on me then that he was nobody’s fool. While the rest of us buy our political theories prepackaged on cable or the Internet, the loose ends neatly tied to suit our prejudices, this American original was determined to be the sole agent of his own confusion. He was seeking instead of asserting, asking questions instead of spouting dogma. If he ever does cobble together a homegrown conspiracy theory, I bet it'll be a doozy. And I wouldn’t expect him to compromise his hard-earned views with the lazy delusions of his compatriots.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2014
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- What the Romney boomlet says about the establishment GOP's feeble 2016 field
- Eric Holder blew it as attorney general. His replacement will, too,
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