Thursday, February 28, 2008

Critical Thinking and Politics

The question that continues to arise is “does anyone think critically anymore?” We are now treated on an almost daily basis to pictures of teenagers and college students waving placards and cheering for Obama. The media dutifully reports this without questioning what all of the cheering is about. The young Senator is for “change” and that seems to be all that is required to electrify the youth – out with the old and in with the new without regard for what is being tossed out and what is being brought in – other than its new. It is time a little critical thinking is employed when it comes to Obama. The media very carefully never challenges him or asks difficult questions and this has become so pervasive and obvious that even Saturday Night Live has parodied this, but when Senator Clinton tries to simply go with the flow on this, the same media attacks her. But the topper came with Obama’s idiotic statement regarding Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Senator proudly announces – when he finally begins to be a little more specific about the “changes” he intends to make – that he would immediately withdraw all American Troops from Iraq and let the natives duke it out. Then if Al Qaeda set up a base in Iraq then he would send the troops back.

Hello – is he so ignorant or so confident of the lack of critical thinking and understanding of the events during the last ten years by his youthful supporters that he honestly thinks that Al Qaeda ISN’T already in Iraq? Has the media taken this opportunity to point this salient fact out to the Senator? Has the media or anyone in that cheering crowd stopped to think that if we immediately withdraw from Iraq, Al Qaeda will not establish a base there because they already have a base there and they will seize the opportunity to regroup and flood the country with another round of murder, intimidation, and destruction. Then the US will have to send troops back in – under the command of Obama – at another huge cost in lives and treasure. If anything ever demonstrated his total lack of experience and unsuitability to be president – this one statement is it. Has the media or his band of rosy cheeked supporters challenged him on this? Not a chance – they simply gloss over it and the cheering and the parade moves on to what they clearly think will be his coronation next January.

But this lack of critical thinking isn’t limited to Senator Obama but the entire media seems to have eliminated any idea that their role is to challenge authority. Instead they seem to now believe that their role is to advance their own agendas, which increasingly seem to rest on emotion and are devoid of any concept of history, economics, and even political theory. The most recent, but certainly not the first nor the last, is the mess in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez rose to power promising the poor that he would eliminate their poverty and break the backs of the capitalists. To that end he fixed prices, nationalized industries, has driven out all of the foreign capitalists, suppressed the press, and launched diversionary attacks on the US. It is the diversionary attack on the US that has enamored the American left with him who did not waiver even when he announced he really wasn’t a “socialist” but a “Marxist”. If anything this self-evident announcement made him even more attractive to the American media and political left.

Well the chickens are coming home to roost, because Venezuela now has a shortage of food, the foreign capitalists are suing Venezuela for the cost of their property seized by Chavez, shortages are everywhere, the quality of life – even for the poor – has declined, and in the classic move by Marxists – he is blaming everyone but him self and his policies. Price controls were tried by the Emperor Diocletian, it failed, and of course he blamed everyone but his policies and himself. Richard Nixon tried to fix prices in the 1970’s which had the same result – shortages. Does the media challenge or even acknowledge the failed policies of Chavez? No indeed, they focus on his attacks on the US, US policies, and his threats regarding the oil companies and their efforts to recover the investments that he stole.

Then of course we have the tired old football being kicked around once again by the left and the media and that is “healthcare”. There is no doubt that the Healthcare system in the US is terrible but the media and left continue to call for government run universal healthcare, without once actually critically examining the results in other countries where the government has taken over the healthcare system. In Canada and the UK waits for critical surgery can be months or even years. In one recent case in Canada a pregnant woman was told the first available appointment with a specialist was in 10 months. In the UK the government control left them without sufficient doctors so they enticed foreign doctors into the country while incentivizing students to go to medical school. Now they have too many doctors and are trying to force the foreign doctors out. This was a failure of central planning when applied to Healthcare, but once again these obvious shortcomings of socialist style programs are ignored because critical thinking is not a strong point by either the media or those that believe the government can do anything efficiently.

Critical thinking is definitely in trouble because no one seems willing to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

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