Saturday, November 23, 2013

Politics and the English Language

FLG read these sentences by Charles Blow:
Change is hard and often messy, and a movement and a messenger — the progressive cause and this president — whose whole identities are about change will always be linked to any discomfort that change brings. 
Every policy change — particularly large ones — will have winners and losers. For now, the Republicans will keep highlighting the losers. Democrats must keep highlighting the winners, while reminding people that data points are not the data set. In the end, this health care law will be judged by its overall effects on the population and the economy, which I wager will be a net positive.

While undoubtedly unfair and hyperbolic on his part, but in the context of the Obamacare debate as well as filabuster change, FLG was immediately reminded of this passage in Orwell's Politics and the English Language:
‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

Obviously, the Democrats aren't Stalinists and the curtailment of political opposition in the current case is limited to progressive politicians and media talking heads whining about obstruction and changing parliamentary rules.  Losing one's current health care plan is so different in scope from execution and imprisonment that they are materially different, but there is a slight connection in that they only differ along the need to break a few eggs to make an omelette attitude by how bad the egg break is.

Although, FLG will say, given his focus on time horizons, he is sympathetic to Blow's take that let's look at the longer-term impacts of the law, not what's happening at the beginning.  It just so happens that FLG thinks they'll be a net negative.

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