That’s a quote from “Jessica”, a longtime friend-of-a-friend whom I enjoy, and whom I treated to brunch yesterday. She’s a progressive Democrat, a fan of the communist-leaning KPFA news station, and so forth.
Her comment is wrong. Of course President Reagan never signed, nor proposed, nor even encouraged the tiniest regulation or law to make poverty into something criminal. So, I was curious how Jessica could justify such a comment (she leans toward honesty and goodwill in her personal dealings). I drew her out a little.
To keep this post short, I must spare you further details of her responses. Suffice to say that, after a few gentle questions, her general meaning emerged as follows:
- Jessica feels that, in the 1980s, “making money” became more socially respected while “being poor” became less respected, like something might even be wrong with poor people.
- Since Jessica doesn’t view personal responsibility, success or self-support as socially valuable (even though she practices them in her small business), she thinks society was wrong to go that way in the 80s.
- Since Jessica hates Reagan, she prefers NOT to say it as “In the 1980s, our society stigmatized poverty a little more”. Instead, she prefers the more-dramatic “Reagan criminalized poverty” although she knows it’s technically wrong.
We also got into the banking system a little. Jessica emphasized the 1980s “Savings and Loan” crisis as the beginning of our financial system’s problems – as if our much-worse problems of today had nothing to do with Presidents Clinton or Obama (or the Federal Reserve, etc.).
All I can say is, I found Jessica’s thinking typical of what I’ve run into it many times here in GP comments from liberals, or out in the media, or with left-wing friends and colleagues. And it’s retarded. It’s a level (or quality) of cognition that can only be called “impaired”.
Again, I respect my longtime-acquaintance Jessica in some other areas, outside of politics; but we must “call a spade a spade”. When it comes to politics, and at least on that morning, her thoughts were as disconnected, un-integrated, simplistic and badly-informed as they would have been from an IQ 75 person.
We must also confess that lefties don’t have a monopoly on cognitive impairment. At times, I have had the misfortune to encounter certain conservatives and libertarians whose thinking was as poor-quality. But, not quite as often.
I think there is something to the theory that, with the “mainstream” media so one-sided and fawning on left-liberals these last few decades, their thinking skills have gone soft. They are simply not up to the standard that I remember from when I was a kid. I remember arguing with liberals who read the Christian Science Monitor (a worthwhile paper – at least at that time). They had moments of weakness, but they were more often into facts, accuracy and logic.
Left-liberals have gone downhill. It’s a pity.