Tuesday, September 01, 2009

When ideas trump reality

Ed Brayton notices a great post from Hanna Rosin - author of the illuminating God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America - which points out that the the sky is falling rhetoric we're hearing from opponents of health care reform is the same thing that conservatives had said repeatedly when ever some program is about to be passed that they oppose. (Brayton adds that this tradition stretches back to at least the New Deal.)

For instance, here is Ronald Reagan before Medicare was created:

If this program passes, one of these years we will tell our children and our children's children what it was like in American when men were free.
And of course, he was wrong. Yet that wrongness has no impact on his acolytes, who still ask "What would Reagan do?" and invoke his memory and demonstrably wrong arguments to oppose universal health care.

This is an intellectual culture for which reality is secondary to ideology. Perhaps this is part of why it's so easy for so many Republicans to convince themselves that President Obama is not a US citizen.

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