America is, in fact, exceptionally bad when it comes to any of a whole host of measures, such as health, longevity, economic equality, crime, pollution, etc. Over there in Sweden, on the other hand, the application of socialist ideas has turned out slightly differently than what those nice conservatives in America would have you believe. The ‘disaster’ of European socialism has led Europeans, especially Swedes, to kick America’s ass on basically any measure of quality of life one can imagine.
That whole fact thing that we in “the reality-based community” rely upon for intelligent analysis and policy prescription is almost always a disaster for regressives. You know, sorta like, “Iraq has WMD, therefore we should invade, and it will be a great war, fast, easy, cheap, and it will bring democracy to the Middle East (even though all our other policies there are about preventing it at all costs, but pay no attention to that)”. That kinda thing. When that little riff smacked up against the ugly reality-based community known as the real world, it, uh – how shall we say it? – didn’t fare so very well. Nor did the insistence that radical tax cuts for the rich would boom the economy and simultaneously actually increase revenues to the federal treasury. Oops. Now the very same people who made that promise are screaming about how we have to slash spending on health and education to make up for the massive debt that was produced when their fantasies met reality. Then there’s global warming...
I could go on and on here. There is a very real pattern, which twenty minutes of watching Glenn Beck would immediately reveal to anyone who didn’t already know better. Regressives hide from reality. It’s that simple. Nor is it a mystery why. Facts don’t support the policies they’ve already ferociously embraced before – not after – they’ve done their ‘analysis’, policies they cling to so strongly because they either benefit them personally or assuage their rampant fears. That’s how it works, and that’s why this country is in the disastrous state that it’s in. We’ve been following so-called conservative policies for thirty years now (yes, very much including those periods in which Democrats were in the White House and ruled Congress). These policies are astonishingly destructive, which is why regressives have to pretend when it comes to reality, and which is why they almost always do, more so in this current era of Bachmann-Palin overdrive than ever.
I mention all this because a couple of folks reacted to the blizzard of comparative facts in my last piece in the usual regressive way: through obfuscation, distortion and deceit. No surprise there. One particular response caught my eye, however, and nearly knocked me off my chair. A couple of folks noted that, yes, America does poorly on all these statistics compared to other countries, but only if you count minorities. If you compare American whites only, they argue, then the US does much better.
Excuse me?!?! What’s that?!?! Did you really just say that?!?!