Quite awhile ago someone for whom I cared a great deal remarked that she thought conservatives were simply greedy, selfish people. All their arguments about government’s limits were just cover for their real feelings, which were ugly.
So I asked her if she really believed that I went from a decent, caring person to a selfish, mean-spirited one in three months by reading a few economics history books? Did she really believe that my character was altered by reading? In three months?
She had no answer, but she didn’t refute her previous claim.
We no longer speak.
Over the years I’ve gone from a doctrinaire socialist to a middling libertarian based, I like to think, on a willingness to concede when I (and my heroes) were wrong. I actually want to get it right; not feel like my gang won something over the “opposing team.” Picking foolish statements or slip-ups, or quoting the idiots on the other side may let you feel superior, but it just doesn’t make you so.
I remember years ago Bernie Sanders was lecturing us Vermonters on how the Soviets had “good quality healthcare.” He actually knew the truth but spouted his crap anyway. But does citing Bernie’s lies or idiocy checkmate arguments by social democrats? No, of course not. It’s the record of predictions and outcomes of their general policies that will or will not do that.
We’ll all read lots of smug, sneering comments and tiny quotes from opposition folks (sometimes taken out of context) to prove the superiority of the writer’s views. And they will be as meaningful and legitimate as…well, Bernie’s BS.