Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Next Conservative Revolution is Coming to you from the NYT Op-Ed Page

I wrote a whole long and ranty post about how the NYT's op-ed page has in the past two days sported columns from liberals' favorite and least favorite conservatives, and how the arguments are related, and how they are trying to tear down the consensus that it takes more work than grit and a family emphasis on education to achieve something these days. Anyways, it was too long and too ranty, even for me, so I deleted it. Discretion is the better part of valor, or something. I have, like, opinions, though and why have a blog if you can't share opinions, so for anyone who is interested in what I didn't like about David Brook's article about the limits of policy, and Charles Murray's article about charter schools, here are some bullet points (that will only make sense if you read the articles, and in the case of Murray, are somewhat familiar with his Magnum Crapuses:

  •  I'll bet someone living in poverty in Sweden has quite a bit higher quality of life than someone living in poverty in the US, even if it (only?) gives them 2.7 more years of expected life.
  • How how HOW does comparing native Americans in South Dakota and Indians in New Jersey prove your point that culture not policy matters? Is availability of quality schools and jobs not a policy thing? Also, isn't the fact that the Native Americans are in South Dakota and not New Jersey to begin with a policy thing (that would be the Indian Removal Act, I believe)?
  • Isn't the fact that high achieving people tend to live close to each other (in big cities on the coasts) and produce 'positive feedback loops' a reflection of how they vote and their budgeting priorities? Isn't that policy?
  • I haven't read Susan Mayer's book, but most social policies don''t try to double anyone's money, they try to improve economic opportunities for those at the bottom, and provide a safety net for everyone else. Tax and spend liberals assume that everyone, not just poor people, won't use their money as well as the government would, and so prefer to spend it on social programs.
  • Cool, your policy recommendation of supporting strong social ties but not uprooting people sounds reasonable. Oh, wait, what is your example of that? The army? Because vet's do so well in America today?
  • And great preschools! Here we agree! But in the name of strengthening social bonds? Don't great preschools allow mothers to go to work, which, I don't know, might not strengthen social ties? Basically, huh?

  • Unrelated to this article, but nice job going against everything you had ever written and arguing for the abolition of the SAT. Not a nice job with everything else you've ever written. Thanks for creating the racist and harmful meme of the 'welfare queen.' Don't even ask me to talk about The Bell Curve.
  • This isn't as complicated. Mr Murray, you are basically arguing that you want to send your children to schools with children who come from families who share your social values. I don't want to claim that this is a code for race and class, but I am going to claim just that. Neighborhood public schools don't allow you to protect your children from the influences of those who - shock - are different! Would choose a multicultural or progressive curriculum over one that emphasizes the late and greats. I don't know dude, I think that's sketchy.
It is when I explain what these articles have to do with eachother that this gets way too ranty, so I'm going to leave it at that.