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October 6, 2012 / needhamgrassroots

Moving Targets (Conversations with Conservatives)

Conservative arguments are like an onion, with layers inside layers; every time you strip away one excuse there’s another one inside.

Never believe reasonable-sounding conservatives who say that “nobody believes” wealth creators owe nothing to society. Oh yes they do — it’s usually hidden inside a couple of more socially acceptable excuses, but

At their core Ryan and people like him believe they’re characters in Atlas Shrugged.

from Paul Krugman — … it’s wrong to think of conservatives as having a single argument for their preferred policies. What they offer instead is more like an onion, with layers inside layers; every time you strip away one excuse there’s another one inside.

Thus someone like Paul Ryan starts by claiming to be a deficit hawk. Push him really hard, however, on why in that case he advocates big tax cuts, and he’ll shift to arguing that big government (as opposed to not-paid-for government) is the real problem. (That’s also what happened in my UK debate on Newsnight.) But if you push hard on that, it turns out that there’s yet another layer: the claim that things like taxing the rich to help pay for social insurance are immoral, because people have a right to keep the wealth they created — which is why suggesting that no plutocrat is an island is heresy.

This onion structure is why you should never believe reasonable-sounding conservatives who say that you’re attacking a straw man, that “nobody believes” that wealth creators owe nothing to society. Oh yes they do — it’s usually hidden inside a couple of more socially acceptable excuses, but at their core Ryan and people like him believe that they’re characters in Atlas Shrugged.

By the way, who built the roads in Galt’s Gulch?

From: The Conservative Onion – NYTimes.com – http://nyti.ms/OgOHvO

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