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View Diary: How Ronald Reagan's Policies Destroyed the United States (293 comments)

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  •  Ridiculous exaggeration (9+ / 0-)

    I dislike Reagan and his policies as much as the next liberal Democrat.

    But I also really dislike bad writing and preposterous headlines.

    If Reagan had destroyed the United States, literally, then we would not be writing our words from within the United States.  You can say he damaged the country, or as the article you linked to says, he destroyed part of the social compact, but you and I both know that he did not literally destroy the United States.

    Hyperbole works sometimes, but not all the time.  

    Every time you write a sentence, you should ask yourself, "is this literally true?"  If it isn't, then you should recognize that you are using a metaphor, hyperbole or some other rhetorical device.  Then ask yourself, is that rhetorical device helping what your writing or hurting it?  

    In this case, you're hurting the clarity and sense of what you've written.

    It's getting to the point at DK that 1/2 to 3/4 of the headlines are literally untrue, as people try to get attention by playing stupid rhetorical tricks.  This is why the mainstream takes one look at the front page and thinks -- what a bunch of loons.

    •  Hmm. Sulla destroyed the Roman Republic (31+ / 0-)

      -- most would agree with that, because it was never much of a Republic after that

      -- but it didn't actually vanish in name until the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.

      I don't think your argument holds water.  Would "How Reagan Destroyed the Republic of the United States" fit better?

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 01:40:12 AM PST

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    •  Redstate is calling you...go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ezdidit

      "Make it so", Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Enterprise.

      by brainyblond on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 08:13:00 AM PST

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    •  I think you take yourself a little too seriously. (7+ / 0-)

      Use of metaphor, hyperbole and rhetorical device have been a mainstay strategy for news media headlines for at least decades now.

      So why would this offend the senses of those in the news media?

      •  Have you ever read Clifford Geertz? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elmo

        because I don't want to sound like an absolutist.  One of the most famous essays of the last half century, written in the discipline (of all things) anthropology, was Geertz's essay, "Ideology as a Cultural System."  He analyzed why we use exaggeration, to make ideological as opposed to policy arguments.  He basically says there's a place for it.  

        But lately MOST of the DK front page is hyperbole.  If DK wants to continue to have influence in the national debate, it can't all be ideological exaggeration.

        •  I appreciate your comments (0+ / 0-)

          The exaggeration bothered me, too.

          Reagan no more destroyed our country than Obama has destroyed it, as the right wing is now shrieking.  

        •  Message vs Policy (4+ / 0-)

          Reagan is still winning, even in this diary.  He was one of the biggest promoters of the idea that florid, dishonest messaging is the best means of undermining open government and keeping the public at bay.

          Hijacking a valid historic policy discussion by starting verbal fistfight over rhetoric is a technique that Reagan and his acolytes still rely on to control voters.

          Proud member of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

          by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 12:08:40 PM PST

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          •  To Reagan There was No Line Between (0+ / 0-)

            Message and Policy, between politics and government.

            The were intertwined and co-dependent.  

            Message always served the policy and policy was often used to convey the message.  

            The symbolic gesture was one of his greatest weapons.  

            If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

            by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 01:54:52 PM PST

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      •  Hamden's a table-pounder (0+ / 0-)

        As in pound the law, pound the facts, or pound the table.  Or as my father used to say, "that's just semantics,"  meaning "when you got nothing, nitpick."  

        "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" --King Jugurtha

        by LucyandByron on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:39:52 PM PST

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        •  I like that (0+ / 0-)

          Never heard my posting described that way, but sure, I'll pound the facts.  Not sure that I pound the table though.

          I really am a stickler for empirical reality, maybe because all those years I spent studying neo-Marxist historiography.

          I think I'll create a sig line from Dragnet: "Just the facts, Ma'm, just the facts."

    •  David Stockman,Reagan's budget director said (0+ / 0-)

      that Reagan has destroyed the US economy.Maybe you have a bone to pick with him.
      It was in the New York Times this week.Look it up.

      And while you are at it will you please read The American Conservative? They have some very interesting criticism of Reagan as well.

      Conservative Andrew Bacevich ,criticized Reagan in his book,"Limits of Power".Bacevich wrote:"Reagan portrayed himself as conservative,"..."He was,in fact,the modern prophet of profligacy,the politician who gave moral sanction to the empire of consumption.Beguiling his fellow citizens with his talk of 'morning in America',the faux-conservative Reagan added to America's civic religion two crucial beliefs:Credit has no limits,and the bills will never come due."

      Conservative intellectual and historian John Lukas,referred to" Reagan's conservatism" as "lamentably short-sighted and shallow".He attributed Reagan's record budget deficits in the 1980s to his populist message that demanded no self-sacrifice or hard choices.Sound familiar?
      Bush followed this unprincipled behavior.

      Obama often talks about sacrifices.Maybe that is why he can't win everyone over.Or is it because he is a secret Muslim?

      Cynicism leads to Inactivity. Hope leads to Action.

      by Citizenpower on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 07:56:43 PM PST

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