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    Barney Frank nailed the problem we have with the GOP last week.  On July 21, Barney was on Rachel’s show talking about the debt ceiling problem and said of the GOP:

We have this reality problem . . . . These are people who are–in the Medieval term– invincibly ignorant.

    That was a satisfying turn of phrase indeed. Clearly, the GOP thinks it is invincible, otherwise why would it stick to positions that run counter to the desires of the majority of Americans? And the debt ceiling doesn’t matter to the well-being of the country and the markets crowd takes ignorance to a whole new level. So do a lot of other positions the GOP assumes. If, for example, you actually care about rising medical costs, wouldn’t you be in favor of any reforms that would improve the economic efficiency of medical care? If you really care about the deficit, wouldn’t you look at the most recent drivers – war and tax cuts come to mind – and address those before even trying to identify and remedy potential drivers 20 years hence? We’re not talking ignorance in the conventional sense; we’ve gone off the reservation and booked rooms at Fantasy Island.

    I had to find out more about this concept of invincible ignorance.  Congressman Frank may have beeny thinking of the term as used in Catholic theology, especially during the Middle Ages, referring to those who were ignorant of the Christian message because it had not been presented to them. A good enough shorthand for suggesting that if someone only bothered to look around and hear other things being said, they might just change their mind about something.  Anything. Just prove that your ears and eyes are for something other than decoration.

    But there was something more here.  Except for those whose entire information stream comes from Fox News – truly the modern equivalents of the pagans and infants Catholic theologians had in mind – it’s not like there aren’t alternatives to the GOP thinking and positions being talked about.

    It turns out that invincible ignorance denotes a specific fallacy of reasoning that sounds awfully familiar:

[T]he fallacy of insisting on the legitimacy of one's position in the face of contradictory facts. Statements like "I really don't care what the experts say; no one is going to convince me that I'm wrong"; "nothing you say is going to change my mind"; "yeah, okay, whatever!" are examples of this fallacy.

In a sense, invincible ignorance is a failure to engage in a debate at all, the logical equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears while shouting

La, la, la, la, la . . . I’m not listening to you . . . la, la, la, la, la

This perfectly describes what today’s GOP does.

    Perhaps these folks were not properly educated in logic and reasoning, lacking understanding of key concepts of logic.  This may mean that when we engage with them in a debate, they don’t understand our terminology.

    For example, the GOP argues that the so-called “entitlement” programs - Medicare and Social Security – are the “drivers” of the deficit. Since the deficits from 2001 to the present have nothing to do with the “entitlements” we rightly label that argument as specious, because it is both false and deceptive.

    This only seems to give them courage. The only reasonable explanation for the GOP reaction is that they must think that ‘specious’ is an adjective concerning gold coinage, as in “The pirates took the captain’s specie.”  Therefore, when told their argument is specious, they respond that it’s the money that matters.  In fact, that is all that matters.

    So now Congress can’t reauthorize the FAA which, interestingly enough, prevents the FAA from collecting excise taxes on airplane tickets.  The reasons for this particular standoff are murky – and mostly related to the particular fetishes of Congressman John Mica – but the effect is to allow most airlines to silently raise their fares by the amount of the missing taxes. It’s not just the specie, it’s whose pockets get lined with the coin. Only the invincibly ignorant could fail to grasp the GOP’s determination to reach into average people’s pockets and reward their best friends. As Nancy Pelosi said today:

The Speaker [John Boehner] has said that between him and the president they have a different vision of America and that's how come their budget proposals are different . . . Quite different . . . We get the sacrifice, they get the wealth.

    I won’t even touch the GOP misconception about the logical term “fallacious.”

    The GOP world is a world turned upside down. Only in the GOP World does reduction of Medicare or Social Security benefits constitute a win for the middle class. Only in the GOP World do the growing ranks of people who make too little money to be subject to income tax constitute unfairness to the others. Only in the GOP World are companies – who hide money off-shore and hire underpaid workers in Second and Third World countries to fatten their untaxed profits – praised as “job creators” and offered tax holidays.  Only in the GOP World is an idea instantly abandoned as soon as it is embraced by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or Barack Obama.

    Invincible ignorance covers it, all right. But then, if the facts and logic were on their side they'd have no need to resort to fallacy. That's all they've got and they're sticking to it come hell or high water. Given the nature of the problem, we're stuck with this until we can throw these numbskulls out and find some conservatives to work with who are worthy of the name, and our time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The real problem is that these ignorant idiots are (4+ / 0-)

    in control of the government. You shouldn't be able to win elections if you're an ignorant idiot bent on destroying government. The problem is that there are lots of ignorant people in this country who vote.

    I certainly understand the frustration with the Democrats not pushing hard enough for their agenda from 2009-2010 but honestly were people really expecting to things to get better if Republicans win control of the House?

    I don't like our two-party system but it's pretty clear which one of those two-parties is completely batshit crazy at this point.

    •  Don't Think the Information Environmnt Is a Factr? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Or the Democrats? Why should they come into power on 2 big back to back wins and follow it up with the worst defeat in a century?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:02:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Invincibly ignorant -but incorrigibly truthy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, commonmass, cotterperson

    Can't beat that combination!

  •  How DARE you bring Logic... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, cotterperson

    Into an internet debate!

    Just remember, you're helping the Terrorists by thinking!  And you probably hate 'merica!

    USA!  USA!!!  BUT ONLY OUR USA!!! None of that damn librul media crap!


  •  Hi SG. Just a little more on the FAA non renewal: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, cotterperson

    The hold up is over taking away options for transportation workers to unionize.  It is the quid pro quo on the FAA renewal.

    The stalemate that began over a plan by House Republican to slash subsidies to rural airports — and Senate Democrats’ anger over a bill that guts a pro-union mediation ruling — is now costing the government roughly $30 million a day in uncollected taxes. And it led the FAA to furlough thousands of employees in 35 states as well as shut down dozens of much-needed airport projects, like upgraded control towers and expanded runways, just weeks before summer construction season ends.

    Read more:

    Politico Reports...

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 04:59:46 PM PDT

  •  Topsy-turvy indeed: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Topsy-Turvy World

    William Brighty Rands (1823–80)

    IF the butterfly courted the bee,   
      And the owl the porcupine;   
    If churches were built in the sea,   
      And three times one was nine;   
    If the pony rode his master,            5
      If the buttercups ate the cows,   
    If the cats had the dire disaster   
      To be worried, sir, by the mouse;   
    If mamma, sir, sold the baby   
      To a gypsy for half a crown;            10
    If a gentleman, sir, was a lady,—   
      The world would be Upside-down!   
    If any or all of these wonders   
      Should ever come about,   
    I should not consider them blunders,            15
      For I should be Inside-out!   


    Ba-ba, black wool,   
      Have you any sheep?   
    Yes, sir, a packfull,   
      Creep, mouse, creep!            20
    Four-and-twenty little maids   
      Hanging out the pie,   
    Out jump’d the honey-pot,   
      Guy Fawkes, Guy!   
    Cross latch, cross latch,            25
      Sit and spin the fire;   
    When the pie was open’d,   
      The bird was on the brier!


    These guys are not necessarily ignorant though. They know who pay their campaign contributions. They behave like a bunch of mid-level managers eager to please their boss and maybe get ahead. These guys, these GOP folks, are beholden to an agenda meant to get us back to the Gilded Age. I think many of them, with all do respect to Congressman Frank, know exactly what they are doing and why. Boehner, I am convinced, does.

    "Perhaps it would be easier if the Government dissolved the People and elected another"--Brecht.

    by commonmass on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:02:21 PM PDT

  •  Barney calls it as it is, as usual. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, cotterperson, sberel

    And boy is he not looking happy about the truth he has to say.

    It has to be beyond frustrating trying to deal with people who are so arrogant in their ignorance.

    I couldn't do it.

    This country is in so much trouble. And it's been over thirty years in the making.

    I've been trying to remain positive, hoping that we can somehow make it through, but today it's just gone.

    Thanks for the diary.

    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

    by Onomastic on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:02:51 PM PDT

    •  I was done last night with the speeches. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Stick a fork in me. I am DONE.

      "Perhaps it would be easier if the Government dissolved the People and elected another"--Brecht.

      by commonmass on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:06:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  (((((((((((commonmass)))))))))))))) (0+ / 0-)

        Wish I could do something to help honey. :(

        "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

        by Onomastic on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:11:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can you put an actual Democrat in the WH? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That would help. But I know what you mean. Hugs right back.

          "Perhaps it would be easier if the Government dissolved the People and elected another"--Brecht.

          by commonmass on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:13:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thought I had. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The people who are really freaking me out are the Republicans, the MSM who keeps repeating their BS lies, and an electorate who put them into office.

            As Barney and this diary so horrifyingly point out, there is NO reasoning with them, and that scares me to death.

            "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

            by Onomastic on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:18:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I knew what I was getting. What surprises me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              a little is how far right the WH and congressional dems are willing to go to be accommodating. I expected that, to an extent, but I never expected what we are seeing now.

              Dick Nixon is looking liberal these days.

              "Perhaps it would be easier if the Government dissolved the People and elected another"--Brecht.

              by commonmass on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:31:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm still desperately, and I mean desperately, (3+ / 0-)

                holding on to what Lawrence O'Donnell said the other night.

                If tap dancing with the Republicans is revealing to the American people just how illogical, intractable, and uncaring the Republicans really are, then all to the good.

                Hopefully we end up with a clean bill, which is what the President originally wanted and an electorate who finally see the Republicans for what they are.

                That's my dream anyway. Today it just feels like it's drifting away.

                Could just cry.

                "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

                by Onomastic on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:37:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Vandals Sacking Rome Maybe. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, cotterperson

    Empires periodically fall to force, but the forces hardly require any particular education, or even a military attack.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:05:57 PM PDT

  •  a bit why i think (0+ / 0-)

    we should stop pussy-footing about pretending to be "bipartisan" or "cooperative" with them.

    they don't know what the fuck they are doing, so it's time to cut these insane loons out of the loop and push on getting things done.

    can't cope with/refuse to understand reality? then we won't let you waste the people's time.

    gee sorry if that sounds like a fox talking head, but goddammit - i cannot put it any better. we already know that the future lies somewhere within 180 degrees "this way" - they keep pointing randomly 180 degrees the other direction. they refuse to let the rest of us go forward, so let's leave them behind.

    respect the morals, not the messenger. i bold everything i say for i do not preach to the choir; i preach to the new... or the trolls. WRONG=RIGHT IS NOT CORRECT. ONE SIDE IS WRONG. THE OTHER SIDE IS MORE CORRECT THAN THE OTHER.

    by theChild on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 05:07:49 PM PDT

  •  The GOP isn't Invincibly Ignorant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are petulantly, wilfully ignorant.  Their ignorance is voluntary.  Invincible ignorance is involuntary.

    With all due respect to the philosophical dictionary definition, they really should have asked a Catholic, since the Church created the doctrine.  Someone who is invincibly ignorant is someone who, through no fault of their own and despite their sincere efforts at examining their conscience, doesn't believe in Christianity.  Their invincible ignorance permits them to be saved even though they are unbelievers.  It's a merciful, universalist position on human spirituality, and one of the reasons I converted to Catholicism from a less forgiving denomination.

    Pope Pius IX in the mid 1800's said "were a man to be invincibly ignorant of the true religion, such invincible ignorance would not be sinful before God; that, if such a person should observe the precepts of the Natural Law and do the will of God to the best of his knowledge, God, in His infinite mercy, may enlighten him so as to obtain eternal life; for, the Lord, who knows the heart and thoughts of man, will, in His infinite goodness, not suffer any one to be lost forever without his own fault."

    As Pope Pius IX concluded, "Far be it for us [the Church] to dare to put bounds on the boundless mercy of God."

    Which side are you on?

    by wiseacre on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:08:27 PM PDT

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