I would like to begin by explaining why I am even writing this diary entry in the first place. As a 15 year old high school student, I can safely say I am younger than almost everyone else in this community. Why is it that someone so young can become such a politically outspoken person? It certainly was not out of necessity; I was born into a wealthy family, and I have always for the most part had everything taken care of. I have had one the best educations in the country, and for that I am thankful. So why did I become interested in politics? A few years ago I began watching “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. I was raised in a very liberal and educated town, and it struck me how uneducated, and quite frankly, ridiculous, the political dialogue in this country had become. Watching shows like “Real Time with Bill Maher” I became interested in issues I had never before cared (or known) about. Watching Bill Maher was the reason I abandoned religion and became an atheist. Watching conservative commentary shows and political pundits make outrageous claims on television about economics and history made me study both; I have now read several economics textbooks and have done my best to understand the true history of not only the United States, but of the world as a whole. I now watch numerous news channels and read both the New York Times and the Economist. I owe it to the media, without it I would still be living in the isolated world that is suburbia.
Obviously most other people my age are not interested in politics (at least yet), and my friends get rather bored when I go on talking about the impending government shutdown. Even my parents aren’t that interested in politics; what happens in Washington simply does not affect them that much. Both of them have stable jobs, guaranteed healthcare, and decent incomes. But I know this is not the case for everyone. That is why I became a liberal.
When you look at the economic theory of Republicans, largely based on textbook macro-economics they are technically correct. Small government, no regulations, and low taxes does increase economic growth in terms of GDP and productivity. The only problem is what they define growth as. If you define growth as productivity, the gross total of products and services produced in America, then yes, conservative economic theory is correct. But who wants to live in a country where the entire working class is poor while the upper 5% owns all the wealth? China has had immense growth in the past decades, but it was growth in the economic sense of the term; the lower class is dirt poor. Growth must not be defined as productivity, but rather as the standard of living. Who cares how much your country produces if the standard of living is low. Look at Norway, a country that practices progressivist economics: they have a GDP per capita of $79,000. In contrast, the United States has a GDP per capita of $46,000. So even though Norway’s GDP is $382 billion (while the United States has a massive $14 trillion GDP), Norway has a 70% higher standard of living. Norway has a 20% revenue surplus while the United States has a 10% deficit. Clearly progressive economics leads to a higher standard of living as opposed to a higher productivity.
Even though democrats seem to have the more appealing argument, (I mean, who besides the rich would be against a higher standard of living) the democrats still seem to be loosing the debate. This has not been any more noticeable than the fall in popularity of our president Obama. He began his term as the redeemer of America. He captivated the American youth, and almost as quickly, he lost them. This reminded me of something Rachel Maddow said that was along the lines of “You have to win the argument and not just the election.” I was talking about the presidential election to a friend and he said “I hope Obama doesn’t get re-elected” (and that was coming from a liberal) and I asked why, to which he responded, “Isn’t he a terrible president? No one likes him”. Republicans are so good at saying what they believe to anyone who will listen; Liberal not so much. If liberals showed everyone all the good things the Health Care reform has done for them, all the good things that come from regulation, show them the results of corporate power, and show them why we are right, then maybe we would not only win short term battles, but win the long term battle as well. Sadly, for the average person complex economic theory is too complicated to understand and thus they don’t even bother. Instead they focus on social issues and what benefits them the best in the short term: they vote for whoever believes in what they do and whoever will lower their taxes. Their social values are decided; they have been for years. This is likely due to the religious morals and values taught to them. It will be hard to change peoples views on topics such as these.
I used to always hate people who you could prove wrong and they continued to believe. I never understood how someone can knowingly believe a lie. Within the past few month my entire view on this has changed. Being raised in a Jewish family, I naturally was very pro Israel, and viewed it as a country that could do no evil. I had visited Israel, and it was indeed a very beautiful country. As the media and activist groups became increasingly vocal about their anti-Israel views, I got increasingly angry. Everything they were saying was directly contradictory to what I grew up believing. Sources which I would have considered reliable in any other situation I would shrug off as being incorrect or propaganda. I considered all Israeli problems to be caused by the Palestinian groups such as Hamas and not the other way around. To me, despite the constant information against Israel I continued to believe in the purity of Israel. This is much like the beliefs held by the Republicans. You can’t win a debate about evolution simply saying the facts when they don’t want to hear the facts. I learned the truth about Israel, that being that Israel is just as much at fault (if not more) than the Palestinians over time, but I can’t expect other people to be able to do the same. In reality it will never be easy to convert someone’s belief when those beliefs are so deeply inscribed in their psyche. Once a belief is fully infused with a person it becomes part of them; it will never change. Instead, we must focus on the young. We need to pass laws requiring the teaching of evolution and global warming in schools. It wont be easy, but over time it happens. We have seen it in America, we are more secular now than we have ever been in the history of the this nation. We are on a track to progress, it is just slower than we would like. In the end, progressivism will always win, and has always won.