Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why Conservatives Are So Cruel, Mean, And Heartless

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an example of a law which was advocated mostly by left-wingers as a way to help those who were disadvantaged through no fault of their own, and was opposed mostly by right-wingers. The left-wingers *claimed* this was because right-wingers were selfish and/or cruel, i.e. they didn't want to help poor (unfortunate, not necessarily in poverty) people. The right wingers *claimed* that wasn't true, it was because the ADA was going to be an "undue burden" on businesses which were going to be forced to wait hand and foot -- perhaps literally -- on people with imaginary disabilities. The left-wingers *claimed* that wasn't true, it was only going to help people who really needed and deserved help.

Here's a quote from Hacklawyer's blog:
complaints by the traditionally disabled - the deaf, the blind, the paraplegic - have accounted for only a tiny share of these kind of ”accomodation requests.” The overwhelming majority of them comprise those who claim such dubious disabilities as ADD, visual and oral processing diabilities, dysgraphia (really bad handwriting), ”phonological processing,” dyscalculia (math disability).
Personally, if I had been hired by either side, I would have advised them to MAKE LOUD ANNOUNCEMENTS AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICES IN ALL THE NEWS MEDIA THEY COULD REACH that *they* were willing to compromise and it was all the other side's fault for being stubborn, fanatic extremists who were demanding something really unreasonable. And to actually make an offer that looks reasonable to the general public, with something in it that's toxic to the other side.

Of course, I usually advocate that tactic on *any* issue. For example, Matt Miller suggests that advocates of school vouchers offer huge increases in school funding, and huge increases in teacher salaries, in return for the "minor concession" of vouchers; the educationalist lobby (such as the National Education Association) has promised to oppose *any* legislation which includes vouchers, so this makes *them* look like the Bad Guys (which they are) because it puts *them* in the position of opposing school funding and raises for those poor, poor teachers.


Anton Sherwood said...

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Anonymous said...

That makes no sense. The general public are quite familiar with the idea that people (or parties) have priorities, and that there are situations in which you cannot be bribed to accept X in return for Y. Compromise would be a lot easier to reach if every man had his price, but perhaps fortunately he doesn't.

The NEA aren't bad guys because there are good reasons to oppose vouchers, and the advocates of school vouchers wouldn't be regarded as the good guys for promising more funding in return for it - they'd be regarded as disingenuously offering something they should support anyway as a bribe to accomplish their true goal, which has nothing to do with better education for all and everything to do with better education for some.

Now I'm not entirely convinced of either the arguments for or against choice in the school system, but I know intellectual dishonesty when I see it.

I also have a hard time seeing under what circumstances it would not be reasonable for a business to be expected to help a customer with poor handwriting, or who couldn't add up. Sounds to me like those complaining are complaining about having to provide good service.

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