What Shouldn’t Be Debated Is, What Should Be Debated Isn’t

This is a follow-up to “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Politics:

The Web today has many links to Romney’s having expressed opposition (in debates featuring fellow GOPers) to federal disaster-funding.

My main response to items like this is, “Who knows what Mr. Romney really believes?” My second response this time was “Why is this issue debatable?” Or: “Of course federal funding for responses to disasters is necessary.” It’s not appropriate to leave such responses entirely to the states, nor does it make sense to let people fend for themselves. Period.

A larger point is that way too much time is spent debating things that shouldn’t be debated. On this list I would include . . . revenue as one piece of the deficit-reduction puzzle. Want to debate how much to raise taxes on higher income brackets? Fine. What to take revenue entirely off the table? Not rational. I’d also include global warming and its effects. Want to debate how we should respond? Fine. Want to debate whether global warming is “real” and whether humans have contributed to it? You’re wasting everybody’s time.

What should be debated that isn’t? In addition to how much revenue needs to be raised and what should be done in response to global warming, I’d like to see “us” or “them” discuss how long we imagine we can sustain a defense budget that’s larger than the defense budgets of the rest of the world combined. The main question should be, “How much can we cut?” I’d like us to discuss a broad review of federal drug-laws and sentencing guidelines. I’d like us to debate whether the Senate is a viable representative body anymore; should South Dakota and California have the same number of senators, given the populations?

But as with the earlier post, the broader point here is that the pseudocracy helps to insure we focus too much energy and time on the trivial, on “dog-whistles,” and on issues that should be settled by now, and it also helps to insure that we don’t discuss crucial issues more.

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