The Daily Jellyby
So Freddie deBoer posts (via) a serious, well articulated plea for those on the warpath against Social Security and Medicare to think about the real world impact. Andrew Sullivan responds with majestic indifference by citing Megan McCardle, someone whose analysis is so consistently deceptive or just plain wrong that using her to support your position is roughly as ridiculous as using Glenn Beck to do so.
John Cole responds:
The fundamental thing you need to understand when talking to deficit hawks is that when they say something is painful or that cuts will hurt people, you need to recognize that what they really mean is that the cuts will be painful TO SOMEONE ELSE and hurt people THEY DON'T KNOW AND WILL NEVER MEET. That's why it's so easy to be a condescending asshole about the budget. That's why it takes nothing to suggest raising the retirement age for Social Security. That's why, after taking a month off from writing on the internet to recover from a cold, he can tell people who work back-breaking manual labor every day of their god damned lives for much less money than he or McMegan earn that they should "contribute" more to their health care costs.
Then, in explaining why he is ignoring the protests in Wisconsin, Sullivan writes with astonishing myopia and magnificent hauteur:
Like the NYT, the WaPo and many other news sources, the Dish has focused on the horrors in Bahrain, the looming confrontation in Iran, riots in Libya, and the sudden earthquake in the Middle East, not a newly elected governor trying to curtail government spending, especially on healthcare for public sector unions. Readers are very irate. Well, we make choices here. But we're of no party or clique, which may be why I'm not that galvanized by a partisan mudfight.
He appears to be deliberately indifferent to suffering around him but keenly attuned to it at great distances. Charles Dickens was familiar with the type:
Mrs. Jellyby, whose face reflected none of the uneasiness which we could not help showing in out own faces, as the dear child's head recorded its passage with a bump on every stair - Richard afterwards said he counted seven, besides one for the landing - received us with perfect equanimity. She was a pretty, very diminutive, plump woman, of from forty to fifty, with handsome eyes, though they had a curious habit of seeming to look a long way off. As if - I am quoting Richard again - they could see nothing nearer than Africa!
Or, in some cases, the Middle East.