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“The Me-First… Crowd”

My friend John and I had an exchange in the comments section of a video I embedded, and he used a phrase that resembled something I’ve heard on line a few times: “‘I got mine, screw everyone else’ types.” The discussion is about health care, and the comments are already on record, but I remembered seeing that phrase either in the newspaper or online. As it turns out, it was both. David Sirota over at the HuffPo wrote an article entitled “The Me-First: Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd.” Since the whole “tea-baggers” and “Screw Everyone Else” meme doesn’t fly well in other media, he edited the worst of the “offensive” commentary and published his little gem all over the place. Although it seems that there’s a huge reaction to the “me-first” crowd, it’s actually the same article reposted ad nauseam at online outlets.

Since Sirota is lumping the “tea-baggers” and “anti-tax” guys (apparently a group of “rich folks” groupies) in with his “me-first” crowd (apparently a group of “rich folks”) and conservatives in general, I don’t think I’ll waste too much time on his straw men. Not only do a majority of conservatives want substantive health care reform, many believe that increasing taxes to tackle OUR NATIONAL DEBT is in our country’s own best interest.

I think the thing I find most repugnant here is his (and the left’s version of the) constant claim that:

What you’ve discovered is that the me-first, screw-everyone-else crowd isn’t interested in fairness, empiricism or morality.

With 22,000 of their fellow countrymen dying annually for lack of health insurance and with Warren Buffett paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary, the me-first, screw-everyone-else crowd is merely using the argot of fairness, empiricism and morality to hide its real motive: selfish greed.

No argument, however rational, is going to cure these narcissists of that grotesque disease.

This consistent claim to the moral high ground is laughable. So too are the claims to superior passion for fairness and empiricism. The entire notion that a dissenting opinion is somehow morally inferior is errant nonsense, and ascribing the “real motive: selfish greed” to his opponents is nothing more than childish projection… kind of like saying that Sirota’s real motive is “if you won’t be charitable on my terms, then I’ll take your damn money and force you to behave the way I want.”

One small quote from the research he derives his 22K from:

More broadly, these estimates should be viewed as reasonable indicators of the general magnitude of excess mortality that results from lack of insurance, not as precise “body counts.” The true number of deaths resulting from uninsurance may be somewhat higher or lower than the estimates in this paper, but that number is surely significant.

Throwing around a statistic as though it was a “precise body count” is worse than disingenuous, it’s deliberately misleading for the sake of an ideology rather than constructive discourse.

Despite these complaints, I agree with him concerning “some” of the people out there who are anti-tax simply to be anti-tax. I also happen to agree with much of his reporting on the actual tax facts he lists in his “guide to navigating the conversation.” What I find repulsive is the way he sinks to the lowest common denominator – and behaves precisely like those he loathes. The common tactic on BOTH the right and the left of claiming certain words are “code” for something morally offensive (“lazy” is a classic code word for “minorities” according to Sirota) is ridiculous. Lazy people are a minority – I believe the lion’s share of Americans is more than willing to work for their daily bread – and reasonably priced healthcare.

Sorry about the rant, but I decided I wanted to vent a little. I’m just tired of both sides using virtually the same tactics and crying foul. It’s dishonest and absurd. My great thanks to John for the always great counterpoint!

Ok, now I’ll head back toward where I want to be… posts headed toward the subject of Virtue and Freedom.

Cheers!

  1. John
    August 12th, 2009 at 18:40 | #1

    Just to clarify, my comment referred to people/protesters shown on the news, which like to show the extremes on both sides for better ratings. I don’t think that all, or even most, of the protesters are “me first”, but I do believe that some of the people they showed were. Also, the “I got mine, screw everyone else” phrase and mentality is nothing new, just look at peoples driving habits as one example.

    But for the most part, I agree with what you are saying about both sides using the same tired tricks to obtain any political gain they can. Whether it’s a “death panel” or “code words” claims, both sides take advantage of the fear and ignorance of the average person, and feel justified because the other side is doing it so they have to keep up.

    Whether it’s two opposing politicians, or two little kids, telling their version of the “truth”, the actual truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

  2. August 12th, 2009 at 19:42 | #2

    @John

    As they’d say in the 19xx, er… well, when we were younger, “amen brother.” Didn’t necessarily mean one went to church, but everybody used it anyway 😉 I knew who you were talking about, in fact, I think we met a couple at another corporation for whom we once worked.

    The phrase just rang a bell, and when I googled the phrase – I was astonished by the number of hits. Finding out that virtually all of them were the article or someone referring to the article was a bit of a surprise. It shouldn’t have been, but it was.

    I hope we manage to pull our collective heads out of ummm, yeah, anyway… If we don’t I think we’ll be in pretty bad shape, and if we do, we better be prepared to make a few hard choices!

    Cheers.

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