Both sides DON'T do it

Roger Ailes, Father of the Right Wing Entertainment Complex

As someone with a lot of friends and contacts in the real world and on the Net, I hear pretty much every opinion under the sun. From die-hard Communist all the way to equally didactic (and tellingly similar) Objectivist, I get it all day every day. 

Lots of interesting stuff. And it's no secret where my head is at on most things. I'll listen to pretty much anything with one major exception--this odd idea that "both sides do it", that right and left are equally to blame for the gridlock in DC and the animosity elsewhere.

The basis for this thinking, I assume, is Newtonian. For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. If it isn't physics, it's metaphysics best expressed by the Byrds' biblically-derived second #1 hit song, that there's a time and purpose for everything.

But there isn't. Politics isn't physics and left and right aren't identical yet opposite, which would have to be the case for this proposition to be true. The psychology of the authoritarian vesus that of the anti-establishmentarian is completely dissimilar. If one side sees everything as black and white and a struggle where it's good vs evil (and they're the good guys) 100% of the time and the other side believes in nuance, degree of intensity, reason and logic based on evidence, both sides don't do it. Yes--both sides are engaged in politics. But if one side "makes shit up and then sues for the right to do it legally" and the other is "if it isn't factual, lose it'', then both sides don't do it.

Filmmaker Michael Moore expressed it best when talking about his 2007 movie, "Sicko". Every fact in that film was picked over by fine-toothed comb because he knew that any fuck up would be blasted over our "liberal media" 24/7. Contrast that to the soon to be retired from Congress Michele Bachmann or 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney who lied so much that it became impossible to keep up with them. And yet, until her recent campaign finance troubles, Bachmann was rarely if ever called to task in her hometown paper and with Romney, his unending string of fibs actually endeared him to his supporters!

If "both sides do it", explain this remarkable bit of Anti-Americanism?

Because ''lying for the "cause" is, in the mind of the American Rightist, acceptable, because the cause is a holy war for the "soul of America". Odd that the same people that lobby for the posting of the 10 Commandments everywhere seem to forget #9, the "false witness" one. 

People on the left lie, too. There is no doubt of that, all people lie to a degree. But claiming that one side's crapola is identical to the other is like saying that "Red Sox 12, Yankees 2" is a tie, because, after all, both teams scored runs, so they're equal. Nope, were that so, the score would be 7-7. But that's math. Which doesn't lie. And as such, is pesky.

(It has to be said that the people that claim "both sides do it" in correspondance with me are always right-leaning. I think they're have trouble letting go, but they're getting there). 

Adlai Stevenson, failed candidate for president said it better than I or anyone else can: I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. 

That was 61 years ago. If he could only see us now. 





They throw a temper tantrum knowing very well that the Dem leadership is weak and will cave in.

With Dem leaders like Pelosi, who needs Republicans?

Posted by Hafez Assad on May. 31, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

This needs to be said frequently and fervently. I like the Red Sox - Yankees analogy.

I just went to Politifact and they list 7 "Pants on Fire" statements from Obama and the first entry is, "Says Mitt Romney plans to 'fire' Big Bird." C'mon, if they're so desperate to find examples of Obama lying that they use an obvious joke they're getting pretty desperate!

Posted by SteveH on May. 31, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

The key word here is "desperate". Get used to it.

Posted by SteveH on May. 31, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

But confirmation bias is at work. You notice and remember when the right lies, but gloss over it when the left lies.

Posted by Guest on May. 31, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

Don't worry...with Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS and the AP scandals, the lying is starting to tip to the other side...not to mention all the lies about how Obama care isn't going to affect our present premiums and how it is actually going to save us all money....:)

Posted by Davedi on May. 31, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

Yesterday, Dave was up in arms about the Mexican government detaining the Mormon lady. And how this was more evidence of Obama's impotence, the Mexicans being lawless, the works.

They released her this morning.

Stone silence.

"Benghazi"? "Fast and Furious"? Tell me, reading whiz, of the left equivalent, namely, the manufactured scandal by propagandists? Really--name a few.

Take your time. 

Posted by JohnnyW on May. 31, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Sure they released her...but why was she arrested at all? Witnesses said she came on the bus without that package. I'm sure the threat of another boycott on O'Reilly helped...just like it did with that innocent solider who spent 4 months in one of their ratholes. Manufactured scandals? Really? Wow, that Koolaid must be potent...

Posted by Davedi on May. 31, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

Cops never arrest innocent people?

Uh huh. 

Posted by JohnnyW on May. 31, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

And where did I say it was evidence of Obama's impotence? Mexico has been doing this for years....I was only pointing out how their police and federales shake down our people and how we shouldn't put up with their shit anymore...I never mentioned the O.

Posted by Davedi on May. 31, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

Johnny W has figured out the formula for blogospheric success in 2013!

Launch, fierce, unceasing, radical attacks on --- Mitt Romney!

You don't denounce George W. Bush enough, Johnny!

Posted by Jake on May. 31, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

...and don't get me started on Warren Gamaliel Harding!

Posted by Steve on May. 31, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

lillipublican's Big List of Troll Lies

1 Presidents always move to the center

2 Progressive ideas are not popular

3 All politicians lie

4 "Purity progressives" can't compromise

5 Nader lost the election for Gore

6 Progressives have situational ethics

7 Progressives ignore pressing problems while promoting pet projects.

8 Progressives want to tell everyone else how to run their lives

9 Progressives call anybody a troll who doesnt' agree with them

10 Anybody who thinks the police must have proper civilian oversight is a "cop hater."

11 Corporations don't pay taxes

12 Poor people here are actually quite wealthy.

13 Rent control represents newcomers subsidizing those already here.

14 Social Security adds to the deficit

15 Non-criminals have nothing to fear from police investigation.

16 San Francisco "exceptionalism" is behind pro-democratic intitiatives

17 "Only whiners show up at public meetings"

18 Progressive leaders are crazy

19"Most Americans supported the war on Iraq."

20 Blacks Are Responsible for Prop 8

21 Poor people are lazy

22 Poor people commit most crimes

23 Wealth in the U.S. is broadly distributed

24 WWII -- and not the New Deal -- bailed out the U.S. economy

25 Liberal thinking is clouded by "confirmation bias."

26 The rich getting richer does not make the poor poorer

27 Petro-energy industry can be relied upon to adapt to peak oil and climate change.

28 Raising taxes causes a drop in tax receipts.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 31, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

Yes, Johnny Angel has much exposure to many spherical opinions on the web. He is a well-learned man. thank you for being with us Johnny Angel.

Posted by Fred on May. 31, 2013 @ 5:15 pm
Posted by matlock on May. 31, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

with his usual tired progressives = conservatives shtick. I was wondering, where's matlock? This is right up his alley.

And it's true, it's probably the most irritating thing of all. I'd rather listen to hate radio than matlock's cheap, lazy, empty nihilism.

Posted by Greg on May. 31, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

(who disdains all of humanity because he is above all of us peasants) can't really articulate like all the other liberals that he claims not to be one of, how they differ from the fringe right.

By nature of being correct, the left and right are correct.

Acorn, left wing kook operation


Strategic Allied Consulting, right wing kook operation.

the left and right share the same pathology, utterly obvious.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 1:48 am

In addition to the more plentiful variety of matlocky which allows and requires a bit of contextual analysis to understand its fundamental duplicity and falsehood, we also are on occasion treated to this sort of obvious and bizarre semantic tangle; thus revealing the synaptic short circuits under which the author suffers.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 5:28 am

you don't like it being true makes it not true.

In the face of examples how the right and left mirror each other, the right and let insist that by nature of them being correct they are correct. No need to debunk, just believe.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

His words are like an aural version of sweet honeyed water, his intellect as honed as a Syrian steel blade moving through water. His wisdom equals that of Solomon. The SFBG is so lucky to have him writing - he is a blogger par excellence.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Sam is really spot on, in my view.

SFBG is truly lucky to have Johnny Angel on board.

All hands on the deck are now sturdier. We are ALL in better hands.

Posted by Yule on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

≎ The whole construct of there being "both" sides on any issue, with the moderate, reasonable outcome always being "somewhere in between" is a logical fallacy. The construct does makes sense in interpersonal relations between two people who value a relationship over arguments, which is probably why it seems so attractive to compassionate folks.

In sociopolitical circles, though, it's a bit of rhetoric used to avoid the substance of the issue, recognized since the time of the ancient Greeks as a logical fallacy. Whenever someone starts mouthing the platitudes, they're trying to reframe things to their own advantage rather than letting the substance win on its own merits. They boil everything down to two sides, then define what "both" sides are, which means they also define the general vicinity of a "moderate" outcome. Quite often in this city, the nice folks will come to the table offering to compromise, and the manipulative folks have already anticipated this by demanding more than they're actually after. The "compromise" that results makes everyone look nice.

And hey, we only have half as much poison in the water than we would have. Isn't that better? What are you, unreasonable?

Posted by Jym on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 11:43 am

there are two sides to an issue.

Maybe to do with Americans thing with an unbiased media.

Reading the paper the other side is the spokesperson for the, bike coalition, ACLU, Chamber of Commerce etc... When in actuality these groups have nothing to do with the issue, they just have opinions on anything when asked.

In SF the other side for progressives is anyone who doesn't agree with them, no matter where that other side sits in the spectrum. Progressives are willing to meet other progressives half way on something though. 100 miles of bike lanes vs 101 or 99.

Steves Jones howling about parking in the Mission for example, the other side to the government tormenting the citizens is a hated mob of entitled drivers. Although he whines about the government not giving him his entitlements at every turn.

Everyone asks for more at the table and settles for less, our unions that run the city do that all the time, it's standard.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

Too long, didn't read

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Posted by galaxy leggings on Dec. 17, 2013 @ 1:43 am

Actually, both sides do do it. The only way you could get around the left-right fallacy is by proving that leftists are somehow "gentically superior" to right-wingers.

That's the ONLY way you could justify a permanently left-leaning constructed society.

Posted by computa on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 7:20 am