The Hobgoblin

One way easiest ways to appear analytical to scream about inconsistency. Consistency with what, you ask? Doesn’t matter. The fact is, few of us are entirely consistent, so pointing out this fact is as easy as it as banal.

Take today’s op-ed in the Post by Sebastian Mallaby. He charges that the democratic strategy of “bashing” Wal*Mart will backfire, because Wal-Mart saves a lot of people money, and gives a lot of people jobs who could vote for democrats. But at a more basic level, such arguments are “inconsistent.”

He writes:

>Once upon a time, smart Democrats defended globalization, open trade and the companies that thrive within this system. They were wary of tethering themselves to an anti-trade labor movement that represents a dwindling fraction of the electorate. They understood the danger in bashing corporations: Voters don’t hate corporations, because many of them work for one.

This is colossally dumb for a number of reasons. But we’ll point out one of them. Wal-Mart has done much recently to undermine the Democratic Party’s principles and it has taken a decisive stand against a core principle–the right of workers to organize into unions. So perhaps the Democrats whose consistency Mallaby so superficially criticizes have moved back in the direction of their party’s base. Besides, the corporations Dems used to work for (and not alienate) were nothing like the Wal-Mart kind. They were the GM kind–where one could earn enough not to live on welfare.

Of course in some sense this is inconsistent. Democrats have taken money in the past, and some (Bill Clinton) have praised it’s founder as a great American). What their argument is now, however, is another question. One that Mallaby completely ignores in favor of a kind of perverse tu quoque: having supported Wal-Mart in the past somehow invalidates any present criticism as politically motivated. Besides consistency in the face of evidence to the contrary is the characteristic of another political party.

2 thoughts on “The Hobgoblin”

  1. One of the things Wal-Mart is notorious for funding is the anti-public education “school voucher” [our children shouldn’t have to learn in the same room as those children] movement. And we should love them still? Ah, no.

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