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Trick or treat!

By Tom Toles


Psychology today
What's the difference between instinct and intuition, you were wondering when you got up this morning. I've decided I've figured out the answer to this without any research, but I think I'm right anyway. Instinct is the set of proclivities you were born with. Intuition is an unconscious recognition of patterns you have experienced. Both are valuable! Now a bonus insight, free of charge to you for reading this! People want, almost more than anything, to be able to live by instinct and intuition and have it work out for them. Tall order!

This is currently the trap Americans find themselves in, and they don't like it one bit. Because you can't in real life depend on instinct and intuition to always work out for you. The other component of the coping triumvirate is the dreaded rationality, the bad-tasting hard-work and planning component. A Post survey Sunday about what people want from government reveals the zany incoherence of people WANTING the help from government that they don't want to PAY for. Liberals' instincts and intuitions ride on one side of this, and conservatives' on the other, but both sides avoid examining the actual programs and numbers. Instinct says I WANT IT AT A DISCOUNT. Intuition tells us, THAT'S WORKED UP TILL NOW! One would think perhaps that's when rationality would be summoned. Voters have apparently decided they prefer more instincts: anger or indifference instead. We'll see how that works out for you. --Tom Toles



By Tom Toles  | October 12, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Democrats, GOP  
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It's odd... I've been reading the Federalist Papers (letters) written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison is support of the new constitution that was eventually ratified to replace the original articles of confederation, and the one thing that sticks out is that the main argument was for a STRONGER central government. The odd thing is that, so many people argue that the government does too much and should be hamstrung, while the Federalist papers do an excellent job of showing the results of such a weak central government.

Perhaps we should all actually read things like the constitution and documents and letters written by the people who were there, rather than take the word of demagogues or pundits.

It's not about free speech, but honest speech. It's been said that, all speech should be free; it's the only way we'll know who the ____s are.

Free speech isn't something that can be purchased, by the way. Another word for purchasing influence is "bribery."

Posted by: jonroesler | October 18, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

We are in the process of reducing the size of government. This is why, with only 65,000 private sector jobs created, we still lost 95,000 jobs in Sept. 2010. Can we really afford to lose any more government jobs RIGHT NOW? Things might get much worse, if we do. "Things can't get worse" you Tea Partiers say? How about back to real recession and possibly, a depression. Those things are worse, and that's what the Republicans and Tea Partiers offer us.

Let's look at why we can't deal with the current recession, even if it's technically not a recession anymore. Under only three presidents since WWII has the national debt relative to GDP gone up. Those three presidents were Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, all Republicans. [ ] Even under the much-maligned Jimmy Carter, the national debt relative to the GDP went DOWN! Same for Bill Clinton. Apologists for Reagan said he was trying to strangle the beast--the Federal government--by increasing the debt to the point where it could not afford to do anything. If this is true, well.....mission accomplished. But there is an obvious flaw in that logic, whether the debt was actually planned or not. In reality, we can afford to spend our way out of the recession, aka the job-less recovery; we can't afford not to do so. But we lack the political will to spend our way out of this mess. It's a pity that we didn't get cold feet over deficit spending when the deficits were so high under the last three Republican presidents...that would have made a big difference in the economic health and in what the U.S. could do about the recession TODAY. Under Republicans, we have endless borrow and spend economic policies. Under Republicans, we have policies that result in endless wars. Yeah, I can really see why people would want them back in control of our government. Really, really, I can see that. The free lunch is back!

BTW, anthropogenic global warming is very real.

Posted by: ptgrunner | October 12, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog, the repubs will do nothing different and your point is obvious. People who vote for 'their' party do so just because it is their party for what ever reasons be it religous reasoning morals, money, whatever, that's the way it is. The ones who are 'trying' to break free and start anew, the teaparty, basically is the same party only more extreme, with no realistic answers either.... then you have the dems, who ran and promised change for the Better. Most people voting that party were counting on the illusion that was being presented. And expected immediate results not realizing that the 'fall downward' has/had to run its course first. The dems don't have a cure-all either.
So prairieDog...what is your point...really.

And Dude....I don't find your sarcasm funny but hey, as long as you do...go for it. It's your right.

Posted by: bertzel | October 12, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow. The claims, assertions, conclusions and opinions in here that are based on absolutely nothing, have reinforced my belief that the most passionate voters often are the ones least qualified to make an informed decision.

I've asked it before in here, and I'll ask again...because no one has yet answered me. Those of you who want to throw out all Democrats and have a Republican-controlled congress; please tell me what the Republicans will do differently than they did for the years they had congress under Bush and before. Tax cuts for the rich, increased military activity all over the world, deregulation of everything, and letting Wall St dictate whatever they wanted, is what got us here in the first place.

I have yet to see any...(I'll capitalize and repeat for emphasis), ANY evidence that they have a "new plan" to fix everything. What will they do? The "Pledge to America", or whatever it was called, disappeared into the abyss about two days after it was unvieled. Why? Because there's nothing in it!

You're going to vote for people who got us here in the first place. You're going to vote for them because the economy is in bad shape and people are hurting and it hasn't righted itself fast enough for you. Is that a reason to put the people in charge who got us to this point? Again I ask, tell me their secret plan to fix everything. From all I've seen so far, it's the same plan they had 10 years ago. I've seen that movie and don't like the ending.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Intuition, like the five physical senses, is a perceiving process, providing us the means for becoming aware of what is going on, but still in need of judging processes like Thinking and Feeling to make decisions about what is perceived. I suspect that is what you are driving at here with your opining the need for rationality.

See "The Portable Jung", edited by Joseph Campbell, for a thorough treatment of Carl Jung's Theory of Psychological Type, and "The Blank Slate, The Modern Denial of Human Nature" by Steven Pinker, for exposing society's ignorance in believing that each individual can be assumed to perceive and decide just like everyone else.

Posted by: leanderthal | October 12, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I haven't found anyone who has described "progressive" politics as concisely as Frederic Bastiat:
"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

Posted by: DirtFarmer1 | October 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Using your definitions, then, TT, instinct would be that little voice telling me that something like 85 to 90 percent of your commenters have the time to write probably due to dementia or other mental disabilities which inhibit effective cognition – conditions which keep them at home, out of the work force, and living on incomes that resulted from liberal legislation advocated by law-making Democrats and traditionally opposed by their nemeses in the GOP. And intuition would be recognizing that such writers represent the ill-informed who persist in their ignorance – albeit sadly, because it eats away at our nation's health – and who are failing to see the connection between their good fortune and the elected individuals who actually worked through the system to make their government-assisted lifestyles possible. I think I get it now. Thank you.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | October 12, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"What I WANT is less government, so I don't have to PAY for it."

That is reasonable, but you have to play a pretty long game to get there. For one thing, paying interest on the debt requires a growing piece of the annual budget. The pinheads that thought we could lower taxes while increasing spending have made the problem worse. If we're going to be responsible, we need to restore the tax rate, pay down the debt & cut spending, THEN lower taxes. We have to get ahead of the curve first, then enjoy the fruits of our labors. This nonsensical theory about cutting taxes first is making the problem worse for the people who will eventually have to clean up the mess.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 12, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Point one.... from some of these wacky posts, did you people read the same piece? Bizarre.
Point two ... my instinct tells me to question any poll by the lib/dem WaPo with such disparate results. Of course given the choice, people will want something without paying for it, or "at a discount". The disconnect is that there is a growing number of people who are finally realizing THEY are the payers alone. Common sense will tell you that after some period of time, the payers are finally going to say, "no more". We'd better all hope that comes to pass in 3 weeks, unless we're past the tipping point, at which point all bets are off on this experiment.

Posted by: Shrimper | October 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Those with true intuition and instinct know to never trust a Washington Post poll which in this case looks to be heavily weighted with people on food stamps."

Polls are including more people on food stamps because people on food stamps are making up a larger portion of the population. Around here, the foodshelves in the suburbs can't keep up with demand.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 12, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

This is my favorite item from this poll,

"half the country thinks the federal government can balance its budget by simply cutting wasteful spending"

If that half of the country actually looked at what we spent money on, we might be able to actually create policy.

Posted by: ELA5 | October 12, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

a true thinker is a rare commodity in this country. its far easier to gather opinions and ideas from other like-minded sources and then repeat them, all the while pretending we came up with them on our own. takes too much energy to fire up the old thinking cap.
Posted by: amethystmarbles

I agree, to a point. People don’t listen, read or see all that someone/thing is throwing their way. We choose to take with us that which we can relate to or feel comfort in. When something is a bit off we brush it off or look the other way and accept it or not, with, perhaps, a shrug. Not often do we come out and actually bring it to the attention of the person or group responsible.
For instance, and I am guilty of this too, I made a statement at the end of one of my posts. It is completely wrong yet no one said anything…now either what I say here goes unread, gets ‘glossed over’ or people see the error and choose not to say anything.
I’ve also gotten emails asking for donations for a certain political group/player claiming that an “anonymous donor “will match my contribution. Was not a Republican. I could go hey…look at this but I chose to ignore it. It is all the little things that add up to the big things over time which has gotten us to where we are today… Once in a great while something does cross “my path” that I have great disgust for and I will speak up and or out about it but that does not happen often. Most of the time “I” have just become “numb” to “the way things are”… and one last comment... how many different ways can one discuss the same topic and be original ...just sayin’

Posted by: bertzel | October 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

A joint statement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:

Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 12, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

chaunceygardner wrote>>>What I WANT is less government, so I don't have to PAY for it.

Well, over 150,000 government jobs were lost last month - and still Republicans aren't happy.
And they probably won't be happy until trash pickup is once a month and there are 60 first-graders per classroom.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 12, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

In September ALL SENATE REPUBLICANS voted "No!" on the Democrats' Disclose Act that requires candidates to reveal the sources of their donations.
Democrats offered this bill TWICE - and each time the Party of NO voted "No!"

Must be a reason why Republicans hate sunlight.....

Posted by: angie12106 | October 12, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

a true thinker is a rare commodity in this country. its far easier to gather opinions and ideas from other like-minded sources and then repeat them, all the while pretending we came up with them on our own. takes too much energy to fire up the old thinking cap.

Posted by: amethystmarbles | October 12, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

When things get the way they are now it is time to watch the movie Network again.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 12, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Is it anger or frustration? Frustration that politicians continue to spend money that does not exist. Politicians who think that there job is a career. Politicians who long ago decided that the American citizen cannot handle personal responsibility and must have Government move in and tell them what to drive, what to eat, and what is fair. Politicians who ignore the Constitution and ignore the will of the people. Anger gets nowhere. Frustration causes a response. A response is coming in less than three weeks.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 12, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The Maldives are the lowest country on earth. They are five feet above sea level. Much of the area is debris from coral. Of course to the warmers, plate tectonics have nothing to do with the sea level change.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 12, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

["Voters have apparently decided they prefer more instincts: anger or indifference instead. We'll see how that works out for you. --Tom Toles"]

Toles is leading all the other Liberal apologists for the failure of the administration. It's all about anger and indifference man, right? Couldn't be about poorly constructed policies and broken promises now could it? To whit:

America Recovery Act: Kicked to Congress to throw together, a pork filled, deficit increasing, free-for-all with many worthwhile infrastructure programs that will only work over a long period of time. It isn't working as much of a stimulus.

Health Care Law: Took too long to pass and Americans by and large don't even think the WH understood it. Most of the budgetary pain is left for future Congress's to deal with. Folks don't understand it but the private health care firms are bailing out or raising premiums in anticipation of this catastrophic legislative nightmare.

GITMO: Promised to pull out; ain't going to happen (heck, the WH signed an Executive Order - how is that working out for you Toles?)

Predictin of 8% Unemployment and a Summer of Recovery: We're at 9.6%. We lost 75K jobs last month.

Elmo could have written these talking points - so easy to poke holes in the Democrats record.

The Libs have no where to go except to cast dispersions on GOP campaign financing (like they aren't part of the problem) and identify the American public as stupid. It's not working - in fact, this cunning plan is having the opposite effect.

Real Clear Politics, as of today, projects 35-71 Dem seats seriously threatened to turn to the GOP. At this rate, the GOP may win more than that because Democrats are so disgusted with their leadership. The hypocrisy, name-calling, diversions, and hubris of this cast of characters is repulsive. Dems will send a message to their own party by staying home so some folks will get fired and the Dems will have to hire a new team.

Too bad we can't do that with certain insulated, self-inflated cartoonists...

Posted by: pararanger22 | October 12, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

My instincts say that government is totally unresponsive to the needs of the people no matter how they make it appear. Intuitive thinking is only successful when based upon honest and factual information.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | October 12, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I am not of the Tea Party, gunrunner, I am a gardener.

Pruning is overdue right now. The branches are overgrown.

Posted by: chaunceygardener | October 12, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Doggonit! All the commenters here are Tea Party trolls who couldn't couldn't put forth a consistent argument for cutting taxes and spending. They didn't even bother to read Toles' know, the one to which they are supposedly responding.

Yo, idiot jornolibist at October 11, 2010 10:16 PM: Show us your proof!

Posted by: ptgrunner | October 12, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

What I WANT is less government, so I don't have to PAY for it.

The dead branches need to be pruned this fall, so there can be growth in the spring.

Posted by: chaunceygardener | October 11, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I can relate to that ass/donkey for I too have an enthusiasm gap...

Posted by: bertzel | October 11, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

What happens when it all comes down to cutting corners and profit margins and don't think that won't happen.

Posted by: bertzel | October 11, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The Maldives' are just another propaganda tool the warmers are using to fool people. There is proof warmer scientists are removing trees and other evidence showing water lines on the islands so they won't get in the way of this them selling this scam. When will the warmers learn they can't fool the earth or actual climate?

Posted by: jornolibist | October 11, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

looking for a bite...most likely won't get one.anyway..

bobbo2 are you suggesting that we privatise our police and fire departments? Not to mention the public school system, parks departments, department of transportation,etc.? do you think we would get better service at a more modest cost???

Posted by: bertzel | October 11, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

To the Democrats fairness exists when they have an advantage. "Wanting the help from Government that they don't want to pay for"? So much of our aid from Government comes from do gooder politicians who think that they know what we need. Pork barrel spending should be banned and replaced by a form of Nixon's revenue sharing. Some cities are now privatizing essential services and they are cheaper and better than Government provided ones. Responsible private enterprise can provide services better and at a lower cost than Government. Why? Competition. Government services, without competition can do any quality job that they want and spend as much as they can get away with. Government services are anti-capitalist.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 11, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Toles, you seem to believe that the majority of the populace in this country are idiots..I disagree...A bit of the aforementioned along with a touch of common sense and knowledge work quite well. It has for me anyway. I speak from experience which is indeed a good teacher as well. I've always likened to the phrase...fool me once shame on me fool me twice.....

Posted by: bertzel | October 11, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Democrats and liberals can't handle free speech. Dems and libs fight it every time somebody gets some they don't approve.

Posted by: billybeer6 | October 11, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Those with true intuition and instinct know to never trust a Washington Post poll which in this case looks to be heavily weighted with people on food stamps.

Posted by: billybeer6 | October 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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