Slogans No Substitute For Discussion and Debate

Recent events have prompted some discussion of wedge politics and the lack of meaningful political discourse in this country.  A related issue that deserves some attention is the increasing reliance on simplifying slogans as a substitute for debate.  While not new, in the age of social media, the slogan rules.

For  example, every time a progressive politician wants to do something to improve our prospects, we are likely to hear the accusation that here is yet another instance of “tax and spend”.  Funny that we do not hear that phrase when we talk about going to war or building prisons, always expensive and also paid for through taxes.

In fact, the slogan is almost always reserved for social spending.   But, in one way or another, every government uses tax dollars for social goals.  Indeed, social spending paid through taxes is non-discretionary.  The question is how much will we spend at the back end for prisons and care facilities versus  the front end for prevention and opportunity.  I have never met a politician who thinks that raising taxes is good politics or that high taxes are a good idea – but whether it’s public health and education or prisons, we must tax and spend.  Just about everybody agrees that we should spend wisely and tax only what is necessary but they disagree about what is wise and what is necessary or important.  That’s what we should be debating.

We should look at all the nonsense slogans, “nanny state”,” social engineering”, “soft on crime” and strip them from our discourse or at least stop allowing them to substitute for real debate.

3 Responses to “Slogans No Substitute For Discussion and Debate”
  1. pammacdonald says:

    Hi Alex!

    I only found my way to your blog yesterday and decided that, having read what led me here, I ought to go to the beginning and read to the end. It has been a quarter century since our paths last crossed at SolGen. This Blog caught my attention as I am so weary of rhetoricians and sloganeers in our public discourse. And I figured there was no time like the present to draw attention to my presence. I suspect that what you have to say will engage my brain. I also suspect that it will engage my cynicism! We have taken such diverse paths.


    Pam Macdonald

    • himelfarb says:

      Hey Pam,how lovely to hear from you. Glad to engage. No cynicism allowed. What are you up to?

      • pammacdonald says:

        I am in Montreal, running a B&B. Cynicism isn’t always negative. Sometimes it opens the eyes to possibilities that seem impossible, but so easy! I must read on. You have been so very productive over the past year. You seem to have found a great niche for yourself. No surprises there… you will challenge all your colleagues I am sure.


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