As I sat here at the Des Moines Public Library working on my last post, a lady sat down next to me and asked whether the computer she was about to use was broken.
"No," I replied. "It's rebooting."
She eventually got the thing going and went straight to the Daily Kos. Wonderful, I thought.I minded my own business until the disgusted noises she was making became difficult to ignore. She was upset- as we all are- by the inadequacy of the computers here.
Don't get me started.
"The computers here are very old," I commented. "They're frustrating, aren't they?"
"Yes," she replied- noting my Romney-Ryan tee-shirt. "That's why we need to elect progressive candidates who will spend money on such things."
"Or, alternatively," I replied, "we could elect people who understand economics, so we can get the economy moving and generate enough growth that we can afford to."
"Mitt Romney understands economics," she replied. "For the one percent."
"The 'one percent' pay 14% of the income taxes," I pointed out.
"No, they don't," she replied, offering no actual rebuttal.
"Do you know how much I pay?," she continued. Before I could answer, she told me: "Fifteen percent- and I barely make $20,000." I tried to sympathize, pointing out that in my first parish I'd paid even a higher rate (self-employment tax and the benefit of living in a four-bedroom house in one of the richest suburbs in the Midwest-while earning about $16,000, perks included- and that back in the mid-Eighties. She interrupted me before I could get very far into my comisseration, however, with some more "Occupy" cliches. I pointed out that the top 20% in income pay over 90% of the income taxes.
"No, they don't," she replied again. "CBO statistics," I pointed out. "No, they don't," she repeated. This time, she told me that she could prove it via the internet, which was accessible at the moment to both of us. But she didn't. She merely refused to accept the reality the rest of us live in, preferring to make her own up as she went along.
Now, she might have pointed to the loopholes which often allow wealthy taxpayers to pay a lower effective rate than less wealthy ones. If she had, I would have agreed that those loopholes had to be closed- but not when economic growth was as stagnant as it is, especially since many of hardest hit would be small business owners whom ideally we would like to hire more people. But she didn't. She simply denied reality.
And I'd had enough, "Ma'am, this isn't getting us anywhere. Let's end this discussion."
"Shut up, " she replied. "I'm sorry I engaged you in conversation."
"So am I, " I said. I'm afraid I was losing my temper. I didn't come to the library to be harrangued by a delusional Leftist; I had enough of that in seminary. "Please go back to your fantasies. I have things to do in the real world."
She told me that I was stupid. I'm afraid I couldn't resist pointing out that calling their opponent stupid is the traditional liberal response to losing an argument.
She repeated that I should shut up- and after a few moments of silence started raving again.
This time, I'm afraid that I lost my cool and told her to shut up. She raved on anyway.
Regaining said cool a bit and regretting having lost it, I interrupted her. "Ma'am," I said, "Your bothering me." "And you're OPPRESSING me!," she responded.
Yes. She actually said that. "I'm oppressing you by disagreeing with you?," I asked, feigning incredulity. Actually, of course, the Left really believes that to disagree with them is to oppress them- and further, to forfeit any right to free speech you might think the First Amendment gives you.
I'm afraid I laughed. Whereupon she started raving again.
I'd had enough. "Ma'am," I said, "if you don't knock it off I'm going to get the librarian."
"Go ahead," she said. "I'm logging off anyway," And she did.
For which, huzzah.
Now, as nearly as I can tell, the moral of this lesson is that liberals reserve the right to make up their own reality, that to disagree with a liberal is to oppress the poor dear, and that she can't refute an argument based on documented facts, you are "stupid."
Never let it be said that you can't learn anything by talking with a liberal.