Here is a little film clip about two and a half minutes long, where Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary Robert Reich lays out our basic economic and political dilemma, using little cartoons.
Since the clip is from Moveon.org, which we know is at the very heart of the liberal beast, there may be a strong temptation for many to either embrace the argument or dismiss it out of hand. But don’t.
Instead, let’s use this as an exercise on how to test the veracity of two minute elevator speeches. Totally disregarding Reich’s or Moveon’s intentions, we have the following four things we can test and discuss:
- Reich makes what are, in effect, statistical statements (i.e. wages have been flat for workers since 1980). Are these facts themselves true. If not, what is the truth?
- Reich takes groups of facts and draws links between them. Even if the facts are true, are the links of cause and effect that he is proposing reasonable? If not, why?
- Reich selects groups of facts to draw his relationships. He presumably selects the facts that bolster his argument. Are there other facts that should be inserted that modify or oppose his reasoning?
- Reich is making a case from which to draw a certain political conclusion. Is his conclusion warranted by the facts? Or can other conclusions be drawn?
For this experiment, you are only allowed to discuss this clip in terms of these four aspects. In the interests of free speech, something that I would never dare suppress, you can actually talk about whatever you want. But anyone who puts out purely partisan remarks, trollish statements, or non-sequiturs is going to be “cheesecaked” by me. That is to say, I will non-respond to you by posting a line from my late mother’s famous secret cheesecake recipe as a way of acknowledging you without actually engaging you.
Have at it. I think Reich is spot on.