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Come Saturday Morning: Things Many Think Are True (But Aren’t)

Things that many Americans, thanks in large part to well-financed conservative myth machines, think are true but which aren’t:

— "The ‘Wild West’ Didn’t Have Gun Control." Oh yes it did:

Pioneer publications show Old West leaders repeatedly arguing in favor of gun control. City leaders in the old cattle towns knew from experience what some Americans today don’t want to believe: a town that allows easy access to guns invites trouble.

What these cow-town leaders saw intimately in their day-to-day association with guns is that more guns in more places created not greater security but greater danger in an already dangerous wilderness. By the 1880s many in the West were fed up with gun violence. Gun control, they contended, was absolutely essential, and the remedy advocated usually was usually no less than a total ban on pistol-packing.

The prevalence of gun control in the West is part of what kept it from being anywhere near as wild as the dime-store novelists, writing for Eastern and European audiences, depicted — depictions that NRA-worshipping conservatives cherish so much that they screamed bloody murder at Clint Eastwood when he dared to show 19th-century Western gun control in his film Unforgiven.

— "FDR’s Dropping the Gold Standard was a Horrible Mistake."  On the contrary — as economist Brad DeLong shows here and here, dropping the gold standard was what allowed Roosevelt to save the country in the 1930s.    The less time a nation spent on the gold standard, the better off it was.

— "Americans Get the Best Health in the World from Private Industry."  How wrong is this?   Markfromireland cites the Journal of the American Medical Association’s own study eviscerating this myth-lie — and shows that even the richest Americans are no healthier on average, and get no better care on average, than the poorest and sickest Brits.  Why?  Because the UK’s National Health Service, terribly underfunded though it is, still outperforms the US’ private-medical industry.  In fact, the best health care in America is not provided by private industry, but by the Federal government through the Veterans Administration.

— "Obama’s and the Democrats’ Ratings are Dropping ‘Cuz Americans Reject Traditional Democratic Policies."  Actually, as the crosstabs of this Daily Kos poll show, the biggest drop in Obama’s and other elected Democrats’ numbers are occurring because the people who voted for them want to see a lot more Democratic behavior than is currently being exhibited.  In other words, we didn’t vote for "bipartisanship", we voted for change.   Obama, the Blue Dogs, and the rest of the Capitol Hill Democrats forget this at their peril.  (That includes you, Max Baucus –as Montanans, especially Democratic ones, aren’t too happy with you right now for rejecting the public option.)

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