Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wise fools

This is … dismaying. Yet one of the perennial questions is "How can such smart people be so dumb?" Reason magazine's 2008 Presidential poll. Obama wins by a mile among this group of highly intelligent, highly imaginative people, who apparently have not been paying attention, and are mostly so annoyed with Bush that they want to slap him with a fish, never mind that he isn't even running.

Tim Slagle makes sense:

Who are you voting for in November? I'm voting for Palin. Maybe it's just the tendency of a guy with a big crush to project his ideology on that crush, but she just smells like a Libertarian to me. I'm probably wrong, but the alternative really frightens me. The darkest moments in world history have occurred during the confluence of a bad economy and a charismatic leader. Those videos of children singing and marching for Obama are really disconcerting. I don't care for McCain, but with Palin behind him, his age is an asset.
And Michael Shermer is funny (and I hope not serious about those first three words):
Who are you voting for in November? I’m voting Democrat because I think lawyers should run the country, because the last two years under their control has gone so well, because the government has done such a great job with FEMA that they should also be in charge of our school choices, health care choices, and retirement choices, because they protect me from crime so well that I don’t need a gun, because I want to pay more taxes (especially Capital Gains), because unions need to be stronger against evil corporations, because trade with foreign corporations is anti-American and we need to protect American jobs, and mostly because I’m tired of having so many choices and want someone else to make them for me.
But most of them seem to be suffering from the notion that a vote for Obama will be seen as a vote against current Republican policies, which will indicate to the Republican party that it needs to get back to the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. Or else they believe, out of sheer wishful thinking, apparently, that Obama will govern as a moderate. Do I need to say it: a vote for Obama will be taken by him as an endorsement of whatever he wants to do. There is no way to mark a ballot to say that "I am only voting for you because I don't like the other guy, even though I like you less." Can't do it.

Wise fools.


Randy said...

Funny, I was thinking along the same lines when I read that article. For a group theoretically devoted to libertarian principles, I thought the rationalizations for this, that or the other candidate betrayed a near universal lack of genuine commitment to their cause. Like you, I really enjoyed Shermer's response.

Hector Owen said...

Hi there! I took you off the blogroll when you took the blog private. I hope you understand that it didn't make sense to link something that could not be seen.

Back on topic: I'm losing respect for some of these people. Vote for the devil you don't know, in hopes that it will be better than the one you do know, although there is no reason to believe that will be the case. Did I just use the word "reason?"

Hector Owen said...

I'm tempted to rewrite this a little, as the "wise fool" is actually a literary trope that's just the opposite of what I mean here, that is, a "wise fool" is someone who seems foolish but is actually wise. What I meant to get at was the reverse, someone who seems wise but is actually foolish, as indicated by the link to the "Sages of Chelm" stories. But it's late, I've misplaced my dictionary of clichés, and now that the post has comments, I guess I have to let it go. Oh well.

Randy said...

LOL! You are the second person who noticed I took the blog private for a while. That was an accident - I was screwing around with layouts and then forgot to turn it back on after I decided to let things remain the same. I almost never post there and my average readership was a dozen strangers looking for a photo of a gay-bashing victim, so I'm surprised anyone I actually know noticed ;-) As there's really no reason to blogroll me these days, I definitely don't take offense if I'm not listed.

WRT: "wise fools" No need for a rewrite IMO - message understood.

WRT: Vote for the devil you don't know, in hopes that it will be better than the one you do know, although there is no reason to believe that will be the case.

It seems to me that that is a fair description.

Did I just use the word "reason?"

Yes, you did. They, however, have forgotten the meaning of the word.

blake said...

I think it's the koffee-klatsch thing: McCain betrayed a lot of the elite by nominating a commoner as his Veep.

Chelm sounds like Gotham to me...

Hector Owen said...

Thanks for mentioning Gotham. The stuff that Google turns up! How the Gothamites were conquered by the Hoppingtots, and abandoned their studies to become dancing fools.

The inhabitants of the original Gotham were not so foolish, after all, according to the Wikipedia article anyway: The story is that King John intended to live in the neighbourhood, but that the villagers, foreseeing ruin as the cost of supporting the court, feigned imbecility when the royal messengers arrived. Wherever the latter went they saw the rustics engaged in some absurd task. John, on this report, determined to have his hunting lodge elsewhere, and the wise men boasted, we ween there are more fools pass through Gotham than remain in it.

These stories of the Wise Men of Gotham are delightful.

blake said...

Yeah, I grew up on those Gotham stories. A lot of the stories paint them as just plain fools which is marvelously paralleled in the golden years of "The Simpsons".

And then there are the stories that the foolishness was a foil against an even more foolish society.

A lot of wisdom there.