Yet we let journalists vote

Nicholas Kristof picks an odd time to begin worrying about democracy’s fundamental structural illogic:

Her broader point is that we as a nation will have difficulty making crucial decisions if we don’t have an intellectual climate that fosters an informed and reasoned debate. How can we decide on embryonic stem cells if we don’t understand biology? How can we judge whether to invade Iraq if we don’t know a Sunni from a Shiite?

The idiocy of the voting public is precisely what preserves our existing system of near-universal, but strictly limited representative democracy. It ensures that the best liars are always elected and fosters fundamentally dishonest government. Kristof probably sees no problem with his own voting, although I’ll bet he has no idea how inadequate a measure GDP is or how far off the current CPI is from measuring actual price inflation.

The masses are clueless, but specific groups within them are more short-sighted and self-centered than others. That was the whole point of limiting the vote to the least clueless 10 percent or so in the first place.

Gutenberg’s revenge

I’m not really familiar with Dane Cook, but Catkiller sends this clip which is pretty amusing, in addition to highlighting the annoyingly reliable social autism of Homo Indeus.

On a tangential note, it occurs to me that since atheists are disproporationately prone to social autism, it’s not hard to understand why so many of them have such a difficult time understanding why they are disliked so intensely by such a wide variety of people. It occurred to me that perhaps I might be able to explain this to them in terms that even the most myopic and self-centered infidel can understand.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you, the atheist, are completely correct and there is no God. Let us postulate that religion is merely an evolutionary spandrel and religious faith is merely a crutch for the intellectually weak, crippled, and cowardly.

Now, what is the normal human being’s opinion of the sort of individual who would purposefully kick out the crutch from a cripple who is leaning upon it? Indeed, what is your opinion of such an individual?

Obama and Odinga

Catkiller! brings some of the Magic Negro’s less savory connections noted by the international press to our attention.

Raila Odinga, it said, who was then the current presidential frontrunner, had promised to implement strict Islamic Sharia law if he received the Muslim vote and was elected president. Odinga had signed a secret memorandum of understanding with Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Leaders Forum, in which Odinga had allegedly stated his intention, if elected, to

“within six months, rewrite the Constitution of Kenya to recognize Sharia as the only true law sanctioned by the Holy Quran for Muslim declared regions”.

And what is Obama’s connection to Odinga? They are cousins, it seems:

Mr Odinga, 63, said that the US senator’s father, from western Kenya’s Luo tribe, was his maternal uncle. “He has called me to talk about the destabilising constitutional crisis in this country, despite being in the middle of the very busy New Hampshire primary,” Mr Odinga said yesterday.

Mr Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed that the senator spoke to the Kenyan opposition leader on Monday afternoon for about five minutes before going into a rally in New Hampshire, according to Associated Press.

Apparently that middle name “Hussein” may be a little more significant than originally thought… especially since the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Christianity appears to be of a severely mutated non-Western variety and Obama has declared his distance from it anyhow.

Not that the Lizard Queen is significantly more sane, as Peggy Noonan notes:

What struck me as the best commentary on the Bosnia story came from a poster called GI Joe who wrote in to a news blog: “Actually Mrs. Clinton was too modest. I was there and saw it all. When Mrs. Clinton got off the plane the tarmac came under mortar and machine gun fire. I was blown off my tank and exposed to enemy fire. Mrs. Clinton without regard to her own safety dragged me to safety, jumped on the tank and opened fire, killing 50 of the enemy.” Soon a suicide bomber appeared, but Mrs. Clinton stopped the guards from opening fire. “She talked to the man in his own language and got him [to] surrender. She found that he had suffered terribly as a result of policies of George Bush. She defused the bomb vest herself.” Then she turned to his wounds. “She stopped my bleeding and saved my life. Chelsea donated the blood.”

Made me laugh. It was like the voice of the people answering back. This guy knows that what Mrs. Clinton said is sort of crazy.

Of sheep and the finding thereof

I’m a Christian. And officially so.

Such simple words, and yet they speak volumes. The narrow path is not easy. But it sometimes seems to come just a little more naturally to those who haven’t had such a comfortable time of it on the broader, more populous way.

Atheists worsen HIV spread

In light of the New Atheist charge that religious prudery exacerbates the spread of HIV in Africa, it’s interesting to note that it’s atheists that are responsible for exacerbating the spread of HIV in Asia:

The authorities in Burma are risking lives and increasing the dangers of the HIV epidemic in the country by preventing foreign aid organisations from giving crucial help to patients suffering from Aids, The Times has learnt.

Those authorities, are, of course, the same atheist regime that ordered the slaughter of Burmese monks in October. Although if we take Sam Harris at his word, I suppose it was nothing more than an intra-atheist irreligious war.

Clearly, this lack of faith must be ended before it causes the world to explode in nuclear fire!

Servants of evil

Rod Dreher quotes the wise words of Alasdair MacIntyre regarding the upcoming election:

When offered a choice between two politically intolerable alternatives, it is important to choose neither. And when that choice is presented in rival arguments and debates that exclude from public consideration any other set of possibilities, it becomes a duty to withdraw from those arguments and debates, so as to resist the imposition of this false choice by those who have arrogated to themselves the power of framing the alternatives.

More importantly, WE DON’T HAVE A TWO-PARTY SYSTEM! You don’t have to buy into the media reality, it only has power because we collectively permit it to have that power. If you don’t positively support a candidate, then don’t support him. Continually supporting the lesser evil means you are a reliable servant of evil.

In praise of corruption

Theodore Dalrymple explains why straightforward corruption is to be preferred to honest bureaucracy. And you wonder why I love Italy, aside from the ability to be playing soccer in the sun one day and skiing in the Alps the next.

The thoroughly obvious corruption of Italian officials convinced the population that the state was their enemy, not their patron or protector, and they regarded it with profound mistrust. Accordingly, people of all classes evaded taxes, without moral opprobrium; everyone regarded the idea of revealing one’s entire income to the authorities and paying the taxes upon it as laughable in its naïveté. As far as possible, people concealed their economic activity from the eyes of the state, giving rise to Italy’s notorious “black” economy, a kind of parallel market, which is by common consent larger and more sophisticated than in any other European state. The size of this parallel market probably explains why the country, with an official per-capita GNP the size of Britain’s, looks very much more prosperous than Britain. The need to evade the depredations of the state and to make alternative arrangements for functions (like social security) that the state claimed, but usually failed, to carry out, meant that the Italian population had to fend for itself. With governments that fell like skittles—and quite long periods without any government at all—no Italian could possibly imagine that the politicians or the state they governed held the key to their prosperity….

In Britain, by contrast, the financial probity of the public administration, a legacy of the Victorian era (in which the state hardly impinged on the lives of individuals at all) misled people into a fatal misapprehension. They supposed that, because no public official ever asked for or expected a bribe, or could be easily swayed by other forms of illicit influence, public officials actually worked both for the public good and the good of individuals. People therefore came to believe in the beneficence, or at least the benevolent neutrality, of the state. Its officials were honest and fair, and therefore it was good.

For example, when you get a ticket in Italy, you don’t pay it unless your car has been towed and you have to ransom it, you simply throw it away. In like manner, it must be understood that the nominally high Italian tax rates only get applied to a portion of one’s income, so the practical tax rate is lower than the USA’s, let alone Britain’s. The government is hardly in a position to complain about the public’s attitude towards the law, since more than 80 elected politicians are either on trial or already convicted of a crime for which they will face sentencing when they lose office and the parliamentary immunity that goes with it. As the Italians say, it’s all just a casino.

In the USA, one’s apparent freedom is an illusion, whereas in Italy, it is the breadth and scope of the apparent government interference in one’s daily life that is illusory. An Italian communist is, by and large, rather less inclined to interfere with you than the average American Republican, let alone Democrat. And the various mafias are not only far more reasonable and open to negotiation than any US government agency, they’re far less likely to shoot you in the event of a disagreement.