Monday, September 27, 2004

Rule #1: Don't Be an Idiot

I had never before heard of the Legal Fiction blog until today, and he's saying something that's been preying on my mind for a while now. It has to do with what's at stake in this election.

So, here's the question. How can I stop myself from feeling elitist when popular ignorance is getting people killed; when it's losing the war on terror; when it's allowing the whoring of the administrative state; when it's wrecking our long-term fiscal health? I don't want to be so angry at the lack of knowledge, but dammit, it got a lot of people killed, and it seems to be creating a new wave of fundamentalism across the Middle East. And now, the most divisive, war-mongering, cruel, economically heartless administration ever is trying to hide everything by slapping a few pro-gay rights moderates in prime time and showing pictures of Bush at Ground Zero. And people seem to be buying it. After all, "He's a straight shooter" and "I'd identify with him at a bar" and "He's so warm and optimistic."

I really really really don't want to abandon populism. But Iraq and this election are really tugging at me.

In short, I'm still really mad about the war. So maybe I'm letting that color my thoughts too much. I hope so. Because I have always had a deep faith in the wisdom of the American people, and I'd hate to lose that.

I always believed in the democratic process. I voted in every general election since I was old enough. But unlike some world leaders I could mention, i always reserve the right to rethink my opinions based on new evidence. I really feel that Bush has performed his duties not just badly, but reprehensibly. And if enough voters can agree, after all that's happened, to return him to office, then I may never be able to muster the energy to vote again, because to me it will have become a meaningless exercise. Why would I want to throw my opinion into that pot? Voting is an expression of opinion, but an ignorant, ill-considered opinion isn't worth having, let alone basing public policy on.

I especially like this writer's use of the phrase "popular ignorance." Maybe one of the reasons education has so much trouble finding support is because ignorance is so popular. I feel strongly that anybody's first moral obligation is to avoid being ignorant, because ignorance taints every moral decision. The Bush administration and his supporters have fostered ignorance at every opportunity, because an ignorant populace, and specifically an ignorant electorate, suits their goals, and an informed populace would hinder them. And that tells me all I need to know about the Bush administration and their so-called ethics.


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