Nov. 11th, 2004

bursar42: (Default)

I've been fairly worried lately about several things. Firstly, did I ever mention in here how much I hate the college admissions rigmarole? Well, I do, as does everyone else involved. Secondly, why is there no numerical data on political imprisonment in various countries? Not even vague estimates.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I've become somewhat worried about the looming specter of theocracy around here. In my cozy left-leaning abode here in a blue state, we don't see people using religion or religious values to try to take over government. The Conservative candidate for Senate did, sort of. She ran on repealing the civil unions law and opposing abortion (and possibly birth control too? I forget.) At any rate, I think she got four percent of the vote. And a lot of that was upstate. So it's not a big deal around here. But, it seems, large swaths of the country actually care about this sort of thing. I mean, look at it. The Left Behind series are apparently the most popular books in the US. In addition, large segments of the Catholic vote were swayed by their religion to vote for Mr. Bush because of his pro-life stance. These, of course, are only two of the most noticeable aspects of the emerging theocracy. Much more troubling is the position I've seen so many of these people take which makes it so hard to defeat an incumbent party. It seems to go something like this:

"The President became president through the manifest will of God, for how could he be elected otherwise? Therefore, since he has been put over us here, we must support him, because he is the president. Further, it is immoral not to support him, especially since he announces that he shares my beliefs about the world. Therefore, I must vote Republican, especially since it is irrelevant to vote based on issues. Issues are irrelevant because politicians never do what they say they will anyway. Therefore, I ought to vote for the most godly person running." Or something like that. I'm not entirely sure how the reasoning goes, but it also sometimes makes reference to "wartime presidents." This is immaterial, though. What really matters is the perceived duty so many people think that, all things being equal, they have to support a sitting president because he is the sitting president. Further, this perceived duty seems, in my personal experience, to be strongly correlated with a person's view on the role of religion in the public life. This is dangerous. Any appeal to religion as a justification in public policy seems to be not only taking a cheapo way out but also rejecting the very principles of this country as a secular state, a state which is therefore more welcoming and also more effective, not being constrained by a provincial worldview which we have seen through experience to be often quite faulty.

Fourthly, why don't we capitalize words in the middle of sentences (like this) any more? It seems like a useful thing to be able to do. I also apologize for the link, but Project Gutenberg modernized the capitalization.

Finally, it's late. I'm tired. Maybe I'll go back and edit this around a bit later to improve coherency and actually figure out what I was trying to say in those rambling paragraphs.

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bursar42

May 2007

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