Nov 7 2006

Today, I voted (plus, Orson Scott Card and Liberal Logic)

As many of you know, Oregon is the “mail-in voting” state. In a country where people yell and scream over dangling chads, stolen ballot boxes and voter disenfranchisement, we Oregonians trust the U.S. Postal Service to send us our ballots and then return them. Of course, to use the mail-in option, you actually have to vote several days before the election, which I find highly suspect, if not just plain wrong.

So, in the spirit of American Independence, I chose not to vote early. I vote on the 2nd Tuesday of November, period. I wait until the last minute, allowing for any late-breaking scandals, and proudly deliver my vote, in person. So, today, in true Oregonian fashion, I filled out my ballot (in black ink), sealed and signed it, and drove down in the pouring rain to the City Hall.

Our City Hall is an unobtrusive structure – in fact, it’s cleverly disguised as a steel building with a partial brick facade, with all of the character of a double-wide trailer. So, I parked in the lot, stepped out into the drizzle and wandered around the building looking for the front door. I found it around the corner and opened it, allowing for 3 other patriotic citizens to exit the lobby.

Our City Hall lobby is reminiscent of many other cheap government offices, filled with posters, stacks of forms and people behind counters who completely ignore you. But, I quickly found the ballot boxes, two highly-secure Rubbermaid tubs with rectangular slots cut into the ends. I selected a box, and proudly deposited my ballot. Unlike the many other voting halls I have been in over the years, no one thanked me for voting or handed me an “I Voted!” sticker. No one checked my ID, or even watched me to make sure I didn’t toss a match into the boxes.

Voting isn’t what it used to be, at least in Oregon.

So, all of you people in Ohio, Tennessee and Florida, don’t complain. At least you seem to have people who actually care about the process.

But wait, there’s more…

Some of you may be familiar with Orson Scott Card, author, Mormon & Democrat. He’s written several very intriguing sci-fi and fiction novels. He also is the author of an article published yesterday, titled “The Only Issue This Election Day.”

Card is no Venusian (see yesterday’s post if you need that explained). He, though a Democrat, expresses very succinctly and logically why the worst thing that could happen to this country would be for the Democrats to control the House and the Senate. It’s worth reading, so please do so.

This just goes to show you that not all Democrats are Venusians. It is possible to be a liberal while retaining your ability to think. It’s encouraging.


Nov 7 2006

Liberal Logic

(Just one more side-track, then I’ll get back to the Entitlement issue.)

This week’s Newsweek includes an article by Sam Harris, author of such spell-binding books as The End of Faith. Harris is a Stanford grad, an atheist who seems to think he’s God’s gift to rationalists. Oh, wait…

Anyway, the Issue is about faith and politics, and Harris’ piece is entitled, “A Dissent: The Case Against Faith.” This is a wonderful article, because in just a few words it reveals Harris’ thinking and methods, so you don’t have to bother reading his books to find that out. It’s also a fair example of Liberal Logic. I presume that Harris is a political liberal, though I don’t know. However, that’s not the point; his approach to logic, in my opinion, follows classic liberal thinking.

If you haven’t noticed, conservatives and liberals have completely different worldviews, and completely different approaches to logic. It is nearly impossible for them to communicate with each other. In a nutshell, conservatives are from Mars, liberals are from Venus. Sam Harris is a Venusian.

Harris is actually amazing in his boldness (as are many liberals); for example, here is his opening sentence:

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago.

More than half? Americans? I don’t think half of Evangelical Christians would say that. Of course, he gives no indication of where he pulled this information from. He also is embarrassed that many of our leaders believe in God, but that’s no surprise. He also claims that “44 percent of Americans are confident that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years,” another questionable statistic. 50 years? Confident? Or, perhaps, who believe it is possible? The 2 are completely different concepts.

Now I could pick apart his article paragraph by paragraph, but I just don’t have time. (This would be a good project for a logic class, however.) I will, however, give you one prime example of his liberal logic. He states that the problem of religion is that it is “unreasonable and incompatible with genuine morality.” He goes on, “One of the worst things about religion is that it tends to separate questions of right and wrong from the living reality of human and animal suffering.” What?? He apparently has never actually heard the Gospel.

He does not provide anything to back up this completely foolish assertion; apparently with Venusian logic, the conclusion is all that matters. I wonder… just where does he expect morality to come from? Society? That’ll work.

Here’s the deal: Harris doesn’t like religion. Since most of the people in the world have some type of religion, it only follows that most of the people who cause problems have one of those religions. So, the fact remains that many religious people do some very bad things. Therefore, religion is bad and the cause of all evil.

People, this is not logical (in the “Martian” sense); this is, in fact, an emotional response. Liberal logic (it’s my term, so I can define it as I wish…) usually starts with an emotional response, moving quickly to a conclusion that “feels” right, then the middle is filled up with “facts” that support the conclusion. Try it – listen to Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, whoever. I don’t think it’s intentional, for the most part. I think the emotions are valid, and the conclusions are wishful thinking, like in John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Many liberal-thinkers are wonderful, sincere people who really care about things. Some of my best friends are Venusians. (There are some, however, as there are some Martians, who are just plain wacko.) The emotions are often valid; the process is just flawed.

It’s interesting, and somewhat humorous, that Harris claims that religion is not rational, and then fails to be rational in response. Of course, many other Venusians think he’s brilliant. But then, considering the Venusian worldview, that’s entirely logical.