Archive - Oct 2010

October 29th

Not Actually Sanity

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Memo to Jon Stewart: I'M A PROUD IDEOLOGUE. NOW MAKE ME LAUGH.

Look, I'm going to enjoy the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or fear as much as the next guy, assuming the next guy doesn't write for Big Hollywood, where the whole exercise is seen as a covert plot by Obama and Stewart to re-elect Democrats in some kind of Politburo-style propaganda power grab.

It's going to be funny, and entertaining, and have lots of good guests. That's what Stewart and Colbert are best at. But every time they get into the core idea behind the rally, my blood begins to boil a bit, which is the exact opposite of the point, I know. But bear with me. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Because we’re looking for those people. We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it’s appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles... Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point."

It sounds good, but it's based on a common fallacy - that the problem is the small number of ideologues on the fringes of either side, and that there's a vast middle ground of reasonable people with complex, nuanced political views who simply don't have the free time to have their voices heard. This is, frankly, bullshit.

I will not apologize for being ideological. I have certain ideas I think are logical enough to form a basis for public policy. I think ideas that are the opposite of mine are illogical and shouldn't be followed. And I'm not going to be happier by moving halfway to illogical, especially when that halfway point keeps moving farther and farther away from me and towards dangerously insane people.

I will not apologize for yelling. Or name-calling. Or being uncivil towards those with whom I strongly disagree. You know why? Because as nice as calm reason is, it doesn't work. We've tried calm reason for decades, and we still have a Delaware Senate candidate who doesn't believe in evolution, and IT'S NO BIG DEAL.

Christine O'Donnell is the dumbest, most unreasoning person running for election this year. There are worse candidates. There are less sane candidates. There are candidates more likely to win. But O'Donnell is flat-out dumb. And she won the primary over a more reasonable opponent, and is currently polling at 36%. Over a third of the people of Delaware would rather vote for a creationist witchdabbler who thinks debate lines that scored her points at whatever conservative college she pretended to go to actually work in the real world, than vote for a bland, moderate Democrat.

You cannot be reasonable with people who do not reason. It was bad enough when we were dealing with the largely amoral capitalist self-interest of a William Buckley, or even the calculating gamesmanship of a Grover Norquist. But the current crop? These are the true believers. These are the people who've spent their entire lives isolated by their tribe and immersed in the mindset.

You can have all the quiet, polite, nuanced, reasonable conversations you want with O'Donnell, and she's still going to leave the room thinking that schools should teach that Jesus rode dinosaurs over to Ayn Rand's house.

I'm all for restoring sanity. But I'll be damned if I'm going to define "sanity" as being polite to insane morons who want to guide the country I live and work in down the road to some kind of hybrid feudal-Objectivist theocracy. Which in itself should be so internally inconsistent they wouldn't want to make it happen, but that's what we're dealing with these days. So if it's all the same to you, I'm gonna shout some more.