Thursday, September 18, 2008

the paradox of Obama

Xrlq (rhymes with "Jeff") links to this CNN editorial about how the only possible explanation of why Obama isn't way ahead in the polls is racism. Maverick Philosopher has a couple of more examples, and they could be multiplied futher.

I think that the charge is a bit simplistic, but I have to admit that racism plays a big part in Obama's troubles. And it is a big part of why I'm so opposed to him. I was fairly neutral on Obama until found out about his racist church. And since then, his tendency to let his campaign and his supporters repeatedly accuse his opponents of racism. And finally there was the article by Ann Coulter showing from Obama's own autobiography how quick Obama is to distrust and despise white people --including his own grandmother. All of that makes me realize that Obama is a pretty hard-core racist.

Given this, I don't think any anti-racist American can ethically support Obama for president --or any other public trust. I'd go further and say that by this point, the majority of Obama's support comes from racists or at least those tolerant of racists.

But what I really wanted to write about was this quote by Xrlq: "I guess we have to look forward to four years of President Obama or four more years of liberals whining about how everyone but them is a racist." Many Americans seem to be under the impression that if we elect a black president, then this will somehow lessen racial tensions in the country by showing that the country is non-racist enough to elect a black president. In other words, many Americans are hopelessly naive. If Obama is defeated in this election, there will be the usual condemnation of the Great Racist Satan, America, and we can look forward to at least a decade where liberals toss out allusions to this election whenever they are losing the argument in order to distract us and make us once again defend how the elections was not about racism.

But if Obama is elected, we can look forward to four years of intensely racial politics that will change the political landscape very much for the worse. Race will become an Obama administration's goto charge for anyone they are angry at, anyone who opposed a substantive policy initiative. And that's just policy initiatives; imagine if Obama or any of his Chicago cronies are caught in corruption or other misbehavior in office. Racism will be their armor against all criticism.

I'm persuaded that for intelligent liberals, one of the primary reasons they are so excited by the idea of a black president, is because they know that it will give them leverage for four years and create an environment where the charge of racism can be used more freely beyond that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

just hit the shift key

When your screen saver kicks in because you haven't done anything on the computer for too long, the following behaviors are non-optimal:

1. Hit the space bar -- since you probably don't know where the focus is, you don't know what this is going to do.

2. Hit the Enter/Return key -- this is even more dangerous than the space bar.

3. Tap the mouse -- this is safe and it works most of the time, but it sometimes doesn't work because you don't move the mouse enough, so you might have to do it two or three times. Not efficient.

4. Put your hand on the mouse and shake it -- this is safe and it works all the time, but it's highly wasteful of time and energy.

Just hit the shift key (or Alt key or Ctrl key). Those are always safe (well, unless you are using an application written by an idiot) and they are highly time- and energy-efficient actions.

This useful computer tip has been brought to you by someone who gets irrationally annoyed at other people's non-optimal behavior.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Staal v. Scalia

Leslie Stahl made me laugh out loud during her 60-minutes interview of Justice Scalia. First she said that Bush v. Gore is (I quote from memory) "possibly the most controversial Supreme-Court decision in recent history". This seems to be a common opinion among the Democrats, who are more impressed by the case that really made them angry than by the case (Roe v Wade) that caused a major realignment of American politics and has been one of the top voting issues in national elections for decades.

Then the reporter started arguing with the Supreme-Court Justice about the Constitution. Stahl was talking about the practice of torturing suspects for information and she brought up the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause. Scalia pointed out that torture used for interrogation is not punishment. He tried three times to get this simple point across but Stahl just didn't get it. Scalia said "What is he [the terrorist] being punished for?" and Stahl answered "for being a terrorist". She just doesn't get the difference between punishment and interrogation. Apparently everything you do to a prisoner that the prisoner doesn't like just fits into one big conceptual box for her. If she had said "for not answering questions", she would at least have furthered the debate, but she clearly didn't comprehend the point at all. So Scalia got impatient with her stupidity and finally said, "Well, that's my opinion and I'm right."

Shortly after that line, 60-Minutes broke out of the interview and Stahl said something like "Well, Justice Scalia is never unsure or uncertain, and next we are going to look at his childhood to see what made him that way". That's when I laughed out loud.

This is one of the most ridiculous and pathetically self-unaware fantasies of the Left --that conservatives are somehow peculiarly, even pathologically certain and inflexible (as opposed to themselves, of course). Stahl is so confident, so certain about her own untutored opinion of the Constitution that she is willing to argue on national television with one of the world's foremost constitutional scholars. But it's not her certainty that needs to be explained. It's not the certainty of the amateur arguing with a Supreme-Court justice that is so odd or reckless that it needs to be explained. What is odd and reckless and in need of psychological explanation in terms of irrational impulses is the fact that someone who has spent decades studying the Constitution isn't interested in the opinions of a rank amateur.

And what is the source of Stahl's certainty? I guarantee you that it isn't years of scholarship. What makes her so certain, I expect, is her faith in the truth of her leftist world view --a faith based on no evidence, with no plausible ontological basis but entirely certain and unshakable for her anyway. And I'll also bet you that she gets frustrated with religious conservatives and how they are willing to take things on faith.