Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Impotence of Democracy

Photo by Rama

I am hesitant to involve myself at all in the partisan shouting match between Rush Limbaugh and his detractors among the Democrats, but I just had to respond to the following example of uncritical thinking on DailyKos and to all the bloggers, diggers, and commentators that have showered their accolades thereupon over the past couple days:

I have read your breathless screeds about how President Obama is afraid to debate your Overlord, and how Obama has "painted himself into a corner," and how Jehovah is giving Jesus H. Christ himself the boot and preparing a seat for Overlord at His right hand.

Again, thank you.

However, I must deliver bad tidings.

You will want to sit down for this.

The debate already happened.

Assuming your discipleship doesn't require you to ingest Oxycontin like Skittles, you may recall an 18-month span of time that included conventions, stump speeches, lots of waving flags, a face-carving hoax, malfunctioning green screens, a "nation of whiners," $5000 pants suits, $2,000 hairdos, quasi-suspended campaigns, and tax dodging plumbers. This period of time -- which some call "a campaign" -- concluded in November of 2008 with a galactic asswhooping in which Barack Obama garnered 365 electoral votes to John McCain's 173 electoral votes.

In all, 70 million voters chose Barack Obama.


Now let me set a couple things straight first. I am not "siding with Rush Limbaugh" here. I am siding with reason. I am not defending his ridiculous challenge to our country's President to debate him. I acknowledge that he should know better than to expect the President of the United States to take time out of his day to debate a radio show host (and I imagine he does know better and that his challenge was crafted to do just what it accomplished: getting us all to talk about Rush Limbaugh).

Having said that, read the rest of this DailyKos blogger's article- his premise is that the truth is up for a vote. He more or less says, "More people believe in our side, so our side's right." He taunts Limbaugh's dittoheads by saying that the number of people who voted for Obama outnumbers their "army" of listeners. But his claims to numerical superiority are immaterial. He accuses Limbaugh of secreting "sweat, spittle, and invective," but a brief review of his blog is enough to see that he is dishing out the same invective and sophistry himself.

There is little evidence in his writing that he is earnest about engaging in meaningful dialogue and coming to the fullest and most accurate possible picture of reality, humanity's role in reality, and government's role in a human society. He (and so many bloggers and political commentators like him on both "sides" of the partisan debate) doesn't seem to offer arguments that his beliefs really are right so much as he spews the same invective that he finds so abhorrent in his partisan rivals.

It's not about who can shout loudest, convince the most people, or rally the most to fly their banner and repeat their slogans. It's not about who gets the most votes. Democracy can fail and can make the wrong decisions- just ask this DailyKos blogger how he feels about the results of "the debate" in 2004. Certainly he'd agree that democracy made a mistake then, so how can he so revel in democracy's sanction now?

The truth is the truth because it's what corresponds accurately to the reality it describes. I hope this blogger (and the many others swept up by his words) will come to understand that and to seek out the truth in evidence and reason, rather than the electoral results of a fickle mob of voters. I hope he will come to question his beliefs and evaluate them on their intellectual merits and engage in earnest discourse with others to come to the truth itself.

3 comments:

Dominic said...

I completely agree with you, but thats seems to be an almost impossible task to ask of the majority of Americans. To merely believe in truth immediately outcasts you from the mainstream. Most see objective views as intolerant, and...well...that is not what America is about. It's about tolerance, and that seems to be the only right. It is pathetic.

W. E. Messamore said...

You make a very good point... in a(n) (un)philosophical climate that espouses a subjective view of truth and reality, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that whatever society (as determined by the majority) says is right must be right.

W. E. Messamore said...

...but then what do we do when society says it's right to re-elect George W. Bush or to implement the Nazi's "final solution" (note to readers: I am not saying the two are comparable)?

What do social democrats do when they see society-says relativism fail? They must be able to see that it fails because it yields an answer that does not correspond to the reality it describes, and they must become objectivists (note the lower-case "o").

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