WE ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH OR WISE ENOUGH TO VOTE SMART

From here, here, and here.

When I consider myself, I have to admit I regularly make mistakes and yield to weakness. Therefore, I wonder where I get the nerve to pose as some sort of wise religious/political pundit. Is it because everyone else is so much dumber and morally bankrupt? Well, everyone is dumb and morally bankrupt, but who is most dumb and morally bankrupt? I have decided it is not me. Why? Consider this quote.

When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself: I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know. — Socrates (from here)

What is our biggest political problem? Demagoguery would be my guess. We get these people making grand promises, sometimes to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist, and too many of us believe them. That is, we let demagogues convince us of something that is not so. Ronald Reagan put it this way.

It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so. (from here)

Throughout history we have done the most harm to each other when we insisted upon making “other people” do what we want them to do. Here is a list of some of the things we do today.

  • We use government force to make the young pay for the elderly’s retirement and healthcare. Social Security and Medicare are now half the Federal Budget. So what happens when an honest politician wants to cut the growing Federal Budget deficit? The demagogues accuse him of threatening to push granny off a cliff in a wheelchair.
  • We use the public school monopoly to force other people to educate their children our way. This benefits the teachers unions and the politicians whose campaigns they finance, but a government-run education monopoly is a stupid way for a supposedly free people to educate their children.
  • We use zoning laws to keep low cost housing out of rich counties. Why? The poor receive more in public services than they pay in taxes. Thus, we make it difficult for the poor to live near where they work.
  • We force each other to pay for the roads we use.  In effect, we just give politicians our money, and we expect them to build the type of roads we need where we want them. Of course, those politicians just go ahead and build the roads their donors want. So we all end up sitting in traffic jams.
  • So that rich people can import cheap labor and demagogues acquire more voters looking for handouts, we have fouled up our immigration system. As a result, terrorists can get into our nation more easily, disease finds our borders are more porous, language differences increasingly balkanize us, the relative number of poor is growing,….

Socrates most famous successor, Aristotle, wrote a book on politics. He had much to say about the various forms of government, including a bit about democracy and demagoguery. Take the time to read a little of what he wrote. It isn’t easy reading, but it is worth your time.

The most pure democracy is that which is so called principally from that equality which prevails in it: for this is what the law in that state directs; that the poor shall be in no greater subjection than the rich; nor that the supreme power shall be lodged with either of these, but that both shall share it. For if liberty and equality, as some persons suppose, are chiefly to be found in a democracy, it must be most so by every department of government being alike open to all; but as the people are the majority, and what they vote is law, it follows that such a state must be a democracy. This, then, is one species thereof. Another is, when the magistrates are elected by a certain census; but this should be but small, and every one who was included in it should be eligible, but as soon as he was below it should lose that right. [1292a] Another sort is, in which every citizen who is not infamous has a share in the government, but where the government is in the laws. Another, where every citizen without exception has this right. Another is like these in other particulars, but there the people govern, and not the law: and this takes place when everything is determined by a majority of votes, and not by a law; which happens when the people are influenced by the demagogues: for where a democracy is governed by stated laws there is no room for them, but men of worth fill the first offices in the state: but where the power is not vested in the laws, there demagogues abound: for there the people rule with kingly power: the whole composing one body; for they are supreme, not as individuals but in their collective capacity.Politics: A Treatise on Government by Aristotle

What we call a republic is where the government is vested in the laws, not the People. In a republic, the People have the humility to recognize their ignorance and weaknesses, and they use the law to restrain each other’s foolish impulses, thereby protecting the rights of the individual from the abuses of whatever majority exists at the moment.

Don’t like President Donald Trump? Sometimes he does tweet the darndest things, but at least he isn’t demanding more power. He is making things work better by reducing government. Not so with some of the people running for office. For example, can you imagine Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as president. Can you imagine that lady and her bureaucrats making detailed decisions about our healthcare, the roads we drive on, zoning laws, our schools, immigration, the money in your retirement paycheck,….

Try sleeping peacefully with that thought.

From here.

 

 

27 thoughts on “WE ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH OR WISE ENOUGH TO VOTE SMART

  1. Great post. It brought to mind what I often wonder what politicians do all day with their time. For example, if a city or State is broke, why bring up new programs to spend and tax more.

    Oh well,

    Regards and good wlll blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. disease finds our borders are more porous

    Is that so? The Pacific Standard reports amongst others on a study published in Lancet on the correlation of immigration and disease

    A landmark study from last year—in which researchers surveyed worldwide immigration patterns as far back 1994—found that immigrants don’t bring disease into their new countries. In fact, an increasing immigrant population was found to correlate with healthier host countries.

    Furthermore

    For many diseases—like measles, diphtheria, and polio—Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico all have higher vaccination rates than the U.S. Even Guatemala, which lags behind the U.S. in average vaccination rates (80 percent compared to the U.S.’s 89 percent), has a higher vaccination rate for measles than many of the areas where outbreaks have occurred in the U.S.

    Like

    1. @marmoewp

      Well, I guess the purpose of Trump’s wall is to keep the diseased denizens of the USA out of Latin America.

      Next thing you will be using statistics to “prove” is that no one is smuggling drugs across our border.

      Like

    2. @marmoewp

      Statistics have to be used with common sense. When people sneak across our borders, we cannot screen them for disease. When desperate people sneak across our borders, they are bringing their problems with them. Those problems include poverty, crime, disease,….

      Like

    3. A landmark study from last year—in which researchers surveyed worldwide immigration patterns as far back 1994—found that immigrants don’t bring disease into their new countries. In fact, an increasing immigrant population was found to correlate with healthier host countries.

      I downloaded and attempted to read the Lancet report in its entirety and found no such claim nor supporting evidence for the claim that “immigrants don’t bring disease into their new countries”. In fact, this statement in itself is simply absurd. NONE of them bring disease?!? Really? That’s quite a feat. The only cases we’ve seen of measles in the states were from foreign visitors, but no illegal immigrants would bring any diseases at all?

      The report itself seemed mostly a take on healthcare for immigrants without really assessing the impact on the health of the overall population. I couldn’t find it. There was the “some migrants are doctors and nurses” bit…but no one is saying legal high skilled immigrants who work in the medical community are the disease carrying vectors. Thus the ostensible “correlation with healthier host countries” is a canard that has nothing to do with masses of “refugees” storming our border.
      There was this bit:
      Epidemiological patterns and related risks are readily addressed by assessing the infectious disease burden among populations and with use of data to design targeted interventions to contain outbreaks and prevent new infections through immunisation. However, because of the prejudice and unfounded fear that can be generated by misuse of surveillance data, caution is required when releasing potentially stigmatising disease prevalence figures for public consumption.

      Perhaps that last bolded portion offers a little clue as to why these statistics are so difficult to find. The world has certainly seen entire populations wiped out from immigration before (ask a Native American).
      Brazil had more than 10 thousand cases of the measles last year. Venezuela has level 4 travel advisories in place due to the high incidence of diseases. But there are far more communicable diseases than measles diphtheria, and polio to worry about. Malaria (endemic in parts of South America, go to a US hospital and most won’t recognize it, go to a basic South American clinic and they’ll know it right away they see it a great deal more), Zika, Dengue, Chagas, Tuberculosis.

      Per the ostensible “healthy communities” of migrants on those convoys. Well, the way diseases work is…when you are ill and stay in your home, you don’t transmit infection to others in the community. Infection is transmitted by going out into the community when one is in an infectious state.

      Like

        1. I was actually surprised how few statistics the Lancet piece included…in regards to the subject matter at hand. It seems highly politically motivated and conflates illegal immigration with legal.
          Furthermore, most of it pertains to the importance of good healthcare for incoming refugee immigrants due to their special healthcare concerns…I’m not going to dispute that, except to say it is a strange claim to say they have special concerns due to poor healthcare while maintaining they have fewer healthcare problems and are overall healthier…isn’t it?
          From the article:

          For example, studies on tuberculosis suggest that the risk of transmission is elevated within migrant households and migrant communities, but not in host populations.46 <—-I'll let that comment stand on its own. This is cited as evidence risk to the host population is low.

          Migrant populations might come from countries with a high burden of disease50 and it is not uncommon for disease outbreaks to be found in situations of conflict, which can disrupt already weak public health systems. Illness and infection can also be acquired or spread via transit routes and transport means.
          How on earth does the above translate into what was stated when this piece was cited, that “immigrants don’t bring disease”?

          I’m going to bold this next part, for emphasis:
          However, even risk of air travel related outbreaks is low–modest if the destination setting has strong surveillance and inclusive public health services
          That’s kind of the worry with illegals flooding the borders, no? “Strong surveillance” kind of goes by the wayside, due to practical limitations alone…add political motives and this “surveillance” goes by the wayside. They admit as much. See the quote on surveillance data the might “stigmatize” their “diseases” above.

          Vaccination rates are interesting, but don’t offer much of a picture. Statistics on the actual diseases do. For example we could vaccinate everyone for anthrax and we’d likely have no fewer anthrax cases. Tuberculosis vaccinations are not only ineffective they make TB skin screening impossible (everyone with the vaccine has been sensitized so all tests will come back positive)…the reason we don’t do them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @Liz

            It seems highly politically motivated and conflates illegal immigration with legal.

            It is unfortunate, but science suffers when politics gets involved, but government funding of research makes politicizing of science almost inevitable. Personally, I think government research funding should be severely restricted.

            Like

    1. @marmoewp

      Well, I guess we may as just throw the borders wide open. Obviously, no poor, criminal, violent, or sick people are trying to sneak into the country.

      Like

      1. Tom, do you really think that kind of hyperbole for my two replies is warrented? You should be able to make a case against (illegal) immigration without resorting to (unintentional, I presume) misinformation and scaremongering, don’t you think?

        I do not think either, that the US can (if it wanted to) solve the problems of Middle and South America by admitting everybody into the US, just like European countries can not solve the problems in the Middle East and Africa by taking everybody in. However, it is in our own, selfish interest to try and help these people find a good life in their own country. I also see a moral obligation to do so, because of the role we and our ancestors have played in creating and/or compounding these problems, but that’s for everybody to decide for themselves.

        Off Topic: Congrats to the US team for winning the women’s soccer world championship.

        Like

          1. @Doug

            Interesting post, but I have no interest in making the USA either the world’s policeman or the policeman for the Western Hemisphere. If we get into that business then we may as well start annexing nations that we really don’t want to make part of the USA.

            There might be a few Latin American nations that would be good additions to our country, but the language and cultural differences would be troublesome. Because it interferes with unity, diversity is a highly overrated value.

            The main benefit I see to adding a bunch of Latin American states to the USA is that these new states would likely find local autonomy highly desirable. The chances Washington D.C. would have a good solution for a local problem in Chile is not very high.

            Like

        1. @marmoewp

          Hyperbole? All I did is point out that you are misusing statistics. You think I thought your use of numbers absurd? Then check out Liz’s take.

          The people coming into the USA are self-selected, not random statistical values. They are trying to enter illegally because they KNOW they would be denied legal entry and tired of poverty. There are lots of them BECAUSE our politicians won’t do their job. So we have to replace those politicians, not play meaningless and pointless games with unrelated statistics.

          Do I blame the illegal immigrants? No. Can’t say I would not do the same if I were in their place, but my first obligation is to my family, friends, and neighbors, not to people who live in fertile, but thoroughly mismanaged lands.

          Like

  3. You wrote…

    “Don’t like President Donald Trump. Sometimes he does tweet the darndest things, but at least he isn’t demanding more power. He is making things work better be reducing government. Not so with some of the people running for office. For example, can you imagine Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as president. Can you imaging that lady and her bureaucrats making detailed decisions about our healthcare, the roads we drive on, zoning laws, our schools, immigration, the money in your retirement paycheck,….”

    Oh, contrare, Tom. Trump’s basic substance is ,in fact, grasping for power because it’s in his make-up to be the most powerful person in the room even if he has to lie his way through it, and challenge completely each and every facet of Constitutional law, impune the other two levels of government constantly, and impose only HIS perception of how America should be according to himself. He’s the epitome of the demagoguery you mentioned in your post.
    He’s reducing government?? Yep….. in critical areas, like not replacing critical cabinet and government positions.. like gutting the State Department, for example. He doesn’t want power, you say? He seems to think he alone can run all facets of government. He’s a sick pony and supporters like you are just being dragged along for the ride. If you think all he is, is just a collection of “quirky tweets” easily dismissed.. it’s obvious you’ve not been paying attention the last couple years.

    But maybe you can help me understand something.. I follow a number of Conservative blogs just to stay in tune.. and each and every one of them.. when they aren’t blaming the Clintons for something they keep on bringing up Ocasio-Cortez.. as if for some reason she is the center of all that threatens Trumpian Conservatism, when she’s not even a presidential candidate, or any political threat to anyone or anything outside her own district. So why even waste time with her in an imaginary presidency? If it wasn’t for the fact the Conservatives keep yakking her up she’d probably just fade to some lesser importance.

    You pretty much summed up Trump yourself, Tom……

    “What is our biggest political problem? Demagoguery would be my guess. We get these people making grand promises, sometimes to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist, and too many of us believe them. That is, we let demagogues convince us of something that is not so.”

    I guess “we” do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Doug

      It is common knowledge that Trump and the Republicans have undone much of what Obama and the Democrats did. That includes Obama care, which has been rendered largely impotent for the time being.

      Like

      1. No.. not “Trump and the Republicans”.. it was Trump alone. The Republicans are in some trance and no not what they do.. if they indeed are doing anything, which from my vantage point is pretty much nothing.

        Like

        1. @Doug

          Republicans alone? I will admit many Republicans are more talk than action, but they did vote to end the tax penalty for not buying health insurance. The tax cut also required action from Congress.

          Like

    2. @Doug

      Do I blame the Clintons for anything? No. I just point out the choice was between H. Clinton and Trump.

      Why bring up AOC? The news media adores her. Conservatives look upon her and her popularity in horror. She’s in Congress? Her Green New Deal is insane.

      Like

      1. The nation’s problems.. and dare I suggest, the GOP’s problems, have absolutely nothing to do with AOC. More focus on the real issues might help.

        Like

          1. Again, seems to me we should worry about issues at hand and a lot less about perceived enemies, tyrants, whatever, of the future because we can’t fight them until they become real. Better to pick your battles than be sucked into conflicts of distraction.

            Like

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