The Watering Hole; Thursday July 23 2015; Ignorance in Politics

Courtesy of dictionary.com:

Ignorance: “lack of knowledge, information, or education.

Politics: “use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control.”

In other words, neither politicians nor their brand of politic need be motivated exclusively by ignorance (politician ignorance not disallowed, also not a requirement). Ignorance does remain, however, a primary tool in the task of making their perceived “position of power or control” politically popular enough to become the political norm. To accomplish that goal, an appeal to and support from those who are otherwise burdened by lack of knowledge, information, or education is mandatory. Bottom line: Politicians who promote FALSE premises as their platform (no matter their own level of ignorance) NEED a mass of ignorant voters who willingly accept the lies and falsehoods before they, the political aspirants, can ever succeed.

One could  critique for days on end the lies and untruths politicians typically spout in order to tap the vast reservoir of ignorance that defines a substantial percentage of ‘we the people.’ It’s also not difficult at all to pull most any political (or religious) needle out of most any political (or religious) haystack and use it as an example. So with that in mind, here’s but one incidence of a political Appeal to Ignorance, based on the fundamental thesis that “whatever has not been proven false must be true.” Mike Huckabee provided the near perfect ‘lesson’ when he recently said, in re the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage (highlights added):

When people say the train left the station, it’s the law of the land, there’s nothing we can do, let’s move on. I want to say, ‘Have you guys read the Constitution, did you pass 9th grade civics?’ The court can’t make law. We pretend that it can and I’m convinced that a lot of people give that sort of response because they don’t want to have to deal with the complexities of the constitution, which says that there are checks and balances. If we surrender to the judicial branch as if it is the last, final and ultimate word, then we have surrendered to judicial tyranny which is what Jefferson warned us about and the reason that he rejected some Supreme Court arguments as simply being something he couldn’t accept and he didn’t…as did Jackson, as did Lincoln. This notion that the Supreme Court ruled it and therefore it’s the law of the land bypasses the only entity in our government that can make the law of the land: the legislative branch, and it’s not even law until the president signs it and agrees to enforce it. And first of all, a president, if he’s not going to uphold that part of the constitution, get out of the race because you’re going to be lying when you take the oath and say you’ll uphold and defend the constitution because on its face, you’re not defending it, neither are you upholding it when you surrender to the god of judicial supremacy so we’ve got to start there and I certainly would start there.

Huckabee’s premise is that the Supreme Court violated the Constitutional separation of powers by ‘making law’ when it ruled in favor of, essentially, equal access to the ‘rights’ guaranteed under the Constitution to all citizens, regardless of sexual preference. His resentment of the decision is, I suspect, primarily motivated by his religious beliefs which, to his mind, disallow equality to people that are not biblically correct in their behavior. He apparently believes (in spite of the Constitution’s total and complete avoidance of the issue) that America was founded upon biblical principles because Pilgrims et al. sailed to the New World in search of religious freedom. And his (and other religiously-motivated) inferences of that particular topic essentially constitute the old and overused Appeal to Ignorance thesis that whatever has not been proven false must be true; ergo since there is no proof anywhere that our founders did NOT intend this to be a Christian nation that clearly means we ARE a Christian nation. The first Amendment was written to deny only the establishment of OTHER religions. Maybe.

That argument does have wide appeal, however, especially amongst fundamentalist/evangelical Christians of whom there are many, most of whom are apparently ignorant of Constitutional context on virtually any issue. The consequence is, then, that even IF Huckabee is ignorant enough of the Constitution himself — or IF he knows full well that NO religious protocol is ‘established’ in the document — the appeal of his argument to the susceptible, to the ‘ignorant,’ will most certainly take hold and gather in huge numbers of votes.

And therein lies the ‘secret’ of the usefulness of massive ignorance in a given population who are unaware of Constitutional mandates, including the following (highlights added):

Article III. Section. 1:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

Article III. Section. 2. Clause 1:

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution . . .

Huckabee is correct when he says the Supreme Court can’t make law. He’s also incorrect when he implies that the Supreme Court, when ruling on a Constitutional issue in what to him is the wrong fashion, IS ‘making law’ even though it’s simply carrying out its Constitutional duty and evaluating a point of Law . . . arising under this Constitution.

Which ‘point of law’? There are at least two amendments that clearly apply:

Article IX.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article XIV.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

ALL citizens have equal rights, and No State is permitted to selectively violate the Constitutional rights of citizens. It is written.

It should also be pointed out that, in spite of what numerous political and religious voices suggest, marriage is NOT defined in the Constitution as the union of one man and one woman; the word ‘marriage’ is not, in fact, even mentioned in the Constitution, as amended. The definition of marriage is therefore NOT a Constitutional issue on any plane, and in its decision the Court did NOT redefine the word. The issue considered and ruled upon was, rather, equality of rights for ALL citizens. So clearly, the Supreme Court did NOT ‘make law’ in its decision; it simply honored the Constitution’s foundational precepts.

Is Huckabee too ignorant to know and understand Constitutional reality? Or is he speaking lies and falsehoods in order to attain the support of the ignorant, of the uninformed? Both? Not that it much matters, given that in either case Huckabee’s theses are incorrect, that the Supreme Court did NOT “make law.” Period.

In my considered opinion, Huckabee and his ilk (himself an ordained Baptist preacher) were all perfectly described (defined?) by Emily Dickinson more than 150 years ago when she wrote:

He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign —

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!

Ignorance in Politics is most certainly one of the most expansive “industries” in today’s USA. Huckabee is admittedly little more than a fleck of dust on an otherwise dirty window, but in that sense he (unfortunately) defines politics in general, and the Republican 2016 Clown Car occupants in particular — even as the word “ignorant” defines a huge portion of the American electorate. My guess is that if this ignorance epidemic is not contained and eventually curtailed, the country’s survivability will very soon emerge as an extremely debatable prospect.

OPEN THREAD

47 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday July 23 2015; Ignorance in Politics

    • Dare we hope that he’ll take up permanent residence there soon? Has he decided on what his monument will be? If not, I hope he considers an outhouse. The shithole will already be dug, and . . . etc.

  1. Jeb Bush pushes to ‘phase out’ Medicare

    “The left needs to join the conversation, but they haven’t. I mean, when [Rep. Paul Ryan] came up with, one of his proposals as it relates to Medicare, the first thing I saw was a TV ad of a guy that looked just like Paul Ryan … that was pushing an elderly person off the cliff in a wheelchair. That’s their response.

    “And I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything.”

    (snip)

    As for the policy, there’s no point in denying that the Medicare system faces long-term fiscal challenges, but to argue, as Jeb Bush does, that Democrats have ignored the conversation is plainly incorrect. On the contrary, while Republicans fight to eliminate the Medicare program, Democrats have had great success in strengthening Medicare finances and extending its fiscal health for many years to come.

    The secret, apparently, was passing the Affordable Care Act. Before “Obamacare” was passed, Medicare was projected to face a serious fiscal shortfall in 2017. As of yesterday, Medicare trustees now believe the system is fiscally secure through 2030.

    • Jebs an amateur.
      He needs to talk to Rick Scott about not eliminating it, just ripping it off to the point that is a house of cards.

    • The sad fact is that, rather than this being plastered over every paper and news cast in the country, the old farts who vote for GOoPers will never even hear this plan. And, if they did, they would think it’s a great idea as long as they don’t lose their “well-earned” health insurance. It’s not like those damned kids these days will ever deserve it.

  2. Very interesting read on the start of the Birtherism movement against Obama. A law professor posited a hypothetical question on his blog about the citizenship of Barack Obama had he (theoretically) been born in Kenya and flown immediately afterwards to the USA to get a Hawaiian birth certificate. A commenter at Free Republic said “I heard today…” and continued with the hypothetical question’s premise, as if it were fact, which he’s not claiming it is, but that maybe the right should look into that and use it once he’s president (of which he seemed certain). It then got referenced four days later by another blogger (or possibly the same person under a different name), with added details to embellish the story’s creds, and a new internet rumor and millions of wasted dollars in lawsuits (your tax money) and book sales was begun.

      • Indeed, they are liquid!
        When the doorbell rings, 20 lb Mellow seems to squeeze int the smallest places.

        Are you still a two cat household?

        • Yep. I’m probably going to have Lili for a while. My stepson isn’t having much luck getting a job. He’ll have to get one and save some money before he can move out on his own, which is when he can take her back. She’s better off here, where she can really stretch her legs, and tear around here with Gisela. The other two cats have to stay in my stepson’s room because of the dogs, and the stuff they would wreck climbing and jumping up on stuff. My house was much more cat-proofed already.

    • Unrelated lunatic with gun, now in custody, was at least a bad shot.

      Man ‘upset with life’ fires 5 rounds at Hoover police during traffic stop

      A man claiming to be “upset with his life” is now behind bars after police say he opened fire on Hoover officers during a traffic stop early this morning.

      Martin Harlow Wood, 41, is charged with three counts of attempted murder. The Montevallo man is being held without bond.

      Hoover police were conducting a traffic stop on Montgomery Highway, just south of the John Hawkins Parkway intersection, just before 12:30 a.m., said Capt. Gregg Rector. The officers and a female motorist were standing near the patrol cruisers when at least five shots were fired from a Nissan Xterra that was crossing through the intersection, he said. No one was injured.

    • The worst kind of sequel.

      The shooter killed himself, at a screening of “Trainwreck.” He must really hate Amy Schumer.

    • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (I’M RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT) tweeted, “I’m on my way to Lafayette right now. Please say a prayer for the victims at Grand Theatre and their families.”

      Haven’t those poor people suffered enough?

      • Poor Bobby won’t be able to invoke IS:

        Domingue said she saw “an older white man”

    • Nothing against Tucker, but somehow posting Boom Boom Boom Boom just doesn’t seem right, given all that’s happened so recently.

        • Oh, Tucker’s female. I never can tell. I’m learning a new group of people in the Nicole Sandler chatroom too. Between Democratic Underground, Discussionist, the chatroom, and Crooks and Liars, I have more people than I can keep up with. That’s another reason I don’t do Twitter or Facebook.

  3. Reef fish nibble algae from a Green sea turtle’s shell off Hawaiian shores…

    Photo Credit ~ Peter Kragh

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