An e-mail Correspondence
Attorney Walks on Water
What follows in an actual e-mail correspondence between two old friends entering their second childhood. Regrettably, I am one of the two. File this under humor (or pathos).
Let this picture humble you.
I suspect that's probably hot water you've gotten yourself into.
I thought you might like to know the truth of my heroic exploits this week. I have therefore attached the photo depicting what really happened this past Monday. You might still ask, however, how I got out to the rock, or was this all an illusion? Any thoughts Professor Hill?
Possible explanations for your dry arrival at the rock:
1) You rode out to the rock on the back of the whale that is blowing through his spout hole behind you.
2) Halo insertion from 40 thousand feet, with the evidence of your parachute buried beneath the surface of the pond.
3) Taxi cab.
4) God parted the waters of the pond, and falling into his trap, you walked out to the rock, where you remain, trapped, as the waters united. (It is an old trick to get rid of lawyers.)
5) Row boat that was scuttled once you made land (er, rock).
Do not despair, I have only just begun to examine this problem, and will inevitably get to the bottom of it.
Nice try Hill, but no prize this time around. Perhaps you should float a few more theories. I'll give you some help.
Hint #1: I was an engineer in the military.
Hint #2: There was no boat, automobile, bicycle, or flying device of any kind to deliver me to the rock.
Hint #3: Although there was some ice on the perimeter of the pond, it was much too thin to walk on (I'm 220 pounds, solid muscle of course).
Hint #4: The water around the rock was about three feet deep, and I never got my feet wet.
Good Luck Hill. You'll need it!
I'm sure you don't imagine that I will fall for that "engineer" ploy. Clearly, there is no involvement of a choo choo train (notwithstanding your omission of same from hint #2), as there are no tracks, trellises, or bridgework.
You have gone to great pains to describe how little ice existed in the pond – possibly to deflect my attention from an ice floe that you floated out to the rock on, which then melted.
Then, of course, there is always the remote, unlikely possibility that you were "put in jail" to be ransomed out by donations to United Way. Probably went out there on a plank (that was subsequently removed by undergrads demanding money and better grades).
Am I getting warm?
—The Enlightened One
Hill, you should not refer to yourself as "Enlightened One," at least not for now. I knew when I referenced my engineering background that I should have added the following parenthetic phrase: (not the choo choo engineer, but the MIT-type engineer). However, when writing that last e-mail, I figured you were smart enough to recognize which type of engineer I was referencing. I apologize for giving you so much credit. I will be more specific in future correspondence.
Now, getting back to the important subject matter at hand; the distance between the shore (or "pond bank" if you will) and the rock is approximately 20 feet. Planks are only 16 feet in length (but how would you have known this, never having worked enough with wood to suffer even a splinter wound). More importantly, however, if there were a 20 foot plank, or even if you joined two planks together, my feet would have suffered water damage on my way out to the rock. A 20-foot plank would bend like hell in the middle; once again, I weigh in at 220 pounds, and as aforementioned, this is close to 220 pounds of solid, heavy muscle. As you can see, my engineering background has come in handy again in figuring the relationship between the bendability of wood and the stress that can affect it at a point in the middle of its length.
But good try.
—Pond Man (looking smarter by the moment)
Pond Man, M.E.B.S., MIT ('74)
Aahh, while it is true, grasshopper, that only a plank of immense strength would be able to support a weighty engineer, the engineering concept of tensile strength is introduced with the addition of an aluminum extension ladder for support. A veritable I-beam. Light enough to carry, yet strong enough to support. A tactical engineering triumph. On the other hand, were I you (which merciful God, I am not), I might think it easier to have one or two strong undergrads in wading boots carry me out to the rock (a third could bring some ice and scotch – just to stave off the chill, don't you know.)
—The Illustrious, Prescient, Enlightened One
OH "Enlightened One," the gig is up. You have solved the "Riddle of the Rock." Yes it is true. A 30-foot aluminum ladder was placed between the rock and the shore (pond bank, if you will). Two 10-foot boards were placed on the rungs so that I would not fall through the ladder as I made my journey to the rock. When I arrived on the rock, my assistant then removed the two boards, and then removed the ladder and hid it. After an hour on the rock, the ladder and boards were reinstalled to allow me safe passage to the place I had been before.
My reference to the fact that I had been an engineer in the military was an appropriate hint. I helped build portable bridges across ponds and streams in Vietnam. If there was a rock in the middle of a crossing, we would use it as a pillar to support our bridge. So I was right at home designing a portable instrumentality to span the distance from shore to the middle of a pond.
My biggest unknown, and my biggest fear, was the goose factor. Every day a huge gaggle of Canadian geese descend upon the pond and hang around the pond, and the rock, for a good part of the day. These geese are really big. I then learned that these geese tend to be territorial. I was therefore somewhat nervous about a possible siege while I was standing on "their" rock.
Anticipating a problem, I developed a two-pronged plan in the event of attack. The first prong of the plan involved a six-foot wooden closet pole that I brought out with me to the rock. I figured maybe I would intimidate the geese if I swung a club at them and made menacing faces. I was also prepared to whack any encroacher with my makeshift club. Prong two of my plan was a little more desperate. I brought a complete set of clothing with me in the event the club did not thwart off an attack and I had to evacuate the rock "in a hurry." With no time to reinstall the bridge system, I would have jumped in the water and run to shore as quickly as possible. I would have saved face by characterizing my flight not so much as a "retreat," but as a "strategic withdrawal." Once I had changed into dry clothing I would have returned to the pond where I would have set up a base camp along the side of the pond, holding my sign and waving to passersby.
Fortunately, I did not need to deploy either prong of my well designed plan. Only a handful of geese arrived at the pond during my visit to the rock. They stared at me from the shoreline as if saying to themselves, "What the Heck. . .? I was thankful, however, that reinforcements had not flown in. A mob-mentality might then have emerged, causing me to deploy my "untried" plan.
Once again, you are to be commended for solving the "Riddle of the Rock."
Liberals Save Us From The Boy Scouts
The Associated Press reports today that:
The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops, partially resolving claims that the government has engaged in religious discrimination by supporting a group that requires members to believe in God.
The settlement announced Monday is part of a series of legal challenges in recent years over how closely the government should be aligned with the Boy Scouts of America, a venerable organization that boasts a membership of more than 3.2 million members. Civil liberties advocates have set their sights on the organization's policies because the group bans openly gay scout leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God. The ACLU believes that direct government sponsorship of such a program amounts to discrimination.
"If our Constitution's promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs," said ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz.
Thank God (er, liberals?), for saving us all from the theocratic, homophobic Boy Scouts of America (shouldn't that be the People Scouts of the Global Community?) Yet another politically correct proscription limiting our individual expression and freedom -- by judicial imposition.
(In court, Mr. Schwartz put his hand on a photo of Dan Rather and said, "This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Dan.") Thus were all satisfied of the veracity of the testimony. The teary-eyed little fascist scouts were disbanded and dispersed. There was no one left to be offended by God.
As a supplement to my recent post on Religious Morality vs. Secularism
, I refer you to two pieces of commentary which contain a number of intersections of thought on this topic, and which enlarge upon the discussion of a values-based democracy, in contrast to secular democracy. In his post entitled, The Communism of the 21st Century
, Wretchard of the Belmont Club
considers the implications of an essay by Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, titled, Why We Need a Better Version of Democracy
, which is reprinted here:
Why we need a better version of democracy
November 12, 2004
The emptiness within secular democracy can be filled with darkness by political substitutes for religion.
Does democracy really need a burgeoning porn industry and a high abortion rate, asks George Pell.
Democracy is never unqualified. We are used to speaking of "liberal democracy" which as currently understood is a synonym for "secular democracy". In Europe there are parties advocating "Christian Democracy". Lately there has been interest in the possibility of "Islamic democracy". These descriptors do not simply refer to how democracy might be constituted, but to the moral vision democracy is intended to serve.
This is especially true in the case of secular democracy, which some insist is intended to serve no moral vision at all. But as Pope John Paul argues: "The value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes." Democracy is not a good in itself. Its value is instrumental and depends on the vision it serves.
An attempt is sometimes made to evade this point by drawing a distinction between procedural and normative democracy. Procedural democracy's claims are minimalist: democracy should be regarded as nothing more than a mechanism for regulating different interests on a purely empirical basis.
To speak of normative democracy, however, especially if one is a Catholic bishop, is to provoke panic in some quarters and derision in others. Many things underlie this response, not least certain ideological convictions about secularism. But most important of all is a failure of imagination. Democracy can only be what it is now: a constant series of "breakthroughs" against social taboo in pursuit of the individual's absolute autonomy.
But think for a moment what it means to say that there can be no other form of democracy than secular democracy. Does democracy need a burgeoning billion-dollar pornography industry to be truly democratic? Does it need an abortion rate in the tens of millions? Does it need high levels of marriage breakdown, with the growing rates of family dysfunction that come with them? Does democracy (as in Holland's case) need legalised euthanasia, extending to children under the age of 12? Does democracy need assisted reproductive technology (such as IVF) and embryonic stem cell research?
Does democracy really need these things? What would democracy look like if you took some of these things out of the picture? Would it cease to be democracy? Or would it actually become more democratic?
These are the things by which secular democracy defines itself and stakes its ground against other possibilities. They are not merely epiphenomena of freedom of speech, movement and opportunity. The alarm with which many treat people in public life who are opposed to these things often implies that they are a danger to democracy. This overreaction is, of course, a bluff, an attempt to silence opposition, almost suggesting that these practices are essential to democracy.
If we think about the answers to the questions above we begin to have an inkling about what a form of democracy other than secular democracy might look like, an alternative I call "democratic personalism". It means nothing more than democracy founded on the transcendent dignity of the human person.
Transcendence directs us to our dependence on others and our dependence on God. And dependence is how we know the reality of transcendence. There is nothing undemocratic about bringing this truth into our reflections about our political arrangements. Placing democracy on this basis does not mean theocracy. To refound democracy on our need for others, and our need to make a gift of ourselves to them, is to bring a whole new form of democracy into being. Democratic personalism is perhaps the last alternative to secular democracy still possible within Western culture as it is presently configured.
From outside Western culture, of course, come other possibilities. It is still very early in the piece, of course, but the small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st century the attraction that communism provided in the 20th, both for those who are alienated or embittered on the one hand, and for those who seek order or justice on the other.
So alternatives are required. The recrudescence of intolerant religion is not a problem that secular democracy can resolve, but rather a problem that it tends to engender. The past century provided examples enough of how the emptiness within secular democracy can be filled with darkness by political substitutes for religion.
Democratic personalism provides another, better possibility; one that does not require democracy to cancel itself out. Democratic personalism does not mean seizing power to pursue a project of world transformation, but broadening the imagination of democratic culture so that it can rediscover hope, and re-establish freedom in truth and the common good.
It is a work of persuasion and evangelisation, more than political activism. Its priority is culture rather than politics, and the transformation of politics through revivifying culture. It is also about salvation – not least of all the salvation of democracy itself.
Cardinal George Pell is the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and the former archbishop of Melbourne. This is an edited extract from his address to the annual dinner of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.
Some on the left will scream that the right is already trying to transform our democracy into a theocracy. Level heads will understand that no such proposition is being entertained – that the proposition is essentially to leave our democracy untouched in its present form, as created, on the foundation of Judeo/Christian notions of morality. The proponents of transformation, those who would in fact change our democracy, are the “value-emptying” secularist left.
As I am not able to link directly to Wretchard’s piece on the topic, I will reprint it here: (However, you may wish to locate the post at his site, as his original post has hundreds of comments.)
Friday, November 12, 2004
The Communism of the 21st Century
Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney asks a question which is neither completely secular nor religious, one which Thomas Jefferson might have revolved in his mind but which no modern politician would dare discuss. Pell rhetorically asks whether democracy must of necessity be spiritually empty. Not whether it can occasionally be, but whether it must be. In an article published in the Australian, he says:
Lately there has been interest in the possibility of "Islamic democracy". These descriptors do not simply refer to how democracy might be constituted, but to the moral vision democracy is intended to serve. This is especially true in the case of secular democracy, which some insist is intended to serve no moral vision at all. ... But think for a moment what it means to say that there can be no other form of democracy than secular democracy. Does democracy need a burgeoning billion-dollar pornography industry to be truly democratic? Does it need an abortion rate in the tens of millions? Does it need high levels of marriage breakdown, with the growing rates of family dysfunction that come with them? Does democracy (as in Holland's case) need legalised euthanasia, extending to children under the age of 12? Does democracy need assisted reproductive technology (such as IVF) and embryonic stem cell research? Does democracy really need these things? What would democracy look like if you took some of these things out of the picture? Would it cease to be democracy? Or would it actually become more democratic?
The alarm with which many treat people in public life who are opposed to these things often implies that they are a danger to democracy. This overreaction is, of course, a bluff, an attempt to silence opposition, almost suggesting that these practices are essential to democracy. ... From outside Western culture, of course, come other possibilities. It is still very early in the piece, of course, but the small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st century the attraction that communism provided in the 20th, both for those who are alienated or embittered on the one hand, and for those who seek order or justice on the other.
I am not sure that the Cardinal's proposed "democratic personalism" is a viable alternative, but he asks a logical question which cannot be evaded. When the Founding Fathers created the framework for procedural democracy it was unnecessary to spell out its ends because those were largely provided by the moral, ethical and religious consensus of the underlying society. When that underlying civilizational consensus has been destroyed or diluted, as is the case in Western Europe and to a lesser extent the United States, what intrinsic ends does a value-neutral democratic mechanism serve? The answer possibly, is whatever it can be put to, like a Turing Machine which adopts whichever persona the loaded instruction set demands. Then Dutch democracy becomes the Muslim right to chuck a hand grenade out the door at policemen come to arrest them for plotting to blow up a public landmark. Democracy becomes a vehicle waiting to be hijacked; a metaphor for the old saw that someone who believes in nothing will believe in anything.
But of course the process of secularization -- or 'value emptying' as Pell might put it -- has not been entirely uniform. In actuality, while whole chunks of the West have thrown out their traditional value systems, other chunks have been busy roseletyzing theirs. As Episcopalian churches have emptied the fundamentalist Islamic mosques have filled. That uneven development, if left unchecked, may eventually mean that the magnificent mechanism of secular democracy, which serves no value of itself, will be arbitrarily assigned a goal by the majority most willing to hijack it. Pell's observation that "the small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st century the attraction that communism provided in the 20th ..." will mark him in liberal Australian circles as a bigot. It should mark him as a wit, for he has managed to slander those they would least offend by comparing them to those they most admire.
Jean Paul-Sartre seized upon Dostoevsky's dictum that "if God did not exist, everything would be permitted" to justify existentialism. He forgot that Dostoevsky added that if God did not exist, we would be compelled to invent him. For if, as Sartre argued "in the present one is forsaken" why should the future when it arrives be less forlorn than today? For good or ill, man can as much live under a heaven swept of stars as endure a sky without stars to dream of. If Agustine of Hippo was right, that "our soul is restless until it rests in Thee" then when all the lights of the Tabernacle are extinguished the Kaaba will beckon in the desert.
We Band of Brothers
Peggy Noonan reminds us of these stirring lines from Shakespeare's King Henry V – an appropriate contemplation as U.S. forces close with the enemy in a battle for the Sunni triangle.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors.
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forget,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Christopher Hitchens' Complaint
I was just looking at Christopher Hitchens’ column on Bush’s Secularist Triumph
. He had this to say:
So here is what I want to say on the absolutely crucial matter of secularism. Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed. How can these people bear to reread their own propaganda? Suicide murderers in Palestine—disowned and denounced by the new leader of the PLO—described as the victims of "despair." The forces of al-Qaida and the Taliban represented as misguided spokespeople for antiglobalization. The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people than allow them to vote, pictured prettily as "insurgents" or even, by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. If this is liberal secularism, I'll take a modest, God-fearing, deer-hunting Baptist from Kentucky every time, as long as he didn't want to impose his principles on me (which our Constitution forbids him to do).
Mr. Hitchens’ disgust arises out of his equation of liberal secularism with the impotent orthodoxy of “political correctness,” which the left side has continued to equate with liberalism since the 1960’s counter-culture movement. Political correctness has devolved into a least-common-denominator philosophy of pathetic victimization. It is reminiscent of some Eastern philosophies in its inertia, its inability to tolerate any notion of confrontation or offense.
Political correctness? As if I should paint my green living room walls a neutral white to preclude the potential of offending some visitor who may be color averse to green.
Joyous traditions such as Christmas and Chanukah, with their attendant childlike excitement and joy, are to be cast away for the neutral, bland, pabulum of uniform inoffensiveness. The bright reds, greens and golds replaced with subdued grays. The politically correct will then march to discard Independence Day, to avoid giving offense to any British nationals; Labor Day will be canned to avoid offense to the idle rich. How long before we will all be uniformly buttoned up to the chin in drab, little Chairman Mao jackets, reciting from rote the ever increasing body of politically correct proscriptions? Does that have the ring of progressive liberalism? Is that your model of secularism? It is pure nonsense to suggest that traditional holidays and celebrations are somehow going to transform our democracy into a theocracy. It is that kind of suspended common sense that is at the root of the values issue. My perception is that, if anything, this country is trending toward being less religious, rather than more.
Mr. Hichens, whose thought and writing I greatly admire, by the way, shakes his head at the impotent inanity of the left’s response to Islamofascism. To paraphrase Mr. Clinton, it’s the political correctness, stupid. Liberal secularism, shorn of the albatross of political correctness, may yet flower into the future of the Democratic party.
Born November 10, 1775
United States Marine Corps
229 years of vigilance, sacrifice and honor. Happy birthday.
To The Secessionists
To all of the hand-wringing, would-be secessionists, I have only a brief comment. In a democracy, the majority rules. If you object to the democratic principle, then leave with our blessing and good wishes for happiness and success. If you prefer to participate in a democratic society, and are unhappy with the election results, then make an effort through moral and/or logical argument to persuade a majority of the electorate of the justness of your position. That's the way it works.
Democratic Party Values Gap
Dennis Prager of WorldNetDaily has a good summary of the perceived values gap
of the Democratic party.
Jihad at San Francisco State University
Excessive tolerance in the name of political correctness in the case of the Jihad at San Francisco State University
not only misses the point of denying the College Republican Club its right to peaceful existence, it also encourages a dangerous and threatening tinderbox of hate and violence to foment on the campus. Someone is going to end up seriously injured, or worse, if the “grown ups” in the college administration don’t take precipitous action to quash this nonsense.
Religious Morality vs. Secularism
The left tirelessly scorns the morality of what it refers to as the religious right (as opposed to other Judeo/Christian faiths?), implying that the religious right has designs to impose its morality on them. The left argues, properly, that not all Americans subscribe to a singular notion of faith. Agreed. Our country welcomes people of all faiths – in fact, one of the first freedoms sought by people coming to the newly discovered Americas was the freedom to practice their faith in peace. There are more varieties of faith practiced in the United States than space permits to list here. We are also home to agnostics and atheists – philosophers of every persuasion. So just how is it that evangelical Christians have become the whipping boys of the secularist left -- denigrated as red neck, bible-banging zealots hell-bent on imposing their notions of hellfire and damnation on us all? Perhaps the left has singled out that particular faith for ridicule because the sect’s belief in the literal word of the bible represents for the left the most extreme contrast of faith and rational secularism. But what exactly is it about the morality of the faithful that the left scorns, is seemingly so afraid of?
The core moral values of Judeo/Christian morality are expressed in the Ten Commandments. Moreover, our country was founded on those moral precepts. Those moral commandments inform our civil affairs as well, and are codified in our secular law. The religious/moral proscriptions against killing, stealing, etc. are paralleled in our civil laws. I do not know exactly what it is that the left finds so objectionable in such reasonable proscriptions. To object to such a moral/legal code would be to argue that it ought to be an option or a right to kill, steal, etc. In the absence of such a moral code, right or wrong does not exist. Freedom without moral parameters is anarchy.
There is no philosophical conflict between Judeo/Christian morality and secularism in this country. The two concepts conform to one another, as hand in glove. The core moral values of church and state, as discussed above, align without opposition or antagonism, and, as one, inform our moral compass.
Both capital punishment and abortion challenge our core values. There is a core moral proscription against taking life – killing another human being – but civil exceptions have been created by the judiciary. (Though even in this the judiciary has acted unevenly with regard to those two issues. In the case of capital punishment the supreme court has merely held that the notion of execution is not unconstitutional, and leaves the matter to the polity of each state to decide whether or not the political will of the people is to condone execution or not; whereas, in the case of abortion, the supreme court has taken the matter out of the hands of the polity, and prescribed by decree that abortion is sanctioned in every state of the Union. The political will of the people is not considered relevant by the court.) Both judicial exceptions to the moral proscription against killing another human being challenge a fundamental core value of our culture. (I say of our culture
, as opposed to of religious morality
, because as noted above, our moral sense is predicated on core values shared in parallel by notions of religious morality and by civil society, which include a proscription against killing, whether we are a person of faith or not.) Killing another human being is as morally offensive to an enlightened secularist as it is to a pious man of faith – in our culture (as opposed to, say, an Islamofacist) – whether prescribed by judicial fiat or not. Such an act offends our moral sensibilities, whether we are religious or not. Moral consistency suggests to us that killing is wrong. Period. (One could argue that the one moral
, as opposed to judicial
, exception would be killing in defense of one’s own life.)
An effort at cultural revolution is currently underway in this country. In its effort to advance abortion, gay marriage and other liberal initiatives, the political left has sought to reform our cultural values through judicial imposition. It derides our core moral values as theocratic morality, separate from society and state. At every turn the political left seeks by court decree to strip any reference to God or morality from our schools, courthouses and public places. Nativity scenes are no longer acceptable for viewing during Christmas – or should I say Winter Holiday. It is eerie how reminiscent of the Chinese cultural revolution, and the great purges of Chairman Mao, are the current efforts of the radical left in this country today.
Election Fraud in Chicago
Republicans are being denied the right to vote in Chicago. Read this
As the culture of our country becomes more progressive, the idea that a single registered voter should receive a single vote in the election process has become an increasingly quaint notion. It seems that it is too much to ask of a person who is about to make a judgment concerning who is best able to lead this country to register at the appointed polling area, and to present with a valid ID at voting time. We have stricter requirements for qualification and identification at the Registry of Motor Vehicles than we do at the polls. In fact, it’s easier to vote than it is to buy a drink or a pack of cigarettes. Do we argue that people are disenfranchised from driving, drinking or smoking for having to present a valid picture ID? A person needs more identification to get a senior price ticket at a movie theatre than they do to vote. Of course, they also have to be alive, which apparently many people who have recently registered to vote are not. It is fraudulent votes that truly disenfranchise voters, canceling out the votes of genuine voters.
Another quaint, anachronistic notion of the democratic process is that ideas and positions are clearly expressed and argued; following which an informed electorate decides by majority vote which set of ideas and positions will be followed during the forthcoming term of the elected official. When a candidate “hides” his position, or otherwise dissimulates, the logical conclusion is that the candidate does not believe that his position has the merit to appeal to the majority of the electorate. When positions are not forthrightly stated by candidates, the electorate is defrauded by the candidate, who seeks power through dissimulation, rather than an opportunity for governance through ideas.
When our elections cease to be an appeal to ideas, and become an appeal to the lawyers, our democracy is in trouble. Election fraud harms us all. It corrodes the core of our liberty.
Henry David Thoreau
Simon & Garfunkel