Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


During the recent presidential campaign, Republicans kept pointing at the stagnant economy and high unemployment, demanding to know why Obama deserved a second term with numbers like that on his track record. The response from the Democrats was "Well, it would have been much worse doing it your way!"

Now we have liberals pointing at the nation's gun policies, demanding to know why the murder rate isn't at zero, the way it is everywhere else in the world, and it's the GOP that gets stuck with the line "Well, it would have been much worse doing it your way!"

In neither case does the other side find that line convincing.

You see the problem here, of course. There's no way, short of running a parallel space-time continuum, that we can ever know how things might have been, we can only know what they have been and are left with mere speculation as to what they will be.

Sadly, in a nation where half the population believes the world is only 10,000 years old, there are never any new species, nuclear power plants are more dangerous than coal, climate change is just a naturally occurring temporary blip in weather patterns, genetically modified crops are insidious health hazards, voter impersonation is a huge threat to democracy, and Kardashians matter, it's difficult enuf getting people to grasp what is, let alone what could have been. Anyone who thinks that an informed electorate is an essential prerequisite to self-governance should be justly appalled.

And yet, that's democracy. Which, as Winston Churchill remarked, is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others that have ever been tried.

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Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

— H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), American journalist, essayist, editor, and critic


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