Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I’m sitting at home eating lunch when the phone rings. Since it’s a given that an afternoon phone call is a telemarketer, I don’t answer. So the machine picks up and this recorded message drones on for about three minutes about how gay marriage would ruin the fine institution of marriage.

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, the only time anyone should worry about gay marriage is if they are planning one.

Also gays won’t ruin marriage because the straight people have already ruined it. A country with a fifty percent divorce rate and reality television dedicated to getting people married already has no respect for marriage.

But, the whole gay marriage issue isn’t what caught my short attention span. It was a little phrase in the middle of the message. The person reading the message stated that this was a fight between “average Americans and the liberal intellectual elite”. Good God Almighty do I have issues with that.

Not to burst the bubble of the conservatives out there, but this country was founded by the liberal intellectual elite. We seemed to turn out ok. Oh you want proof that they were liberal intellectual elite? Fine by me.

Our Founding Fathers were indeed liberal because they established a government that was not only a democracy but gave the citizens protections against the government. They prevented active duty military from being President. They founded separation of church and state. They gave the people freedom of speech and the press and protection from illegal searches and cruel punishment. The Founding Fathers were downright raging hippies. Given the times they were in they were unbelievably progressive. Liberals founded us.

Our Founding Fathers were intellectuals the likes of which our country has rarely seen since. They were almost to a man Renaissance men. They had deep interest in the arts and science and philosophy. John Kennedy once quipped to a gathered throng of intellectuals in the White House that never had so much talent resided in that room except when Thomas Jefferson dined there alone. Benjamin Franklin was an inventor and a scientist and writer. Intellectuals founded us.

Our Founding Fathers were quite elite. Benjamin Franklin was so wealthy he never patented the Franklin stove, the bifocals or the lightning rod. Why? Because he was so wealthy from the sale of his printing company that he didn’t feel he needed the money. The rest were mostly wealthy landowners. A rather elite class of gentlemen founded us. So elite was they that they only gave the right to vote to other white landowners. No one’s perfect. The elite founded us.

If I may be so bold I have a question. What wrong with being an intellectual? Did I miss a meeting? Why is it bad to be a thinker or a skeptic or philosopher? Of course the attack on intellectuals has been going on for a while in this country. It seems like a thinly veiled attack on dissent really. Who needs facts and reasoned debate? Who needs people who can substantiate their arguments? Who needs science and skeptical inquiry? Kurt Vonnegut thinks we are living with a lot of guessers running our government. I fear he’s right. There’s no need to follow facts just make it up. Then go out and win the people’s hearts and minds. There’s no need to speak the facts or, Heaven forbid, the truth.

Now the whole phrase, “average Americans and the liberal intellectual elite” is especially annoying. It’s just another scare tactic and damn it gets my blood pressure up. Anytime an organization tries to tell you it you, the poor underappreciated unloved misunderstood American against some evil class that is out to destroy you, please ignore them. It’s all the big false dichotomy of American politics. It’s us against them. They always feel free to ignore the middle. If people saw there were fifteen ways to look at an issue they might actually take time to think about it. Can’t have that. It’s always the polar extremes to. You either pro- or anti- whatever issue they are trying to scare you about. You’re not allowed to see the plurality of opinion that’s out there. You see if people are led to believe there are only two ways to look at an issue. Then they are more likely to not like the other side and never get anything resolved. This is a bad thing.

This scare tactic has been around for quite some time. In fact, Hitler used it on the Jews. It’s just a ruse to get the people to believe that danger is imminent and if the government doesn’t protect them then their precious way of life will be destroyed. It’s all based on fear and not reason. It’s yet another reason we need some more intellectuals around.


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