Saturday, October 23, 2004

Dumbassy...Thy Name Is REASON

North Carolina State's Craig Newmark alerts the Academy to this year's most puerile political analysis. Lowlights being:

John Perry Barlow... songwriter for the Grateful Dead ...and a Berkman Fellow at Harvard Law School:

....I’m embarrassed for my country that in my entire voting life, there has never been a major-party candidate whom I felt I could vote for.

Be very embarrassed, pal. But not for your country.

Richard Epstein-- professor of law at the University of Chicago:

....As far as I can tell, the debate thus far has borne no relation to the important issues facing the nation...except Vietnam.

....2000 vote: I can’t remember.

Most embarrassing vote: Since I don’t remember who I vote for from one election to the next....

Sure, Dick. And we can't remember when your shot at a Supreme Court nomination disappeared either.

Charles Paul Freund---senior editor at Reason:

2004 vote: I’m still thinking about it.

We wouldn't say that you were, exactly.

Nat Hentoff---nationally syndicated columnist:

....I can’t vote for Bush, who supports Ashcroft’s various "revisions" to the Bill of Rights, since our liberties are what we’re supposed to be fighting for. ...Kerry, I think he’s an empty suit....Nader last time. But he wants to pull the troops out of Iraq, which would lead to a state of nature like Thomas Hobbes had; it would be disastrous. ....

Favorite president: ....FDR was the one who laid out a "second bill of rights," with economic freedoms like a right to decent housing.

You say you read REASON, Nat? You believe we're supposed to be fighting for "our liberties", and your favorite President was the guy who didn't believe that Japanese-American citizens had the right to peacefully reside in their own decent homes that they'd paid for themselves, in their own country.

Camille Paglia--- professor of humanities and media studies:

2004 vote: John Kerry. In the hope that he will restore our alliances and reduce rabid anti-Americanism in this era of terrorism when international good will and cooperation are crucial.

So, your favorite talk show host is no longer Rush Limbaugh? You gave up NFL football?

Steven Pinker---Professor of Psychology at Harvard and author of The Blank Slate:

2004 vote: Kerry. The reason is reason: Bush uses too little of it. In the war on terror, his administration stints on loose-nuke surveillance while confiscating nail clippers and issuing color-coded duct tape advisories.

We at The Academy join Prof. Pinker in being appalled at those in positions of authority who employ reason frivolously.

Michael Shermer---publisher of Skeptic magazine:

2004 vote: John Kerry. .... Most important, he’s a serious cyclist who wears the yellow "LiveStrong" bracelet in support of Lance Armstrong’s cancer foundation and Tour de France win.

Can we supersize your order of Freedom Fries, Mike?

R.U. Sirius---former editor-in-chief of Mondo 2000:

2000 vote: Even though I ran as a write-in candidate myself, I wound up voting for Nader because I thought he gave such rousing and impressive speeches.

That, and you didn't know how to spell Serious.

Cathy Young---columnist for the Boston Globe.

2004 vote: That’s a little private, don’t you think? Whichever way I answer, half my friends won’t talk to me anymore.

We're guessing most normal people would consider that to be a blessing, Cathy.

Hokay, libertarians: You want small government, you say. Put these numbers in your bongs and smoke em:

Taxes as a share of GDP (source: CBO):

1992: 17.5%

1993: 17.6%

1994: 18.1%

1995: 18.5%

1996: 18.9%

1997: 19.3%

1998: 20.0%

1999: 20.0%

2000: 20.9%

2001: 19.8%

2002: 17.9%

2003: 16.5%

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