not worth an intelligent manís time to be in the majority. By
definition, there are already enough people to do that.
~ G.H. Hardy
boll weevils were born and raised in a cotton field in Georgia.
One of them went out into the world, earned a PhD in history,
wrote numerous books Ė two of which won Pulitzer Prizes Ė and,
ultimately, a Nobel Prize in literature. He was seen on many television
talk shows and even had a program of his own. He was a highly-respected
and quite famous person, and traveled the world giving speeches.
His brother, on the other hand, remained in the same cotton field
in which he was born, and for the rest of his life was considered
the lesser of the two weevils.
It is worth
remembering this tale as we find ourselves in that quadrennial
exercise of collective boob-hustling known as a "presidential
election." With Ron Paul removed from the contest by the political
establishment owners, intelligent minds know that the presidential
race collapses into the default mode governing all such make-believe
"choices." The electorate will again be bamboozled into making
a selection between Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber, being fed the
League of Women Votersí unfocused line "it doesn't matter who
you vote for, just vote." A variation of this theme is found in
the equally vacuous admonition to choose between "the lesser of
two evils." That the 2008 campaign was conducted on the
theme "anybody but Bush," while the 2012 race urges "anybody but
Obama," should inform us of the utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy
of the game being played at the expense of all of humanity.
polls operate from this same stance: to choose between options
either of which serves establishment interests: "do you favor
an increase in income taxes, or a federal sales tax?" The
idea of refining the question itself (e.g., "should all forms
of taxation be eliminated?") is never allowed to surface,
as witness Ron Paulís treatment at the GOP "debates."
What if you were asked to select the greatest person in history,
and were given the names Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Julius
Caesar from which to make your choice? Boobus might discard Julius
Caesar on the basis that all he accomplished was the invention
of the salad that bears his name, leaving the choice between Attila
and Genghis Khan to be decided on the basis of "the lesser
of two evils."
if you lived in the Ukraine in the 1930s, and were told that you
had to choose between Hitler and Stalin to rule you, each of whom
desired to exterminate all Ukrainians? If Ė as many Ukrainians
did Ė you favored Hitler over Stalin because of some mistaken
belief that he might be a less immediate threat to your life,
might a momentís reflection suggest to you a better question to
your son discussing with you his thinking about a career to pursue.
Suppose he was trying to decide between becoming a pimp for street-walkers,
or a dealer in illegal drugs: what questions might you ask him
to consider, and what advice might you give him?
reduce the inquiry to the most personal health considerations.
Would you rather have emphysema or lung cancer as "the lesser
of two evils?" I asked this question of my physician, and
her response was that lung cancer would be the better choice because
you had an outside chance of being able to overcome it.
of every problem we encounter in life can be greatly improved
by refining the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. As
I tell my students, donít let the opposition frame the legal issues
for you: examine what they have to say, but then refine the inquiry
to make certain that your interests are best served by
the form of the question. Should you apply this strategy to the
forthcoming election, you may discover that getting to choose
between Obama and Romney will have no more life-sustaining meaning
for you and your family than being "free to choose"
between the guillotine and a hanging for the means of your execution.
You may decide to follow the advice of George Carlin and just
stay home on election day pursuing other expressions of self-interest!