|He had NOTHING to say about politics|
A few weeks ago someone on Crooks and Liars posted an online study in how much U.S. citizens know about American civics. The study posted the group's findings, and it even included a 33 question civics test. I'll say that the test was moderately challenging. It wasn't difficult for me, but I attribute that to the fact that I majored in American history and Political Science in college. I can imagine where it could be difficult for someone who hadn't.
Anyway, I only missed two questions, and they were economics questions that were really ambiguous and poorly worded, and surprisingly many people on C&L did just as well or a little bit worse than me (I can't attest to how many did it entirely off the cuff like me or looked up answers they didn't know). Well, one of the questions asked "Which of the following to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas have in common:" and the correct answer was something along the lines of "all believed that there are certain universal truths that human beings can discover and understand through the power of reason." For me, that question was a no-brainer.
One jackass on C&L, however, stated "I don't know what the hell Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas have to do with American government or why this question would even be on an American civics test."
Story 2: I was out with some friends of mine for all-you-can-eat wings night at Quaker Steak. A mutual "friend," of ours, a bleeding heart liberal, came with us. We'll call him Clay. I was talking politics with another friend of mine, and somewhere in there I mentioned Aristotle. Clay says to me "well Aristotle didn't really have much to do with politics. He was more of a philosopher."
|Natural rights theory? WTF is that???|
The reason I have so much difficulty talking politics with almost everyone on C&L, with jackasses like Clay, and with morons like marie on Capitol Commentary (the author, Harrison, is a stand-up guy and is awesome in political discussions, btw) is because none of these people have a fucking clue, not a shred of knowledge base in political theory.
Why? I don't have a fucking clue. Probably because they think that things like ideas and political theory don't matter. It's no wonder that they're so easily able to contradict themselves and their own ideologies, because they don't even know where the hell they're getting their shit. They probably heard someone on Fox News or CNN say something salient that they accepted as true, and they ran with it.
News flash, morons: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas--among others--laid the groundwork for what we all know to be Natural Rights theory. John Locke didn't just make this shit up out of nowhere. He was well read in the classics, and he understood the same basic principle that these intrepid men did: that there is such a thing as universal truth, and we can know it if we just stop being dumbasses.
John Locke didn't say that humans have the right to choose only a democracy. He said that when the government has infringed on the rights of the people, the people have the obligation to rise up and choose their form of government. Sharia might be shitty, but the people have the right to choose it. We might say that Sharia infringes on people's rights, but it's not for us to forcefully impose our standard of living on another people. They must come to that conclusion as we did. We can tell them how we think on the subject, we can sanction them because we believe they are violating their people's rights, but if the people choose it, who are we to stop them?
|Guess which one represents me in this photo.|
Ideas matter, and because of that it's up to us to educate people about them, not force them to believe us. You simply can't force a way of life on a people: the people have to want it.
If your political theory or philosophy comes from any news network, if it comes from the blogosphere or some op-ed piece you read in the Washington Post or the New York Times, then you've already failed, and you know nothing of politics.