Category Archives: Freedom & Privacy

Are Americans smart enough to vote?

I recently offended some people, quite unintentionally, with my modest suggestion that perhaps it wasn’t in the best interests of the nation to hand over so much decision-making power to people who aren’t informed about the issues and their own system of government. (Responses ranged from “thoughtful disagreement” to what I believe is referred to as a “galloping hissy fit.”) Honestly, I was a bit shocked by the reaction – when I penned those remarks it hardly occurred to me that I was saying something controversial. On the other hand, it seemed to me that I was merely stating common sense.

Since that post I’ve been ruminating about the assumption embedded in the premise – that a goodly number of Americans aren’t intelligent enough to be safely entrusted with the vote. In order to bring a little more depth to this debate I thought I’d do some research to discover whether or not the nation’s citizens are under-informed, and if so, to what degree. Continue reading Are Americans smart enough to vote?

The problem with democracy in America…

In my most recent post, one commenter repeatedly insisted that I offer a solution or an alternative for the problems I was pointing to. As I noted there, I never suggested that there was a problem, and even if there were, it’s hardly my job to be proposing a lot of solutions that aren’t going to be acted on. If you believe there’s the slightest plausibility of change wafting in the wind, you haven’t taken a good look at the likely presidential contenders in your two major parties.

However, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that I think America’s current condition constitutes a “problem” and that I’m tasked with offering a solution. I would begin with one critical observation about your system of governance: The problem with democracy in America is that too many people are allowed to participate. Continue reading The problem with democracy in America…

Democracy: the cleverest tool for oppression in the history of the world

Thomas Jefferson’s legacy is much admired in the US and beyond, and for good reason. Without his contributions it’s hard to imagine how the American system of “democracy” would have evolved.

I’ve always admired him a great deal, too, although for somewhat different reasons than most. Yes, he was critical to the development of democracy, but what was so brilliant about this is that democracy is arguably the cleverest tool for the oppression of the masses ever devised.

This assertion no doubt comes as something of a shock to The Average American, who tends to get all sniffly about the majesty of his “freedoms” every 4th of July as he sits in his local park watching pretty explosions in the sky and listening to the facile, self-deluded patriotism of Lee Greenwood yowling from the PA. Continue reading Democracy: the cleverest tool for oppression in the history of the world

Saturday Video Roundup: Men without…

Howdy folks – time now for yet another episode of Scholars & Rogues’ critically acclaimed Saturday Video Roundup! Today we pay tribute to men, mostly. It’s hard to be a man, especially when there are so many things that a man is without. For example, here are some men without shirts.


Continue reading Saturday Video Roundup: Men without…

Evangelical litmus tests and the World Series: why we all need to be rooting against the Colorado Rockies

The World Series starts tomorrow night and people around here have gone Rockies crazy. I’m getting asked a lot if I’m excited, and the answer is yes – Go Red Sox! They all want to know “why aren’t you rooting for Colorado?” So I’m answering them:

First off, the Red Sox are my favorite team. Second, I cannot abide the arrogance and stupidity of an organization that makes decisions according to a religious litmus test. It’s offensive, and would be so if they were using my beliefs as the test just as much as it is using evangelical Christianity, which is how they operate now.

Continue reading Evangelical litmus tests and the World Series: why we all need to be rooting against the Colorado Rockies

The Jonas Phillips case: an open letter to the mayor of Asheville, NC

The Honorable Terry M. Bellamy
Mayor, Asheville NC
P.O. Box 7148
Asheville NC, 28802

Dear Mayor Bellamy:

As you no doubt realize by now, you have something of a PR nightmare on your hands. One of your police officers, Russell Crisp, recently arrested a resident named Jonas Phillips for obstructing a sidewalk. Since people were apparently having no trouble walking past him, and since the police department is reportedly trying to decide whether or not he ought instead be charged with some sort of state violation for “endangering motorists,” you can see how people like me (a North Carolina native who loves your wonderful city, has vacationed there, and who has recommended it highly to friends and family contemplating where to spend their tourism dollars) might suspect that the real reason he was arrested had something to do with the “Impeach Bush-Cheney” sign he was holding at the time.

Continue reading The Jonas Phillips case: an open letter to the mayor of Asheville, NC

L’affaire Imus: a lesson in the function of democracy (or, Why do conservatives hate freedom?)

I’ve heard from some conservative quarters lately that the librul campaign to unhorse Don Imus is anywhere from hypocritical to a full-Monty assault on the right to free speech. In some cases there may well be some hypocrisy – I’m sure there are people on the “left” side of the aisle who have made comments that are just as egregious as Imus’ racial cheap shot at the Rutgers women’s hoops team and nobody here is calling for a double standard. If [insert librul mouthpiece here] cracks racist, let the chips fall where they may. You want to bust Al Sharpton’s balls? Go for it. Want to remind everybody about Hymietown? I just beat you to it. Nobody gets a free pass because of their partisan affiliation on this corner.

The problem I have is with the suggestion that there was something unAmerican about the siege on Imus, that in the Land of Unfiltered Democracy the I-Man would be eternally free to spout whatever the hell he liked. In fact, those who see this episode as anything but purely democratic are in need of a civics refresher. Continue reading L’affaire Imus: a lesson in the function of democracy (or, Why do conservatives hate freedom?)