Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Thursday, September 09, 2004

The other George W.

I will vote for George W.

No, not Mr. Bush ... I'm going to write-in George Washington, just as I did in the last election.

The problem with both candidates is not just that they are bad, but that they are both thoroughly, consistently bad. On every single issue, each man is fundamentally wrong in theory and will be destructive in practice.

Now there are differences between the two (although they are vastly overstated by almost everyone). But given what I just said, I don't think a rational voter can compute which man will invite catastrophe to a lesser extent. On certain issues one may be able to argue that either candidate is slightly less horrible than the other. But I'm skeptical of these arguments, and even if they are true, so what? I do not think "slightly less horrible" can be an epistemological standard for choosing success with any kind of probability.

For example, many (conservatives) say Bush is better on the economy, because he's supposedly for less government and smaller taxes. But Bush has promised to increase spending on a wide variety of social welfare programs, especially Medicare and government education. If his tax rates will be lower than Kerry's, this only means he will "pay" for them with deficit spending. So the net effect is the same under both candidates: a significant increase in welfare state spending.

Kerry would defend abortion rights, whereas Bush's stance on such personal liberty issues is nothing short of ghastly. But notice that Kerry is wearing his religion on his sleeve, for example, during his nomination acceptance speech. So I have to ask: How is Kerry the Catholic supposed to put up a meaningful argument against the anti-abortionists that he attends Mass with?

Many people say this election is only about war and national security. I'm not clear on this, because you can never say that "civil liberties" are a non-issue, even temporarily. If we hire a man to be president who will defend the nation appropriately (which Bush will not do, by the way), but he simultaneously slashes into "civil liberties," is that better or worse in the long run? Put it this way: Is it better to defend against theocratic foreign enemies, or against the rise of a theocracy in our own government? I don't want to make the choice.

So George Washington is my man. Which is another way of saying: there is no worthy candidate today -- but there was in the past, and so there can be in the future.


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