Conservatives Stop the Vote

Poll TaxI want to explain why conservatives want to limit the number of people who vote—and I do mean conservatives and not specifically Republicans, because libertarians feel this way too. It all goes back to Plato (or Pluto, the Disney dog—conservatives aren’t that clear on the difference). You see, democracy is a bad idea. The problem is that most people are stupid and ignorant and evil. But mostly just stupid and ignorant. Democracy is so, you know: democratic. It gives all these stupid, ignorant people an equal say in how the society is run. This is wrong!

Or that’s what conservatives tell me. Here’s the thing: most conservatives are incredibly ignorant. I won’t say anything about their intelligence—but they are also stupid. But it doesn’t matter because ignorance is the issue not stupidity. Or evil. Because they are also evil.

Let us take your average person. This gal is really smart—smarter than I am. Do you know how I know? Because she doesn’t give a damn about politics. All she knows is what she sees when changing channels between The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Judge Evil, I mean, Judy. She doesn’t know much, but what she does know is more or less true. She’s never heard of Solyndra. Fast and Furious is a movie her son likes. And she knows the Iraq War was a major mistake, but she doesn’t know fuck all about weapons of mass destruction, which means she doesn’t “know” that we found them in Iraq. But that’s about it. The main thing is that she knows enough to vote in a reasonable way.

The conservatives, on the other hand, are of two types: either they know a lot of things that aren’t true or they pretend to know a lot of things that aren’t true. The first type is much more common than the second. In fact, the first type know a lot of untrue things because of the second type. They also think they are far more informed than the average person because of the second type. And the first type more or less votes against their own interests because of the second type.

It is a, “First they came for the Jews” kind of thing. By the time the conservative masses wake up to what is happening, their votes won’t count either. And they will say what conservatives say more and more, “You mean they lied to me?”

Sam Harris on the Word Atheism

Sam HarrisI recently implied something about Sam Harris that I don’t actually believe. In The Atheist Libertarian Connection, I indicated that Sam Harris was a libertarian. I don’t think this is quite right. It is okay to categorize him as conservative, in the sense that he has been for a number of neoconservative ventures. And I think he was wrong about this. It is one thing to say that we aren’t going to grant legitimacy to Islamic fundamentalists. It is quite another to cheer lead for an essentially religious war waged by Christian fundamentalists. I think that Harris has erred in this regard.

Otherwise, I think that Harris’ thinking is pretty reasonable and humane. As with most things, my thoughts are complicated. You aren’t likely to get to the bottom of what I think in any given article. So now I’ve had my say. For putting up with me, I offer you the following bit of wisdom from Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation:

In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest rachers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

Blond On Blonde

Bad Blond AdviceRecently, I wrote about female TV conservatives who are blond. Immediately, the phone rang. It was Andrea.

“That’s not how you spell blond,” she said, but with an –e on the end of it. “It is blond without an –e for men, and blond with an –e for women.”

If it weren’t for Andrea’s large stockpile of assault rifles and Facebook page filled with violent conservative grammar rhetoric, I would have hung up right then.

“And what are you gonna do to me?” I asked.

“You don’t want to know,” she replied with a disturbing calm.

Of course: the Grammar Inquisition! A lot of good liberal grammarians were tortured for ending sentences with prepositions back in the 90s.

“Do your best,” I said and hung up the phone.

I know my days are numbered, so I need to get this out while I still can. Both blond and brunet were originally French words. As a result, when applied to females in the French language, one would add an –e or a –te to the ends of these words. Thus: garçon blond (blond boy) and jeune fille blonde (blond girl).

But I forgot! I don’t speak French; I speak English. And the funny thing about English is that we don’t do that. So the Grammar Inquisition can bite me. I won’t back down!

It isn’t just me saying this. Let us go back to the 1926 first edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H W Fowler:

The –e should be dropped; the practice now usual is to retain it when the word is used either as noun or as adjective of a woman & drop it otherwise (the blonde girl; she is a blond; she has a blond complexion; the blond races); but this is by no means universal, & the doubt between blond women & blonde women (with blondes women in the background) at once shows its absurdity.

That’s in 1926, or as I say, “Almost 100 fucking years ago!”

Today, there are major issues with the use of these words as nouns because they are seen as sexist. The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style has the following to say about this:

The use of blond and brunette as nouns is also controversial, chiefly for two reasons. First, these words invariably refer to females and never to males. A sentence like That blonde is getting up from her seat is fairly common, but the counterpart usage applied to a man, as in That blond is getting up from his seat, is so rare as to sound comical. Second, the noun use reduces an individual to the attribute of hair color, as does the adjectival use applied to individuals (as in the blonde woman). Since men are not normally described in such terms, it is best to avoid these nouns and to restrict the adjective to modify the word hair: The woman [or man] with blond hair got up and walked away.

I don’t think this is bad advice, but I do use blond as a noun to describe men—admittedly, less often than I do with women.

The main thing is that using “blond” and “brunet” only makes usage more clear. There is no point in clinging to these gender signifiers—regardless of what the Grammar Inquisition has to say.