Friday, January 22, 2010

Temptations of misquoting

So I was in the kitchen the other day thinking about my political leanings: you know the ones on your facebook page which you can choose to either hide or display, and if you display it you can write almost anything in the blank from "democrat" to "I don't believe in politics." A long while ago I actually looked up the definitions of the words democrat and republican, what the bases for the political philosophies mean. And the decision I ended up with made me a little sad.

The other day I read Frederic Brown's cold war short story "The Weapon" in which he writes, in punctuation of his introspective doom-saying "only a madman would give a loaded revolver to an idiot." I'd advise reading the story, it's short, uncomplicated, and prophetic, and if you already have, then you would know that I feel just as badly about calling somewhat an idiot as the main character of Brown's story would about saying the same about his son.

Because I agree with the republican philosophy. I can admit that it's not liberal, that is does have the potential to go against the American ideal of everybody having a say. But it comes from the same place that those stereotypes about irresponsible parents and bad drivers does. "That woman shouldn't be allowed to have children," people say to their grocery cart quietly as they look out of the corner of their eyes at whatever reprehensible action. "Some people shouldn't be given driver's licenses," people say, gripping the steering wheel as they try to calm their heart rates following a near collision.

But I can agree that some things we have are rights, others are privileges. And I honestly believe that everyone deserves them, but that's different from everyone being handed something. Something they didn't earn, I guess I could've added in parenthesis. And admittedly, that's pretty terrible, because we don't have some impartial, perfect mind to decide these things. We just have another bunch of people, with their hangups and baggage and perspectives (and degrees, whatever that implies), deciding if others should be allowed the freedoms they enjoy. After all, spare the rod and spoil the child, and who among us has an absolutely perfect driving record (this includes signalling and speeding, whether we've been caught or not)? Plato claimed that Socrates said "All I know is that I don't know." So I guess I'll be changing my status to that.

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