Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sam Harris, Platonist

It turns out that dogmatic atheist Sam Harris thinks the times call for a philosopher-king. We can’t be governed now by people who are like us. The world is too complicated to be comprehended by ordinary Americans, especially those who go to church, read the Bible, and think God has a plan for the world.

In my crankiest moments, I agree. Universal adult franchise, pah! Only we political science Ph.D.’s should be permitted to vote.

When I’m in an Aristotelian mood, I’d extend the franchise to all those who are genuinely liberally educated. The tone and tenor of Harris’s writing suggest that he doesn’t fall into that category. He’s more like a Weberian "specialist without spirit."

Discussions - 6 Comments

The way Harris tells it Palin is a snake handler, which come to think of it is pretty funny. I mean even an atheist like Harris should be able to find the requisite faith to handle a snake in Alaska.

Under his own terms, Harris ought to fear Obama almost as much as Palin. Anyone who listens to Obama in unscripted moments realizes that his knowledge of history and the world is shallow. He has received "intellectual training" at better branded instutitons than Palen, but, to be truthful, a glib student who can write can coast through any university these days. And I note that Obama has not released his grades.

Obama, like Palin, participates in a spooky religion.

Since Obama is running for President instead of Vice President, Harris' fears about putting him in office should be multiplied by some alarming amount.

But Harris agrees with Obama's politics, so he believes Obama is smart.

I say this in jest but could you immagine the ratings for the following presidential debate?

The religious lie detector involving answering questions while holding snakes(held someplace really hot)+ the secular debate while hooked up to a lie detector.

In fact I am somewhat suprised that no one has pressed for a lie detector format.

I wonder if you could collect enough independent pledges to bait a candidate into undergoing a lie detector test?

I am sure lawyers would ruin it, and it would be impossibly hard to set up, but suppose you create a non-partisan group called citizens for truth. Under this format the group collects a signed form pledging along with a mailed in absentee ballot attached that authorizes the non-partisan group to automatically distribute to the winner the votes collected. You could go on an honor system but as economists know well too many people would cheat.

Set it up in the vulgar format of the defunct game show that baited ordinary folks with a million dollars for answering 30 questions. Allow partisans who have followed the primaries and debates and accuse the candidates of lying to send in youtube clips of gafes or misspoken statements, or better yet allow fact the selection to come from the opposing campaign, let the Democrats select the 30 questions for the Republican and vice versa. Allow the candidates to change stances and answers while hooked up to the lie detector test. Give thirty questions allowing the candidate to bow out of the interrogation at any time, award the accumulated absentee ballots to the candidate who has the greatest number of honest statements according to the science of the lie detector test.

My guess is that you would need around 1 million pledged votes before the candidates would cave in.

I think there are enough Americans frustrated with the sound and fury of political manuvering and willing to back a "straight talk express" with ballot force. Of course studies show that partisans might cheat, so the collective award of the absentee ballot would be needed to guarantee the result. Of course folks who would watch this debate are free to be influenced by it. Also if you had a million ballots up for grabs both candidates would be forced into it, because not showing up virtually guarantees that all the votes go to the guy who endured the fire.

I can't believe you would want the franchise limited to the marxist philosophers/phd parasites on the dole of most American universities. God Help Us if that's the case. Our country doesn't have enough to be concerned with the possible ascension of the most unqualified candidate ever to be nominated for the Presidency, BHO? You have to posit the possibility that Noam Chomsky could be President under your scenario?

I'm kidding.

You were kidding...or obfuscating.

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