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CSotD: Six impossible things before breakfast

Matt Wuerker (Politico) suggests that we’re so screwed up that the Taliban don’t have to attack us: They can just watch us attack each other.

Which theory gains depth if you believe that the Taliban has some interest in attacking us in the first place, which — despite that fellow putting bombs in shoes — was never the case, at least until we invaded Afghanistan.

The attacks of 9/11 and those that followed were by al Qaeda, the connection to the Taliban being that bin Laden was sheltered there, a debt he paid by assassinating the leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance the day before launching the 9/11 mission.

But you’ll notice our collective attitude towards the Taliban is one of the things currently dividing us: Nobody likes them, but some people believe they are completely untrustworthy while others believe it’s possible that self-interest will induce them to at least allow people who want to leave to do so.

Similarly, and along those same lines, some insist they are plotting against us while others suspect they’d just as soon be left alone to repress their own people and perhaps engage in some legal, non-opiod foreign trade.

One positive aspect being that, even if they are obsessed with attacking us, at least nobody here has suggested that screening airline passengers is unconstitutional, that Bill Gates is implanting chips through those body-imaging screeners, or that, since a few people have managed to smuggle guns through, we shouldn’t bother having metal detectors at all.

Yet.

As noted here the other day, there’s currently a difference between what we think and what we believe, and, while facts can alter what we think, they have no apparent impact on what we believe.

And beliefs are how we make policy. Thinking has nothing to do with it.

 

The Taliban believe they can make everyone righteous by forcing women to quit their jobs and wear burkas, but, then, as Tim Campbell (WPWG) points out, Gov. Abbott believes he can avoid the issue of rape victims and abortion by simply eliminating rape.

The Taliban’s folly is based on the idea that lust and sin are inevitable, while Abbott is locked into the notion that rape is committed by violent strangers in dark alleys.

You tell me which is more backwards and delusional.

Which, by the way, reminds me of when (candidate) Jimmy Carter, in a 1976 interview with Playboy, pointed out that the Bible says a person who lusts in his heart has already committed adultery, and confessed that he had done so himself.

Such candor could not go unpunished, and as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, even Democrats leapt on him for his honesty.

As the AJ-C noted, “Though most American males who opened up to the center of that very magazine were guilty of the exact same sin, the reaction from the public and the talking heads of the media was thunderous.”

He still won, by the way, but that was a long time ago.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Mike Smith)

(Rob Rogers)

Carter was, after all, running to succeed Ford, who had come into office as a replacement for a president who was driven out of office despite his explanation of executive privilege:  “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

It was considered bizarre and inappropriate then, but, as Smith and Rogers eloquently point out, times change and our country has changed with them.

More than one person has asked what we’d have thought if, after the attacks of 9/11, Republican legislators had blocked attempts to investigate the attacks, the way they’ve tried to avoid finding out how people assaulted the Capitol, threatening to murder legislators and the vice-president.

And the answer is, a whole lot of us are content to rely on loyal belief unclouded by troubling facts.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Bob Gorrell – Creators)

 

(Chip Bok – Creators)

Gorrell and Bok advocate letting people continue to die because of a counterfactual belief that vaccines are not necessary in the midst of a pandemic, and because of their reliance on the belief that the Preamble to the Constitution — that thing about “promoting the general welfare” — is not a part of the document which stands as law.

They may be heartless, but they’re not entirely off-base.

In Jacobson v Massachusetts, the 1905 Supreme Court case that established the legality of vaccine mandates, Justice Harlan specified that the Court was not considering the Preamble in making their decision:

The decision, rather, upheld the right of individual states to mandate vaccines, while in 1922, Zucht v King, the Court also upheld the right of local Texas schools to exclude unvaccinated children which seems bad news for the pro-pandemic governors of Florida and Texas.

These decisions appear to leave two questions:

One is whether activists will redouble their efforts to get their local and state governments to enact sensible, science-based laws rather than laws based on partisan, delusional beliefs.

The other is how many people will die while a challenge to Biden’s mandate works its way up to being heard by the Court.

 

Michael Ramirez (Creators) seems to be breaking ranks with his conservative brethren, with a cartoon speculating on how history might have been different, as indeed it might have been.

There was no smallpox vaccine in the period during which most indigenous people died of unfamiliar European diseases, and historians estimate that 90% of the native population of New England died simply from exposure to explorers and traders, well before the Mayflower even landed, with similar, horrific devastation elsewhere on the continent.

Meanwhile, discussion of George Washington’s vaccination mandate seems dubious, since it happened during the Revolution, before even the Articles of Confederation, much less the Constitution.

Still, if we’re going to put beliefs over facts, we might want to consider trusting in George Washington, or, at least, not arguing against his sensible, practical policies.

 

We might even act upon beliefs that involve common sense, compassion and decency, instead of the greedy self-interest of which Pat Bagley accuses Republicans.

Still, facts matter, and history tells us we owe our freedom to Washington’s seizing of England’s airfields and his victory in Baltimore, nearly 40 years later.

And it is unpatriotic, after all, to argue with the facts.

 

 

Community Comments

Currently there are 3 Comments
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#1 Mary McNeil
September/13/2021
@ 3:45 pm

Given Bok’s usual point of view, it’s a bet he wouldn’t be wiping his NOSE on the Constitution.

#2 Harley Davidson
September/13/2021
@ 4:31 pm

What’s with Ramirez? I by no means an anti-vaxxer, but to compare small pox to SARS-CoV-2 is downright ill-informed. First, like influenza, COVID is a zoonose virus and CANNOT be eradicated with a vaccine. It’s precisely why we have variants; why the vaccinated can and do become ill and why the vaccines lose their effectiveness. It’s not because one’s antibodies wane over time, but because, like influenza shots, the protein selected for the vaccine differs from the strain that is currently in circulation.

#3 David Spitko
September/14/2021
@ 4:03 am

As is often the case, it is not quite that simple or black/white. See https://theconversation.com/a-massive-public-health-effort-eradicated-smallpox-but-scientists-are-still-studying-the-deadly-virus-139468

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