Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More From Richard Carrier

These can be found in the comments of his blog on Obama.

A choice that has no effect is not a choice. Voting for a third party candidate is like pushing that button at intersections for the walk signal when it isn't even wired up to anything. Yet people keep pushing it, thinking it will have some effect. Like pushing a button that does nothing, a choice that can have no effect is not a real choice at all. It is only an illusion of choice. And that's worse.

And then this:

I am disturbed to see yet again people claiming there is no difference between the candidates. I saw people claiming that of Bush and Gore and again with Bush and Kerry. No difference between them? That's irrational bullsh*t. There are two new judges on the Supreme Court that are decisive proof that there was a difference and that same difference is still operating, and in fact is now far more dire, because if McCain puts even a single ultra-conservative on the Court, we're all screwed.

The one thing you can be absolutely sure of, for all the ways Obama falls short, all the mistakes he will make, all his flaws and gameplaying, all the ways he isn't entirely different from the stock politician, he will not destroy the future of this country by handing the Supreme Court to the religious right. McCain will. And I'm not guessing he will. He actually said he will.

This is far more serious than it was in the last two elections. Though it was serious then, and everyone who didn't vote for Gore or Kerry is directly responsible for the current Supreme Court. Because no matter who you voted for or even if you didn't vote at all, had you voted for Gore or Kerry you could have stopped that disaster (of a Roberts-"Scalito" Court), at the very least, though if anyone thinks there were no other disasters of the past eight years that the same vote would have stopped, they must be delusional.

But now there is just one seat away from a majority. Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas. Add one more and the religious right controls all laws in this country. The religious right decides what the Constitution says. Anyone who doesn't vote for Obama in the next election is voting for that very outcome. That's true whether intentionally or not--intentions are no excuse when the effects are known, and you cannot deny that you know what the effect will be of helping McCain win this election.

To focus on the failings of a politician, all the ways he isn't breaking the mold, to the exclusion of all the ways he is in fact different, is a bizarre kind of blindness among the American people I cannot explain. Surely you must agree that anyone given a choice between sawing off their leg and sawing off their toe, who then chooses the leg, is an idiot. Right?

The man is brilliant. He is a research junkie (think about one hundred times anything you've seen a Juggernaut do on this page) and has a razor sharp eye for bullshit. The guy is tireless in his pursuit of truth, and fearless in facing those who are untruthful.

Be sure to attend October 10-12, when Richard Carrier and PZ Myers (and possibly Phil Plait and Steve Novella) speak at MSU.


Justin CF said...

First up, I'd like to point out it's extremely unlikely that voting for Obama will change anything. In order for change to occur, the entire election would have to be determined by your local delegates, and your individual vote would have to change the way those delegates vote. So yeah, on an individual level we don't have much choice in this election anyway.

Now, about Carrier's ascertian that voting for a third party has less of an effect than voting for one of the big two... the point of a third party isn't to be elected. It's to make it clear that in order to get a larger portion of the vote, the candidates have to pander to your interests in future elections. Look up what the populist party managed to accomplish by getting a chunk of the vote in 1892. In the next election cycle, the democrats picked up a lot from their platform.

By the way, I'm not saying that I'm not going to support Obama. I just don't like seeing bad arguements, especially when they're coming from somebody as intelligent as Richard Carrier.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have to agree with Justin on this one. Yes, the presidential candidate does have an effect on immediate issues, like supreme court justices, and they in turn have a lasting effect on judicial policy. But we are kidding ourselves into thinking any LASTING change will come about from this election. Until the SYSTEM is changed, we're all sitting ducks. Even if Obama wins, it doesn't change the system that allowed people like George W. to get elected in the first place. Until we get a system that is tolerant of third (and fourth and fifth) parties, and that puts into practice the one person=one vote policy, we will be facing the same problems every four years.

If Obama wins, lobbyists will have their stranglehold on American politics, we will still be using the electoral college, big business will still be balls deep in our political machine, etc. etc.