Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,
Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC)
chemoelectric

Extensionalizing the question

In my opinion, the U. S. government was partly overthrown on December 12, 2000, Treason Day, and we have not regained it. In other opinions, the Supreme Court undertook some kind of reasonable action for the reasonable goal of somehow protecting the stability of the republic and/or other beneficial effects upon the commonwealth. This is all stated in great generality, so whatever I say about it is only a rough approximation to the (possible) 'truth'.

I am going to describe very quickly my theoretical explanation of the different views, starting with the latter.

It is natural for an educated U. S. American trying to be 'fair' to arrive at the latter view; we are trained, primarily in school and organizations like the Scouts, to reach such a view. We learn from elementary school onward about 'sacrifice for the good of the republic'. We learn about 'rule of law' and constant necessity for 'compromise'. We learn that assaults have been made on the republic from within for a couple of centuries, and yet it has stood up to these. Etc. We come to 'think' that accession to the action of the Supreme Court on 12/12/2000 is part of what gives us the ability to withstand the likes of Bush.

This is for the most part evaluation from an intensional attitude, by which I mean that we bring to the situation a conventional theory of how our republic operates, in which things like accession to court-engineered 'compromises' are the source of our institutional strength.

I approach the matter with an extensional attitude, making a closer approach to the reasoning of a physical scientist. I would ask first how many times something like 12/12/2000 has happened in a modern 'democratic' advanced nation. Actually I don't know the answer to that question, but in my own country there is only the one example, and here we are with a regime that openly disobeys federal laws, proclaiming dictatorial powers, openly creates concentration camps, openly commits torture, openly invades unthreatening lands, etc., etc., etc., and I ask how this result could be more protective of the commonwealth than would the presidency of Al Gore. The example contradicts the conventional understanding. It is the conventional understanding that needs most to be questioned, according to me; we have run an 'experiment' of a sort and instead of gaining stability we have moved towards dictatorship while giving substantial control of our economy and politics to the People's Republic of China and international terrorists.

In the month between the November, 2000, election and the Treason Day coup, I was paying close attention to the legal battles. I defended this 'rule of law' to a French e-friend, who laughed and said if it were France the people would count the votes and not hand over to lawyers and judges the question of whether to count the votes. Let's suppose we had as a people forced the counting of the votes and had made Al Gore president. In what significant way would that have brought us closer to dictatorship and control by terrorists and foreign powers?

Of course the investigations of and impeachment of Al Gore by the Bushist Congress would have brought us in that direction, but that's got nothing to do with counting the votes.

(Personally I would have preferred a quick constitutional amendment to create a special runoff election, while Dennis Hastert served as acting president. This, I think, would have been more calming to the nervous system, assuming it produced a definite result, and it would have demonstrated a flexibility of the system that in practice we do not exercise.)
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