The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reasons and rationalizations

One of my pet peeves is prejudice. I don't claim to be free of it myself, mind you. I am human, after all (I think). But try to exert some control over it, keep it from interfering with my relationships with others. The problem is that one's prejudice is subtle and sneaky. It makes you think your reasons are not founded in prejudice but in logic and rationality. It's a liar. we have to be constantly aware of our prejudices.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, I was watching "Your World With Neil Cavuto", a segment about the Republican primaries and who's in the lead and so on. What popped up was speculation about Marco Rubio and whether he might be tapped as Veep candidate for Romney if Romney were to win the nomination. It was the reasons that Rubio is apparently high on all of the current candidates' lists. Marco Rubio is Hispanic and from Florida (an important state come November of 2012).

Marco Rubio is, of course, Cuban-American. He was born in Miami of Cuban immigrant parents. Therefore, it was reasoned, he would be attractive to Hispanics and to Floridians. And that's what triggered my musings about prejudice and our decision making. Oh, mention was made of his political experience in the Florida legislature but it was just in passing. The important factors were his ethnicity and state of residency.

We look at racial bias as if it is always by the other guy. And that it is always a negative emotion. But there is a positive aspect. By "positive", I do not mean there is something advantageous about it (though I believe it had that at its core in primitive man's early history, a part of the survival instinct), I mean it as a manner of interaction. In politics, that would mean voting for someone based on one's own prejudices.

For example, Obama got 95% of the Black vote in 2008. Now, traditionally, Blacks vote for Democratic Party candidates much more heavily than they do Republican ones but not at that rate. Clearly, Obama's racial characterics played a part. It's understandable. But it is an example of positive prejudice.

In 2008, Obama got 67% of the Hispanic vote. If the Republicans are to beat him in 2012, they need to cut into that number. Hence, the attractiveness of an Hispanic Vice-presidential candidate.

What bothers me is that nobody seems to see the bigotry involved. Let me see if I can construct a metaphor...

Theft from a store is frowned upon. But few think too much about taking pencils, pens, copier (printer) paper from their place of work. Not everyone, of course, but let's say most. I am as guilty of this as most of you. We think of it as a perk of sorts while we admonish our children not to do such a thing.

It is probably the hardest concept to grasp as we're growing up, it's called "situational ethics." It's not okay to vote against someone because of his (or her) ethnicity or skin color but apparently just fine to vote for someone for those reasons. I understand the rationalizations and justifications involved, believe me. But I cannot ignore the fact that they are simply rationalizations and justifications for prejudice.

And we add in state of residence. Let's call that a kind of "home field advantage." But why should someone from one's state be any better at a job in the House, Senate, or White House than someone from another state? It is not truly rational. It is completely illogical.

Yeah, I suspect that people could easily find fault with my take on this. I also suspect that many, many people would agree with me completely and then turn around and vote for the candidate who comes from their states or their regions and most closely resembles the persons they see in their mirrors.

I should try urinating on the leeward side of the boat, shouldn't I?

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