Saturday, October 27, 2012

Socrates on politics: cancel the election

I had my fill of politics this season as soon as I tuned-in to one of the presidential debates.  First, I heard Romney claim—and I’m paraphrasing here from my flawed memory—that “President Obama raised taxes on the middle-class by $3,000 per household.”  Then, I waited just long enough to hear Obama’s response.  Again, paraphrasing: “I’ve cut taxes on the middle-class thirteen times during my term.”

I had just about enough by that point.  My interest in politics died nearly as quickly as it began.  Instead of making any effort to get to the bottom of their respective and mutually exclusive claims, the participants and the moderator moved swiftly forward, with each candidate trying to prove that he was more forceful, articulate, confident, and likable than his adversary.  It quickly became obvious that the so-called “debate” was nothing more than a live political advertisement for each party.  And, as Socrates knew, “Politicians are concerned only with making cheap rhetorical points” rather than getting to the underlying truth of the matters at hand. 

So what’s Socrates’ solution?  Skip the election.  Flip a coin instead.

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