Saturday, September 11, 2010


It occurred to me that logic is not like the laws of physics; it is not a steadfast conclusion that can generally be proven by simple observation. I always thought that when all the solutions to a problem were considered, logic would automatically drive the query to an assigned parking spot. No matter what the question, with logic behind the wheel, the destination was inevitable. I mean logic is logic, right? Wrong! Logic is as subjective as your choice of bedroom slippers.

For me, logic has always been the solution that accomplished the task in the shortest possible time, doing the least amount of harm, providing the most good while costing the least amount of money. My conservative friends claim I am being misled by paltry emotionalism that leads me down the wrong path. What I perceived as truth was really just an illusion. I had failed to realize that logic changes in direct ratio to the need for a specific outcome.

The conservative take on logic is more malleable and self-serving. Logic for them is simply a word; a means to an end. The word itself is not sacrosanct, like the laws of physics, which I believe they would also argue were far less stalwart than Moses talking to God in a burning bush. After all, they lauded Reagan's demented take on supply-side economics, also known as the "trickle down theory", as the panacea for the country's ills. (Little did they know that the poor guy was actually proffering that the rich simply piss on the poor. Hey, the guy had dementia so don't rush to judgment.)

I mean why bother with logic when you can simply deny empirical data provided by scientists from around the globe proving that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. Who needs good old common sense when you can dismiss carbon dating as the work of the devil, write off fossiliferous evidence of dinosaur life as funny shapes in rocks and declare that an embryo is ready to take the SAT a couple of days after conception.

For the Republican Party, logic is eviscerated by the wheels of greed. It is not cumbersome to them since they have conveniently misplaced their morality. Logical thinking to Tea Party Patriots excludes the plight of the long-term unemployed, the struggle of the minimum wage worker, the heartbreak of the mother whose son has just been gunned down in the streets on his way home from school, the family farmer being decimated by the huge, corporate farming machines, the severely ill man without medical benefits who decides to die from his disease rather than bankrupt his children, and the list goes on and on.

For me, logical thinking about what America is all about asks: if we are not all citizens of America, then what are we? If we are not all entitled to the same opportunities then what are we? If our efforts to better our status are stifled by prejudice and bigotry, then what are we? If a small group of soulless, power-hungry elitists aspire to control the disadvantaged to fulfill their needs, then what have we become?

A small, powerful, elitist group, operating above the law and exploiting the disadvantaged has always been at the core of any fascist movement, from Caesar to Mussolini to Reagan, the agenda has always been the same: make the underprivileged so miserable that simply working becomes a privilege. Just make them forget that their impoverished status is predetermined and any hope of transcending their state in life is fueled by nothing more than well-crafted lies.

The right wingers love to fan the flames of paranoia by tossing around the term "socialism" like some half-inflated football dunked in the Ebola virus. They stress the extinction of a person's civil rights, the creation of a "New World Order" (Brought into existence by one of their own, George Bush Sr.), the loss of the right to bear arms, the escalation of the number of illegal immigrants spewing over our ill-protected borders like ants after a sugar cookie and any other lie they can sell to try and increase the paranoia of their well-heeled, but imbecilic followers. And what is there ultimate selling tool: logic with a twist of fear.

Watch Glen Beck diagram his implausible hypothesis on his blackboards. Man, talk about deconstructing and reconstructing the facts. I like to call it "fringe facts". He is really working that propaganda machine overtime. And since his audience is already immobilized by the fear of illegal aliens or unemployed drug addicts breaking into their impeccably landscaped McMansion that they earned with the sweat off their brow and the flex of their muscles, and of course that 500K they inherited from Grandpa Joe. And even though they are safely tucked away behind a virtually impregnable gate guarded by some guy that makes Barney Fife look like The Rock, still they worry and look to Herr Beck for answers. And of course, in the end, he provides them with irrefutable logic, skewed through the Glenn Beck filter.

So logic is not a constant. It is just a word used by different groups to try and prove their points. Some of the points are reflected only with the use of carefully placed mirrors; the ones that really let the fear shine through. So logic is a tool of propagandists. If they can skew the evidence enough, then the logic is easily digested by their anxious and myopic listeners.

To the person who has not yet buried their compassion under that new 36-jet built-in spa, logic is the only path to the truth. A truth that includes the fate of everyone involved in the decision.

The citizen who still recalls our forefather's definition of America (and still possesses a soul) knows that the road of life is filled with switchbacks, potholes deep enough to snap an axle, pedestrians unexpectedly stepping in front of your car; a plethora of problems just waiting for their number to be called. And so it is with logic: all people affected by the decision must be considered and the outcome cannot outweigh the facts that come to bear; the damage caused by a selfish decision will roar across the populace like a tsunami, upsetting everything in its path.

So I reiterate my approach to making a logical decision: logic should be the solution that accomplishes the task in the shortest possible time, doing the least amount of harm, providing the most good while costing the least amount of money. If you see it presented as anything else, you will know it is propaganda in logic's clothing.

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