September 23, 2008

As American as Apple Pie

Sam Harris, whose book The End of Faith has been on my to-read list for a while, writes in the Newsweek this week about Palin:

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world’s only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

“Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child’s brain?”

“Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I’m an avid hunter.”

“But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind.”

“That’s just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink.”

Reminds me of this great clip from the Daily Show featuring a lot of the blink-talk by Palin and Bush, including Bush's erudite words: "if we blink, the rest of the world will blink as well." :)

Actually, humor aside, the thought of her as the next VP of the country continues to be scary due to the dangerous ignorance-arrogance combination that I have also talked about earlier; or in Sam Harris words: "she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation."

What is scary is that (to quote from the article again):

Here, finally, (is) a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.


The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too ordinary.

[Beware: Next thing she'll be saying you elitist liberals apparently don't like apple pie. :)]

Ok...don't blink now; just go read the entire article.
I've quoted just a few sentences from the first 25% of the article. (Hat tip to Salil Tripathi for sharing the Newsweek link via email).

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