October 18, 2012

“€¢ If our massive nuclear arsenal was sufficient to deter the USSR, why would it not be sufficient to deter Iran?

“€¢ Why are there no secure fences along our nation’s land borders?

“€¢ Should welfare recipients be allowed to vote?

“€¢ Should public employees be allowed to unionize?

“€¢ Instead of a 3.4-million-word federal tax code, could not necessary revenue be raised by means any ordinary educated citizen can understand in their entirety?

“€¢ What purpose is served by the 52,000 US troops stationed in Germany, or the 35,000 in Japan, or the 28,000 in South Korea?

“€¢ Why does Congress never declare war, as Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides? Why do they never deny appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, as Article III, Section 2 permits?

“€¢ What does the USA gain by permitting large-scale settlement of Muslims in our country?

“€¢ A shortage of skills in some occupation is signaled economically by a rapid, prolonged rise in wages for that occupation. Why, in the absence of such signals, are guest-worker visas issued?

“€¢ Should civil servants be hired strictly by merit as determined by competitive examinations?

You can likely add a few of your own, but that’s enough to make my point, which is: If any of those questions were to be posed to our two current major presidential candidates, how different would you expect their answers to be? How different would you expect policy to be on any of these questions as a result of the coming election going one way rather than another?

What is the actual difference between our two major parties on any of these issues?

There is, in fact, no politics in the USA. All significant political posts are held by either Democrats or Republicans, and on every issue likely to be thought important by the historians of 500 years hence, the two parties are of the same mind.

Supreme Court justices, you say? I spent a miserable couple of hours last week reading the transcript of the oral arguments before that court in Fisher v. University of Texas, down in the weeds with “compelling interest,” “critical mass,” and “holistic individualized consideration.”

Fisher is the third major appeal on affirmative action to come before the court this past forty years, counting Bakke (1978) as the first and Grutter (2003) as the second. Both the Burger court and the Rehnquist court did little but split fine metaphysical hairs on the issue, essentially allowing affirmative action”€”as plainly unconstitutional as a procedure can be”€”to continue under slightly tweaked rules of decorum. The Roberts court will undoubtedly do the same.

There is no politics. There is no choice. The mighty ship of national destiny steams steadily southward while we citizens wander across the deck, east to west, west to east, under the illusion of purpose.

I doubt I’ll bother to vote in November.

Image of American flag courtesy of Shutterstock


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