Thursday, February 12, 2004


So, I think that I will vote "no" on all four propositions on the California ballot. As for the first two propositions (on education), I think the less money the state has to spend on education the better. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but if billions of dollars cannot produce at least semi-educated students, the solution does not seem to be to give them (whoever "them" is) more money.

As for the next two, you ask me, "How can you vote 'no' on a proposal called the 'Balanced Budget Amendment'?" I respond: It will further degrade the spirit of republicanism (small r republicanism) in the state. The fact that state legislators have to be coerced (i.e., threatened with pay loss) into passing a balanced budget indicates that the state of politics in general is not one based on love of equality and love of homeland, the two virtues needed to sustain a republic. Passing this proposition to amend the state constitution is an admission that the quality of these virtues is strained. I hold out hope that the spirit of republicanism can be revived by an improvement in the manners and mores of California. It certainly will not be revived by a law, the effects of which, if passed, will do irreparable harm to the spirit of republicanism.

Perhaps I am wrong about these things, and I would honestly like to know. Can there be anything worse than a citizen who has a mistaken understanding of political things? Perhaps a student of philosophy who has studied too much political philosophy and not enough political science.

Also, what irks me is Democrats voting for Kerry because he is the only one who can defeat Bush. I'm not a stellar student of history, but something tells me that there's got to be bad precedent for voting for someone just because you don't like the other guy.

Also, what irks me is the constant assumption that the "religious right" is the only sector of society supportive of Bush. Is this true? If so, then how come the religious right is presented as a "minority opinion" in America? Doesn't it take more than a minority to vote a president into office and support his policies? Well, honestly, probably not, and that's what worried James Madison so much in Federalist 10. I've always wondered how Madison could support the principles of republicanism and still maintain that a faction could be a majority, especially since he never clearly states who decides what the "permanent and aggregate interests of the community" are.

Maybe I've been reading too much Chomsky, not that I agree with him, but I think he represents one of the few genuine critical alternatives to the Federalists.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


Fewer things are worse than being sick all night and day. I suppose if one were sick on the day one was invited to the Super Bowl party of the year, then that might be worse. Oh, wait. That's me. At least my wife is sick with me.