Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Checklist for the Mindless

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled "Just When I'd Gotten My Blood Pressure Back Down Again," in which I carried on at some length about the stupid 10-point ideological purity pledge the Republican National Committee had developed to help weed out insufficiently doctrinaire candidates from its ranks. As it happens, I wasn't the only one who thought it was as dumb as a brain-damaged anvil...last Sunday, columnist Kathleen Parker wrote a brilliant essay titled "The GOP's Suicide Pact" that said what I'd been thinking much better than I'd been able to. Take a minute to read the article. If you don't have the time, here are a few quotes...

"James Bopp Jr., chief sponsor of the resolution and a committee member from Indiana, has said that "the problem is that many conservatives have lost trust in the conservative credentials of the Republican Party ..."

"Actually, no, the problem is that many conservatives have lost faith in the ability of Republican leaders to think. The resolutions aren't so much statements of principle as dogmatic responses to complex issues that may, occasionally, require more than a Sharpie check in a little square."

And...

"Most of us know that decisiveness isn't always a virtue, yet those pushing the purity test seem to view nuance as an enemy of conservatism. The old elite corps of the conservative movement, men such as William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk, undoubtedly would find this attitude both dangerous and bizarre. When did thinking go out of style?"

When did thinking go out of style?

What a great question! Those of you who are my long-time readers know that one of my mantras is "Don't let anyone do your thinking for you." And yet this is exactly what the Republicans have done - they have reduced thought, nuance, and difficult thinking about complex issues to a 10-point checklist for the mindless, a reminder that - as Ms Parker says in her article - thinking people need not apply.

If you're a thinking person, I'm glad to have you on board with me. If you are the sort of person who sees everything in black-and-white, perhaps you'd be more intellectually comfortable somewhere else.

The Republicans are waiting for you.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

2 comments:

John said...

I was reminded yesterday (at a college with an annual tuition of $19,0000, +7,900 R&b, 600 fees, books, etc.)---
If you think the cost of education is expensive, just think about the cost of ignorance.

Mike said...

"...require more than a Sharpie check in a little square."

I like that little snarky jab at the mindless.