One of the best aspects of modern culture is that we are exposed to so many other people’s weird beliefs. Plenty of people in our daily lives hold different opinions and even core values from ours, but rarely are these ideas arranged into whole systems. To encounter an entirely alien worldview, you used to have to travel. But now you only need the internet, which will happily ship stories and images of Earth’s totalizing theories directly to your house. Today is Friday, and the world is a patchwork of non-overlapping magisteria. Won’t you deride the unfamiliar with me?
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer said that laws his party introduced in the name of combating voter fraud were actually designed to reduce voter turnout. Also, Dracula has a startling admission about the blood drive he organized at your office. We all kind of new that ID laws and limitations on early voting were actuarially engineered to give Republicans an advantage; the clue was that only Republicans proposed them. But after months of pious declarations about fraud and the integrity of the system, it’s nice to hear Greer admit it. Quote:
The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates. It’s done for one reason and one reason only…They never came in to see me and tell me we had a fraud issue. It’s all a marketing ploy.
But God never opens a door without sending a mean dog to run around your living room. Complicating details after the jump.
Let’s say you lived in an exceptionally honest town where theft was almost unheard of. After years of almost zero larceny, the Honestburg Police Department announced that a massive crime wave had struck the city. Thieves were thick, according to the HPD, and so the cops went house to house confiscating stolen property. Occasionally they would take the television some old lady had for decades, but they returned it to her eventually and, besides, such mistakes are inevitable when battling a crime wave of this scale. So a question: does Honestburg have a theft problem now? On a completely unrelated note, the Ohio Voter Project filed a complaint with the Hamilton County Board of elections alleging that Theresa Sharp was fraudulently registered at the house where she has been living for 30 years.
The 2012 Republican National Convention begins Monday in Tampa, and the internet is all a-twitter with leaked planks from the draft version of the party platform. Whatever you do, don’t listen. Party platforms are not legislation; they are by definition grandstand-y and ideological, and they are composed by people who can politely be called true believers. You have to be a special kind of Republican to go to Tampa in August. Party platforms composed at national conventions are like the specific words a crazy man keeps shouting at you on the subway: not a prediction of what’s going to happen, really, but an indication of how somebody thinks.
A useful idea from economic theory is commodification, the process by which things that were previously not sold become accepted objects of economic exchange. Commodification is kind of a weird concept for contemporary Americans, since pretty much every aspect of our lives has been commodified already. Consider, though, the commodity that is clothing; for centuries, most people made their own, until rising incomes and better manufacturing in the early 19th century made it easier to buy them from somebody else. Degree of commodification is a good measure of the development of an economy. During the middle ages, for example, Europeans did not buy or sell land—one reason their economy stagnated for a millenium. Compared to those assholes, our economy is fantastic. Just last month, for example, a Florida legislator submitted a law drafted by corporate lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council, word for word, without remembering to delete ALEC’s mission statement from the top.