I was reading Daily Kos this morning (I know, it's hard to believe - but I assure you it's true) when I came upon an article which claimed that the final vote count in the 2004 presidential election could not have been correct based on exit polling data. I was surprised by the sophisticated level of mathematics the writer employed to convince us the election was rigged/stolen by the Republicans without out taking into consideration the largest variable in the equation; ALL HIS ASSUMPTIONS WERE BASED ON AN EXIT POLL. And the exit poll was given more credibility than the actual election results! While the writer obviously has strong mathematical skills, he is seriously lacking in the critical reasoning department.
And if the original post wasn’t bad enough, the first comment went completely around the bend (emphasis added):
“I'm tired of people worried about tin foil hats and what not. Knowing what I know about the character and past behavior of the people in office - I'm sure they stole these elections. The machines were rigged, the votes weren't counted. Democracy in the US has basically been in shambles, ripe for a revolution, if you ask me, since a certain 5-4 decision in late 2000.”
All of this left me wondering exactly how successful we will be reasoning with one another, as a nation, and how we will be able to make the often difficult decisions that lie ahead. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but as Soren Kierkergaard pointed out:
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
So, if you follow this "logic":
- The election must have been stolen because the results didn't match the exit polling.
- We should have a revolution because the election was stolen.
- We should discard centuries of representative government all because the election did not come out the way you wanted.
After all, just exactly how "representative" can this government be if the candidate you voted for did not get elected? If the tin foil hat fits....