Saturday, April 26, 2008

I am voting for McCain. I was WRONG about the war. LET'S DEFEND FREEDOM!!!!

Yes, the Iraq War is truly a defence of freedom, after all. Not only that, we had to invade Iraq to prevent another 9/11. So, all those people who have maintained that Iraq is simply about oil and has made the world more and not less vulnerable to acts of terror are just wrong, very wrong. I was wrong, and now I have seen the light. I once was lost, etc.

So, why this switcheroo? Well, I was going to reply to this prolix defence of our invasion of Iraq, but when I finally finished reading it, I happed upon this. That column was much shorter, better written, and much more persuasive. ThE prolix defence of the invasion was hardly persuasive. We should bomb the hell of the country because the U.N. needs to be credible, and it won't be credible unless it has its resolutions enforced? That's more or less the nub of prolix guy's argument, and any Palestinian would notice that not once in those 14 single-spaced pages does prolix guy mention that many other U.N. Resolutions, especially those regarding Israel, have gone unenforced if not utterly ignored, most notably #242. And that's not the only thing that goes unmentioned. Prolix Guy has many words to spare for the infallibility of Resolution 1441, but nothing for the scaremongering lies about the imminent mushroom cloud coming from Iraq, Cheney's fantasies about the Praque meeting between Atta and an Iraq Agent, Powell's demonstrably wrong inferences from satelite photos, Blair's risible claim that Iraq could attack England in 45 minutes, the Downing Street Memo, "Curveball", Judith Miller's creative fiction, et cetera et cetera. Prolix guy is just delusional, and his argument is as selective as the cherrypicking of our National Intelligence Reports.

But Mr. Kinzer made me change my mind. He makes the rather clever observation that because the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq, it can no longer tyrannize Latin America. The people there can determine their own lives without fear of intervention from the United States. This will be true as long as our occupation of Iraq continues. Since it won't end until victory is reached, and victory is defined as the establishment of a stable Iraq allied with us in the global war on terror, the occupation will last for John McCain's century unless we mow down all those millions of Iraqis who support State-Department-deemed terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. The American Empire is evil, but I don't think it has the stomach for outright Nazi-like genocide. That would be too much of a PR debacle. So, we're gonna try and kill them off by the attrition of gross misrule. As long as we're doing that, Latin America will be free at last!

Thus, we are fighting for freedom after all, just not ours. And we are also preventing another 9/11 for we do not any longer have enough troops to engineer a Latin American Coup as we did on September 11, 1973 in Chile. Thus the Iraq War is protecting at least one part of the world from terrorism.

This argument, of course, depends upon a utilitarian calculus, namely the assumption that it is better to slaughter and brutalize the comparatively few in Iraq than the comparatively many in Latin America. If you factor in Afghanistan, this utilitarian calculus may well founder. But a rapacious country like the U.S. needs to get its yahs-yahs out somewhere, and as a Catholic I would have to say that if my country of hormonally deranged fratboys can't control itself, I would rather it fuck the Muslim Middle East than Catholic Latin America.

Don't get me wrong, though. I am all for abstinence. But the experts at Planned Parenthood tell me that abstinence does not work. Fine. Let's fuck Iraq, then.

Good Poetry

Please, go to this young woman's weblog. Her poetry is admirably direct, even blunt (of course, she's German; Germans are congenitally unable to indulge Carnegiesque doubletalk or flattery). I must say that her poems in English are only fair and hope that she won't be mad at me for saying this. Her German poems are, however, simply amazing, and when I have more time, I want to translate them.

A Post for Miss F.

[Just a few minutes ago I had an exchange with an undergrad who is a student at the root of all evil, otherwise known as the University of Chicago. Our exchange was about Christian religion. She thinks the Christian Faith absurd but, if faced with the choice, would choose Protestantism over Catholicism because she regards the former as the lesser stupidity. At least Protestantism, she says, does not have the indulgence racket, and its ministers do not bugger little boys. Fine, I cannot defend the buggering. If I were a Protestant, I could simply say that sin is sin, and so buggering little boys is no less evil than, say, the Televangelism racket. But I am a Catholic, and, therefore, can understand this priestly pedophilia as nothing other than a damnable scandal that brings shame to the Church that Christ founded. But I will say this: The priest scandal does indeed demonstate that the Church on earth does embody Luther's notorious injunction to sin boldly. All this is to say simply that the Catholic Church should be ashamed but that her Protestant critics qua Protestantism cannot in good conscience criticize her: Criticism implicitly pre-supposes some standard, and Protestantism, being doctrinal anarchy, has none.

But I will defend the indulgence racket. Well, I will let Heinrich Heine do it for me. Heine actually defended the Protestant Reformation--because, well, it ushered in the age of individualist subjectivism, which decadent libertarians like Heine just could not get enough of. But when it came to the Indulgence Racket, the libertarian in Heine had to speak up for it because it was an ingenious use of trade: the people were allowed to sin and the Church could build her monuments to the conquest of sin. Of course, this was monstrous hypocrisy, but, although Heine does not say this explicitly, it was for a libertarian preferable to a Lutheran Personality Cult.--PSR]

But even more than the Devil's mind Martin Luther mistook the mind of the Pope and the Catholic Church. Because of my strict impartiality, I must now take up the cudgel for both, as I did for the devil, against the all too eager man. Indeed, if one were to ask me in conscience, I would have to admit that the Pope, Leo X, was actually far morereasonable than Luther, and that the latter simply did not grasp the ultimate raison d'etre of the Catholic Church. For Luther did not understand that the idea of Christianity, the annihilation of sensuality, contradicts human nature so much that it could never be carried out in its entirety. He had not understood that Catholicism was like, as it were, a Concordat between God and the Devil, i.e. between Spiritualism and Materialism, in which the primacy of spiritualism was acknowledged in theory, but materialism was given a status in which it could in praxis exercise all its annuled rights. From whence came a clever system of concessions, which the Church concocted to the benefit of sensuality, but always in ways that denunciated every act of sensuality and preserved the disdainful usurpation of spiritualism.

You may give a hearing to the delicate inclinations of your heart and embrace a beautiful girl, but you must confess that it was a scandalous sin, and for this sin you must do penance. That this penance could be effected by money was as beneficial for humanity as it was useful for the Church. The Church permitted the payment of, so to speak, resistance money for every fleshly pleasure, and soon there developed a tax for all sorts of sins. There were even holy peddlers, who, in the name of the Roman Church, hawked a letter of indulgence for any of the taxed sins. One such peddler was that Tetzel against whom Luther first rose. Our historians are of the opinion that this protest against the indulgence trade was an insignificant event, and that it was only Roman pigheadedness that drove Luther, who at the outset railed only against an abuse of the Church, to attack the entire ecclesiastical authority at her highest pinnacle. But this is simply erroneous. The indulgence trade was no abuse, it was a consequence of the entire Church system.

As Luther attacked the former, he attacked the Church Herself, and She had to condemn him as a heretic. Leo X, the refined Florentine, the student of Poliziano, the friend of Raphael, the Greek philosopher with the threefold crown, which the conclave bestowed upon him perhaps because he suffered from an illness that in no way comes from Christian abstinence and was back then still very dangerous.... Leo von Medici, how he must have smiled at this poor, chaste simpleton of a monk, who
believed the Gospel was the charter of Christianity, and this charter must be the Truth! Leo probably did not even notice what Luther wanted. He was at the time much too busy with the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, the cost of which was financed with the indulgence money, so that the sins did actually and truly give the money that built this church. Hence, the Basilica became a monument, as it were, to sensual lust, as did those pyramids that were built by an Egyptian prostitute with money she earned from her trade. Perhaps one could better make the claim for this house of God than for the Cathedral at Cologne that it was built by the devil.

This triumph of Spiritualism, namely that Materialism itself must build for its enemy its most beautiful temple, that for the heap of concessions one makes with the flesh one acquires the means to glorify the Spirit, this is not understood in the German North. For here, far more than under the burning Italian Sky, it was possible to practice a Christianity which made the least concessions possible to sensuality. We Northerners have a colder blood, and we require not so many letters of indulgence for fleshly sins as our paternally concerned Leo had sent us. The climate makes it easier for us to practice the Christian virtues, and on October 31, 1516, as Luther nailed his theses against indulgences on the doors of the Augustine Church, the town moat of Wittenburg had probably already frozen over. One could go ice-skating, which is a cold amusement and, therefore, not a sin.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lady MacBeth runs as Golda Meir

I watched Olbermann's interview with Lady MacBeth last night and heard her repeat her bravado about massive retaliation against Iran, should that country, which has not attacked any of its neighbors in centuries, attack Israel or any other nation in the Middle East. She should have just said that her membrum viri is much bigger than McCain's or that even though he has the endorsement of the apocalyptic psychopath John Hagee, she, if elected, will actually become one of the four horsemen.

While saberrattling against Iran, she had this to say about why that country must not acquire nuclear weapons:
In addition, if Iran were to become a nuclear power it could set off an arms race that would be incredibly dangerous and destabilizing because the countries in the region are not going to want Iran to be the only nuclear power so I could imagine that they would be rushing to obtain nuclear weapons themselves.
So, if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it would be the one and only nuclear power in the region? Huh? I can't imagine that after all those years of foreign policy experience that she always reminds us she has oozing out of her ears, she does not know that China, Pakistan, India--not to mention that country up to the north so huge that even American Teenage Beauty Contestants could not miss it--all are nuclear powers and have been for many years. And, of course, there is Israel, which everyone knows is the big nuclear power in the "region", if that "region" is the Middle East. It should come as no big shock that Iran may want nuclear weapons. Israel is known in "the region" as the country that will sic tanks upon little boys throwing rocks, bury alive a young unarmed woman for protecting a pharmacy with nothing but her own body, and use the rhetoric of pre-emptive defense to justify naked landgrabs. If such a ruthless nation has hundreds of nuclear warheads ready to launch at my nation, yeah, I can imagine that I would want at least one pointing at it. This has nothing to do with Islamic Fanaticism and everything to do with that desire universal to us all, regardlesss of confession, the simple desire to survive.

But, of course, no politician running for President may acknowledge this. Israel is a tiny, fragile country of poor, helpless Jews still recovering from the incomprehensibly unique anguish of the Shoah, and if we do not protect her, the bloodthirsty, goosestepping Islamofascists who surround her will unleash Holocaust II, and the tiniest deviation from this line will make you an anti-Semitic pariah. And that's worse than being called an unAmerican flag burner. Even Scalia says it is your First Amendment Right to be one, but questioning Israel is high treason because our sovereign is the Israel Lobby.

Clinton used to be known as that crazy, dangerous coddler of terrorists who hugged Arafat's Wife and had the temerity to call for a Palestinian State. Now she is posturing herself as the next Golda Meir. Hilary Clinton is an opportunistic, congenital liar. William Safire was right, even though he is a member of a whacko cult that brainwashes its members and spies on its detractors. No, not Scientology. The neo-cons.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A doozie of a quote

No, I am not going to post something original. I am going to pull a Father V. and post something I have not written in the hope of getting credit for it. A true 19th Century American Capitalist am I! Oh, for those of you who do not know, Father V. is a priest who has a much trafficked MySpace page and is under the unfortunate delusion that the obvious neo-con tool Father Richard John Neuhaus is an orthodox Catholic. And a person whom I like to bait now and then.

Anyhow, I really should post something original, but the earthquake that woke me up at four-thirty yesterfuckingmorn so discombobulated me that I am now a blob of anxiety and panic, so much so that I fear coherent thought, without which one should not write (unless, of course, you are a speechwriter for Our Dear Leader), has escaped me. The earthquake, in fact, caused me so much consternation that I thought the Rapture was going to happen any second, and so, applying the logic of Pascal's Wager to the dire circumstances, I said the Evangelical Version of the Jesus Prayer and became a Protestant. Well, nothing happened. I was going to be Left Behind, made to endure all of the bowl plagues, the trumpet plagues, and Jerry B. Jenkins's really cheesy dialogue. In my fevered desperation I grabbed one of those little Evangelical apologetics booklets that some random prosyletizer once handed me years ago, flipped to the back page where it asks the reader to say the Jesus Prayer and then give his signature and the date of his salvation. I said the Jesus Prayer again, signed my name and hurriedly penciled in both the date and time of my being once saved, always saved. There, I thought, it's official. I sealed the deal. Now if Christ doesn't rapture me, I at least have documention for a lawsuit. Still nothing happened. But later on I found out that John Hagee is still on earth. So, the Rapture did not happen. I worried for nothing, and now I am officially a Protestant. Now I have to get a bad haircut and do the wave to "Awesome God". Shit!

But, again as is my wont, I digress. Sorry. I wanted to write something in response to this irresponsible caca that makes the case for Bush being our first real Catholic President, even though he is as Protestant as Elmer Gantry. The argument goes likes this: Kennedy was only a nominal Catholic who made a strict separation between his duties as a civil servant and his private Catholic life (which was not all that Catholic). Bush, on the other hand, surrounds himself with Catholic Intellectuals (like Michael Novak who has scolded Catholics for not being receptive to the atheistic and solipsistic philosophy of David Hume) and applies Catholic Doctrine in his formulation of policy. Yeah, like lying us into war, implementing secret tribunals, and giving the greenlight to torture. We Catholics have yet to live down the Crusades or Torquemada. I am really sure that George W. Bush as the first Catholic President will just be one fucking huge PR Bonanza for Rome.

Oh, yeah, the quote. It's from Wendell Berry's scathing attack ("Faustian Economics") on American Capitalism and The American Way of Life in the current issue of Harper's. Mr. Berry's point of departure is that the American Experiment is predicated upon the Lockean notion that limitless acquisitiveness (which normal people call greed and the scholastic sages classified as the deadly sin of gluttony) is actually salubrious for social order. Mr. Berry begs to differ. The Magisterium of the "Catholic" neo-cons (Neuhaus, Novak, and Weigel) has deemed Mr. Berry's point of departure a heresy, I should note. America was not based on Locke, they repeat and repeat, hoping with Goebbels that repetition produces truth. Well, fine, anything that the unholy trinity condemns as heresy must be a good read, and I heartily recommend the reading of this eloquent and trenchant piece by Mr. Berry. By the way, here is the quote that jumped out at me. I could not have put it better or more wickedly myself:
In keeping with our unrestrained consumptiveness, the commonly accepted basis of our economy is the supposed possibility of limitless growth, limitless wants, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debt. The idea of a limitless economy implies and requires a doctrine of general human limitlessness: all are entitled to pursue without limit whatever they conceive as desirable--a license that classifies the most exalted Christian capitalist with the lowliest pornographer. [Emphasis in the original]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Clinging to Religion

Obama's now notorious "clinging to religion" comment has the pious heartland of Red State Amerca in ferment. At least the self-appointed preachers of the Red State Religion hope as much. Wanna-be social conservatives like George Will are pillorying Obama as a secular elitist who sees religion as a psychological disorder, and I can imagine that those who have insisted all along that Obama is a closet Marxist are giddy now that he has all but re-iterated Karl Marx's most infamous dictum, that religion is the opiate of the people.

Fine, but you need not be a Marxist to understand religion as an opiate. You can be a rabid capitalist like George Will who wants the common people to be just religious enough so that they won't steal his silverware or trash his gas-guzzling SUV. In our so-called Democracy, religion is simply a private matter and, therefore, meaningless except insofar as it provides the moral upbringing to keep hoi poloi quiescent and deferential to imperious idiots like George Will. It no longer supplies the people with any public purpose as it did in the long defunct Age of Faith.

The market place is the public purpose now, and the sole function of religion is to supply enough morality among us groundlings to safeguard private poverty. But, of course, even in a capitalist democracy, there is a risk that religion will overstep its duties to it. For instance, the people who suck in the market place, as Mr. Obama has suggested, have no recourse but to curl up in their privatized religious bubbles, where their bitterness and resentments can easily turn into ugly religious zealotry and, dare I say it, jihad. So, religious passions must somehow be curbed.

This is not just liberal secular elitism of the Democratic Party's Left Wing. It is also the premise of Bush's foreign policy. We have to give the religious Middle East hope! How? By whipping capitalist democracy on them so that the jihadists will no longer slobber over the thought of attaining a perpetual bliss in an apocalyptic explosion but will instead yearn for the adventures of the stock exchange and leveraged buy-outs.

The only difference between the Left and the Bushies is that the former wants to temper religious passions with a more equitable distribution of wealth whereas the latter want to do the same merely by offering the chimerical hope of hitting the jackpot. But both want to re-direct the hopes for an otherworldly paradise into the thirst simply for thisworldy material well-being. Both want us, in other words, to switch our allegience from the Kingdom of God to the Kingdom of Man. Therefore, both, the so-called liberals and the so-called conservatives, belong to the same religion, atheism. This whole religious Red State vs. godless Blue State is simply demogogic crap.

Something from the Leo Strauß Yahoo Group

[I did not write this. A guy by the name of Kalev Pehme did. In 2005.--PSR]


A reminder to our friends in all the liberal democracies: Even if you say you are an adherent to a religion, you are not. You live as an atheist who has converted religious principles into a morality. Religion, I must remind you, is a public thing, not a private belief. Religion regulates all public life and all private belief. An obvious recent example is the rule of the Taliban over Afghanistan, where there were public executions on religious grounds as well as the very big mistake of destroying the Buddhas as idols. Thus, when I speak of universal empire in this case, I am speaking of a complete homogeneity of belief as well as a complete worldwide regulation of public order and private belief in accord to alleged divine principles. That regulation results in going to heaven and in the case of Islam to a heaven where men get to have perpetual sex with perpetual virgins, my favorite. In any event, the notion of religion is simple: There is a god, a divine order including angels (or many gods, elohim), a divine man, a divine city, and the human order must reflect that divine order and hierarchy whatever it is. The heavenly Jerusalem and the earthly Jerusalem are to be one, because there is one single reality and one single order which the god rules over. If one believes that, then the city, rather than being a non-being as we find in Plato, has being and because that being is eternal and universal the gross manifestations of political life must be universalized into a universal religion. Because the public life of man is part of a divine being, our participation in public life must also be part of that being. The truth of man is not his private thinking, but his public life, his actions, his good deeds, etc. as commanded by religion.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My tribute to our brave Freedom Fighters

I would like to add a few more comparisons to this oft-seen piece intended to guilt the reader into supporting our imperialistic foreign policy:

You enjoy a threesome with Bella Donna and the ever so buff Evan Stone. He has to make a pyramid of greasy, stinky, naked Iraqi men masturbate.

You walk into a nice, swanky singles bar and walk out with willing and well-dressed pussy. He has to rape teenage girls in birkas to satisfy his needs.

You kill seventeen people on a whim and at least achieve fame as a serial killer. He kills seventeen people for fun and must endure rude questions from some snotty commie pinko Chomskyite

You terminate a pregnancy with a simple swallow of a pill. He has to terminate one by shooting a frantic young pregnant woman dead.

You see a cute, little ten-year-old girl waving and wave back. He sees a ten-year-old girl waving but--paranoid, trigger-happy cowboy that he has been trained to be--can think only that she is signaling freedom-hating terrorists hellbent upon establishing a global islamofascist Caliphate and subordinating us all to an enslaving dhimmitude, and, therefore, kills her.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Cartesian Project--a facebook exchange

[I post this exchange I had with a professor of philosophy simply for the benefit of some random undergrad who has to write a paper on Descartes for an Intro to Philosophy course. The Cartesian Project was an unmitigated disaster, and it is a scandal that it has long been standard operating procedure in Philosophy Introduction Survey Courses to skip from the ancients all the way to Descartes as if there a philosophical blank for more than a millenium and a half. Of course, this implies that it was because of Descartes that Western Philosophy was re-born. If so, Descartes midwived an abortion: as I think this exchange shows, the Cartesian Project delivers nothing but insuperable doubt, and philosophy has been drowning in an impossible skepticism ever since. So, if the intellect fails so spectacularly, we might as well not use it and give in to the urgencies of our unthinking passions. Which is exactly what a randy undergrad wants to hear. Descartes studied and studied and studied, and he could not get beyond the Cogito. Fuck that shit! Let's party!--PSR]

ME:


Oh, I should tell you that I finally finished Janet Broughton's Decartes' Method of Doubt and must say that it only confirmed for me Gilson's critique of the Cartesian Project. Obviously I can't go into any detail on a Facebook Wall but can for now say this much: Broughton pretty much depicts the Cartesian Project as a knowledge algorithm from beginning to end, and Gilson would say that this is a permutation of the error of logicism, and I daresay Gilson is right. Metaphysics in order to get anywhere must start with being and not with epistemological procedure. Broughton admits, despite her tremendous sympathy with the Cartesian Project, that Decartes' doubt, if it is made to work at all, replaces the real world of color and dynamism with a very pale one of mechanical geometric extension, and that, again, only if it works. The Cartesian Project remains unrehabilated. But thanks for the recommendation.

PROF:


"Metaphysics in order to get anywhere must start with being and not with epistemological procedure." But how can we trust our metaphysics to go anywhere if we do not know what we can know and how?

ME:


Yeah, that is, of course, an enormity of a conundrum. But the very possibility of an epistemology at all must pre-suppose an ontology. Descartes gets the Cogito or, as Broughton suggests, the Dubito not because it is, as Broughton argues, a function of his epistemological algorithm but because he finally uncovers at least one of his assumptions, and that is his own being. One cannot simply make up the hermeneutic circle from scratch.

PROF:


"Descartes gets the Cogito... because he finally uncovers at least one of his assumptions, and that is his own being." I suppose it is possible to believe that his recognition that "Cogito" is indubitable is also a recognition that "Sum" and "Sum res cogitans" are indubitable. But I also suppose that it is possible to believe that the indubitability of "Sum" and "Sum res cogitans" *follows from* the indubitability of "Cogito." And I don't see how the latter can be inferred from the former. Of course, I am keeping things in the epistemological mode, stressing claims *about indubitability*. Do you question the inference of "p" from "'p' is indubitable?"

ME:


If one starts from the "Cogito" alone, it is quite frankly hard to see how the "sum" follows if by "sum" you mean a singular identity. The "sum" follows the "Cogito" only on the assumption that grammar corresponds to what is real, and I don't see why when we are to doubt basic arithmetic, we should not doubt grammar's adequation to reality as well. Yes, grammatically the "sum" follows the "cogito" insofar as both are first person singular verbs, but does that mean where there is sensation of thought, there is also an identifiable "ego", "I", "self"? Whatever this thing called thinking is may just as well point to a bunch of "selves" or even, as Nietzsche points out, to an "it". Furthermore, to get to some kind of an identity requires an additional assumption of Paramedian eternity.

PROF:


Well, whether "sum" follows from "cogito" depends a lot on what is affirmed by "cogito." And recall that the question is not just whether "sum" follows but whether the indubitability of "sum" follows from the indubitability of "cogito." So Descartes not only needs to affirm a lot with "cogito," he needs to affirm it all *as indubitable*. Dubious, I agree.

ME:


So, if Cogito, ergo sum is dubious, what's left of the Cartesian Project?

PROF:


Oh, well, there are some lovely party favors.

Monday, April 7, 2008

xxi

I can't let this Seventh of April pass without noting the seventy-fifth anniversary of the repeal of that Great Atrocity of Very Rude Puritan Imposition, better known as Prohibition. Anheuser-Busch tonight halted production and threw a party for its employees. What better way to celebrate the return of Anacreontic Mirth to this country than to stop the making of that vile Donkey Piss AB has the effrontery to call beer, if only for a few hours. I hope the employees gave the day its proper honor by drinking, say, bottles of Rolling Rock from the days before AB bought it out. It was not Bush's imperious and arrogant foreign policy that made me a strident Marxian leftist. After all, the Buchananites opposed the war from the gitgo, too, and, besides, the U.S.A. has had an imperious and arrogant and predatory foreign policy since Manifest Destiny. Bush has merely been the most blatant about it since that racist bigot Teddy Roosevelt. What made me a leftist was AB's buy-out of Rolling Rock. That convinced me that naked capitalism has utterly no respect for common decency and taste. Capitalism, like Budweiser, is nothing more than really putrid urine and deserves its place in the toilet, which is where subliterate MBA majors usually end up regurgitating their Bud anyway.

Sorry for the rant. Tonight should be a night of rejoicing. But, please, do so with something like Blue Moon or, if you are financially strapped, PBR. Eschew Budweiser. And don't grab Keystone, either. The only reason for Keystone is to make college freshman girls pliant. Keystone is truly ontological darkness.

But if you have Blue Moon or some other genuine beer, get plastered!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A quote I like

"When offered a choice between two politically intolerable alternatives, it is important to choose neither. And when that choice is presented in rival arguments and debates that exclude from public consideration any other set of possibilities, it becomes a duty to withdraw from those arguments and debates, so as to resist the imposition of this false choice by those who have arrogated to themselves the power of framing the alternatives. These are propositions which in the abstract may seem to invite easy agreement. But, when they find application to the coming presidential election, they are likely to be rejected out of hand. For it has become an ingrained piece of received wisdom that voting is one mark of a good citizen, not voting a sign of irresponsibility. ... Why should we reject both? Not primarily because they give us wrong answers, but because they answer the wrong questions." -- Alisdair MacIntyre