Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

Mick Arran

Jeffrey Barbose

Inspector Lohmann

Eric M. Fink

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Rep. Mark B. Cohen

The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

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  • George Orwell

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    Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

    But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

    Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

    Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

    In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

    Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

    John Stuart Mill

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Mark Twain

    Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    The Public is merely a multiplied "me."

    Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

    Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

    Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

    In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

    Otto Von Bismarck

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

    I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

    Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

    Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.

    Voltaire

    A witty saying proves nothing.

    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

    When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

    It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

    The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

    Karl Marx

    Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

    All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

    The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    The Error of Electoral Collegiophiles

    By Nick

    George F. Will recently asserted that the electoral college, like the constitution, "was not devised by, and should not be revised by, simple-minded majoritarians." Indeed, the electoral college was a brilliant 18th century solution to clusters of 18th century problems.

    There were three good reasons that the constitutional convention rejected the idea of direct elections for the presidency. First off, there was no method of communication that could sufficiently educate voters about presidential candidates. Secondly, our framers worried that the masses had neither the education, nor the refinement required to make prudent decisions. Thirdly, the implementation of national elections would have upset the balance of power among states. For example, direct presidential elections would cause the south to lose most of its political power. Under the electoral college, slaves couldn't vote, but could be still counted as 3/5 man when deciding the number of Representatives and electors for states.

    Obviously, the 18th century argument no longer applies in our era of telecommunications and universal suffrage. The only other argument heard from the electoral-collegiophiles is essentially Burkean. So the argument goes, changing the rules for electing presidents would shift entire political "solar system" in ways hard to foresee. With candidates concentrating on votes instead of states, campaign strategies might change for the worse. In otherwords, it assumes that the old is better by the simple fact that its old. I for one don't wake up in cold sweats after nightmares in which the American public, not the electoral college, elected our president. So why abolish the electoral college? Here are three good reasons:

    First off, the electoral college operates under a winner-take-all method: a state's majority, no matter how thin, gets all of the state's electors. This causes millions of votes to be effectively uncounted

    Secondly, the electoral college discourages millions of Americans from voting. If a voter supports a red candidate in a blue state, they will probably not waste their time voting. Moreover, states have no incentive to increase voter turnout. A state's delegates cast the same number of electoral votes no matter how many people actually vote.

    Finally, the electoral college favors voters from rural states over voters from populous states. Electoral votes are not allocated according to population. Below is the number of electoral votes given to every million people by state:

    Wyoming: 13.4 electoral votes/million people
    North Dakota: 10.4 electoral votes/million people
    Michigan: 4.2 electoral votes/million people
    Illinois: 4.6 electoral votes/million people

    Americans should ask themselves why a vote in Wyoming should count three times more than a vote in Michigan. Furthermore, it bears noting that no other democracy has a body that is similar to the electoral college. And just think: if we abolish the electoral college we will never hear about Ohio, swing voters, or blue and red states again. That alone would be worth the effort.

    posted by Nick at 9/30/2004 09:45:00 AM |

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    "Netpolitik is a new style of diplomacy that seeks to exploit the powerful capabilities of the Internet to shape politics, culture, values, and personal identity. But unlike Realpolitik — which seeks to advance a nation’s political interests through amoral coercion — Netpolitik traffics in “softer” issues such as moral legitimacy, culturalidentity, societal values, and public perception." - The Rise of Netpolitik

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