The Death of Reason
Reason is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as “The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible.” Too bad the leaders of that Church didn’t exactly subscribe to that code of morality. Also beginning to behave responsibly is only a small first step. Example: stepping out of your house to protest some evil thing a corporation (like a bank) or your government is doing is the first step. But when you don’t actually go to the protest rally, and choose to have a latte at Starbucks instead, you can’t exactly claim credit for activism.
Legislators are not the only forces stomping on reason. As reported by NPR, Tennessee magistrate, Lu Ann Ballew refused to allow the parent of a child to name it “Messiah.” And her reason was quite sound. “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” she said in an interview. Not only was she not reasonable, but worse: she used a run-on sentence. So, you folks out there named “Jesus” (and there are probably hundreds of thousands of you) or “Mohamed,” prepare to be called Jim or Moe, especially if you live in the Sippin’ Whiskey State.
Webster’s defines Reason quite differently. In one of several variations of the noun form, it‘s “the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways.” What a unique concept: Making decisions actually based on logic. Who’d a thunk it? But based on the actions of some state legislators and all of the U.S. Congress, logic has become a dirty word. This could explain our march back to the 19th century, in which we seem to be goosestepping.
Thomas Paine, wrote a two-part book on the subject (The Age of Reason), the first of which was published in 1794. If you would like to examine its contents, you’ll find it here. The book focuses on religion, and Paine’s take on it (you could say it was a painstaking effort). He defined himself as a Deist, translating as: Belief that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it. Who can blame him? When God saw the mess he created he decided to bear no responsibility for it. Paine was not the sole Deist of his era. In the cadre of Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington were Deists as well. So the notion that we are a Christian Nation, and must be ruled by the word of God is simply the result of using drugs that are illegal in most states.
Let us begin: Friends, family and former beneficiaries of Reason…
We are gathered together to celebrate the life of an idea that had lived for several centuries and has now disappeared. Though it did live, it was never fully accepted by the majority of world populations, who would rather have believed in bullshit then examine it for telltale odor. For those of you that have come to this hall for the funeral for Journalism, it’s the next room on your left – and many of you will wish to attend both ceremonies.
Reason as defined by candidates and elected officials and political appointees:
Ignore the parts of the Constitution that are contrary to your point of view, and completely change the intention of the Founding Fathers. An example might be that many Americans accept the NRA definition of gun rights, and not the original wording: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” That is what is written in the Second Amendment. I don’t see anything about AK47s and Ar15s, do you? Hey you with that Glock 19. Where’s your militia uniform?
Another is the selectivity in the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I know, those 18th century folks were too stupid to include emails, phone conversations and Social Media. Paraphrasing President Obama (not Bush), in a recent speech. “We have a court that will protect Americans against those kinds of invasions of your private information.” FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. See FISA Court. Rubber Stamp. The judges on this “court” are all appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. I hope you can appreciate how much fairness we can expect from that.
Some elected officials ignore reason in favor of biological urges. There are too many to count. But making it into the news recently was the re-emergence of Weiner (so to speak). After losing his seat in Congress following a “revealing” discovery, he swore off junk texting (Junk Male). But memory did not serve him in that as a Mayoral Candidate HE DID IT AGAIN? So he loined from past experience, as we Brooklynites would say. And if that is not unreasonable enough, check out the Parliamentarian for Queensland, who texted a picture of his John Thomas, suspended in a glass of red wine. Now anyone with the bad taste to pair his schlong with a red wine doesn’t deserve the trust of the people, even the Aussies. Isn’t it common knowledge that only a Penile Noir should be used on these occasions?
Many elected officials are using reason to try, for the fortieth time, to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, pejoratively known throughout the moronesphere as Obamacare. Instead of wasting our tax money on legislation that has as much chance to pass as Michelle Bachmann suddenly acquiring a brain or Dick Cheney acquiring a soul, why not work with the President on a jobs-creation bill? Putting people back to work, or moving folks off those temporary, part time, healthcare-free jobs (does not mean free health care) into dignified work would be a win-win.
The Supreme Court, the majority of whom were named by Republican Presidents, contributed to the death of reason by rejecting key portions of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark civil rights achievement by President LBJ dating back to 1965. They seem to prefer 1865, or better yet, to a time pre-dating the Emancipation Proclamation.
This august body has also reasoned that Corporations are people, in the notorious Constitution-defying Citizens United ruling. And why not? Corporations write the laws, thoroughly confusing and lengthy to make their understanding virtually impossible.
To account for this sad reality, let us address Abraham Lincoln’s memorable document: We need to make a word replacement. This quote from the last paragraph of that historical speech, “- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Let’s substitute the word “corporation” for the word “people.” Because, in the words of Walter Cronkite (Funeral next door), “That’s the way it is.”