February 21, 2008

Principles of Knowledge

I was feeling lousy, so I went to bed to rest for a few hours, with a couple of the cats for company. I tossed and turned, and finally turned on the radio. It happened to be tuned to Sean Hannity's program, so I listened for a while. I needed to be punished. While I generally prefer that someone else take care of such matters, that can't always be arranged, to my considerable regret. We must occasionally make do with what is closer to hand. (Careful now...)

Most of Hannity's discussion (with Bob Bennett, among others) was about the outrage of the NY Times' outrageously outrageous smearing of McCain. La di da. When Bennett had departed the scene, Hannity took some calls. One caller announced that he had been a liberal ALL.HIS.LIFE., but that he was just about ready to "turn." More specifically, he was about to turn to Hannity's brand of conservatism, as well as to McCain, because McCain had been outrageously smeared by the outrageously outrageous NY Times. (This appears to be an especially popular category of caller for both conservative and liberal radio shows -- the conservatives who are going to vote Democratic for the very first time in their lives regularly call the liberal shows, and guys like Hannity's caller dependably chime in at critical moments in the development of storylines such as the outrageously outrageous attack on McCain. Is this a job I can do at home? Is there money in it?)

The former liberal but almost newly-minted conservative had a few other reasons for finally identifying the Life Source that has been carefully husbanded by the conservatives, lo these sad, dreary years. (Hasn't Bush been president recently? Weren't the Republicans in charge of Congress until just a year or so ago? The memories fade so quickly.) The baby conservative was obviously a quick study and nailed the major points. "The Democrats are undermining our troops while we're at war!" "All this negative talk about the United States is making me sick! The United States is the greatest country that ever was, ever, anywhere, anytime, ever! Ever!!!"

After a few minutes of this, which unaccountably did not put me to sleep to my complete and utter bafflement, the caller said -- and I quote exactly, for who could forget such notable words, expressing a matter of immense complexity with astonishing simplicity:
And let me tell you something about the greatest country that ever was, anywhere, anytime, ever, ever, the United States of America! This is a democracy! And I'm of Greek descent, so I know something about democracy!!
Thus does our understanding of epistemology increase, and become ever more precise.

I have a new rule, which I consider in the nature of an absolute: In presidential election years, it is never too early for a drink.