26 May 2007

Lincoln as god

Not long ago I received an e-mail forward that uses a classic appeal to authority.  It quoted two American leaders:

"This war has been a grotesque mistake that has diminished our reputation in the world and has not made America safer."  – Nancy Pelosi

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."  – Abraham Lincoln

The point is that Pelosi had the nerve to disagree with Lincoln, who somehow is considered above reproach.  I mean, it's Abraham Lincoln!  Actually, Lincoln said and did many wrong and scary things, and the above quote is downright tyrannical—although it turns out that he never said it.  I have plenty of reasons to dislike Pelosi, but what she says above is right on.  We should not be afraid to agree with something just because it's said by someone odious, and we shouldn't be too quick to agree with everything endorsed by someone we admire.  (There are some who will argue that Lincoln is not worth your admiration anyway.)  The stagnant two-party system is strengthened when Americans adopt an us-versus-them attitude and stop thinking independently.

With his consistent voting record and extensive writings, Ron Paul has proved worthy of at least my admiration. Thank goodness we have him to stir the Republican potHe's a refreshing antidote to the out-of-control nationalism of the neoconservatives who have hijacked the party.


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