Friday, November 20, 2015

Notes from a World Gone Mad

Mark Graber

I have been thinking of declaring myself a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States.  The centerpiece of my campaign will be opposition to the Pythagorean Theorem.  This has got to be a winner in Republican circles, where candidates are judged by their capacity to challenge basic science.  Besides something called the Pythagorean Theorem is clearly foreign inspired and un-American.   Unsurprisingly, my fellow red-staters, liberals in the universities brook no dissent on that matter.

In order to demonstrate my credentials as a true contemporary Republican and improve my chances, I must narrow the electorate and refashion an America in my image.  My idea is that we should require all voters to take an oath that a) they believe in a religion that promises virtuous people the good place in the hereafter (can we really trust any one who does not believe) and b) that under no conditions does their religion ever command them to break the laws of the nation (can we really trust anyone who has a religious belief that might cause them to violate American law).  It is probably a good idea to apply the same policy to immigration.  And given that we do not want to take any chances with the wrong people in our country, the policy should be retroactive to, say, 1492.  The United States has done more than its fair share taking in refugees.  It is about time other countries took in the American refugees that do not meet my retroactive immigration standards.  It's time Switzerland and Nepal stepped up.

While we are on the subject of attacking universities, I think my campaign will seek laws forbidding colleges from memorializing any person who held the prejudices of their time.  This will, of course, get rid of Woodrow Wilson and John C. Calhoun, but also such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton (see her comments on immigrants and persons of color) and Frederick Douglass (see his post-Civil War comments on gender).  At one point I thought that these standards will still permit us to memorialize John Smith and Mary Jones and other stillborn children, but then I realized that this might trigger traumatic responses from women and men who have had stillborn children.  No doubt lots of statues and paintings will have to be removed, but like most true blooded Americans, I prefer football to art.  Of course, to retain college football, we have to retain colleges and teach something and inevitably that raises disturbing questions (has anyone noted how both modern social science and fraternities both privilege the Greek alphabet).  I will create a task force to figure this one out.

I think we also need to ban Christianity and related religions, with a possible Unitarian exception.  If we are truly committed to equal human dignity, we cannot have people speaking or even thinking that God will reward the religiously faithful more than those who practice some other religion or do not practice religion at all.  Consider in this vein the trauma non-Christians, many of whom had ancestors oppressed by Christians, must feel every time they witness a cross or similar garb.  Of course, we want people to be free to speak and believe what they believe to be true.  But we need to be sensitive on sensitive subjects and the mere fact that no person in the history of the world has ever exhibited the requisite level of sensitivity is no reason to lower our standards.  That would be un-American.

Of course, if these proposals are adopted, there will be very few living people left in the United States and those people will not be able to think or say much.  On the other hand, if our present politics continue, we are likely to experience an environmental or nuclear disaster that will also reduce dramatically the number of living people in the United States and their capacity to say much.  At least, my campaign promises a self-conscious effort to reach that dystopia.

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