Punchinello’s Chronicles

September 11, 2008

Jumping off a Bridge

Filed under: Just Thinking — Punchinello @ 7:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

“If a million people say something stupid, it’s still stupid!” Ayn Rand said this, speaking about consensus opinion. A consensus is like taking an average of everyone’s thoughts, reasoned or otherwise, and coming up with a result that applies to nobody and means nothing.

Most of us remember making an argument that we should get something or do something because all our friends were doing it. “But mom, Johnny’s mom is letting HIM go to the concert!?” That’s when we’d hear the time-honored phrase, spoken by every parent in history: “If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would that mean you have to jump off a bridge too?”

Take a person and put them in a situation where they have one foot in a bonfire, the other foot in a bucket of ice. Statistically speaking, that person is comfortable, on average. Yet another way to say the same thing is that it’s easily possible to drown in a river that, on average, is only 1 foot deep.

Today’s news has a number of stories about how “the world” wants Mr. Obama to be the President of the United States. The intent is to use consensus psychology to sway the so-called undecided voters. It’s based on a belief that many people make up their minds by following the most popular choices. Of course that’s true, otherwise we wouldn’t have never-ending polls, focus groups, and marketing techniques.

Sara Palin has upset the applecart by standing up and speaking out with personal values, individual concepts and ideas, and a core philosophy that isn’t based on a consensus. In fact, that’s the fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. Liberals develop a consensus based on how everyone feels at the moment. Conservatives first develop a core philosophy and morality, which then informs their opinion on any particular subject.

If the world wants Mr. Obama, that should be a strong warning to voters in November. Given that the world is not generally democratic and capitalistic, instead being more often totalitarian and socialist, we should pay attention. WHY is the world so pleased with Mr. Obama? Nobody seems to mention all that.


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