Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Relevance of Proofreading

During the years subsequent to the election of President Bush, Democrats and liberals have repeatedly ridiculed President Bush for his alleged verbal ineptitude.
In all fairness to his detractors, Bush has said some things which could have been expressed more intelligently. But not every president can be an Abraham Lincoln when it comes to literacy.

Lincoln was one of our most eloquent presidents, as the author of the book Lincoln's Sword has pointed out. Yet, Lincoln was mostly self-educated. Bush, on the other hand, graduated from Yale. Not just from an ordinary college, in other words, but a highly esteemed Ivy League university.

Could it be --- perish the thought --- that our institutions of higher learning are not always all they're cracked up to be? At the very least, it would be accurate to say that the acquisition of a degree from such a university is no guarantee that the person who has acquired such a degree will be a particularly skilled communicator, nor is the absence of such a degree an indication, necessarily, that one is an unintelligent or uneducated yahoo.

Just as the correlation between higher education and actual literacy is sometimes tenuous at best, the correlation between one's political affiliation and one's level of intelligence is equally tenuous, in spite of continued efforts on the part of Democrats and liberals to imply that people who would vote for Bush (or for any politically conservative candidate) must be stupid. It would be more accurate to state that both major parties have geniuses, ordinary people, and idiots on their membership lists.

Here in Chicago, we have a free newspaper called RedEye. It's published by the Chicago Tribune, and distributed free to commuters and others.

As a Republican who has repeatedly had to endure the caustic comments directed towards our current president, I was amused recently (on 10/19/2007) when I read the following comment in a column by RedEye columnist Jimmy Greenfield: 

"The alternative to not being relevant, to not having a say in your life and the world around you, is to be irrelevant, and that's a frightening concept." 

Earlier in the column, Greenfield had talked about how the presidency of President Bush had been allegedly a disaster. He ended the column by saying that readers should seek to live lives which were relevant, but most assuredly not in the way that Bush had been relevant.

Personally, I couldn't help but think that Greenfield's inability to proper proofread his own column might be relevant to the question of whether or not his criticisms of Bush had any credibility. So just in case you missed it, here's that quote again:

"The alternative to not being relevant, to not having a say in your life and the world around you, is to be irrelevant, and that's a frightening concept."

The last time I checked, the word "irrelevant" meant "not relevant". So it's unclear to me why the only alternative to not being relevant is to be irrelevant. That is indeed a frightening concept! It's almost as frightening as the idea that an imbecilic self-described Bush-basher named Jimmy Greenfield might actually have enough clout to persuade other people to vote for a Democrat during the upcoming presidential election.

Given the fact that they have demonstrably failed to achieve linguistic perfection themselves, one might be justified in accusing Democrats such as Jimmy Greenfield of hypocrisy when they ridicule President Bush for his own failures in that department. But that would be a trivial matter, if that were the only instance in which they had been guilty of hypocrisy.

What is not so trivial is the way in which the Democratic party constantly prattles on about how it is the party of compassion, in spite of the fact that it has been anything but compassionate towards the millions of unborn children who have been deliberately killed in abortion clinics over the past 34 years as a result of public policies which have been promoted and defended by that same party. That, too, is hypocritical, and it is a deadly form of hypocrisy indeed.

Abraham Lincoln was indeed an eloquent man. But eloquence is only virtuous if it is employed in pursuit of virtuous objectives. It wasn't Lincoln's eloquence which made him one of America's greatest presidents. It was Lincoln's resolute determination to halt the spread of slavery, and his willingness to grow in his understanding until he came to a point in his life where he understood that ending slavery altogether was the only acceptable option available to him.

Having studied the issue carefully for the past several decades, I have long held the conviction that the abortion issue is very similar to the slavery issue in many respects. There are numerous uncanny parallels when it comes to the similarities between arguments which have been adduced in support of each practice. I don't have the time to engage in a detailed examination of those arguments in this blog post, but I would seriously urge you to look into the matter for yourself. In particular, I would encourage you to read the book Rachel Weeping by James Burtchaell, if you can find a copy of that book.

I would have preferred a president who was more eloquent than Bush, but I voted for him in spite of my awareness of his shortcomings, because he took a stand against the evils of legal abortion. 

Bush could have done much better as a president insofar as that issue was concerned, and it's certainly arguable that Bush handled the Iraq situation poorly as well. Looking back at his years in office, I would not rank him as one of America's greatest presidents. But the election of his opponents in 2000 and 2004 would have been a disaster for America and for the pro-life cause. So notwithstanding the fact that he has sometimes been the source of some amusing verbal gaffes, I am glad that I voted for him. Under similar circumstances, I would do so again.