Since my last post, there have been horrific mass shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The logical response to these episodes, and the more than 30,000 firearm deaths that occur each year in the US, would be to explore what restrictions on gun access could be used to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and dangerously unstable individuals. After all, the supreme civil right is the freedom not to be wantonly murdered. Yet the politicians of both parties in fear of retribution by the National Rifle Association uttered nary a murmur in support of gun control measures. Rather we heard pious words that these two tragic episodes should not be used for political purposes. If we do not learn from such tragic episodes and implement measures to prevent their recurrence, indeed such episodes will recur. Evidently politicians are more concerned about retribution from the NRA than protecting the lives of their constituents.
Also, since my last post Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Ryan is a man who used to hand out copies of Ayn Rand’s writings until someone informed him that Ayn Rand was an avowed atheist – perhaps a reflection on Mr. Ryan’s reading comprehension. Mr. Ryan’s positions on social issues are squarely in the extreme right wing lunatic fringe domain. Apparently, Mr. Ryan’s support for individual freedom is limited to only those behaviors endorsed by the Catholic Church. Paul Ryan has opposed abortion even in the case of rape or incest and voted to defund women’s health and family planning programs. The personhood amendment which he cosponsored would ban all abortion and many forms of contraception. He has supported constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, voted against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – the law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military, and voted to ban gay adoption in Washington DC.
Finally, Todd Akin the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri told reporters that in cases of "legitimate rape" women almost never get pregnant because a woman’s body can "shut down" a pregnancy in the case of rape. These words come from the mouth of a man who sits on the Science and Technology Committee of the US House of Representatives!
The summer hiatus has seen the triumph of bizarre doctrine over evidence and rationality. I guess I need to restart my posts.