Friday, October 26, 2012

Richard Mourdock and Theodicy

Theodicy is a word first used by Liebnez in the 18th Century.   It is the attempt of human beings to reconcile the idea of an all powerful God who is also infinitely good with the reality of evil in the universe.    The attempt to do that long predates Liebniz, of course.  It is famously addressed, and most satisfactorily in my opinion, in the Book of Job.  Of course, there is no real conclusion there.  For those whose recollection of Bible stories is misty.  Job was a good man and a servant of God.  The provocateur challenges God suggesting that Job is good  and a believer only because  he is wealthy not only in material things but in family.  So God allows the provacateur to strip Job of everything, even his health, but Job still believes and still loves God.  When Job seeks an explanation, God shows him the universe.  And Job's heart is satisfied.  And, P. S., God gives him back a lot of material things so its not so bad after all.

My point in referring to the Job story is to let you know that the effort to reconcile the idea of a God who is all powerful and all loving with the evil in the world has been going on for a long time.

Some part of the answer has to do with the idea of free will.  God did not want a bunch of automatoms that he would completely control.  He wanted independent beings  who freely choose him.  Augustine and Aquinas discuss the interplay of free will and evil at length.  They regard evil not as a separate force but as a rebellion against God.

So what does this have to do with Richard Mourdock.  Well, it has a lot to do with his statement about abortion.  To say that  God intended life does not mean God intended rape.  God allows but does not cause evil.  The rapist is violating God's law.  But something beautiful can, nevertheless, result.  That is what Mourdock was trying to say.

It is like the story of Joseph.  Joseph, you may remember, was the favorite son of Jacob, one of the great patriarchs of the Bible.  His brothers became so jealous of him that they conspired to kill him and then decided to relent and sell him into slavery.  So he is taken to Egypt where he becomes very successful and the right hand man to the pharaoh.  He is so wise that when famine comes, Egypt has plenty of food.  Not knowing that he is still alive, his brothers are dispatched by their father to Egypt to buy grain so that Israel can survive.  After they buy the grain they are made aware that this guy selling them the grain is the brother they sold into slavery and fearing they might get from him what they deserve they are trembling.  But Joseph tells them not to be afraid.  He says to them, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.  The moral of the story is not that God caused the evil but that he redeemed it.  He made something bad turn into something good.

Just so, something that was evil, a rape, may be turned into something good when a beautiful baby is born.  The baby is an innocent life.  The fact is that many women who have been raped and become pregnant not only choose to carry to term, but raise their babies.  Here is a thoughtful discussion by a child born of rape.  I hope you will read it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Recommendations on California's Propositions

These are my recommendations on California Propositions:  You can go get all the basic information on them at 

Proposition 30.My recommendation: No  (more taxes to Sacramento).  

Ignore all the flim flam.  Whenever we give Sacramento more money they use it to come up with new expensive projects like the so-called High Speed passenger rail between Madera and Bakersfield which is projected to cost 4 Billion dollars.

Proposition 31: My recommendation: NO

This proposition is an attempt to return power to the local level by returning money to the local level. Under certain circumstaces, money collected by the state must be sent to local governments to allow them to administer state programs.  Generally, I am in favor of the idea, but the devil is in the details.  As I read it is complicated and will result in lots of lawsuits and litigation over whether the details have been followed.  While I like the idea, I am generally opposed to complicated schemes and when in doubt I vote No.  So here it’s too complicated and seems to be an excuse for lawsuits.  So, I will vote no.

Proposition 32:  My recommendation : Yes

This proposition prohibits direct political spending by both Corporations and Unions.  It also limits the ability of public employees unions to collect dues from public employees without their consent and it requires them to obtain the consent of employees to the deduction annually.   Under present law, if the majority of employees voted for a union 30 years ago, all have to pay dues of as much $700 or $800 a year.  Public employee unions in California are the are one of the  biggest interest groups contributing to poltiical campaigns in California elections.  I am frankly uncomforatable with any prohibition on political spending but I am more distressed that public employee unions have, through the use of mandatory dues checkoff, become the single most powerful political group in California.  They elect their bosses and then negotiate sweetheart deals that leave other taxpayers  on the hook for pensions and health benefits that far exceed what is available in the private sector.  

I was a charter member of SEIU local 535, at the time a Social Worker’s Union.    At the time I believed that Unions were necessary for public employees.  But over time, the unions  have become professionalized institutions in which the union reps are paid far more than the rank and file and where contracts are negotiated that public entities cannot afford by threatening action at the ballot box.  California is nearly broke.  We can’t afford a system that pays police officers in some cities more than a hundred thousand a year when the average worker in California makes around $45,000 a year.  

Contrary to what the ads on TV say, there are no exemptions in the Act.  It applies only to state elections but it applies to all corporations and all unions.  If we are going to balance the state’s budget, we need to break the stranglehold the unions have on too many state elected officials.  

Proposition 33  My Recommmendation: yes

What you have to understand about this proposition is that insurance rates and the way in which they are set is highly regulated in California, as it is in most states.  One of the great concerns of any state in doing this is to make sure that insurance companies remain sufficiently solvent that they can pay claims.

This proposition allows auto insurance companies to offer you a discount if you had auto insurance with a different insurance company. Insurance companies are currently allowed to give you a long term discount if you have been with them for a long time.This proposition would allow them to offer you a discount for having had insurance with another carrier. I plan to vote for it because it increases competition in a responsible way allowing other auto insurers to compete for your premium dollars in a responsible way.

Proposition 34:  My recommendation: no

This proposition would do away with the death penalty.  I don’t think society will fall apart if the death penalty is eliminated but, on balance, I think it needs to be on the table as an option especially in dealing with career criminals who have already been sentenced to life in prison.  There needs to be something further for them to lose to allow some measure of control over them.  I don’t have strong feelings, but the balance is tipped toward No.

Proposition 35:  My recommendation: No

The intent of this law is to give law enforcement more tools to combat human sexual trafficking.  I am all in favor of preventing human sexual trafficking but the text of the law makes me really uncomfortable.  It reads too much like I can’t define human sexual trafficking but I can tell it when I can see it law.  As a lawyer that makes me uncomfortable.  When someone’s liberty is at stake, i. E. The person accused of trafficking,  I tend to like statutes that are well defined so that even minimally intelligent people know when they are violating the law.  This one leaves me too uncomfortable in that respect, so, a no.

Proposition 36:  My recommendation:  yes

This act amends the Three strikes law.  When I voted for the three strikes law, I was troubled that the “strikes”, i. E. Criminal convictions did not have to be violent or serious felonies.  But on balance, the tendency of too many courts to allow repeat felons out on the streets to prey on society was so great that I voted for what I thought was an imperfect law.   This act fixes that problem. The final strike ( i.e. The third conviction) has to be a serious or violent crime.  No law is ever perfect, but I think, on balance, the reason for a three strikes law is to keep people who present a threat to the physical safety and possessions of others.  There is a listing of serious crimes and I think it is sufficient to assure that most repeat felons who pose a danger to others will be behind bars.  At the same time, those who have poor impulse control but have no tendency to really harm others will not.  I am sure there will be some people who will get out that I won’t be happy about and others who are not dangerous in my opinion will be kept behind bars.  It is a human system and perfection eludes us.  But I think this makes the law more focussed. So I will vote yes.

Proposition 37: My recommendation: NO

This is the proposition that would require the labeling of genetically modified food.  Whatever that means.  This is a boondoggle which will primarily benefit a small group of litigation attorneys who    specialize in filing consumer lawsuits often raising issues that don’t affect anyone or cause any harms.  It will cost businesses billions of dollars in compliance and lawsuit defense costs and not provide any real benefit.  It’s a boondoggle for the benefit of litigation attorneys.  I’m voting No.

Proposition 38: My recommendation : No.

This is another tax increase proposition that has lots of potential for driving more businesses and rich people out of California and will have no long lasting benefit for California.  We don’t need more tax revenue in this state.  We need fewer legislators willing to vote 4 billion dollars for a railroad to nowhere.  We need to cut out fat subsidies for the friends of Jerry Brown and the state legislators  Then we can balance our budget.

Proposition 39: My recommendation : No

This proposition attempts to increase corporate income taxes by eliminating one of the options they now have for calculating what percentage of their profits comes from California.  AT present they have two options and can choose the one that benefits them.  This proposition takes away one of the options.  It promises to fund “green energy” projects with the increased money.  Woohoo.  More Solyndras.  NO. NO NO.
We need to pay off our debts and balance our budget.  This is another boondoggle that spends money we don’t have while we drive more businesses out of the state.

Proposition 40:  My recommendation: a reluctant Yes

I have looked at the proposition. What it will do is clear.  It has to do with redistricting.  I do not buy for one minute that the Citizen’s Commission is apolitical.  I applied to be on it and discovered that the vast majority of ordinary people where held not to be qualified.  Hey dude, I have been practicing law for more than 30 years and I am not qualified to sit on a commission that draws redistricting lines?  No, this was a cover to appoint their hand picked ringers who are still political hacks.  Having said that, I think this requires a different political solution like getting rid of the Citizen’s commission altogether.  If a bunch of political hacks is going to decide our districts we might as well have them operating in the open and be labeled as such.  On the other hand, it saves a million dollars to vote yes.  I’m in favor of saving money, but I am not fooled.

Newsflash Dems: Equal Pay Has Been the Law for Almost 50 years.

The Prez is now going around suggesting that Romney is opposed to Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women.  He says Romney wouldn't sign an act requiring that.  So, I, as a woman will now say, unequivocally, neither would I if I were president.  For the very simple reason that there is and has been such a law on the books since 1963.  That will be 50 years come next year.  And, in fact, we also have Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which also prohibits, inter alia,  discrimination in pay not only for women but also based on race, religion, or  national origin . (Other laws address disability and age).  So when you have not only one but two laws on the books, why would you sign another one.

If you have been hearing about the Lily Ledbetter act and thinking that that act prohibited, for the first time, pay discrimination, let me give you a link and an education.   I have given you a very left wing link so that you cannot suspect that the link understates the importance of the act.  Some would argue that the act was unecessary because the Supreme Court specifically stated, in footnote 10 of its opinion that they were not addressing a situation in which the plaintiff did not discover the discrimination until after the statute for filing a claim would otherwise have passed, BECAUSE THE PLAINTIFF ( I. E. LEDBETTER) NEVER RAISED THAT ISSUE IN HER ARGUMENT.   In other words, Ms. Ledbetter never told the U. S. Supreme Court what she told the Democratic Convention, which is that she didn't know about the discrimination until a long time after it happened.  Those same people would argue that the reason she didn't raise the issue is that she testified at her deposition that she did know about it.

So, I have already gotten too deep into the weeds here.  Because my real point is that the Democratic party has been running on the equal pay for equal work plank for all of my adult life and all of my adult life (I turned 21 in 1964) it has been illegal to discriminate against women in pay.  This is like running on a promise to ban drunk driving.  Dude.  It's already against the law.

Which leads to the really important question that no one ever asks Mr. Obama.  Given that discrimination is already illegal, what have you done to enforce the law?  Um, based on the statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the answer is less than his predecessor in office.  Yep. More litigation was filed by the EEOC when George Bush was Prez than under Obama.  I am not making this up.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the entity that has responsibility for enforcing the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1965.  It is the place to look to find out if the government is actually serious about enforcing this law.

In the first three years of the Bush administration, 1220 lawsuits were filed by the EEOC.  In the first three years of the Obama administration, 885 discrimination lawsuits were filed.  I used the first three years because that is the time period for which statistics are available for the Obama administration.  These are lawsuits filed on any statute which the EEOC enforces so they include lawsuits alleging only race or national origin discrimination as well sex discrimination lawsuits.  Go ahead and look at the statistics.  The summary of the statistics is this-- he talks a good game but he doesn't deliver.  He promised you everything and you didn't even get Arpege.  (You have to be over 40 to recognize that joke)

Here is the most interesting statistic if we are talking about the Lily Ledbetter Act.  Only 6 of the lawsuits filed by the Obama administration were filed under the Equal Pay Act.  6.  That's not 6 a year.  That's 6 in three years.  And, the lack of litigation does NOT reflect an improvement in the discrimination situation, not, at least, if you consider the number of charges filed to be an indicator of how much discrimination is going on.  There were more charges ( i. e. claims of discrimination) filed in the first three years of the Obama administration than in the first three years of the Bush administration. In the first three years of the Obama administration 2905 Equal Pay Act charges were filed.  Yet only 6 lawsuits were filed.

Yeah, Ms. Ledbetter, Obama really cares about the issue of equal pay for equal work.  That awful Bush guy filed   38 Equal Pay Act lawsuits  in the first three years of his Administration. That's more than six times as many.  If you measure who cares by how much they do to actually change the situation, Republicans care more about women's rights, by far, than Democrats do.

And for those who have read some of my other posts, I first learned that when I worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  The Democrats thought it was a place to collect a government paycheck.  When the Republicans were elected, they thought all those EEOC employees should be spending their days enforcing the law.  And they demanded production of ummm lawsuits that actually benefited people who were discriminated against.

So the point is Mr. Obama, that  you talk loudly, but you carry a very little stick.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Capitalism and the Self Made Man

So, we are now getting back to all the attacks on the self made man idea.  The attacks are just a softer version of "you didn't build that".  And, really, the discussion is maddeningly stupid.  Why?  Because the statements are all so vague and lacking in definition of terms that people are constantly talking past each other.  Let me explain what I mean.

Each one of us came into this world naked and helpless.  There is no other way to come into this world.  Each one of us was taken care of by someone, usually but not always our parents or other relatives until we could talk, walk, eat on our own.  No one who is a conservative contends that life is any different than that.

Each one of us was supported as a child by a network of adults and other kids.  We are social animals.  We were not raised by wolves in the forest.  And even wolves in the forest are social animals.  No one denies this.

And this is why the current political discussion has become so stupid.  Because the dispute between the right and the left is not about whether there is a social network and whether that social network is necessary for human development.  The dispute is about the appropriate and effective role of government in fostering, changing and affecting the social network.

Government is, of course, part of our social network.  What distinguishes it from many other parts of our network is that the majority of us have agreed to give what we call the government the right to coerce otheres, including ourselves through use of force, through imprisonment and through less physically forceful means like taxation and penalties and other physical restrictions which are, ultimately, backed up by the right we have given the government to literally put a gun to our head if we don't comply with its demands.

The near monopoly of the government on the right to use physical force to achieve its ends makes it different from every other part of our present social network here in the United States.  There are parts of the world still in which the ability of a tribe to simply shun one member is a force majeur because the environment is so hostile that the help of the tribe is needed to simply survive.  That is much less true here in the United States.  Here we have lots of loose tribes and families such that we can reach out and create our own circles of support through friendships and all the ways that people have traditionally been able to create functioning supportive groups.

We have churches and rotary clubs and hiking clubs and small businesses and large businesses and all of these are voluntary associations.  Heck, once you are an adult, your family is a voluntary association.

The question is what role should the government play in the social network.

So let's get back to the self made man.  I am not a fan of Ayn Rand and have never read more than a few snippets of her works and seen a few scenes from her movies.  So I can't really describe what she means by self made man, but I suspect, given the context of her writing, that she is talking about a man who created his own social networks to help him accomplish his goals without the help of a patron or sponsor or family wealth and connections or special government favors.

So, for example, it would be a person who wanted to build a building and went out and borrowed money from people in exchange for promises to repay and hired people who worked for him in exchange for his promises to pay them and purchased materials from others and so on.  Of course we need a social network to build a building.  No conservative would argue otherwise.  And most conservatives, pace Ayn Rand, think that the government should have some role in approving the plans to make sure that the building won't collapse on innocent people who enter it.

But conservatives think that role of government should be fairly limited.  Yeah, we need a building and safety department but its role should be limited to assuring that the building is structurally sound, it shouldn't be deciding if we need a building or what color it should be painted.  And it certainly shouldn't be taking taxpayer dollars to invest in a building intended for private use just because government bureacrats like the design.

I could go into a lot of detail about government's proper role, but suffice it to say at this point that there are certain enterprises like building airplanes and building buildings where the safety issues are sufficiently serious and where it is not cost effective for ordinary consumers to explore those safety issues on their own ( note that I did NOT say that they are not smart enough to do it, its just that they don't have the time and money to check out the safety of every building they enter or every plane they fly on.)  such that the most practical way to assure the safety of everyone is for the government to do it. Having said that I would point out that Consumer Reports and Underwriter's Laboratory are just two of the venerable institutions in our society  upon whom people rely to make recommendations about safety issues and that both are private enterprises.  The libertarians argue that if we did not have a government department of building and safety or an FAA some private organization would spring up to do the job and they may be correct.

So one liners like "you didn't build that" and descriptions like "self made man" simply don't capture what the real debate is.  If we want a debate that produces agreement and policy and is productive of positive change, then we need to talk about the real issue which is the appropriate role of government.  Conservatives believe that government should have a very small role in our social networks and that we should be free to make our own choices to a great extent.

Government certainly has a role in enforcing the rules.  One of the great strengths of our social structure is that we have a government that enforces the business like promises that people make to each other, or  as lawyers call it, the law of contracts.   We have laws that make people pay when they are negligent and cause physical harm to others and conservatives are somewhat in favor of that.  They think that the definition of negligence has slipped way too far and that businesses are being made to pay for harm that they did not really cause, but they do not want to do away with the tort system altogether.

Conservatives believe we need traffic laws and criminal laws and that people need to be able to feel physically safe and protected from other people who would physically attack them or steal their property.

And the devil, as people like to say, is in the details.  Generalizations deteriorate into meaningless slogans.  Conservatives are not opposed to the idea of taxes, for example, but they are opposed to taxes that are so high that they rob people of any incentive to work.  So it is silly to keep speaking in generalities.  Arthur Laffer, for example, believes that a tax rate over 30% tends to dissuade people from working and investing.  It is much more reasonable to look at the evidence of whether he is correct than to talk in generalities about tax rates.

Talking in generalities is like arguing about whether medicine as an idea is good. It's a silly discussion.  It makes a good deal more sense to talk about whether Cipro is the right medicine for a kidney infection.  That is a discussion worth having with someone.  People can actually learn from that discussion.

So the offensiveness of the "you didn't build that" statement coming from Obama is not that it recognizes that all of us are social creatures and benefit or are hurt by the social milieu in which we live and try to grow but in failing to recognize the importance of individual effort in realizing individual achievement.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Planned Parenthood Does Not Perform Mammograms

One of the repeated claims made by supporters of Planned Parenthood is that it performs Mammograms.  Either this claim is false or it is doing so illegally. All facilities that perform mammograms are required to have a certificate from the Department of Health and Human Services.  In response to a request from the Alliance Defense fund, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that no Planned Parenthood clinic has a certificate to perform mammograms.  None, Zilch nada.  Read it for yourself.  Obama's statement that women are relying on Planned Parenthood for mammograms is either a lie or a negligent statement based on a failure to do even a minimal investigation of a program that receives hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money.

The Foia request was filed because of an undercover investigation in which more than 30 planned parenthood clinics were asked if they performed mammograms and all said no.  Wanting to find the clinics that did provide mammograms, the Alliance Defense Fund sent in a FOIA request.  The answer is, clearly, that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms.

The President made a false statement during the debate about this issue.  It is part of the new Obama war on truth.  It is time to call him on his lies.

Paul Ryan's Missing Children

The left has another lunatic  story that is making the rounds.  It started out on a so-called reality check website, and has been picked up by Daily Kos.  The claim is that Paul Ryan and his wife are lying about using contraception because they have only three children.   The story is so crazy that it is worth studying because it is an excellent example of the self created plastic bubble in which the left lives.   Some leftwing idiot starts pondering some aspect of a conservative politician's life and then piles assumption upon inference upon invention to create "proof" of some evil hypocrisy or lie in the conservative's life.  This piling on of unfounded inferences and imaginations is referred to by the left as "logic" and "reason".  In truth, it rather closely resembles the fantasies of schizophrenics.  Remember "A Beautiful Mind" and the room where Nash had posted magazine and newspaper articles connecting disparate events to find conspiracies that didn't exist?  Yeah.  Something like that.

Anyhoo, the new meme, based on faulty science, is that Paul Ryan and his wife would have many more children if they did not use any birth control.  There's a whole long list of supposed facts that are simply not true.   So, claims the left,  there are "missing" children and Paul Ryan is using birth control, and not just a condom, but some of the kinds of birth control that he wants to ban.

As usual, the argument is based on nonsense.  First of all Catholics advocate and are permitted to use natural methods of birth control based on a abstaining from sex during a woman's fertile period. Natural family planning is a method that is also used by people who don't want to take a lot of hormones.  In 2007 a study was performed of couples who use this  particular method based on temperature and cervical secretions to determine fertility.   Guess what?  It turns out that for couples who actually follow the method, this type of natural birth control is as effective as the pill.  OOPS.  So it is entirely possible that Paul Ryan and his wife are in complete compliance (or as complete as any of us sinners can be) with the dictates of their faith regarding birth control.

The article also argues that because some of Mitt Romney's grandchildren were conceived through in vitro fertilization, he has somehow violated his  expressed statements that life starts at conception.  I'm really not seeing this one.  First, Mitt Romney has never opposed in vitro fertilization.  Second, the embryos created by this method are implanted in the uterus.  As happens in nature, such embryos do not always successfully implant.  That doesn't mean they have been "killed".

No wonder fewer and fewer people want to have anything to do with these crazy people, by which I mean the far left.  They sound more and more like borderline schizophrenics.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Reversing Economic Decline:The Biggest Reason to Vote for Romney

Mort Zuckerman, over at U. S. News and World Report, sets forth in detail the depth of the problems in our economy.  He concludes "A job is the most important family program, the most important social program, and the most important economic program in America. The unemployment and income statistics are intolerable for a compassionate and wealthy nation.".  Romney says he will produce 12 million new jobs.    It's fair enough to question how he will do that.  The answer is that he will scale back regulation, keeping what is reasonable, ditching what is unreasonable.  Will he do that job perfectly, probably not, but I am pretty sure he will solicit information from businesses as to what they need and then will figure out where they are right and where they are pushing back too hard. 

The truth is, as I said when I opposed him for the Republican nomination, Romney is a moderate.  He will, most likely stay toward the center.  He will most likely get rid of the most onerous and stupid regulations and leave the rest alone.

He will try to scale back the corporate income tax.  He will try to expedite development and permits.  He will try to recapture the Keystone Pipeline and will expedite other pending permits.  Oil prices will drop in anticipation.  

But perhaps the most important thing he will accomplish will happen when the polls close and Romney wins, if he wins.  That is that business owners and venture capitalists will heave a great sigh of relief, and, believing that NOW they will be dealing with a guy who isn't out to put them out of business, will get back to the creative role of business, creating new services and new products.  They will feel freer to invest and that will mean more jobs.  And the rising tide of jobs and falling energy prices will ease the economic pressures and the economy will begin to grow again.

That's why I'm voting for Mitt Romney.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Medicare's Administrative Costs Are Higher Not Lower Than Private Insurance

The Heritage Foundation has already dissected the long time chestnut that administrative costs are higher in private insurance than Medicare.  The answer you get as to higher or lower depends on how you calculate it.  One way is to look at the per patient cost.  Measured that way, administrative costs for Medicare are far higher than private insurance.  Another way is to measure administrative costs as a percentage of total expenditures.  By that measure Medicare administrative costs are lower.

As the Heritage author notes, when you use the latter measure you are comparing apples and oranges and this is the reason why.

Medicare only insures people who are elderly or have been determined to be long term disabled.  Thus, these are people who are significantly likely to be more sick and have more serious illnesses than the public at large.

So let me give you an example of how this impacts measuring administrative costs.  I used to work for CIGNA, a company that processes a lot of medical claims.  They pay claims reps to process these claims and the claims rep is expected to process X amount of claims per hour.  Here is the thing.  It costs the company exactly the same amount of money to process a claim for $100.00 as to process a claim for $1000.00  Very complex medical claims may take extra time.

There is almost no insurance available for persons over 65 that is not a Medicare supplement.  That is, you have to be a Medicare participant to get the insurance.  Thus it is simply impossible to make an apples to apples comparison of Medicare administrative costs vs. Private insurance.  On a per patient basis Medicare administrative costs are higher than Private Insurance, but that is also not a fair comparison.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Flash News: Academics Discriminate Against Conservatives.

Years ago, I was discussing the three strikes initiative with a co-worker.  After explaining to her in detail why I was voting for it, she protested "but all the smart people are voting against it.".  I asked her if she thought I was smart.  Knowing, as she did, that I graduated in the top 10 percent of my class from USC law school, she said "Yes."  She feebly replied that all the OTHER smart people she knew were voting against it.  The idea that liberals have that they are smarter than conservatives and that their expression of liberal views is proof of their intelligence often causes them to blithely and with great self satisfaction, discriminate against conservatives.  Someone finally did a study that supports this from the mouths of the liberals who discriminate.

What is disturbing about this study is that the liberals who discriminate really regard conservatism as proof that the holder of the views is not as intelligent as they are.  They preen themselves with the proof  of their intelligence manifested in their liberal, sometimes anti-God views.  The atheist society, for example, want to be called the "brights".  By calling themselves that they are literally defining disbelief in God as the definition of intelligence.  Incredible.  If you are one of those who agrees with that point of view.  Here is my question for you Do you think that someone who teaches elemenatary particle physics at Cambridge University in England is probably very, very, intelligent?
If so, I can disprove your hypothesis that atheism means you are smart and belief in God means you are done with just one example:  John Polkinghorne.

Of course, there are so many very erudite people who write and lecture on the conservative side that I don't think it really possible of necessary to list them all.  But let me ask you if you think like some academics that being conservative means you are stupid, do you really think you are smarter than William F. Buckley?  Really?