Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nonsense Won Back Then Too

Roderick T. Long argues about qualifications re: McCain:

Thomas Jefferson once silenced a proponent of hereditary monarchy by suggesting that the professorship of mathematics might also be made hereditary. Ah, why not make military service the basis for the professorship of mathematics too?

Great argument against John McCain. Nonsensical argument against hereditary monarchy. First, Jefferson was arguing about elections vs. the hereditary right to the office, not the hereditary right vs. meritocracy (one hopes meritocracy still exists in math departments). Second, Jefferson's argument implicitly assumes a king is someone who must do but, in fact, a king is mostly about being.

It's quite an active sort of being, but it's quite unlike doing math, and in either case, elections bring us the worst sort of candidates and the worst sort of math.

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