Lessons from Professor Higgins

One of my favorite musicals of all time is My Fair Lady.  And one of my favorite songs on the show is Rex Harrison's "Why Can't a Woman be More Like a Man?".  Now, having said that, I don't want to be seen as a misogynist.  From what I have seen, women have their own strengths.  There are skills that men have and other skills that women have, and I think that each should employ those skills however they can or wish to do.  Anyone who knew how I treated my dear Karen knows that I am not misogynistic.  For those who are unfamiliar with the musical, here is the song in question.

The part that I'd like to discuss for this post is found around timestamp 4:10 or so.  I'll transcribe it here.
Why is thinking something women never do?
Why is logic never even tried?
Straightening up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside?
Of course, the irony is in the fact that for the remainder of the musical, Higgins doesn't really do one logical thing.  Anyway, from what I have seen in my own life, it's not women, but people in general that don't use logic.  Perhaps an argument could be made that men are more logical and women are more emotional.  However, from what I have seen people are just, in general, apathetic.  Thinking is something that people rarely do.  A majority of people really are more worried about "straightening up their hair" (ie, taking time to make themselves look nice) than about sorting out all of their own opinions and beliefs.

As political campaigns come and go, I ask myself why people like Mitt Romney are "electable" and people like Ron Paul are "unelectable".  I don't mean to single out these two candidates in particular, just to use them as types for two different kinds of politicians: those who flip-flop frequently and those who are consistent.  Mitt Romney is a politician in every sense of the word.  He's always ready to tell the people he's talking to at the moment what they want to hear.  If he has any values or opinions of his own, he keeps them well-hidden.  Yes, he's technically Mormon, but when he's pressed about it he won't respond in any real way at all.  What is it about this that makes him electable?  Is it that people enjoy being lied to?  Is it that they just hope so hard that what he says to them is true that they believe it and want to vote for him?  That certainly seems to be the case with Obama, and many people who voted for him later reported regretting it, since he hasn't brought about the "change" that he so strongly promised during his campaign.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, actually has opinions and beliefs.  He stands for something.  And he has been consistent in those beliefs for decades.  He's been elected to congress 10 or 11 times, so he's obviously electable.  So, why do people say he's not electable as president?  Because he's unwilling to "compromise"?  I would much rather have a politician that was predictable than one who would flit about with whim and with whatever he felt was the popular or politically correct thing to do at the moment.  Ron Paul might have opinions different from yours, but at least you know what they are and you know he's not going to change his position every five minutes.

So, again, I ask why is it that someone who's predictable has "no chance" of winning and someone who's completely arbitrary and does what he thinks will win him the most votes is "electable"?  One answer I would propose for this question is that people just don't want to bother looking something up and researching it.  They don't want to check out Mitt Romney's claims and statements and see if that's what he's done and said in the past.  They don't want to take the time to see what he really believes.  We're in an instant gratification society.  People want to turn on the TV to be entertained and updated on the news. They don't want to be bothered with actual details and facts.

I recently posted something on my wall with a calculus expression in it.  One of my cousins said "It's things like this that make me not want to learn anymore."  I was floored.  Nothing personal against that cousin, in fact I have found this to be a very common reaction among people in general.  When someone comes across something that makes them think one of the first reactions is to avoid it at all costs.  Why is thinking something people never do?  Is it really so hard to go back and look at someone's political history and see what they've done with their past, then use that information to determine whether there's any credibility to what they're currently saying?

As you know, I've condemned arguments against gay marriage many times for being illogical.  This is another example of where people don't bother to try logic and use the power of reason.  One of my favorite tactics that I've seen used all over the political sphere is to accuse "the other guy" of what one is oneself guilty of.  For example, all the time my dad tells me about how liberals do this that, and the other and the whole time I'm just thinking "Conservatives do that too, dad."  But, in the context of gay marriage, the accusation is actually laughable.  Religious people claim that gay rights activists want to take away religious freedom and tell religious people what to do with their life.  I would like to know how this is ever accepted as reason.  How is pushing for the right to marry someone of the same sex have anything to do with religion?  How would such legalization infringe on anyone's right to worship as they choose?  And how is that telling anyone how they should live their life?  Quite to the contrary, it is opponents of gay marriage that want to tell me how to live my life by telling me that I can't marry the man I want to marry.  They want to take away my freedom.  Me being married to Conrad is no threat to any religion nor to anyone's right to worship as they choose.  The two of us married together will not close down any churches or stop any worship services.  We won't make people marry someone of the same sex if they don't want to.  I mean, honestly, this is one of the rare cases where the person making the accusation is the one guilty and the one being accused is entirely innocent.  (Usually, from what I've seen in the political sphere, both accuser and the accused are simultaneously guilty, and often they each accuse the other.)

A few times now I've stressed the importance of thinking for yourself.  It's actually quite frustrating to me when I see people who don't care about finding out what's true and what's false, people who just believe the first answer that comes along, or the one that fits into their own world view, or the easiest answer, or the most convenient.  Truth is rarely easy, nor convenient, nor does it always fit into our own world view.  Sometimes the truth is hard to accept, sometimes it takes an open mind--requiring you to actually think outside of the box of your own world view.

So, while I'll keep searching for answers to my questions, such as the one concerning flippy-floppy candidates versus consistent candidates, I do believe I have at least one plausible answer for that question. People just want what's easy, and believing the words coming out of the mouth of the man talking to you at the moment is easier than trying to decide whether he really means them, actually researching out all of the candidates and what they have done with their past.  Trying to figure out which candidate best aligns with your own views is difficult, and so that path isn't often tried.  But, watching the TV and deciding which one tells you the things you want to hear most is easy, so that's what people resort to.  It's sad, really.