Irrational Thought

Posted: June 14, 2009 in Politics
Tags: , , ,

A recent poll shows that Americans are evenly split on the issue of closing Guantanamo Bay.  One of the lines of reasoning that seems to be driving the support for not closing the prison is the irrational idea that moving those prisoners here will somehow put Americans at more risk.  Um, what?

While there is no denying that the guys housed at Guantanamo are dangerous people, there is no reason to think that those guys are any more dangerous than any of the people we already house in American prisons.  It’s not like these guys are super villians, members of the Evil League of Evil.  I guarantee out of all the people at Guantanamo Bay, exactly none of them is Bad Horse.  So why are we so much more worried about these guys than we are about our very own home-grown American criminal?

Granted, media-hype and talk radio drives a lot of this irrational thought.  And politicians.  But this kind of “logic” does seem to reasonate among enough of the public to make a difference.  But when it comes to media, talk radio, and politicians, it really doesn’t come down to logic at all.  The media pushes it because it makes for good TV.  Talk radio pushes it because they have their agenda (and it makes for good radio, as they are ultimately in the entertainment arena as well).  And politicians do not push this because of their concern for the public but rather because of their concern for their own political careers.  You see, no matter how low the risk, if one of these guys were to escape from prison and actually do something, it would be over for any politician who supported the closing and allowed one of these guys to be placed in a prison in their district.  And any such risk, no matter how minute, is just not a risk worth taking to most policitians.  Oh well, at this point I pretty much assume that politicians will set policy based on cowardice and selfishness, not principle.

Unfortunately it is irrational thought that often drives our actions as a country.  It’s why we start closing schools left and right for swine flu (or bird flu or mad cow disease or whatever is the thing that will kill us all this week.) which has killed only a handful of people in this country, while hundreds will die from the ordinary strains of the flu.  It’s why we have started two wars, created a new department of government, in some cases have irrational fears of Muslim people, etc. as a result of the events of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people.  While there is no mistaking the evil of that event, by comparison we should keep in mind that somewhere between 16,000 and 17,000 people will be murdered this year, almost all of which will be committed by other Americans.  It is why that there are some that will refuse to wear seatbelts because there might be 1 in 100 people in which having a seatbelt on contributed to their deaths, ignoring the other 99 who were saved by wearing their seatbelts.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Our actions and our policies should be driven by rational thought, not by irrational fear and not by myths.  At least that’s the way things will be once my Evil League of Evil takes things over and I rule the world!



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