Ignorance gets a bad rap. Augustine says ignorance isn't just a cause of sin, it's a sin itself - a sin of omission -- and he's right, of course. Still, we throw the word "stupid" around a lot, like it's a bad thing, especially when it comes to people like Arizona Congressman Trent Franks. And Augustine can say Trent Franks should do something about being ignorant, but it's easy for Augustine to say.
Trent Franks, the new face of American anti-abortion politics -- is a moron. In cultures less progressive than ours, Trent Franks would be chained up in the backyard, sifting cat shit out of sand. But, paradoxically -- and no one loves a paradox like God -- in the age of the internet, and of unlimited political fundraising and spending, Trent Franks' blatant, radiant ignorance isn't a handicap; it's a gift.
It's an invaluable tool for identifying the most gullible people, separating them from the regular dopes, and then separating them from their money.
He rakes the floor, gathers the wheat and burns the chaff.
Think about it:
Trent Franks is the least articulate person in Congress. He speaks and writes at a sixth-grade level. He is, in the kindest possible way to put things, a simpleton. He has a single year of post-high school education at a bible college he attended when he was 32. He is neither a doctor, nor a teacher, nor a soldier, nor a farmer, nor an engineer nor a job creator. He has expertise in nothing.
And yet he is the author of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act and cosponsor of the Life at Conception Act.
And he writes things like this on website:
For almost forty years, abortion on demand has placed over fifty million separate scars on America's soul. Each time after the death of their child, mothers were never quite the same.
How many mothers are having how many children in this story?
A nameless little baby died a tragic and lonely death, and all the gifts the child might have brought to humanity were lost forever. The United States Constitution guarantees to all the "right to life,"
He means the Declaration of Independence.
Human life commences with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent. Who else can state with exact certainty when a human life does or does not begin?
Who can state? You just did. You just stated it.
I believe that life begins at conception; that each life is given by our Creator. If all of this is true - and I believe with all my heart that it is - then our nation has engaged in the greatest genocide known to mankind on the history of this planet.
On? Okay, maybe it's a typo. But it's still awful. And you don't need "known to mankind" since, by definition, the only animal you can genocide is man. It's like saying "the greatest car accident known to cars."
So what kind of idiot would send Trent Franks a check for his thoughts on embryology?
The kind you want at the very top of your mailing list.
Because Trent Franks' position on abortion - on the medical and theological nature of life -- is like a Nigerian email scam; it's designed to look ridiculous to normal, thoughtful people, because it's not for normal, thoughtful people. It's designed so that it only appeals to people who really easy to con.
Last year a man named Cormac Herley at Microsoft Research wrote a paper called Why do Nigerian Scammers Say they are from Nigeria? His thesis was that the emails were absurd on purpose. Since the hard work for the con artist came after someone responded, they wanted to be certain they were only attracting Grade A rubes. The Glengarry leads, if you will.
Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess this quality to self-identify. An email with tales of fabulous amounts of money and West African corruption will strike all but the most gullible as bizarre. It will be recognized and ignored by anyone who has been using the Internet long enough to have seen it several times. It will be figured out by anyone savvy enough to use a search engine... It won't be pursued by anyone who consults sensible family or fiends... Those who remain are the scammers ideal targets.
The trick isn't just seducing your mark; it's also actively driving everyone else away by coming off as a clown.
Like when Trent Franks writes:
If all those in favor of abortion would simply imagine what the world would be like if they were not in existence, they might strongly reconsider their position on the issue.
He drops the mike, You try not to make eye contact with the other parents at the assembly.
... the unspeakable and far-reaching cost of diminished respect for innocent human life - born and unborn - now dawns in the hearts of more Americans than ever before. The winds of change have begun to blow, and there is brighter hope than ever for a day soon to come when the sunlight of life will break through the clouds and shine once again on the faces of America's children - even those in the womb-- the most innocent and helpless of all.
You see what I'm getting at, right? You have two choices. You either conclude Trent Franks is the greatest jackass known to mankind on the history of this planet, or you send the Republican Party all your money.
To help the wind part the clouds, as the cost dawns, through 50 million scars, so once again the innocent babies can get some sun. Just like it says in the Declaration of Constitution.
Send it c/o Nigeria.