My wife and I joke that our New Year's resolutions should be to work toward immigrating to France. We love the United States but this year has convinced us that we may not actually live in the United States.
The United States is a nation founded by thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson who used the Enlightenment principles of Locke and Voltaire to found the first modern Republic. These Enlightenment principles were the result of learned men observing how both superstition and baseless traditions repressed progress and freedom.
In the great Enlightenment Republic, we should see that people do not need to rely on traditions and kings to govern. The best of society should be elected to represent the people. These representatives should use logic, facts and reason to make laws and lead the nation.
Citizens in a Republic should obsess over the quality of their sources of news and information. I fear we do not live in the United States of America but instead we've all woken up in Absurdia.
For an economy to function, it needs a workforce educated specifically in the sciences. In Absurdia we ensure we don't have enough science and mathematics graduates because we tie scholarships to grade-point averages alone, not ability, interest or work ethic. It's more difficult to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the sciences than most fine arts and humanities.
Since education is expensive, students opt to get degrees where their scholarships would be guaranteed rather than risk losing their tuition assistance by attempting a more difficult science degree.
Furthermore, universities are encouraged to compete in a free market manner. A rigorous curriculum in all degree areas would run students off. Instead of competing through educational quality, Absurdian universities compete by having famous sports team and modern student centers.
Absurdia doesn't fund educating people based on their ability and willingness. Absurdian students take out loans. They use these to get degrees with which they can't find work. Absurdian taxpayers subsidize these loans which are destined to bust. Instead of accepting partial responsibility for subsidizing these loans in the first place and fixing the system, Absurdians blame the students and keep the system the same.
Absurdian politicians harm young students, too. Researchers have found Absurdian kids are eating too many carbohydrates. These foods have led to childhood obesity, increased rates of Type II diabetes and possibly hyperactivity. Politicians proposed laws to decrease the amount of sugars in school lunches in order to save on future health care costs.
However, in Absurdia, Republicans amended such suggestions so that potatoes would not be defined as starches and that tomato sauce on pizza qualified it as a vegetable. In Absurdia, potato chips are green veggies and pizza is salad.
In Absurdia pundits are marketed as news reporters. Absurdian pundits report things like, in 2010 only 5 percent of our gross domestic product was spent on the Department of Defense. These pundits rail against those who would cut defense to balance the budget. What they don't report is that 5 percent of GDP equaled 64 cents of every income tax dollar collected. In Absurdia, 64 is really 5.
Absurdians have forgotten that the self-employed landscaper, hairdresser, massage therapist, etc., is a job creator. Absurdians don't concern themselves with the tax rates of those job creators, or that a primary barrier to self employment and therefore job creation is a lack of health insurance. They believe the only real job creators worth protecting are those wealthy enough to invest in and create corporations.
These corporations then run local businesses under by selling artificially cheap goods made in countries lacking labor laws or meaningful environmental regulations.
Elsewhere, Christians crusade for education and justice. In Absurdia the most politically unified Christians are evangelicals. From this group, $27 million "in charity" was donated to build an "educational" Creation "Museum" to propagate unevidenced nonfacts.
In Absurdia's Republican primary, evangelical support has gone from a woman who repeated an unverified rumor that a vaccine caused mental retardation, to a man who called the BP oil spill an act of God, to a man of many possible infidelities and one wife, to a man of many infidelities and three wives.
Moral guidance, fit for Absurdia.
Brandon Givens is a Hall County resident and frequent columnist.