Quote of the day

“The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford, “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

Yudkowsky is writing about politics and democracy at the moment and I encourage all readers, if you can spare the time, to follow these posts closely. I quite think I’d rather you read his posts than mine these days, and I’m not sure dropping another three or four blogs to follow his posts is at all a bad trade-off.

I am finishing up on Douglas Adams now, and I remembered the bit above very well when I reread it. The quote is from Yudkowsky’s post Stop Voting for Nincompoops, and the rest of the post is very much quotable too. I will restrict myself to one more quote, from the conclusion:

If you vote for nincompoops, for whatever clever-sounding reason, don’t be surprised that out of 300 million people you get nincompoops in office.

The arguments are long, but the voting strategy they imply is simple: Stop trying to be clever, just don’t vote for nincompoops.


To boil it all down to an emotional argument that isn’t necessarily wrong:

Why drive out to your polling place and stand in line for half an hour or more – when your vote isn’t very likely to singlehandedly determine the Presidency – and then vote for someone you don’t even want?

January 3, 2008 Posted by | politics, Quotes/aphorisms, voting | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia facts of the day

i) In Saudi Arabia, for each earner there are 6 dependents.

ii) 6% of the workforce are women.

iii) It is estimated that almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

iv) More than half the country’s graduates are women.

v) There are very few things women are allowed to do without asking for male consent first. Women are not allowed to vote or hold political office in Saudi Arabia.

All facts are from Sharmeen Obaid’s documentary Women of the Holy Kingdom, a program sent on DR2 this evening.

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Geography, islam | Leave a comment