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The Ancient Greeks invented democracy, but also recognized the stone in its shoe. They spoke of the Cretan who declared that all Cretans are liars. This simple declaration, Bertrand Russell later noticed, could undermine the entire structure of reason the old Greeks passed down to us.

This year, we have a Cretan claiming to run for President. The NYTimes reports on his long history of defending his public statements as "puffery", common commercial bluster: lies. He refers to his opponents as liars, which given that he's a Cretan, must mean that his statement, properly interpreted, insists that his opponents are most certainly 'not liars.’ The Cretan collapses choice into a nearly indiscernible mess.
Russell laid awake nights fussing over this peculiar construction. The rest of us might find this no more than humorous word play without suspecting that much more than clever word play's involved. We find a Cretan caroming in our midst. We dare not interpret him as just another benign politician, for his very presence undermines reasonable consideration. He embodies chaos, not change.
All change rests upon the full, albeit temporary, acceptance of the way things are. The way things are doesn’t hardly qualify as nearly as dire as the Cretin insists they are, for he can’t seem to characterize anything as it is. He might claim to have a barber who shaves everyone in town who does not shave himself without mentioning who shaves the barber. The barber, like the Cretin, should not be taken seriously enough to warrant serious consideration.
Neither either nor nor, the Cretan never was a choice, but a paradox aching to undermine the very foundation of civil discourse. When facing such a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t Illusion of Choice, any reasonable person might simply reject the damning premise, especially if the one offering the choice turns out to be a self-proclaimed Cretin, whom we all should have already known was by nature a self-confirmed liar.
When asked who I will choose to vote for, I have a ready answer since only one candidate seems to be running for President this cycle, and it's certainly not the Cretan. The Cretan isn't a candidate because he cannot conform to the very structure within which any well-informed choice might get made.
A false choice shouldn't win anything more than rejection.

©2016 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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