Sunday, November 4, 2012

True Gentleman vs. Uncouth Ruffian: Scarborough and Silver

As the election approaches, it is easy to lose sight of the higher principles of gentlemanly discourse amid the heat and noise of the campaign. It's been tempting for certain individuals to attempt to dominate the public's attention and influence their expectations for the election using the blunt instruments of statistical analysis, evidence, and predictive modeling. Such individuals commit the most egregious offenses against decorum when they use these tools of impertinence to suggest that the election may not, in fact, be a contest of chance, and that one candidate may be predicted with high confidence to emerge victorious.

Nate Silver is the worst of these offenders, with his command of the devil's own mathematics.

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Not only does Silver make others feel foolish and publicly challenge their wisdom and undermine their authority, his predictive methods threaten to destroy the economy as well. If Silver's polls are to be believed (and, dear readers, you may be assured that they are not), then the worthy gentlemen of industry and finance who have exercised their constitutional rights to free speech by the expenditure of money, and the helpful gentlemen of politics who have offered to help manage those funds (for reasonable fees), are all wasting their time and money. Following Nate Silver and his math would throw Karl Rove out of a job. Will no one think of Karl Rove?

Thankfully, True Gentlemen like Joe Scarborough are on alert to preserve the higher truth of the campaign beyond the reach of evidence or arithmetic. It's a tossup, and no amount of applied intellect can demonstrate otherwise.

While Scarborough will certainly be proven correct in his judgment, he was far too polite to accept Silver's boastful proposal of a wager on the subject, reinforcing his credentials as a True Gentleman. And, while I would never stoop to repeat gossip, Joe apparently knows how to treat a lady. Kudos to you, Joe Scarborough. Keep up the good work.

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