It amazes me that new articles and columns in high-class venues appear almost daily concerning what really ought to be a non-issue. Of course, I blame the Left for this. By maintaining preternaturally absurd positions, they force sensible writers to waste time and energy opposing their nonsense. Here is how a 15 August NY Times editorial begins:
Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania seems to assume that legislators have a high-minded public purpose for the laws they pass. That’s why, on Wednesday morning, he refused to grant an injunction to halt a Republican-backed voter ID law that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority state residents in November.
One thing you have to understand about leftists is that they regularly engage in semantic distortion: they will take a word that has an established meaning and misuse it for their ideological ends. 'Disenfranchise' is a case in point.
To disenfranchise is to deprive of a right, in particular, the right to vote. But only some people in a given geographical area have the right to vote. Felons and children do not have the right to vote, nor do non-citizens. You do not have the right to vote in a certain geographical area simply because you are a sentient being residing in that area. Otherwise, cats and dogs and children and felons and illegal aliens would have the right to vote. Now a requirement that one prove that one has the right to vote is not to be confused with a denial of the right to vote.
My right to vote is one thing, my ability to prove that I have the right another. If I cannot prove that I am who I claim to be on a given occasion, then I won't be able to exercise my right to vote on that occasion; but that is not to say that I have been disenfranchised. For I haven't be deprived of my right to vote; I have merely been prevented from exercising my right due to my inability to prove my identity.
That's one point. The author of the NYT editorial begins by egregiously misusing 'disenfranchise.' But note also the cynicism betrayed in the opening sentence. Third, we are asked to believe the unbelievable, that "hundreds of thousands of poor and minority state residents" will be 'disenfranchised' come November. Hundreds of thousands? Prove it! In Pennsylvania, photo ID is free. So even the 'poor' can afford it. Our editorial writer continues:
He wrote in his ruling that requiring a government-issued photo ID card to vote “is a reasonable, nondiscriminatory, nonsevere burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life,” as if voting were equivalent to buying a six-pack of beer or driving a car.
At this point I stopped reading. The writer is committing a grotesque straw man fallacy. No one claims that voting is "equivalent" -- whatever that is supposed to mean -- " to buying a six-pack of beer or driving a car." The point is that the photo ID requirement is a minimal one in that photo ID is necessary for all sorts of transactions in everyday life that ordinary people engage in. And again, in PA you can acquire this ID for free. Our idiot editorialist also seems not to realize this issue has nothing to do with driving a car. A photo ID is not the same as a driver's license. The latter is a species of the former as genus. You don't need to own a car, and you don't even need to have a driver's license.
Gen-Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980) are the cohort sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials. Now they have one of their own in contention for high office. And Paul Ryan, 42, is no slacker. Romney's pick of the man for VP was a brilliant stroke and may gin up support for the Republican ticket as Kirsten Powers argues.
She quoted a word I had never seen before, 'athazagoraphobia':
Generation X chronicler Jeff Gordiner, has written that Gen-Xers suffer from “athazagoraphobia”—“an abnormal and persistent fear of being forgotten or ignored.” Except it’s not really a phobia; it’s been reality for a long time. Maybe that is about to change.
Leo Mollica made a good objection to my earlier argument, an objection I need to sort out. I exist, but I might not have existed. How might a thin theorist translate this truth?
On the thin theory, my existence is my identity-with-something. It follows that my nonexistence is my diversity-from-everything, and my merely possible nonexistence is my diversity from everything in one or more merely possible worlds. But -- and this I take it is Leo's point -- I needn't exist in merely possible world w for it to be true in w that I am diverse from everything in w. So w is not a world in which I am self-diverse, but simply a world in which I am diverse from everything in w. Had w been actual, I would not have been self-diverse; I would not have existed at all, i.e., I would not have been identical to any of the things that would have existed had w been actual.
To put it another way, on the thin theory, my actual existence is my self-identity, my identity with me. Opposing this reduction of singular existence to self-identity, I argued that if my existence is my self-identity, then the possibility of my nonexistence is the possibility of my being self-diverse -- which is absurd. Mollica's rejoinder in effect was that my possible nonexistence is not my possible self-diversity, but my possible diversity from everything distinct from me.
I could respond by saying that this objection begs the question by assuming the thin theory. But then Mollica could say that I am begging the question against him. Let me try a different tack.
If I am diverse from everything in w, but I don't exist in w, then something must represent me there. For part of what makes w w is that it lacks me. It is essential to w that it not contain me. But how express this fact if there is no representative of me in w? Now the only possible candifdate for a representative of me in possible worlds in which I do notr exist is my haecceity-property: identity-with-BV. If there is such a property, then it can go proxy for me in every possible world in which I do not exist, worlds which in part are defined by my nonexistence.
So it seems that Mollica's objection requires that there be haecceities such as identity-with-BV, and that these be properties that can exist unexemplified. But now two points.
First, there are no such haecceity properties for reasons given elsewhere, for example, here.
Second, if haecceities are brought into the picture, then we are back to the Fregean version of the thin theory according to which 'exists(s)' is a second-level property. But what I have been pounding on is the latest and most sophisticated version of the thin theory, that of van Inwagen. And we have seen that he rejects the view that 'exist(s)' is second-level.