Voter ID, as amended, passed out of Senate Committee yesterday and will successfully pass the Senate next week. (It already passed the Senate once.) But the Arkansas Times’s description of voter ID, and of me, suggests that a response is in order.
More precisely, yesterday one of their writers, Lindsay Miller, accused me of being a “cynical policy wonk.” If you’re curious about why he thinks that, read the article. Regrettably, even after you read it, you’ll still be curious. That is because Miller’s expertise is in name-calling; at logical argument, he’s a bit less gifted.
Miller argues that because there are very few successful prosecutions of vote fraud, therefore in-person vote fraud “is almost nonexistent” – and so it follows, according to Miller, that people who argue against anti-fraud measures are making arguments “based on sophistry.” Uh-huh. Someone who stops and thinks for a moment will realize that there is a gaping hole in Miller’s argument. Someone who does not understand that there is a difference between the amount of crime committed and the amount of crime successfully prosecuted is someone who has very little acquaintance with the real world. This distinction is especially relevant to vote fraud, which is a crime that is difficult to catch and difficult to prosecute. Apparently, in Lindsay Miller’s world, every time a driver exceeds the speed limit, that driver gets a speeding ticket. In Lindsay Miller’s world – despite the fact that, five years ago, a bipartisan Arkansas state senate investigation found former Senator Jack Crumbly’s election to be “flagrant with fraud” – because no prosecutor ever charged anyone, no vote fraud ever occurred. Indeed, in Lindsay Miller’s world, perhaps O.J. Simpson is a free man and his wife Nicole is still alive.
Miller is free to resort to name-calling – to insist that anyone who disagrees with him has resorted to sophistry and cynicism – but all that this demonstrates is that he can’t really understand the nature of legitimate disagreement. Apparently, it’s beyond him to accept that someone could honestly disagree with a guy as smart as Miller apparently believes himself to be. As we get older, experience teaches many of us that honest disagreement between people is a fact of life, and that very few of us have all the answers. I admit it – about a few matters, I am a little cynical. However, there are worse problems: I’m sure glad I’m not anywhere near as naïve as Lindsay Miller.