A reader writes:
Twice in the Dish last week I saw Occam's Razor being used to analyze human behavior – the French anti-veil legislation and the Trig pregnancy. I have always been taught that the Razor was essential for the scientific description of the natural world. But we humans are conniving and mendacious primates fully capable of putting forth simple explanations to cover ulterior motives in an effort to make the opinions of others work to our benefit, thus negating the assumption of Occam that Nature is inherently honest.
Might I suggest the use of the Latin maxim of "Cui bono?" instead.
Attributed to Lucius Cassius by Cicero, and I quote Wikipedia, it means "(To whose benefit?, literally "as a benefit to whom?", a double dative construction) is a Latin adage that is used either to suggest a hidden motive or to indicate that the party responsible for something may not be who it appears at first to be." In other words, when it comes to discovering the truth about human action, don't always trust the obvious "simple" explanation, but keep an eye on who has the most to gain by that simple explanation being accepted as true.
Palin, of course. A key advantage in getting her head above the crowd for a veepship was giving birth to a child with special needs. Why? Because for decades, the pro-life base has suspected that the GOP leadership just pays lip-service on the issue and doesn't believe it themselves (hence all their pro-choice wives). But by having a child with special needs – and advertizing her struggles about having one – Palin proves she is "one of us". And the news emerged just after McCain won the nomination.
Another reader writes:
There are questionable elements to Palin's birth story that can't be explained away by the idea that Palin simply embellished. For me, those are:
1) At 44, carrying a known special-needs baby, why was she under the care of a family physician, instead of a suitably experienced perinatologist or OB/Gyn?
2) Why was Trig born at MatSu hospital, which doesn't handle high-risk deliveries and doesn't have a NICU? The top hospital for these services in Alaska is close to the Anchorage airport.
3) If Palin was leaking fluids, it's simply preposterous that Cathy Baldwin-Johnson would let her board a plan without getting checked out in Texas. Indeed, that seems like something Palin might have exaggerated, having no idea that broken waters merit an immediate trip to the hospital. However, if Palin made that part up, and there wasn't a risk of infection from amniotic fluid leak, why did her doctor induce labor the next day, as she told the Alaska Daily News? If Palin's amniotic sac was intact, why wouldn't she let Trig's lungs develop some more?
There are so many bizarre details and choices that a simple request for independent evidence – something easily provided by someone who went through a special needs pregnancy – is totally legit and, in my view, it's a failure of considerable proportions for the MSM not to ask for it. Yes, I know, Palin is reckless and nuts. And that makes her delusional psyche the likeliest explanation for embellishment, incoherence and inconsistency. But she could also be lying for an obvious political advantage. Which is why I tried to find out if she has a record of such whoppers.
The list won't stop growing. Another writes:
Palin's embellishments, though, put her in a decidedly unflattering light. I've given birth to three beautiful children. I know childbirth. I'm sure you've heard this from other readers: this woman was grossly negligent if the story she tells is true. From failing to get checked at a hospital in Dallas to the final drive past hospitals in Anchorage, she put her child's health in great jeopardy–if the story she tells is true.
So why is she making up lies that any person who's been through a childbirth class would know was taking risks with an unborn child? How self-centered does your psyche have to be if you can't hear what you're saying and realize other people will think it makes you look bad? Can she really only look at her story and think it makes her look like "super-woman?"
Doesn't she realize under several laws that have been passed around the country, had her "Wild Ride" ended with the injury or death of that baby, she could be prosecuted? I don't know what the truth is. I pray the Wild Ride is really a lie because I can't believe any woman would go into pre-term labor with a special needs child, take those unnecessary risks, and then brag about it.