Archives for posts with tag: Politics

I wrote this originally as a comment to this blog post, and decided it would make a better standalone.

One thing that has always seemed to puzzle progressives is how the middle class individual gravitates towards the more not-interventionist end of the political spectrum. Wouldn’t he benefit from stronger unions and wealth distribution?

This is not how members of the “middle class”, and temporary members of the “lower class” view themselves. The American experience has taught them that each rung of the class ladder is a temporary state, to be passed over as you improve the lot of your family.

In the US, we level up!

Conservative members of the middle and lower class see economic interventionism and graduated taxation for what they are. Rather than taking money from the wealthy to give to the poor, progressive schemes leave the wealth of the rich intact. Where the money actually comes from are those individuals who are actively climbing the ladder from one class rung to another.

Individuals who are already wealthy, such as Woodrow Wilson in his day, and Barak Obama in ours, will stay at the same rung in any case. Their policies make it harder for members of the lower classes, professionals and small business men to join or surpass them. It is an attempt, purposeful or not, to create a new nobility from the wealthy political caste.

The blue-collar workers in America has sensed this trend. They have experienced and internalized the sharp contrast between the years under Jimmy Carter and those with Ronald Regan. They have felt the betrayal under the two Bushes as they were cynically offered bribes of the peoples money, and their freedoms were rapidly eroded. They have felt as though the country is tumbling over a precipice, as the current administration not only keeps the policies of Bush that angered them, but comes up with breathtakingly huge new ways of coddling them and hindering them, making sure neither they nor their children have the same opportunity to climb to the highest rungs of success.

We are the ones that view ourselves not as a European style class, but as a projectile of success. We want everyone to have the same chance for success with as few hindrances as possible. We are voting for our economic best interest.

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I have been thinking for a bit on why people deny things for which there is generally solid evidence. We have global warming, the holocaust, and the theory of evolution for starters. Is it really because these concepts are incompatible with their belief system? I have concluded that it is something more. It is because of the policies based on them.

With evolution, it does go against a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible. I don’t see this as the real source behind the militant disagreement with it though. Given the chance, Christians would eventually embrace it, as they have with other unpopular scientific discoveries. What really inspires the refusal is that evolution is used as a tool to enact anti-religious policies outside the scope of the theory. By denying the theory of evolution, some Christians seek to throw atheism back to a time when it was politically impotent and intellectually indefensible.

Denial of the holocaust, particularly in middle-eastern countries,  also is rooted in policy consequences. It was because of the Holocaust that there was support for Israel to be re-established. By denying that it ever took place, Muslim leaders seek to take away both the main impetus for having to live with the Jewish State as a thorn in their side, and the stigma of having supported Adolph Hitler during WWII.

Finally there is the denial of global climate change. Like the others, it is an attempt to block policies, which in this case are designed to increase government control over society. If we could just get rid of this theory, then the doors would be open to harvesting natural resources that would spur growth in our economy, and maintain a greater degree of personal freedom and upward socio-economic mobility.

This is the problem we see here: we have a tendency to attack the tool rather than the underlying problem. This is a children’s sword-fight, where one party hits at the sword of the other party. Evolution has nothing to say for or against the existence of deity. The Holocaust has no bearing on whether there should be a state of Israel. Global warming is irrelevant to the question of to what extent a government should control or be controlled by its people. Enough sword-fighting, we need to get down to the root of things. It is time for some fencing.

I am usually loath to embed video, but this is worth it.

It explains the absurdity surrounding the ever-increasing debt limit in an easy to relate to way.

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine where the practitioners produce remedies for ailments by serially diluting substances that would normally cause the observed symptoms. The more diluted the resulting mixture, the more effective it is believed to be. For example, if a practitioner of homeopathy were to blame the malaise of our country on Washington D.C., they might try dumping it in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, then drinking a tablespoon of the – now highly dilute – city. From this example, one can immediately see the utility of this form of medicine.

Another application of this medicinal theory that has great potential is in the music industry. Take an artist or genera of music that you are not fond of, say Justin Bieber, and dilute it multiple times with music that you find acceptable. By playing this highly dilute mixture of Bieber music, you counteract the harmful effects of the undiluted substance. (Perhaps it is no accident that love of his music is known as “Bieber Fever“.)

Other benefits could also soon be realized. Anyone who has sampled a bit of the radioactive waste from the Fukushima Daiichi – hyper-diluted by the Pacific Ocean – is now protected from the hazards of radioactive contamination. Diners at Chinese restaurants can now take a highly diluted MSG solution to keep from getting headaches. Girls, tired of being hit on by the wrong sort of guy at the bar? Try a couple drops of 40X diluted jerk sweat.

As can be seen from this brief post, the manifold benefits of homeopathy are bounded only by the imaginations of the practicioners. There is no need to wonder at it having become a multi-million dollar industry. Now, fellow bloggers, perhaps I could interest you in a 400X dilution of Troll dung?

Here is an interesting piece of ethical gymnastics: Self-defence is justified, but self-defence with a gun is not.

I am a proponent of gun ownership, firearm safety, and the right to self-defence. If a person is willing and able, they should responsibly own a gun, know how to shoot it, and use it to defend themselves and their family in the unlikely event that the need arises. If a person is put in that position, they should use the most effective tool available.

While this is my position, I can understand if someone makes the argument that we should not defend ourselves, but hope for the police to arrive in time to defend us. This, in my opinion, is stupid beyond reason; but I will allow that a consistent person might make such an argument.

Then there is an intermediate position. Self-defence is fine, so long as you use an object not solely designed for that purpose. Steak knife: valid defensive implement. Katana: not valid. Shot-put: valid defensive implement. Shotgun: not valid. Crowbar: valid defensive implement. Morning-star: not valid.

What is needed here is simplification. Either I am justified in defending myself and my family, or I am not. If I am, then let me worry about the appropriate tool for the job. 😉

I am generally down on the idea of government control. The idea of the government stepping in to tell responsible persons what they may and may not do is distasteful. Indeed, I imagine that I come across as anti-government on occasion. There are certain distasteful things that do fall clearly in the realm of government responsibility though.

First to come to mind are the weak and helpless who are trodden on by the strong. The government is here to protect them, and set things right. By this I do not mean welfare and the like. Caring for the needy, and getting them back on their feet as far as they are able,  is the duty of the individual and charitable groups. This is an act of society. No, the government is there to administer justice when someone takes advantage of the weakened state of another.

Following from that line of thought, I come to human life. Here you shall find me horribly unsophisticated, and irritation will likely manifest in a few readers. While others come up with exotic formulae for when it is and is not acceptable to kill a human, I simplify things. Don’t kill a diploid human. No debate as to vegetative state, feeling pain, mental capacity or self-conciousness. Haploid: kill, diploid: don’t kill. The only exception is self-defence, or the defence of others. Otherwise, it is the duty of the government to protect human life.

I then come to the responsibility of the government to hold citizens accountable to not steal from, break contracts with, or otherwise harm one-another. This is fairly uncontroversial even at this late date. People only seem to get confused if the person being stolen from can be dehumanized in some way, such as being wealthier than the culprit, or an owner of stock in a corporation.

Finally, the government is to protect us from outside threats. This, for me, is a bit tricky. Do we ever act in a peremptory fashion? How many of our citizens do we put at risk if we allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon? In nature, the police state, as seen in multi-cellular organisms, is a very strong higher-order structure. It is able to easily out-compete free-living organisms. Do we disrupt developing police-states in order to safeguard our own liberty? This is perhaps the only significant place where I feel split from Ron Paul. My leanings seem too hawkish for a proper libertarian.

Most other things the government tries to do are usurpations. Yeah, I like the interstate highway system, and I almost can accept it for its significance for national defence. You might talk me into one or two more things, depending on my mood; however, quite a lot that the government does today falls instead in the purview of society.