Category Archives: Long Term Thinking

Conservative Values versus a myriad of extremists

A government professor of mine once stated that all governments were a balance between three different values: Equality, Order, and Liberty. No one value can be pursued without cost to the other two. The ideal society would actually be the one that keeps these three points in balance. However, as we look around modern parties and political movements, the logic of balance seems nowhere to be found.

Four Cardinal Virtues

Individual have the 4 cardinal virtues: Temperance, Moderation, Justice, Fortitude…but these are the basis for the three political virtues: liberty, equality, order. They all have to work together or not at all.

Liberals, socialists and progressives seek equality at the cost of order and liberty finally reaching their ideal society, a Communistic state where everyone is equal but in the end utterly worthless as equality requires none be higher than others, thus all talent, all incentives, and all goals have been destroyed leaving society to collapse before the equally unimpressive slaves that it has created. In a state where all are equal there can be no order because power cannot be vested (even through law) in another thus nothing can keep law and civil society together thus at best everything is merely slave to the whim of the herd (law by the same methods created reality TV)…and there can be no liberty, as liberty leads to exceptionalism, and no one can be better than anyone else

The growing fascist movements of Greece, the tyranny of Vladimir Putin, and the vile wretchedness of Islamofascism value order above all else. But for there to be complete order there can be no liberty because if people can choose for themselves, they will sometimes choose wrong and this inevitably leads to some level of chaos, some crime, some disorder. And in the ordered state there can be no equality, as equality requires that all are subject to rules, and for the ordered state to work no one can watch the watchers because they are the final authority, otherwise there is no way to control and maintain order.

Libertarians and anarchists view liberty as the end all be all of all politics. But where there is perfect freedom there can be no equality, even before the law, because there can be no law if there is nothing but license to do whatever you want. And there can be no order in the fully liberated state as the law who would hold back those who do not recognize the rights of others cannot exist.

And finally populists don’t particularly view any of these as all that important. Yes populists want equality when someone is doing better than them, which is why businesses and businessmen are evil and need to be reined in…but they strangely don’t care about equality when they’re doing better, which is why even Ron Paul brought back millions in pork to his district. They care about liberty, for themselves…but for anyone else, eh, it’s not that important. And order is important, so long as it’s in my general vicinity, enforced by me, and I don’t care if it’s not in my line of sight. (And please understand why I have been hitting the populists posing as conservatives a lot lately, your average Democratic voter has always been a populist. Their activists and politicians maybe progressives, but the voters are populists who just care about their entitlements and what will be given to them).

Meanwhile there is the real conservative viewpoint. That these three virtues of a society must be held in careful balance. That the extreme of any one of these because a dystopian nightmare (Liberty, Order, Equality…Lord of the Flies, 1984, Harrison Bergeron…or for the less well read, Mad Max, Hunger Games, Divergent…or if you prefer history, Somalia, Nazi Germany, Revolutionary France). That a society without these three to guide them is just as bad as one where only one is followed (I’d give an example but modern politics seems to be it and the last few years of Rome seem to be the only places dumb enough to try such an abhorrent idea in practice). Only the society that balances these forces is a prosperous one.

So what is the guiding star of conservatism that makes it so different from these other ideologies? Well, not to sound like a dozen other blogs on this site but the answer is once again, Aristotle.

Aristotle, for all his flawed understanding of politics (give the man a break, there wasn’t much reliable history to work with in the 4th century B.C. and you can’t expect him to have prescience of what was to come) understood that in politics, as with ethics, it is not a question of ends or means, but a question of ends and means. Those who value equality or order only value an end of making everyone equal or making everything peaceful. Those who value liberty only value the means of liberty not the result of what such anarchy brings. Only balancing both ends and means work.

And Aristotle saw the correct end to focus on. The end to all human life is Happiness. And society, family, education must all be structured to ensure Happiness for the greatest number of people. Now because Happiness requires freedom of choice and personal growth, not everyone will reach happiness no matter what a government/family/society does, but it requires liberty and the ability to exercise free will. But because Happiness requires some ability to plan and control your own life, it requires order to some degree. And because the point is to provide Happiness (or the opportunity to pursue Happiness) for the most people as all are equally human and equally deserving at birth of achieving Happiness. None of these on their own can lead to Happiness, and all must work together.

And this is why other belief systems don’t work; they’re not aimed at Happiness.

For instance look at misnamed “social conservatives” (Progressives for Jesus might be a better way to put it). They keep saying that the point of marriage is to have children. As if having children is an end in itself.   And they keep bringing this up as a reason why they opposed gay marriage. Now there are good reasons to get rid of marriage as a legal concept (and replace it with legal civil unions and let religion handle marriage without government interference) but it is not just the Progressive mentality here to have the government take control of everything. It is the missed sense of what the end of things are. They view the family as a means to creating another family. The family, society, everything in the view has no purpose but to serve itself. You have to have marriage to create children. You have to raise children so they lead lives where they get married. They get married to have children…over and over again. There is no point to the individual life (unless you want to get into some bizarre servitude to God, which views God as a master and the individual the slave…but no serious reading of any sane religion even comes close to that.) This is why social conservatives tend to be not only bad at politics but their own religion. Social conservatives should go back and read their Aquinas who makes it clear that “the principal end of matrimony, namely the good of the offspring” and that “the secondary end of matrimony, which is the mutual services which married persons render one another in household matters.” Notice how in the second point it is the betterment of each other (i.e. the individual’s happiness) that is the point of marriage. Just as every social institution is supposed to place the Happiness of the individual as a goal. Parents should be concerned with teaching their children the knowledge, ethics, and character that will allow them to be happy adults. Schools and other societal organizations should be focused on encouraging people to be the best they can be with the goal being individual Happiness. Social conservatives’ problem, like all progressives, is they think society is the end goal, it is not; the good of individual is the goal.

Then you have Libertarians who don’t even consider ends and just, like good Kantian idiots, look at means. And liberty is the only mean they care about. Oh they may say that freedom leads to individual Happiness, but they ignore that just because the exercise of free will is necessary it is not sufficient. (Just as Milton Friedman said that “History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”) Let’s take a look at what sometimes appears to be the only thing that libertarians think about: The War on Drugs. Okay, I will concede that the War on Drugs has been handled idiotically. I will concede that if a person should be able to use drugs in the privacy of their own home if they’re not hurting anyone. I concede that the power to prosecute the War on Drugs has led to massive costs and an intolerable level of corruption in the name of the War on Drugs. But in all this the libertarians fail to admit some very simple things. They act like the people who take drugs are all just innocent little lambs who are the victims of an unjust police power. prison violent

nonviolent

Oh, look it would appear that as incarceration went up crime went down…shocker.

Let me set the record straight: They’re criminals (whether they get caught and convicted or not, they’re criminals). They have the mentality that the rules of society, their long term well-being, and how their actions may hurt others are of absolutely no concern to them so long as they get a moment of pleasure. At best that is vilely hedonistic, at worst it has a bit of a sociopath in it. Libertarians like to pretend that you have otherwise innocent drug users in one group, and in another you have real criminals. And that the fact that we have a massive prison population proves that this War on Drugs needs to end. The problem is that you don’t have two different groups; you have a Venn diagram where criminals and drug users are often one in the same. Libertarians like to point to the increasing prison population, but they always conveniently forget that as prison populations go up violent and non-violent crime go down. They ignore that often drugs are used to put dangerous criminals away when other more serious charges don’t have as much admissible evidence. So there are benefits to the War on Drugs. But not willing to admit that drops in the murder, rape, theft rates is a good thing, libertarians only care about the liberty to do drugs.   They don’t advocate that we should focus more on the cartels, the gang distributors, and legalize personal home use (all things which would still probably round up the worst real criminals while not hurt the people who can actually handle personal use)…no they have to argue that we should just legalize all drugs. No concern for order, just liberty…and no Happiness for anyone.

The other difference between libertarians, Progressive for Jesus**, and real conservatives. Unlike Libertarians, conservatives understand that laws do need to be structured not just to protect rights but to encourage habits that will typically lead to a healthy society and Happiness in individuals (for instance unless we switch to a flat tax having tax credit for charity; the fact that we can’t just get rid of civil union side of marriage, and that we do need a safety net of some kind***; providing minimum standards for education to make sure all students receive a basic minimum of education) but unlike the Progressive for Jesus we must do so in a way that limits (or at least poses as few limits as possible) to the good that liberty provides (deciding what counts as a marriage and what doesn’t, when gay marriage provides the same benefits; spending money and resources checking on what people do in private that hurts no one; dictating what to include content wise in education; etc.).

Being consistently conservative is difficult. It requires balancing numerous issues of the needs of individuals, the long term good of society, Liberty, Order, Equality. And it’s a constantly shifting point because what creates that balance in one era may be totally unbalanced in another. Proper government needs to be directed toward the Happiness of individuals. It needs to balance our needs for liberty, order, and equality. When it does not do these things it creates bad laws. And it is so easy to get lost in caring only about your own want (populists) or one of the political virtues at the expense of the others. Right now we need a lot more liberty, but we cannot forget that it is the balance and the good of society and the individual that is our true goal—not just liberty for the sake of liberty.

Of course none of this is really new…the people who real conservatives look toward as a guide post made it quite clear that liberty, or order (tranquility, defense), or equality (justice, general welfare) were all equal political virtues that had to be held in balance of each other…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

*Now I know that I have heard some people have claimed that the FBI is merely shading the numbers—that they’re not counting things the same way to make things look better than they are. I’ve heard that claim from LOTS of people. But you know what I find interesting, I can’t find that claim on any think tank. None. Liberal. Conservative. Libertarian. Nobody. You would think that conservatives would have hit Clinton or Obama for skewing the data, or liberals would have hit Bush. But nobody seems to questions the FBI’s stats…nor is there any jump that you would see if you changed the criteria, it’s a slow progression. So either everybody and I mean everybody, is on a massive conspiracy to slowly skew the crime numbers, or crime really has been dropping.

**You thought I wasn’t serious, but I am. I am using that from now on.

***Libertarians, before you yell at me that we need to get rid of welfare entirely, please remember that Friedman and Hayek both said we need a safety net because having people in real poverty (the kind you see in the third world) creates people who seriously have the choice of steal or die, at which point it becomes a need for them to steal and as we all know from the example of Jean Valjean, utterly unjust to punish them.

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Happiness, Long Term Thinking, philosophy, politics

Why Harry Reid’s attacks on the First Amendment are wrong and vile

So while liberals have been throwing hissy fits for years about the Citizen’s United they seem to have come back to this idea with their impending doom in 2014 coming. (Really the creation of Super PACS owes a lot to various relegation and legislative changes and to just Citizens United v. the Federal Election Committee, but Democrats know their base doesn’t do well with complex ideas, so they just pick on Citizens United, and I always try and play in the opposition’s ballpark, so we’ll just refer to Citizens United). But now their hatred for free speech has found a new target, in Harry Reid’s unhinged attack on the Koch brothers and his statement that he will seek a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizen’s United (and the First Amendment) with a Constitutional amendment.

You know personally my first inclination is to slap the little loser Harry Reid and tell him that it will be a cold day in hell that his stupid fascist amendment even gets out of his Senate let alone meeting the requirements in the House and three-quarters of the states. But that would do no good. Harry Reid is simply too stupid to benefit from any attempt of slapping sense into him (although perhaps every member of the Senate should get a baseball bat and try knocking some intelligence into him just to see if it might work…I mean what’s the worst that could happen?)

Now we could get into the minutia of how Democrats are still outspending Republicans, or how the Democrats the biggest beneficiaries of group donations (mainly from unions) but let’s ignore that for just a moment. But let’s ignore the minutia and get to the heart of the matter.

 

SCOTUS

Every so often they get something right as they did in Citizen’s United…now to overturn Kelo and S.D. v Dole

The central liberal argument is that Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee was wrong—that money is not speech and therefore cannot be protected under the First Amendment—that whoever has the most money always wins. The first point is just obviously stupid, but this is an argument from people who don’t get why we have to have the legal fiction of corporate personhood. They also don’t understand that your property rights are sacrosanct and under the theory of natural rights (which is kind of the basis of our entire legal system); that your property, including money, and what you do with it is an extension of your person legally, ergo spending money is speech if you choose it to be. And the minute you separate what you do with your money from free speech there is a very dangerous slippery slope. If you money can be regulated, then so can your time and limits can be placed on how much time you can donate to a campaign. And then you could limit how many organizations you can donate time. And then all the government would have to do is declare this charity or that church function a political issue and soon think about how much of you public life is being regulated.   And if your statement through money can be regulated because its of a political nature can you only make a certain number of Facebook, tumblr, and Twitter posts about a candidate or issue? A government with the spying power of the NSA*, the bullying ethics of the IRS and a free hand to limit political speech can do some very frightening things.

 

But let’s ignore the unspeakable idiocy of the argument that money isn’t speech. Let’s focus on what they’re saying about democracy in a democratic-republic like the US, because that is even more laughable (or frightening).

 

The argument against Citizens United is based on the argument that who has the most money wins.

Let’s look at this argument.

 

Certainly if I have half a trillion dollars and my opposition has $10 I will probably win. But seldom in American politics are things so lopsided. And do you really think that if the Klan or the American Nazi Party had a trillion dollars they could actually get any real power in this nation? Logic tells us that at a certain point you can spend all the money you want and if the people hate you, you’re screwed. You just have to look at advertising…Hollywood occasionally spends the GNP of third world nations hyping some piece of crap that almost no one goes to see…if the logic of Citizen’s United opponents were applied then everyone should just follow the hype.

 

But let’s look at some extremes. On the one side did we forget that a felon in West Virginia and a challenger in Arkansas, both with no money to speak of, gave a sitting president a run for his money in the last presidential election cycle? Or on the other side let’s look at a man like George Soros. Now I don’t have to believe that Soros is some evil mastermind on the level of Lex Luthor or Ernst Stavro Blofeld to admit that (A) his politics are somewhere to left of the current French president’s and (B) through direct contributions and contributions to PACs like Moveon the man has dumped an obscene amount of money into U.S. elections. I don’t buy the conspiracy theories, but the fact is the man is very progressive and very giving of money to causes he believes in. As is his right. But here’s the funny thing…if the people who oppose Citizen’s United were right, then all the money he has spent combined with all the money unions have spent over the years then it should never have even been close in 2000 or 2004, and the country should already be so far left that Obama would look like Reagan right now. Strangely I failed to see the retirement age lowered to 50 or minimum wage raised to $20 an hour, universal public health care, or a 70% tax on income above $100,000 here in Sorosandia.

 

Money helps. No doubt about that. If you can get your message out it certainly is more effective. However in a day and age of twitter, blogs, and YouTube, it’s not just money that matters. It’s having a message that resonates with people…even if that message is the mentally retarded statements of “Yes we can” and “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

 

But there’s a deeper problem than the common sense issue that money can’t buy everything in politics. It’s the implications of human nature.

 

Notice what is implicit in the argument that money is all that matters to democracy. Notice what is says if you believe that the person with the most money, not the better argument, always wins. It means that all people don’t have stupid and shortsighted moments, as I believe it means that people are incapable of rational thought. That they will follow the shiniest piece of polished metal provided by the person with the most money—that there is no rational thought, that no matter how extreme an idea, if it has money backing it, it will win. Ummm…if people are actually that dumb, then why do we have any democratic elements in our government? Democracy is based on the idea that the majority of the people, when put together will more often than not make the right choice, not because they believe the shiniest lie, but because reason will win the day with the majority of people more often than not. It is a premise based on the idea that a human being and human reason has value. If your argument is that money drives everything, then you must state you believe that humans on a whole have no ability to reason. Now is human reason perfect? Hell, no. That’s why we have always been a republic that limits the momentary whims of the masses and forces compromise and slow deliberation.

Now I will admit that human reason is not perfect, but taking money out of the equation will not solve the problem of imperfect reason being a driving force in our elections.

 

Now if you actually wanted a functioning democratic election, as the critics of Citizen United claim they want, what should they be arguing for?

 

Well, how about Voter ID check or clearing the voter rolls in every state every two years and making everyone re-register. You know to prevent fraud, and felons, and illegal immigrants from voting in mass numbers and making sure that the democratic principle of one man, one vote was actually allowed. As for making everyone re-register, if going down to the post office or going to a web site to pick up a form and sending it in is too much work for you, then dear God, you are not qualified to be deciding the future of this nation.

 

Or how about this one I know would never pass, but you would have to admit would get rid of the majority of influence of money in elections…require people to earn a high school diploma before they can vote. Okay liberals, get all the insults out now…I’m a racist, I’m a bigot, I’m closed minded, I don’t know anything about democracy, blah, blah, blah…I teach high school, I have been working in schools for nearly 16 years, and have been working consistently in alternative education with at risk youth for the last nine…do you have any idea how easy it is to get a high school diploma? Or a GED? I’m sorry but you seriously have to try to not pass high school. And I’m sorry given how much the income difference is between a high school diploma and having nothing, you’re an idiot’s idiot to not get a high school diploma. And when you put those two sentences together you realize that high school dropouts are actively trying to be an idiot’s idiot. I can’t imagine why I would want these losers voting. Ever. Under any circustances. I mean who do you think falls most easily for flashy ads, the person with a bare bones education or the person who actively tried to remain ignorant. And if voting is really that important to you, getting a GED is not that difficult—really it’s not. If we were to institute this, you would find pandering by politicians drop quite a bit, and low and behold you might see better legislation.

 

Or you might go back to what the Founders correctly envisioned for the Senate: State legislatures and governors working together to nominate and elect the most qualified in the state (as opposed to the most popular) to the upper house of Congress. It would completely eliminate money’s influence on Senators themselves…and if people are so worried about SuperPAC money influencing federal elections…right now to influence the Senate you have to influence maybe 40 statewide elections (I figure about 60 seats are safe Republican or safe Democratic seats) going back to pre 17th Amendment republican ideals you would have to influence the same 40 state wide elections but this time for governors, plus influencing one to two houses of the state legislature. Even the most well funded SuperPacs would go bust before being able to make a dent in the long term. But to do that you would actually want to try and take out the influence of money…instead of say, hypocritically just wanting your traditional sources of money to be the only ones that counted.

Or how about this one: Get the government out of the economy. If you placed legitimate restrictions on how far the government can get into the economy, then guess what, all those businesses and business people wouldn’t care about elections. As long as the government has the power to pick winners and losers, you’d be a bit of an idiot to not do everything in your power to make sure you’re not the loser…but if you got the government out of the economy you get rid of the incentive to be so involved in elections…at which point why would business waste their hard earned profits on silly things like elections.

But the people who bitch about Citizens United don’t care about any of that…they’re just unhappy that now other people have a chance to fight their endless union coffers.

***
One last note on a pragmatic side issue. I’ve heard that nearly a trillion dollars will be spent on the 2012 election (when you count all the elections at all levels). Given how crappy the Obama economy is (and yes it is his fault, if it wasn’t for him we’d be in a full recovery by now) I want you to think how bad it would be if you took out a trillion dollars. Yes that trillion is going to a limited sector in the advertising business…but those people who get the money then spend it on other things and it moves through the economy…I want you to imagine what the economy would look like if you took yet another trillion out of GDP. Just a pragmatic consideration to keep in mind.

 

 

*I would like to note that I know of no instances where the NSA has actually used their information against a private citizen, and of all the branches of government I’m actually less worried about them…but only so long as we have the First Amendment in place and the IRS stripped of all it’s powers…so long as those others restrictions are kept in place I have little to fear from the NSA…it is only if the other restrictions are removed that a government becomes fascist.

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Election 2014, Elections, First Amendment, Government is corrupt, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, People Are Stupid

AI, The Singularity, and other BS that ranks up with the Zombie Apocalypse

“It’s a machine[.] It doesn’t get pissed off. It doesn’t get happy, it doesn’t get sad, it doesn’t laugh at your jokes. It just runs programs.”

Like many overly specialized people, he knows his field very well, and knows little about anything else (even though he thinks he knows everything).

I tend to follow science news. I find it very interesting even though it’s not my particular forte primarily because any understanding of the free market can’t exist without an understanding of scientific and technological developments. For instance the increase of MERS, MRSA, the return of disease we thought we left generations ago and the end to the age of antibiotics may very well solve the problems of Social Security insolvency in exactly the way we wouldn’t want it to be solved. The rapid advances in 3D printing are likely going to end manufacturing as a major industry in a generation or two meaning that anyone making plans for the US to once again be a manufacturing superpower is just unspeakably clueless. The problem with this is that recently in the wake of movies like Her and Transcendence and Stephen Hawking’s recent laughably preposterous article about how thinking machines will kill us all there has been a slew of other articles warning of the coming singularity and the end of mankind.

This has sadly led me to the conclusion that scientists, for an awfully well educated and knowledgeable bunch, are surprising stupid. I mean I get why Hawking has led his current charge against God in trying to prove that God doesn’t exist…I think we all understand why Hawking would hate God so much he would have to lead a crusade against the idea of God. It’s not a rational crusade, but we all understand the motivations behind it.

So let’s lay out their case. Computers are getting faster and more complex all the time. They will continue to do so. They will continue to do so until we reach the point that a computer program reaches the point where it isn’t just a very well written program, but actual sentient artificial intelligence. At which point this self aware intelligence will have the ability to (A) improve itself faster than we could make improvement on it (B) replicate other AI’s like itself and (C) have a desire for self preservation…this pretty much means that Skynet here will kills us all. (It tells you a lot about the attitude of these scientists where they feel the jump from sentience to genocidal rampage is a logical progression).

Seriously, that’s the argument they’re making. In the last three months I have seen at least 2 articles a week in various usually respectable scientific forum.

But while the chicken littles fear the coming Matrix by our Terminator and Cylon overlords…I sit here and yawn knowing this is just as preposterous as Zombie Apocalypse, and as scientifically based as the delusion of global warming.

How do I know this?

If you’re afraid of this being a real issue ever you need to come back to reality.

Because, unlike a lot of these scientists (who seem to deal in fiction more than science) I’ve actually bothered to look at the evidence. You know like the numerous scientific studies on near death experiences or the 2,000+ tome  “Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects”which details 225 cases on evidence of reincarnation based on the scars, birthmarks, and medical problems found in young children who accurately remember a past life (when you can get that detailed in your research, think about how much actual evidence there must be). Or the fact that while science has dissected and parsed the brain very well, they still can’t seem to find consciousness. And why can’t they find it? Because as the previous evidence suggest, consciousness, the thing they want to try and create in AI, isn’t in the mass of synapses in your head, but in your soul. The divine part of you that is may be using this sack of meat you call a body, is what gives you intelligence, a sense of self and identity. And that cannot be replicated in a CPU or lines of code. Ever.
It’s as simple as that. I don’t have to get into the complexities of the Chinese Room or the Frame Problem or the other such reasons why philosophers have already pointed out you’ll never have AI…without a soul it doesn’t matter how complex the computer system and code because consciousness does not reside in human being in a physical form, thus it cannot reside in a machine. You could recreate the entire human brain with each cell being represented by a functional quantum processor and connected in with all the synapses in exactly the same order as a functioning brain with the most brilliant code in the world…but even then it the computer, while amazing, will not be sentienet, as a famous movie put, “It doesn’t get pissed off. It doesn’t get happy, it doesn’t get sad, it doesn’t laugh at your jokes. It just runs programs.” And unless for some reason the Heavens decide to breath a soul into a machine (which I can’t even fathom such a reason) AI will remain a convenient tool of science fiction in helping us define exactly what it is to be human and nothing more.

But you know what, let’s take them at their own game, ignore that consciousness is a creation of the soul and not the synapse, for just a minute to show why this is preposterous. Let’s for the sake of argument say there is no soul and that the mind just a complex computer that can be replicated. Then by the same argument there must be thousands of planets out there with intelligent life (since life on Earth is nothing special and the odds of self replicating DNA become very likely—they have to be likely because if they’re unlikely we shouldn’t be here)—and certainly at least some of those races should have reached the technological singularity before we did (if we assume there numerous planet with intelligent life, it becomes statistically preposterous that we would be the first to reach this level). At which point the AI intelligence would have either destroyed the biological being which created it or come to some kind of coexistence. Either way, if you have AI, space travel becomes a given as the AI would have a greater propensity for long term thinking and would expand out to other planets in their own solar system and from there to any inhabitable planets in other spaces systems (the time and resources needed for interstellar travel which prevents humans from traveling to other stars would be irrelevant to thinking machines, you could easily launch thinking machines to other star systems with the machines needed to mine and build new machines and they could reach other planets in a 100 years which wouldn’t mean much to a machine). They would expand and expand and expand. And the entire galaxy would be filled with the radio signals of these computer AI’s communicating with each other (as the desire of any self conscious being is to learn)…and we certainly would have picked that up. Oh wait, there is nothing there, no sign of intelligent life anywhere be it biological or computer based. Which either means that we’re the first race in the galaxy that would get this close (unlikely if life on Earth is nothing special) or that these AI’s are so far from us that we haven’t picked up their signals (again unlikely in a galaxy of 400 billion stars that is only 120,000 light years across). If Hawking and the rest of the chicken littles are right about the nature of life and the singularity, the galaxy (hell the universe) should be filled with AI colonized worlds, each communicating with others to share knowledge. But there’s not even a trace of this. That seems statistically unlikely. I mean you have the argument that we might not pick up biological signals as it’s unlikely you have the mass colonies spreading across the galaxy with biological life—but all those argument go out the window with AI intelligence. But there is nothing there, and if the singularity is possible there should be. But reaching that point of deduction would require actual thought and not just hysterics.

I don’t about you but maybe the silence of the universe is because life is not so cheap and sentience so easy to create.

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Filed under Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid

I’m getting tired of some of the populists out there who claim to be conservatives…

In a recent article on Brietbart:

‘Renee Ellmers Thinks For Herself’: Rep. Calls Ingraham ‘Ignorant’ In Pro-Amnesty Meltdown

There are several very bizarre things.

1. Is this bullshit that all reform is amnesty?  The Republican principles are quite clear that they will not be amnesty.  If you can read you can see that…clearly most of the media and 100% of talking heads are effectively illiterate as they seem to miss this point.

 

2.  From the headline you’d think that it was pro-reform Ellmers who had a breakdown when to anyone with two good ears it was obviously Ingraham who got overly emotional about the issue from the get go and started responding irrationally.  The hack who wrote up this article was quite stupid to include the audio as his attack of Ellmers was as unjustified as Ingraham’s points.

 

Heritageimmigration

Keep in my by Laura Ingraham’s logic…Heritage is a liberal organization in line with La Raza because they said the system is broken. Now I am having some issues with Heritage’s social and education issues…but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re liberal.

3. Ellmers was attacked for saying we have a broken system, which Ingraham took offense to because that is something La Raza and liberals say.  Millions of people and drugs coming over an unprotected border no matter who is in control, huge welfare payments to illegals, public services being ruined because of exploitation by illegals, no effective way of dealing with this in the short term…you know I don’t care if La Raza and Chuck Schumer or even Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and Satan were the ones who first said the words “broken system”…it’s a broken system, just because the opposition also uses the term doesn’t change the fact that it’s broken.

It’s broken.  This is a fact.  If it were any more broken we’d have to call it Obamacare.

 

I’m really convinced that Laura Ingraham doesn’t have the first clue what the free market is.

 

4.  Ingraham starts going off that businesses just need to start providing a living wage if they want to attract workers…remind me again exactly who sounds like a liberal here.

 

5.  Ingraham says it’s terrible that businesses are being driven out of existence because illegals are offering the same service for less money…and that anyone who doesn’t support her side of deport them all is against the free market.  So being for undercutting your competition is against the free market…wait, what?  The fact that people who are willing to work for less get the job isn’t conceding that the free market doesn’t work it’s 100% proof that it does.  The free market has no bias to where you’re from or how you got here, it only cares about what you do and what you’re willing to pay or work for.  Yes they broke the law to get here, and yes a functioning free market requires rule of law in terms of property rights and contract law…but the laws being broken here are not the laws specifically tied to the idea of the free market Laura.
6.  Also apparently according to Ingraham the government is there to ensure that higher wages are paid.  And this is from a Tea Party person…and to think I claim the Tea Party has ceased being conservative and is now 100% a populist movement.

 

7. Ingraham also seems fairly pissed off about the idea that Americans are lazy, and that to say this is somehow un-American.  Laura, the vast majority of the country either sat at home or voted for Obama.  Ispo facto.  Americans are lazy.  At least some of them are.  To deny this is just preposterous.
Its great Laura your mom was a hard-working blue collar worker who did low paying jobs to get you through life.  Just because your mom exists doesn’t mean that everyone in the nation has a strong work ethics.  They don’t.  This is also a fact.

Further the problem isn’t the illegals who want to work.  For decades, hell generations, no one cared about people coming up from Latin America (legally or illegally), working and earning money.  That was the free market and for the most part everybody loved it because everyone benefitted.

The problem is not the illegals who want to work.  It’s the ones who bring their kids to get educated and families to get food stamps and medical care on our tax dime.

I’m sorry but if you want to deal with this real problem then you have to do a few things.

(A)  You have to build a way to keep new illegals from getting into the country…oh, look, that would be the first part of the plan that Boehner, Paul Ryan, Renee Ellmers are actually proposing…too bad Laura that in your mob mentality you were ignorant of this fact.

(B)  Then you would have to reform the immigration code to reward people coming here who want to work and who have the skills to work.  Again that is part of the Republican plan that any non-ignorant person would know…obviously not Ingraham.

(C)  You would then have to deal with the illegals who are here…and that leaves a few options…Deport them all at astronomical cost, which the Republicans being the fiscally sane party are not for… or amnesty, Reagan tried that because he still thought that all illegals were the kind that just wanted to work, experience has shown that doesn’t work and that’s why the Republican plan doesn’t include amnesty (and to claim it does isn’t just ignorance, it’s an out and out lie)…or the Republican plan fines them and lays huge restrictions on them if they want to stay, deport the relatively small amount that don’t want to take this option, and never allow those who came here illegally to have citizenship if they don’t want to go to the back of the line and start the way everyone else has to.

Anyone with a brain can see that the Republican plan is exactly what we need.  Yes we need to work out the details. But just saying that nothing needs to be fixed by denying that the system is broken is foolishness and idiocy.  And I am getting tired of this very kind of idiotic populism that seems to have infected so many supposedly conservative pundits and voters.

 

 

 

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Filed under Conservative, Economics, Illegal Immigration, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid

The futile nature of foreign policy under cowards and idiots.

“Evil is an outreach program.”—P.J. O’Rourke

 

These are the hardest moments for neocons and sane people (but I repeat myself).  You realize that in Venezuela, in Ukraine, in Syria, in Turkey, in South Sudan, and a dozen other nations there are terrible things going on.  That any rational understanding of natural rights and that they apply to all people equally (regardless of what country you live in) and ethics (and the basic tenet that you have to help people when you know about their suffering and are in a position to help them) tells us that we need to do something…
Flexibility-copy

…but reason also tells us that we can’t do anything. Not because there is nothing to do, but because with the leadership we have now any intervention would not only be pointless it would likely make things worse(as occurred with the Arab Spring).

 

And that’s the problem, there are things to do, things that can improve the situation everywhere, but the idiots we currently have can only muck things up and it may be best to let these atrocities work themselves out.  Which is terrible.

 

It was bad when you have a life long cowardly isolationist (from a family of worthless cowardly isolationists)  like Bush try to adopt the mantle of a neoconservative on foreign policy…but not bother to understand the part about long term planning to help build, rebuild and establish functioning constitutional republics that defend the rights of their people.  Nope, like all Bush’s, W. didn’t seem to understand long term thinking (like daddy didn’t understand the truth of supply-side realities, and W. also didn’t grasp that tax cuts have to be permanent to have any lasting effect).  No let’s just ignore that it was long term involvement, planning and slower turning over of control to the local governments that made Germany and Japan a success…no, let’s just assume that a functioning democratic-republic will just spring up in a couple years (to hell if it took the US over a decade and two Constitutions to get it right). It was bad when this non-neoconservative gave neoconservatives a black eye.  But at least we were trying.   And even with the complete cluster—- that Iraq and Afghanistan have become there are fewer governments and tyrants actively funding terrorism.  There are at least silver linings in these screwups.

 

But even though Bush was a moron, at least he left things better than they were before (not good by any means, but marginally better than when he got on the scene), he was a genius compared to Obama who makes everything worse.  Give Iran money to build nukes.  Stop actually gathering needed intelligence on terrorists (while oddly focusing really hard on American citizens…maybe if we tell him that Al-Qaeda is thinking of starting a SuperPAC he might actually go after them).  Not backing Britain in their dealing with socialist Argentina.  Back stabbing Israel at every single turn because the fact is that with the exception of Ron Paul followers there is only one party I can think of more anti-Semitic than Obama and his Democrats.

 

Yeah I know everyone is using the excuse that Bush let Putin have parts of Georgia in 2008…but let’s be honest when that happened Bush was entirely out of political capital to use on foreign affairs (not saying he would have done the right thing if he had any chips to play, but we should at least admit realities)…but, as a particular commentator likes to correctly point out “Bad behavior doesn’t excuse other bad behavior.”tumblr_n1w40gdLBs1qaoso9o1_500

 

Let’s ignore the thousand and one things we could have done over the past 6 years that would have prevented all these things (and make no mistake a strong and intelligent US foreign policy could have prevented all of it).

 

We could easily impose harsh sanctions against Russia and open every form of oil and natural gas production in the US. This would devastate the Russian economy, keep Europe relatively stable, and work as a shot of adrenaline to the US economy. But we really can’t do that because if we did push for sanctions Obama would probably idiotically engineer sanctions that only annoy Russia and fail to open up US production of energy that would leave Europe even in worse shape than they currently exist.

 

We could honor our treaty with Poland (you know the one Obama broke) and help them defend themselves.  And we could offer to extend that defense treaty to all those other nations that were once part of the Eastern Block we have no intention of doing so. But as experience tells us, Obama would rather give guns to the villains instead of  our allies.

 

We could send arms and support (training, advisors, infrastructure) to Ukraine as a clear sign we are drawing a line in the sand which you will not cross…but we know what happens when Obama draws foreign policy lines.

 

Hell…we could even be going to the UN asking for meaningless peacekeepers be sent to Crimea to observe the situation.  It would be pointless, and would likely be vetoed by Russia, but at least it would be more than rolling over for dead as Barry and Michelle  go on separate vacations while the world falls apart.

 

spineless-posterWe could do a lot of things…and we could do it for a lot of nations…because we do have a moral obligation to see liberty and human rights defended and spread over the whole world.  But as long as this moron is in charge nothing will get done and pushing to have anything done will only result in even a worse situation occurring because he is too cowardly to do what needs to be done and too stupid to even know what that is or the conspirisists are correct and it is what he wants –one or the other no in-between.

 

There is a silver lining to this at least in the Ukraine. The fact is that while we should be leading a movement to band the nations of Eastern Europe together, they will probably do that on their own. Also, despite the fact that everyone likes to say that Obama is playing checkers while Putin is playing chess…the fact is that in reality Obama is drooling on himself while Putin is playing tic-tac-toe poorly. This may be a short-term goal for him, but it will strain his already strained economy, and it will likely make Russia not just the target of Islamic radicals in Chechnya but inflame and put Russia right in the crosshairs of al-Qaeda
.   I think we speak from experience that al-Qaeda is a bitch to deal with when you attack the nations they claim to be from…it will be a complete nightmare for Russia when they even lack the moral and ethical high ground that the US had.  Let me know how your population problem is going in ten years Vladimir when you’ve had to sacrifice every young man to holding the nations you’ve invaded to try and reestablish the evil empire.  And like Stalingrad, I will be actually quite happy with Russia and al-Qaeda wasting time, money and lives killing each other…it really doesn’t matter who wins so long as both sides lose.  Long term, we are lucky that evil may be an outreach program but it also always includes the seeds of its own destruction.

 

 

 

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Long Term Thinking, NeoConservative, Obama

Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26 (or higher)

Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26

 

You know a while back there was a big brouhaha about the fact that Obamacare required that children be allowed to stay on their parents insurance until they were 26. Now there were many multiple valid claims about this–that it was unconstitutional government use of power, that it wastes money, that it would cause a death spiral of insurance coverage, that it was an entitlement giveaway to just buy votes. All accurate and valid objections of idiotic action by the government. But of all the objections the one that wasn’t really that valid was that 26 year olds are adults. Seriously?  I know this is legally a fact, like the idea that corporations are individuals, a pleasant legal fiction that has no relationship to reality. But unlike the legal fiction of corporate personhood which needs to be defended if you want society to properly function, this idea that you legally are an adult when you turn 18 needs to eliminated.

 

I mean have you met most people in their early 20’s?  It would be hard to find a group less like adults if you tried.

 

Let me speak in generalities for just a moment (those to whom this does not apply will find this an all too accurate indictment of their fellow early twenty something’s). The majority of people in their early 20’s are self centered, short sighted, inexperienced and overly emotional with few useful skills. In some ways they are like 2 year olds, but not as cute.  Now certainly they’re not as stupid as Michelle Obama thinks they are claiming they don’t know how to handle knives or cook for themselves (but in her defense look at the mentally challenged dunce she’s married to, so she may have a skewed vision of age and intelligence), but while not the complete idiots liberals think (and hope) they are, they’re not fully ready to accept all of the responsibilities that get thrust on them when they’re 18.  They’re simply not.

 

Let’s be honest, the ages of 18 and 21 are holdovers as rights of passage have more to do with practical issues of previous eras and not anything to do with realities of intelligence and maturity.  And it certainly has nothing to do with science as we are beginning to see that the risk aversion portions of the brain (the part that tells us: It might not be appropriate to engage in immature behavior, like say, voting for a worthless idiot who is promising you free stuff) does not fully develop until late 20’s by 30 at latest. 

 

 

brosurance

And before you accuse me of having a low opinion of 20 somethings…just remember what the left thinks of them.

So let’s deal in reality a little more and raise the age of full rights as an adult to at least 26 (if not 30, because if your brain only stops developing at 26, logically you might want to have a few years using that brain and get used to it before being thrown into the deep end of the pool).

 

Does this mean that I want people living with their parents until they’re 30?  No.  Hell no.  (Although that does appear to be the goal of Democrats based on the last few years of their economic planning).  But that just because you get to move out doesn’t mean you you’re ready for everything.  Think about it, it’s silly to say, ‘oh you’re 18 and just moved out, here is a long list of things we didn’t trust you with last month and in addition to trying to figure out how to support yourself, we’re going to give you all these other options and responsibilities you have no experience how to deal with  Yes we need to give people at 18 or 21 the legal right to sign contracts so they can sign a lease and get out of their parents immediate circle and learn to live on their own, but we don’t need shove everything on them all at once before they’re prepared for it.

 

Further this needs to be done because of the changing nature of education.  Whether the state led Common Core standards (as opposed to the federal Race to the Top program which very ignorant pundits call Common Core, because there are some very ignorant pundits who probably could have used a more standards based reading curriculum out there) succeed or not in becoming standard practice, the fact is that the day is coming where you will see consistent standards across the board in this nation.  And once you have that you will see more and more students held back.  And this is a good thing; it is one of the dumbest things in world to think that all six year olds are at the same level on the same day.  And holding back students a year (and in some cases two or three) will help a lot of students actually succeed where before they would have failed their entire time in school.  But this will also mean that you will see more people graduating high school at 19 and 20 (and maybe even a few at 21).  Do you really want someone voting who hasn’t even had a government course yet (and let’s think about how little is actually covered in a high school government class…if you don’t even have that, I certainly don’t think you should be deciding what to do with my tax money).  And even more to the point as more students succeed in elementary and secondary education because of these standards holding them back making sure they actually get the information in the first place, you will see more and more students getting through trade schools, and their A.A.’s and B.A.’s, (which will be great for the economy)…but will also mean that people will likely be in the bubble of undergrad education for even long periods of their life (and the last thing we need is those people voting)…which will in turn mean they will get an even later start in life.

 

Let’s just admit that society is changing and change our attitude toward the legal concept of adulthood to match.

 

And when you think about this there are so many wonderful advantages to this.

 

What would I include in this?

 

Well, first, we need to raise the voting age.  It should be raised to 30, but I’ll take 26.  Yes you can make the argument that some 18 year olds are mature enough to vote, but guess what, if they’re mature enough to vote then they’re mature enough to understand that there are anywhere from 2 to 5 of their fellow 18 year olds who are not mature enough to vote and they’ll probably be more thankful to not have 5 idiots cancelling out their vote.  Now some will say that we lowered it to 18 because if you’re old enough to serve in the military then you’re old enough to vote…forgetting that this was an argument about the draft (a program that will never be instituted again because the military prefers an all volunteer force and modern technology has made it possible to fight a war without having to draft). Trust me if we ever get into another war the magnitude of which we have to call a draft, whether 18 year olds can vote or not will be the very least of your worries.  And you know what I’m more than willing to put in some exception for those who wish to serve their nation having the right to vote earlier, hell I’m even willing to put in some kind of rules, like in the description in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, we will find you something to do if you don’t meet the traditional physical needs of the military if voting before 30 means that much to you (if you’re willing to give 4+ years of your life to your nation, we’ll find you something to do and give you the vote).  But back to voting, before I digress too much, anyone who has studied exit polls knows that without the 18-29 voting block you will get much, much more rational, sane and intelligent representatives.

 

But it just doesn’t end there.

 

Libertarians, what if we raised the age that one could take drugs from 21 to 26 and imposed very heavy punishments to those who sold to anyone under that age. If you made that argument you would be able to deal with almost all the people who very rationally argue “what about the kids” and you would be able to push much more effectively on your legalization arguments (which would in turn reduce much of the waste and corruption that comes from the war on drugs).  No one would really care what someone in their late 20’s or older puts in themselves (so long as they do it in the privacy of their own home).  But please remember this does need to come with near Draconian measures to against those who can’t keep it in private and those who would provide such substance to anyone under 26…think about it Libertarians, it’s a near perfect silver bullet for one of your favorite issues.

 

And social conservatives, you should also embrace this? Why, because I think the existence of Girls Gone Wild and other such videos (not to mention nearly every other week hearing about a woman in this job or that being fired for having done porn briefly in college despite any of her current rational and mature behavior) proves that 18 year olds might not be the best age to allow men and women to decide when to get into this industry.  I’m not getting into the argument here of whether or not there are people who do enjoy being in this industry and can do it without being psychologically scarred…all I’m going to say is that I think we can all agree an 18 year old isn’t qualified to make that important a choice that will haunt them for the rest of their life.  (Liberal feminists you should also be on board with this).

 

And liberals you should also be on board with this as it will require parents to be financially responsible for their children longer, which you think is a good thing.

 

And economic conservatives, before you read that last sentence and throw a hissy fit, let’s also say that you can’t get ANY welfare benefits until you are fully adult, you’re the responsibility of your parents until then.   And consider how many liberal parents will suddenly start teaching some self control to their children if they know at 16 they’ll be responsible for them (and any spawn they have) for another 10 years not 2.  Now think of the dropping welfare roles that could follow.  So conservatives, keep calm, reread the last paragraph and use it convince your liberal friends.

 

Really there is no group that shouldn’t be in support of this.  Except maybe demagogues who only stay in power because of easily fooled adolescents.  Yeah Barry I mean you.

 

 

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Filed under Conservative, Constitution, GOP, Long Term Thinking

Milton Friedman on the problems of government in medical care

This is a rather long lecture by Milton Friedman on the issues of government in medical care.  As it is so long I’m not going to write a lot, but you should watch it because, despite being over 3 decades old, every word is still very relevant.

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is useless, Health Care, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, Obama, Taxes, Tyranny

How pundits and pervasive lies are preventing us from moving forward…

republicans

We need to get our priorities and our facts in order if we’re going to move forward.

A friend of mine, a person whose opinions I deeply respect, said to me “you know it’s really sad that McCain got more votes than Romney.”  And this struck me as very odd, because, if you go and look up the actual totals you’ll see that Romney (60.933 million votes) got more votes than McCain (59.948 million)…about a million more for any liberals who may be reading this (I know you guys have problems with basic math, so I’m just trying to help).

So yes it would have been sad if a conservative like Romney had done worse than a RINO sack of shit like McCain among Republican voters, but it simply isn’t the case. What is sad, however, is that this vicious lie has been repeated so many times that even intelligent people have begun to believe it (like McCain’s lies about Romney being liberal, or most of what Barry has done to further the philosophy of the Big Lie).

And most responsible for this is a certain group of pundits who seem dedicated to this lie that Romney did worse and the secondary lies that go on to explain why Romney got fewer votes–that we lost because we didn’t focus more on social issues, that we have to become isolationists, that we need to have versions of welfare and cronyism of our own, that the government needs more power in certain sectors–you know the Santorum platform…oh, wait it’s all those Ricky supporting dipshits who are the ones who are primarily behind this lie.   It is the same reason that these pundits need to latch onto the minutiae of actual conservatives and scream bloody murder over small problems, but will conveniently ignore the multiple and serious problems of their new Tea Party darlings…not because they’re doing this out of deep conviction, but out of fear.  The fear that if an economic conservative actually wins at this point then their insane social “conservatism” will be discarded by the whole of the nation.  Fear that at this point if a real conservative wins in an environment that they can do something then their meal ticket of peddling anger will dry up.  They’re afraid of the truth that economic and foreign policy conservatives can win, then all the nutty ideas proposed by these pundits will fall by the way side.

But why am I ranting about this?  I’m ranting about this because this is a very illuminating piece of the conservative movement’s larger problem:  We need to look at what does and doesn’t work in elections for Republicans.  And this is something we haven’t done in quite some time.

Even the postmortem of the election by the RNC Party didn’t really get to the heart of what the actual message needs to be.  So let’s look at the history of the Republican Party and what candidate victories actually are.

The history goes something like this: Republicans don’t tend to do well.  Just accept that.  At least conservatives don’t do well compared to liberals on the whole.  We don’t do well getting people out, we don’t tend to inspire.  This is not because we have bad messaging,  this is not because we have bad candidates, this is because all we have to offer is a lot of what people don’t want to buy.   We offer responsibility.  We offer hard work.  We offer gains through effort, merit, work and trial of blood, sweat and tears.  We offer real gains, but real gains aren’t easy compared to Democrats and progressives just promising the world.  ‘We’ll take it from the rich and give it to you, yes you.’  To hell if it will actually work, it’s such a nice dream that people just want to hear it over and over and over again.

But let’s look at the actual cases.

election figures

Here are the numbers.

Here we have the elections, winners, the number of people who voted for both parties, the percentage of the vote and voter turnout.  But raw numbers like this are kind of meaningless.  And we have to consider all three, because a candidate who loses with a high turnout rate might actually have been a better candidate than a candidate who won with a low turnout rate.   Think of it this way: you have two salesmen.  One salesman only sells 25 items to a group of 100 people, another salesman sells 30 items to a group of 200 people.  Now you might want to say that the salesman who sold 30 items is a better salesman–but he’s not because he only got 15% of the group that he was talking to, the other salesman got 25% of the people he was talking to.   So if we just like a percentage of the votes we’re just looking at the 30 and 25– but if we look at the percentage of the vote in context of the voter turnout it begins to look a little different.

And the numbers go like this from the Republicans who got the largest share of the general population.

Percentage of population

Now who got a larger portion of the population than Romney to come out?  Obviously not most Republicans…but let’s look at the specific instances…You have W.’s 2nd run, Reagan’s 2nd, Eisenhower’s 2nd and Nixon’s first run against Kennedy.  Now while not a firm rule, the fact is that the prestige of being president or being Vice President does help (and you see this with Democratic candidates as well). That leaves Wendell Wilkie (who was running against FDR’s third term, so some of the outrage against the idea of a President running for a third time might be somewhat to blame), and Eisenhower’s 1st run. Now with Eisenhower, you have something almost better than being President, you have the title Supreme Allied Commander.  Also you just have to generally exclude Eisenhower’s runs and Nixon’s first run as they weren’t running so much on a platform of policies, but on the name Eisenhower.

Now you can disagree with my logic of excluding some or all of these, but you have to admit that Romney got a larger portion of the nation to come out and vote for him than most Republicans.

So not only did Romney get a larger number of votes than McCain, a larger share of the population than McCain,

This man knew what he was doing. It wasn’t perfect in all ways and he was up against an opponent who promised the world and cheated to get what he couldn’t get through giveaways…but Romney provides us the model for the kind of candidate we need.

and a larger share of the population than most Republicans throughout recent history, let’s not say Romney failed because let’s look at the fact he beat out Reagan’s first run for presidency.  Romney got a larger share of the population to vote for him than Reagan did.  Romney did better than Reagan did in 1980.  Think about that.  Also think about the fact that Reagan almost didn’t win the election in 1980. In 1980 there was a third-party challenger who took away a lot of votes from Carter, and that’s why Reagan won, not because Carter was such a bad president—no the American public is kind of stupid in that respect, they won’t even vote out a terrible person??—no it’s that a challenger came in and stole some of the Democratic Party votes.   Just as Republicans won in 2000 because Ralph Nader came in and stole votes from Gore, just as Bush lost in ‘92 because Ross Perot came in and stole votes.  The sad fact is that in ’80, ’92, and 2000 it wasn’t so much because people liked the winner so much it’s because the incumbent had a challenger siphoning off some of their votes.   And that’s a sad fact, had there not been a challenger, in 1980 we would’ve been stuck with two terms of Carter.  It’s not an idea per se that people are voting for, sometimes it’s just to feel that they can be different.  (It doesn’t appear that (the perpetually appearing to be stoned) Gary Johnson siphoned off enough votes to make a difference, but who knows how many people he convinced to at least stay home, so thanks Gary go fuck yourself.)

So I don’t want to hear that Rodney was a terrible candidate because Romney pulled out people in a way that no other Republican in recent memory seems to be able to do.  And one of the reasons he was able to do this was because Romney didn’t really focus on social issues.  Yes he said he was personally socially conservative but in no way, shape, or form did he ever give the impression that he was going to legislate on that. Notice that he was not going to stand in the way of law.  He did not feel it was the government’s responsibility, especially the federal government’s responsibility, to change and dictate morality in laws.  Romney got people out because he talked about the only two issues that are important: the economy and foreign-policy. Liberty here and liberty abroad.

Now yes you can claim that social issues did come up in the form of idiots like Todd Akin (the man should’ve taken Karl Rove’s advice and shot himself)– but that, an issue with social conservatism, if anything, lost Romney votes.  Social conservatism and those who preach it are the worst enemies of economic liberty and international peace, not its greatest defenders (they’re also their own worst enemies because good economic policy will create the institutions in society that social conservatives love…and they’ll do it without forcing it via law)

‘But, but, I was told by a single idiotic pundit (who shall remain nameless) that had only the Christian voters come out Romney would’ve won.  It’s the fact the evangelicals stayed home, the conservative evangelical voters stayed home and Romney lost.  Actually if you look at the breakdown that’s not quite accurate.  And in fact most of the groups dipshit pundits  want to point to as having been driven off by Romney, actually did better with those groups.  All these claims that Romney was a RINO (made only by people too illiterate to actually read his record) or that we needed a more socially conservative candidate are based on the myth, no, not myth, bald face lie, that conservatives stayed home and didn’t vote for Romney.  I can’t find any actual evidence that can substantiate the claim that the social conservatives did not turn out for Romney.  So anyone who talks about conservatives staying home, and not turning out and not getting out the vote is full of crap.  Now granted we may not have been able to make as many moderates come out, but the fact of the matter is, let’s be honest here, Obama was just manufacturing votes in a lot of the swing states.   In addition Romney’s grand get out the vote program ORCA seems to have crashed (a little too conveniently on Election Day) which hurt in getting out those otherwise moderate voters who leaned towards Romney (but a lot of these problems seemed to have been resolved through RNC efforts in the 2013 governor elections).  The long and short of it is that no one should ever be claiming this bullshit lie that the psychotic populist pundits want to keep proposing that Romney, couldn’t get voters out. He did.  People should not be buying this lie that because he wasn’t a social conservative we lost.  That is not the case.

We lost for a few other reasons.  As I’ve stated before it wasn’t because social conservatives hurt us…so whining to crazy social conservatives or lunatic libertarians is not the answer.  The answer is to get another economic conservative like Romney, and do better on the ground game.  Do better on getting people out…and this is not entirely the responsibility of the candidate.  We cannot be the party of individualists but think that the party on high is the one responsible for winning this thing.  We have to be better at being a grassroots party…and thus I am going to start (hopefully weekly, but you know how I get) suggestions that every single conservative should do to help get conservatives into every level of government to help shrink the size of said government.

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Filed under Conservative, Election 2012, GOP, Long Term Thinking, Mitt Romney, politics, Tea Party

Movies that understand economics: #7 Morning Glory

Morning Glory

“Daybreak needs what I need, someone who believes that it can succeed. Trust me, I know you don’t have any reason to believe in me, but I work harder than anyone else. I’m in first, I’m out last. I know a shitload more about the news than someone whose daddy paid them to smoke bongs and talk semiotics at Harvard and I devote myself completely to my job. It’s what I do. It’s all I am. I… You can ask anyone.”

At this point I’m pretty sure you think I’m losing my mind (or that I am really desperate to find movies with economic premises)*–how is a silly comedy (that has a romantic subplot, but not enough of one to call it a romantic comedy) going demonstrate economics? Just trust me that I do know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t know the film, Rachel McAdams plays Becky Fuller an inexperienced executive producer who has been given the very undesirable job of bringing the worst morning news show in history up in the ratings…and her genius idea is to bring a veteran hard news anchor, played by Harrison Ford, who doesn’t want to be there, on to the very light news morning show. Hilarity and infighting ensues. But buried in this pure entertainment story are a few economic truths.

innovation

On the left are industries that live under the rules of adapt or die. On the right are organizations that don’t live with that fact…see the difference.

The first is the most basic of all economic principles at the heart of capitalism: adapt or die. The entire central plot is about brining up a failing TV show in the ratings. And the only way this happens is by throwing out old rules and changing the format of the show. This includes more sensationalism, making deals with celebrities that no other show would ever make, having the anchors bicker on air because it brings in more ratings. Adapt or die. Every company on earth (when they’re not being bailed out by morons who don’t understand capitalism) faces this basic principle. And it’s a good thing. As shown in the movie it forces the people on the TV show to adapt, to innovate, to come up with new things that work. It forces the show and the people, people who had previously given up, to come up with new ways of doing things, to be better and create things that work. Adapt or die, it is what turns $50,000+ worth of equipment in 1985 taking up probably half a ton of mass, into your smart phone that cost you $300 and about a pound of mass.

And this ties to the last two movies and the idea of creative destruction. As most companies try to avoid being the victim of creative destruction they have the choice to grow and not die. Which the show in this movie does. It is what drives a healthy economy, the need to survive forces us to grow and produce better and cheaper products.

And tied to this is this principle of adapt or die is the idea of being a leader. No organization or person can grow without being willing to make decisions.

One of the best descriptions on leadership goes as follows:

The difference between a good administrator and a bad one is about five heartbeats. Good administrators make immediate choices … [that] usually can be made to work. A bad administrator, on the other hand, hesitates, diddles around, asks for committees, for research and reports. Eventually, he acts in ways which create serious problems … A bad administrator is more concerned with reports than with decisions. He wants the hard record which he can display as an excuse for his errors … [Good administrators] depend on verbal orders. They never lie about what they’ve done if their verbal orders cause problems, and they surround themselves with people able to act wisely on the basis of verbal orders. Often, the most important piece of information is that something has gone wrong. Bad administrators hide their mistakes until it’s too late to make corrections … One of the hardest things to find is people who actually make decisions.—Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

jimmy carter sex offender

The movie covers the importance of reporting the truth when others won’t.

And the character of Becky Fuller displays this trait perfectly. Within minutes of taking her new job she is bombarded with not only a huge amount of choices but also a grossly inept employee…but rather than saying things like “I’ll get back to you” and consult others she makes choices right there based on her own judgment. And rather than deal with a clearly toxic and useless employee she just fires him because he is absolutely worthless. She makes judgment calls and works with the fallout rather than blaming others. No company, no organization, no individual can progress without this; making immediate choices and working with the fallout. No economy can survive or grow without such leaders. A shame we don’t have anything like that on Pennsylvania Avenue.

*both may be correct to one degree or another, but that doesn’t negate my point about this film.

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Movies that understand economics #5 and #6 Other People’s Money and Pretty Woman

Movies that understand economics #5 and #6 Other People’s Money and Pretty Woman

Now I have covered both of these movies before, but Pretty Woman and Other People’s Money, so no need to waste your time on a summary of the plots, cover one of the most important economic concepts that people tend to misunderstand: Creative Destruction.

Other People's MoneyIn general, creative destruction is when a company that is not producing as well as its competitors is removed, for one reason or another, from the economy, and the resources it once had are taken up by more innovative and productive members of the economy.  In more practical terms it is when a company begins to fail and stops making profits, when it no longer has any new way to innovate and refuses to change with a changing economy, that investors or venture capitalists come in, buy up the company and sell the pieces to companies.  In short liquidation.

And never have I seen such a perfect description of what economists call creative destruction than in Other People’s Money:

Amen. And amen. And amen. You have to forgive me. I’m not familiar with the local custom. Where I come from, you always say “Amen” after you hear a prayer. Because that’s what you just heard – a prayer. Where I come from, that particular prayer is called “The Prayer for the Dead.” You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you didn’t say, “Amen.” This company is dead. I didn’t kill it. Don’t blame me. It was dead when I got here. It’s too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead. You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We’re dead alright. We’re just not broke. And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure. You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence, let’s have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future. “Ah, but we can’t,” goes the prayer. “We can’t because we have responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our community. What will happen to them?” I got two words for that: Who cares? Care about them? Why? They didn’t care about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility to them. For the last ten years this company bled your money. Did this community ever say, “We know times are tough. We’ll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer.” Check it out: You’re paying twice what you did ten years ago. And our devoted employees, who have taken no increases for the past three years, are still making twice what they made ten years ago; and our stock – one-sixth what it was ten years ago. Who cares? I’ll tell you. Me. I’m not your best friend. I’m your only friend. I don’t make anything? I’m making you money. And lest we forget, that’s the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You want to make money! You don’t care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines! You want to make money! I’m the only friend you’ve got. I’m making you money. Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe, maybe you’ll get lucky and it’ll be used productively. And if it is, you’ll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves. And if anybody asks, tell ’em ya gave at the plant. And by the way, it pleases me that I am called “Larry the Liquidator.” You know why, fellow stockholders? Because at my funeral, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a few bucks in your pocket. Now that’s a funeral worth having!

Creative destruction is often depicted by people who don’t understand economics as evil.  But as shown in both movies, the victims of liquidation are not just randomly picked companies that are targeted just because some evil businessman wanted to hurt someone.  In both films it is made clear that companies that become victims of the kind of takeovers that end in liquidation are not the victim of the investors and liquidators…but victims of failing to change with the time, victims of bad managements, victims of not adapting as any business must to survive because, with the exception of Coca-cola, no company has discovered a recipe for success that should never be changed and subject to innovation.

And both speak to the fact that the goal is not just to hurt people (in Other People’s Money, as shown above he points out pretty-woman-1how creative destruction leads to investments that will benefit people, and in Pretty Woman in describing how the employees are not just going to be thrown out).

And while creative destruction usually works by allowing more productive companies to use the equipment, land, and human capital more effectively, both of these movies show that it can take other forms.  In Other People’s Money it is in the form of changing the operations of the company to fit the new economy, in Pretty Woman is it putting the company under new and more competent management (don’t kid yourself, that’s what happened—old management was destroyed and new creative management under Richard Gere’s company was taking over, if the owner’s name on the letter head wasn’t changing is irrelevant).

Economies are a lot like ecosystems. In both the rule is adapt or die.  And in both you need carrion feeders who can allow the dead material to work its way back into the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.  Some people who don’t understand his important function may view the work of liquidators in economics, or carrion feeders in nature as repulsive, but only because they don’t understand the valuable and needed process that they perform. If you do not have something that can take the dead and dying companies and move their resources to where they can be of more help (like, oh, by saying this or that company is too big to fail, and thus preventing it’s needed death) you only get systems that continually get worse and worse and a drain on the economy and as it so happens the taxpayers and it will fail again given time because it did not change – sometimes smaller works out better – more competition more innovation.

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Movies (or TV shows) that understand Economics #3 Ducktales

 

Ducktales“You can never get something for nothing”—Scrooge McDuck

So just three days into this series on movies and TV shows that show valid economic principles here at the Conservative New Ager and the guys over at Breitbart.com run ‘SPONGEBOB’ CRITIQUES WELFARE STATE, EMBRACES SELF-SUFFICIENCY.  Stop stealing my ideas Breitbart.com, you can’t just rely on me to keep giving you good stuff.

Well we here at the Conservative New Ager can play the children’s cartoon and economics game too.  And the cartoons I pick are better.

As surprising as it may seem the show Ducktales actually understood economics fairly well…at least better than anyone in Washington D.C.

This isn’t just because one character happens to be a billionaire who prides himself on being a self-made man (duck?). But even just understanding the virtue of earning one’s way…no the cartoon actually understood inflation better than anyone at the FED.

Take a look. (Cartoons may not be your thing, but it’s only 5 minutes and it does show that everyone in D.C. is an idiot).

“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of: easy money. I don’t trust any dollar that I haven’t earned.”—Scrooge McDuck

So regrettably, even though my entire generation was given a lesson in the fact that you can’t print money without it causing inflation, no one seems to have learned this very important lesson.

(Or worse they’ve been idiotic Austrians who think that shiny metals are somehow not fiat money and also missed the more complicated point that the money supply has to grow with the economy).

And while I probably could find a few more good economic lessons in the show if I had time enough (and didn’t mind my brain turning to mush and seeping out of my ears) but I think the most important lesson (and the one I specifically remembered after all these years) is that you can’t just print money without it having massive negative consequences.

That’s right, even the writers at Disney know that Paul Krugman is a blithering idiot who is a detriment to human society.

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Real Change in Education: Part I

 

There is a lot of brouhaha over Common Core right now. Education Personally I am tired of idiots blaming every stupid Obama Administration policy, every idiotic Dept. of Education directive, every factually incorrect statement made by a book publisher, and every dumbass move by an individual state on the Common Core.  The Common Core is minimum standards dealing with math, reading and writing and a nation wide test that comes with those standards.  Is it as high as we really need?  No, but it is higher than what most states used to have. …but guess what, any state that adopts Common Core can put in standards that exceed it.  Also the Common Core standards were a state pushed initiative, not a federal one, so stop saying this is overreach by the federal government—it isn’t.

We are conservatives, we’re supposed to be the informed and educated people…but if we keep stupidly blaming things that have nothing to do with the Common Core on the Common Core then we appear uninformed.

This link above goes to the actual Common Core standard.  Read them before you attack them. 

We don’t blame science because liberals shout their BS religion of global warming.

We don’t blame the Constitution for the fact that liberals violate our rights in the name of the Constitution.

Common Core State Standards.jpg

Common Core Standards are good..the problem is that any idiot publisher can put the words “Common Core aligned”

Then why should we blame the Common Core standards, read them there is nothing wrong in them because some idiot liberal states are doing a lot of things that aren’t in the Common Core (but using its name).

The standards are fine.  Read them and tell me if you find anything objectionable…it’s certain that liberal states and the way they’re implementing them/adding to them that is the problem.

If we don’t attack the right thing, if we don’t understand who the enemy is, then we won’t win.

But since some people need to attack something in education let me suggest 9 other things we could focus on that would actually lead to better schools.

 

1.Get Rid of Useless Professional Development

Tied to a lot of complaints about Common Core is the whining about it will cause teachers to teach to the test.  This (A) assume that one on can only teach the standards and nothing else and (B) that teachers can only teach in one way.  In reality there is a simple truth—Bad teachers will only ever teach to the test, good teachers will always teach what is on the test and go beyond. The reason you have standards is that you’re trying to limit the damage done by bad teachers.  I know everyone likes to point out all the terrible points of No Child Left Behind (and there are many) but the fact is that putting in testing put in a lower bar that even bad teachers had to meet.  This was a great thing because you at least had a standard, any standard, in some parts of the country finally and not just bad teachers skating students without any concern for whether or not they learn anything.  And teaching to the test is teaching the minimum standards which is what we want if the standards are high enough.  Tests are supposed to reflect the items learned – duh!

If you actually want teachers to not teach to the test then get better teachers, don’t get rid of the test.

And how do you get better teachers?  Well the first thing you need to do is get rid of the things that drive good teachers out.

One of those things is professional development.  What is professional development, you ask?  Standards vary from state to state, but professional development is a requirement that to keep your teaching credential you have to take so many hours of professional development or courses so that you can continue to improve as a teacher.  It sounds like a good idea, that teachers should continue to refine their craft.  But while it sounds really nice, it isn’t.  What it turns into is taking state approved courses on teaching strategies that no competent teacher would ever use or lectures on information that has no discernable use in education.

For instance I had to take a two week professional development course last year on “Structured English Immersion” to keep my Arizona teaching credential.  Structured English Immersion is fancy teacher speak for “how to teach English to kids who don’t speak English.”  It cost me several hundred dollars to take this course.  I teach high school and not a single thing discussed in this waste of my time and money could ever even theoretically be used in a high school course. Professional development is supposedly there so we can learn the most up to date research on child development and teaching practices…but strangely enough the most recent study listed in the course material was published during the Bush Administration (no…I don’t mean W.). Yeah real cutting edge right there.  Not to mention the entire tone of the course was that you have to coddle children who don’t speak English and not encourage them to actually learn English, speak in English, read English and use English in every aspect of their life (you know, what actually works).

All other professional development is like this.  For instance I’m also going to have to take a few college courses between now and then (again out of pocket) to keep my credential up.  Now while I’m going to try and pick courses that relate to my field, most teachers pick college courses that relate to Education…Education courses are a lot like the above described Structured English Immersion…outdated bullshit that will never help you reach students.

And we charge teachers for this…because teachers make so much money that they can just easily drop money on things like this without any worry.

Or maybe a lot of good teachers realize they can get jobs in other fields that don’t attempt to fleece them at every turn (you don’t want to see my fees that I also have to pay to keep up my teaching credential).

But, some schools pay for their teacher’s professional development, so it’s not like every teacher is getting fleeced (they’re just losing time).  A lot of public schools have in-service days every year to ensure their teachers get their hours.  On average they’ll hold about 5 of these days a year…now let’s say your school of 700 students has 20 teachers, each teacher making $52,000 a year on average (over the course of about 190 contract days, or about $273.68 a day), so to have those teachers take out 5 days out of the year for this sort of in-service professional development costs the taxpayer $27,368.42 a year for a school of only 20 teachers (plus of course the costs of time it took to set this up, to bring in someone to do the training or have a teacher trained to do the training, and the costs that administrators will also participate in this stuff…so let’s round it up to $30,000).  $30K a year for each school in America paid with taxpayer dollars (2009/2010 – 98,817 total public schools = $2,964,510) wasted on irrelevant information that won’t help you be a better teacher.

How about this, let’s just require every teacher to get a subscription to the Journal of Higher Education and Kaplan which will actually keep them abreast of research in education and save about $29,000 a year by not having this bullshit.

The fact is this is a scam.  It’s a scam for states to make money off approving the courses, off of charging teachers over and over again, for the colleges that make money after forcing teachers to participate.  In all my years teaching I have had nearly a month of my life taken up in professional development…not one iota of it was worth a damn.  Teachers get better by teaching, by observing other teachers, by talking with their colleagues and by self-reflection.  THEY DO NOT LEARN BY SITTING IN STUPID COURSES HEARING OUTDATED MATERIAL THAT IS NOT RELEVANT TO THEM.  This is a scam for states and colleges to make money and nothing more.  It wastes taxpayer money and drives out competent people from the field who have better things to do than deal with this stupidity.*

 

2.  Fire Administration.

Administrators are something that schools tend to pile on.  Superintendents. Assistant Superintendents.  Principals.  Vice Principals. Deans. Counselors.  This list could go on for a very long time.  In fact since 1970 non-teaching staff has grown by 138% while student enrollments have grown only by about 8%.  Any test standard you want to look at for quality of education has remained about the same in that time.  So all those paper pushers seem to do nothing…but they do get paid. And if you think teachers getting paid 52K a year is high, you should see what administrator’s charge.

I think it is safe to say that 90% of school administrators and non-teaching staff are there only to fill out federal/state/local red tape.  Get rid of the red tape and get rid of most of the administrators.  They serve no real purpose.  And the few that do serve a purpose are grossly overpaid.

And more often than not they serve as a hindrance to good teachers rather than help.  The fewer administrators you have I promise you, you will see an improvement in the quality of education.

At the very least the next time your local school tries to pass a bond or tax ask them how many administrators have been axed and how many have taken major pay cuts.  If everyone doesn’t fall into one of those categories then vote anything they want down until they make serious cuts of useless people.  Do it for the children.

 

3.  Hold Back Students Who Aren’t Making the Grade

This year Arizona is making a lot of news by saying they are probably going to hold back a whole 1,500 third graders who aren’t ready to move onto 4th grade. 

Lots of people are whining about how this hurts the poor students who are already struggling…What people should be bitching about is that we’re not holding students back in grades K-2 and 4-11 as well—and in all 50 states and all U.S. territories.  If children don’t understand something they need to be held back in the grade they were having problems in until they get the needed understanding.  I don’t care about complaints of self-esteem…trust me students will feel much better about themselves if they aren’t constantly behind and constantly feeling like they’re too stupid to get it.  And holding them back a grade can help in preventing this.  Not everyone progresses at the same rate mentally and some students (a lot of them in fact) need to be held back.

And the added bonus is that teachers in higher grades will now no longer be wasting time going over concepts from previous grades because half the class should have been held back at some point or having to waste half their day on the kid who should have been held back two or three times.  This means all the students will get more out of every single course.

Coming tomorrow suggestions 4-6

 

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GOP, Let’s ask what worked and what didn’t…

Do you ever wonder…

If Republicans would spend as much energy and time on attacking Democrats as they do their own party, if they might actually get somewhere?

So the last couple of weeks have once again revealed that the Republican Party’s perpetual need to shoot itself in the foot.   This of course is a side effect of who is in the Republican Party.  Unlike the Democrats (and people who voted Santorum, and Paulbots) most Republicans (both the conservatives and libertarians in the party) tend to be free thinkers…which means we don’t march lock step with the commands of the party and/or our chosen savior to blindly follow.  Unfortunately, while usually a good thing, this does lead to a little bit of a problem when trying to organize. We are all going our separate ways while our opposition, while idiotic and wrong, marches to the beat of a single drummer and provides a single, constant, well defended wall that we cannot break by not working together.

Does this mean that we should all just march lockstep just like they do?  No.  But it does mean we should try to think more long term than they do and work toward our long term goals rather than doing what feels good at the moment.

The shutdown is a good example. We should have never made this about Obamacare because even just a bit of forethought would tell us that if we did that then the only way to win was to hold a shutdown all the way through until the new congress is sworn in in 2015 (because we know damn well that Obama and Reid are too damn stupid to admit that their law is a horrific nightmare), and this only works if (A) Republicans hold firm (which we know isn’t going to happen) and (B) that the American people see that it’s the Democrats who are at fault and the House is doing what it’s supposed to in using the power of the purse (these are the people who voted for Obama, do you really think they’re going to see that?).  If we want to get rid of Obamacare then the first, thing we need to do is get rid of the Senate.  Nothing happens until then.  Nothing.  But we had short sighted fools going their own way saying we can stop this here and now (exactly how when we don’t hold the Senate, White House or Supreme Court is a bit beyond me… I actually saw a conservative commentator complain that the GOP is giving in even though the GOP “is in a stronger position than it was during the partial government shutdown in 1995/96.”  Yes right now with control of one house we’re in such a better position than in 1995/96 when we controlled both the House and the Senate and had Dick Morris screaming in the White House to give into the GOP.  We’re in such a stronger position now than we were then.  (What the hell are some conservative pundits smoking?)

But no, some genius thought that Obamacare was the line in the sand to draw—to hell if Ryan’s work on saving the budget would actually lead to more long term good, to hell that letting Obamacare go forward would be its own worst enemy, no let’s draw a line in the sand on this silly item.  So we shut down everything over Obamacare, and thus we killed all our other options.  Good call.  But once we were in the shutdown we should have not budged an inch.  Yeah getting there was dumb, but, a lot like getting your girlfriend pregnant, it may have been a series of shortsighted choices that got you into this situation, but now for the sake of intelligence and character you only have one option.  Did we hold firm? No.  Why?  Because again we can’t hold a united front.   When we were holding firm we had people insulting Republicans that they were RINOs and were going to get primaries out (so if you’re a Republican who really does believe that you will hold the line better than the Democrat who would trounce your Tea Party replacement, if you really believe that you’re doing what is best for the country you have to make a deal to ensure you keep your seat and that a Democrat doesn’t take it…not saying everyone was this noble but I’m sure one or two were).

Then we were even more stupid.  We had Republicans vote for the damn compromise (that gave us nothing).  This I don’t quite understand. It could pass the Senate without a single Republican vote, and it could pass the House with only a few Republicans voting for it (or just staying home and not voting at all).  Did we organize anything like this to at least be able to say that ‘We did not vote for this crap, this is the Democrats and all the Democrats.”  Nope, we didn’t even organize that well.

And as I hinted above, it’s not just the elected officials.  We attack our own, shout everyone down as RINOs at the drop of a hat.   Now some will say that I’m attacking the Tea Party…actually I’m only attacking part of it.  I’m beginning to notice there are two parts to the Tea Party. One is the “let’s shrink government in power, size and expenditure” let’s call this the Values Tea Party…then there seems to a second side, the “Everyone who does not agree with me 100% is a goddamn RINO and must be purged from the party.”  Let’s call this the Ideological Tea Party.  One side wants to win and is willing to make logical concessions if they need to but is just tired of the GOP ALWAYS making concessions even when they don’t need to…the other side wants the goddamn Spanish Inquisition (which I really wasn’t expecting) and purge all non-believers from the ranks of the Republican party (of course as it’s a constantly shifting set of values it’s hard to say what is and isn’t real conservatism to these people…but if you don’t perform a miracle right now and end Obamacare, overturn a hundred years of bad court decisions, revoke 200 years of bad executive decisions, clean the tax code, impeach Obama, destroy all terrorists, and turn water into wine you won’t vote for them…and anything short must be because you’re a filthy RINO and not, oh I don’t know, because you’re only in control of one half of one branch of the government.)

What I think some people don’t realize is that we need Republicans from all parts of the country to win (even blue states) which means that those Republicans have to be more moderate than say a Republican from a completely red state.  There are Republicans who are moderate on some things (mainly social issues).  There are Republicans who come from very blue states but believe they should honor their constituents beliefs on certain things (I don’t particularly like people who feel this way, but I find the people who bitch the most about these Republicans are the same ones who use “the will of the people” as justification for why legislatures should do this or that…pick one and only one, should legislatures use their own judgment (a republic) or should they be beholden to the will of the people (a democracy).

Goldwater Reagan Buckley RINO

RINOs as defined by some in the Tea Party right now.

By the standards that the pundits are now setting up William F. Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater would be considered RINOS (let me remind you that Reagan as governor passed more liberal laws than Romney, for much the same reason, because he was dealing with a very liberal legislature, and as president he cut LOTS of deals with the Democrats).

Do you think perhaps, that as a voting block we’re beginning to get a little strange?

Yes there are few very legitimate RINOs who will sell the party out at the drop of a hat.  McCain, Graham, Christie.  I’m probably forgetting a couple more.  BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF GOP actually do believe in what they are doing, they may be wrong in that belief, they might get a better deal if they held out, but just because they are wrong in a tactical belief doesn’t make them liberal.

Establishment vs Tea Party

This picture should not even exist. We have bigger problems, namely liberals. Until they’re gone we should not be attacking each other.

So first off to anyone talking about putting up a primary challenger to any Republican they disagree with I want you to ask two questions.

First.

Will the Tea Party candidate you’re supporting win in an election against the Democratic challenger in that state/district?

And you need to be very, very honest here.  I liked Sharon Angel and Christie O’Donnell…but they were bad calls for Nevada and Delaware…and if you don’t think it would have been better to run a more moderate Republican and remove Harry Reid from office, you’re crazy.  Absolutely crazy.  This is the old Buckley Rule: Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  Because even the most moderate Republican is better than scum that is Harry Reid.

Now this may not be enough.  Because let’s be honest there are scum that jump ship when the Senate gets to that 50/50 mark.  And again you need to be honest here when you ask:

Will this the elected official you’re trying to get rid of jump ship if given a chance?

For people like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, yeah vote them out.  They’ll backstab the Republican Party every chance they get and will switch to Democrats if they’re offered enough if the it ever gets that close (As say when Jim Jeffords back stabbed the Republicans, changed parties and gave the Senate to the Democrats in 2001). They’re Democrats already for all intents and purpose because they have no character (oh, I would like to thank Sarah Palin for supporting McCain over the Tea Party candidate…thanks Sarah, you really helped the Republic with that move.)

So if it’s yes to both answers, sure get a primary going.  Even if it’s yes to just the second answer, get rid of the idiot. But if they’re just a moderate Republican who doesn’t always vote with the party but will give us control of the Senate or let us keep control of the House, they’re better than a Democrat. As we have learned, who controls the houses of Congress has massive authority and it is better that we dethrone Harry Reid even if we have to have every seat go to a moderate. Standing on principal when it will only hurt your cause in the long and short run isn’t standing on principal—it’s idiocy.

So just as a little reminder

There’s an election about a year away.  We need to hold onto ALL of our seats in the Senate (which means it might not be bright to primary out a moderate if that means the libs will pick it up…even a moderate Republican can still give us control of the Senate, which we’ve learned can be a very powerful thing) and we need to pick up at least 6 more seats.

Now might be the time to remember that as much as we hate some in our party we hate the Democrats even more.  We can purge the party when we’re in a position to…in the mean time I might actually like to not have to see Harry Reid’s stupid face for another few years…

Schmuck in Cheif

This man and all he represents is what we should be working against…not each other.

Or did you want to have Harry Reid in charge of the Senate if, god help us, another Supreme Court Justice needs to be replaced?

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Filed under character, Congress, Conservative, GOP, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics, Problems with the GOP, Tea Party

Why Obamacare is terrible on every level.

Obamacare regs

So those 11 million words are what you have to comply with.

I was recently asked why Obamacare is so bad…

Where to start?

 Let’s start at the Constitutional Level.

Obamacare requires that every person in America buys insurance.  This was done because without doing it every insurance provider in the nation would begin losing almost immediately and rather than lose money they would just go Atlas Shrugged on us and close shop…but by having everyone on insurance they at least still make a small profit, but only because you’ve forced millions of people who don’t need insurance onto insurance (but even then only by making everyone pay increased premiums).

The problem with this is that the Constitution gives the government no power to force people to buy something (in fact forcing people to do something against their will is expressly prohibited in the 5th Amendment’s protection of private property, and 13th Amendment).  They enforce this mandate by penalizing you if you don’t buy insurance.  Again, no Constitutional authority to do this.

Now the Supreme Court and Obamacare got around this by saying this penalty isn’t a fine, it’s a tax (the strangest tax in history, but still a tax). The problem with this is Constitutionally taxes have to originate in House of Representatives and Obamacare originated in the Senate.

So either it’s forcing you to buy something, and is unconstitutional, or it’s a tax in which case the bill was not passed in a constitutional manner.

Either way it’s unconstitutional.

Then let’s go to the idea of rights.  

The entire basis for this law is that you have a right to health care.   

This is silly.  Traditionally rights have been considered things that you are born with or you would have even if there was no civilization around.  If you’re alone on an island you still have the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.  In society no one has the right to take these away from you, which is why these are called negative rights—you have them and no one can negate them.  Even if someone has the power to do so no one has the ethical, moral, or political basis to take away by force your negative rights.  Ethical government is based on the idea that, being a part of society, you give up a very small amount (not so small these days) of your rights to protect the vast majority of them.  At least in the ideal.

The right to health care is what’s called a positive right.  The idea that you have a right to certain things that you would not have without others, that you have not and cannot provide for yourself, and that others are required to provide for you. Health care is one of these.  The idea that you have a right to living wage, whether you earn it or not. 

Now, personally I don’t think there has ever been a good argument for positive rights, but the bigger problem is that positive rights always infringe upon negative rights.  If you have the right to a living wage, then others must provide, and thus must have their property taken away, to provide your living wage.  Thus you have no right to property if you have the right to a living wage.  If you have a right to health care, then doctors and nurses must treat you or any medical issue (not only life threatening ones, hospitals and doctors were required to treat life threatening issues by law even before Obamacare) whether you can pay or not.  This means a doctor cannot choose to not take you as a patient.  Thus the right to healthcare means doctors do not have freedom of choice and thus do not have the right to liberty…I believe that’s called slavery.  Now you think this may be an extreme example, but whenever positive rights have become laws you see fewer protection of negative rights without exception throughout history.

Then we have the pragmatic problems with Obamacare. 

Obamacare creates massive amounts of regulation (11 million words of regulations ).  This encourages more doctors to leave the system, and more highly qualified potential doctors and other medical professionals to not get into it ().  It slows research, it reduces the amounts of medical equipment that can be used.  It raises prices.

Also when something is free or perceived as free, as in the case of Obamacare, you always get people wanting more of it.

This will cause more people to go to the doctor (remember there will be fewer of them) for more minor issues.  This will cause longer lines and less efficient care, thus treatment quality will go down, and mortality rates will go up.  This can be seen in any country with socialized medicine where you see such things as gout go months without treatment (whereas it is almost always immediately caught here) or where due to the wait, limb amputation as a result a diabetes is vastly more common under systems like Obamacare than it has been in the preObamacare American system. (These are just two examples.  Every disease gets worse under socialized medicine).

Fraud, due to increased bureaucracy, will also increase.  You will end up paying for this through increased premiums and taxes.  

obama-care-chart

Welcome to Obamacare…can you find your way to a doctor…or will you just fall into the pit of Despair?

You will also have the problem of price control boards.   Now, we have always had these in one form or another (but they got really annoying after the government created the dreaded HMO…that’s right the biggest thing people hated in healthcare before Obamacare was also a government created debacle).   You buy a certain level of insurance and the insurance company says that due to the level you have bought we will pay X amount of dollars, but no more.  This becomes an issue with experimental treatment and long-term problems like cancer.  The insurance will pay for your pain meds, as they are required to by your policy, but they will not pay for expensive chemo and radiation (not because they’re heartless but because they would go broke if they paid for everyone who didn’t pay the premiums for that level of care). If you want more coverage, you can always buy more.  The problem with Obamacare is that government price control boards are going into place and will say what you can and can’t have for treatment, if you are in the government exchanges.  The difference here is if an insurance company denied to pay, you could always pay out of pocket, under Obamacare the price control board’s decision is final (if try to pay out of pocket you are again subject to fines, and rationing will have made these procedures already more expensive which makes already expensive procedures astronomically unreachable, so it’s the same thing as making them illegal).  This is why they have earned the moniker “death panels” because if they deny your claim, you die…if the insurance company denied you, you still had other options and it was up to you if you wanted to spend your life savings on buying those extra few months. 

The unfortunate effect will be that as medical prices rise, what is covered by the price control boards will contract drastically.  Thus even more things will become deadly.

Not to mention with the above fact that people are more likely to go to the doctor, which means even if they aren’t sick they’re more likely to go to a waiting room where someone is sick and catch something.  And remember antibiotics are slowly becoming worthless.  Yeah that bodes well. 

There are a lot of other ways it will ruin the medical profession, but I think you get the point.

Finally the economic reasons why it’s bad.

 Ignoring the fact that higher death rates may have some negative economic effects…it’s just bad in every way for the economy.

Obamacare requires businesses with a certain number of employees to buy insurance at a certain level for their employees.

As premiums rise, as I stated above, this means it becomes more and more expensive to hire an employee. If you earn $45,000 plus benefits right now, it actually costs your employer around $60,000 between salary, benefits, and social security to employee you. As premiums rise so does the cost of employing each person.

Whether businesses care about their employees or not, they first have to stay in business.  They are hesitant to hire new people as new hires also cost money for training and you usually aren’t getting the full effect of the employee for a few months until they get into a rhythm with the system of your company.  So you’re taking a loss with each new employee even before Obamacare.  The raised premiums then mean with each new employee will have to provide more for the company to be worth their total cost.  Thus you tend to fire the lower performers because you’re not getting your money’s worth. So fewer people hired, more people fired.  Also since you have to provide fewer benefits for part time workers than full time, you are more likely to hire people only part time.  We have seen all of this over the last few years.

Small businesses are hurt too because a small business can only grow to a certain size before it has to provide benefits.  So when it reaches that point, a business can either not grow, which hurts economic growth, or suddenly provide full medical coverage…and no small business at that size can afford to make that immediate jump in the cost of each employee.  Again we have slowly seen the effects this has on the economy.

This leads to overall negative ripple effects in prosperity, take home pay, innovation, research…it creates a bad economy all around.

And we’re already seeing all of this on a massive scale. 

So to sum up, it’s unconstitutional, it’s unethical, it’s leads to bad medicine, and it leads to a terrible economy.  

What makes it worse is that actually less government (removing the restrictions on research, removing the restrictions on insurance companies crossing state lines, a thousand other small things) could actually improve medicine, medical costs, and the economy.  And Republicans have proposed these numerous times despite the media saying they have no idea of what to replace Obamacare with.

Anything anyone wants clarified?

Obamaapocalypsocareageddongate

And, sadly, this is an understatement of how bad things are going to get under this law.

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Filed under Capitalism, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, Debt, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Long Term Thinking, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics, Taxes, Welfare

Monthly Meditation: Long Term Goals

Looking to goal

It is the long term goals that should hold your attention.

 

So it has been a while since I’ve put up a meditation.  I’m sorry, but nothing has been coming to me on this front and I feel nothing is better than something that is halfhearted and forced out.  So I’m now going to title these monthly meditations, and hopefully will have something come to me at least once a month.

 

However, something has come to me at last.

 

There is an expression by the Dalai Lama:

“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.”

 

This is an excellent thought and a variation in sentiment on the Serenity Prayer.

 

However, this or the serenity prayer isn’t always appropriate because sometimes, regrettably, we don’t always have the wisdom to know whether something can or cannot be done.

 

For instance a few years ago I was unsure if I should focus on my writing or use my time to find a new job as I was very unhappy in my job at the time.  Or should I split my free time between the two? At the time I made the correct choice and focused on writing, although at the time I probably didn’t consciously realize why that was correct decision.   But it was the correct decision because it focused on the long term problem and not the short term.

 

There have been other instances in my life that were like this, and when I reflect on them, when I focused on the long term problems and working to resolve those things tended to work out (as they did with my job…although admittedly not in the way I would have planned).  And when I focused on the short term problems, problems just kept piling up.

 

And suddenly in the last week I have realized that it is always the long term issues that need to be focused on.  Always.  It’s not enough to look toward the future, you have to look to an actual long term goal.

 

It’s ironic that I didn’t see this sooner as this has been my complaint about politics for so long, that our elected officials only see the immediate problems and their immediate solutions to an immediate problem which in turn only causes long term issues.  But this is true of personal lives and problems as well as in politics.

 

You need to focus on the long term issues, the long term problems and the long term goals first.

 

If you are directed toward the long term goals, the small things work themselves out either because you don’t focus on them as much or because God (or whatever name you want to use) tends to help you get over the small crap of the short term issues.

 

So the thing to focus on for this meditation is, as I’ve suggested before, make a list of what you really want in life.  Now prioritize them—what you want the most at the top, the lesser things at the bottom. (Hint: Happiness should be at the top, and the next few should be exactly what you need to have Happiness)   Now circle the top five or six.  And now forget about the rest.  Focus on those. Figure out what you need to do to get those, figure out what you need to learn, to find, to create to achieve those top three (four if you count Happiness, which your other things should all lead to).  Forget about everything else.  Every free moment you have should be focused on those things.

 

All the other small stuff will take care of itself, just keep focused on the long term goals.

 

The meditation for this month will be in training your mind to ignore all the smaller issues and stay focused on the major things.  Have a little faith, that if you are directed toward your ultimate goals, everything else will sort itself out to help you reach those goals.

 

 

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Filed under Chakra, Faith, Free Will, God, Long Term Thinking, Meditation, New Age, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality