Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on July 11, 2009 By Draginol In Politics

In no particular order…

Scientists are Democrats…right?

Pew Research says that 55% of scientists say they are Democrats, 6% Republicans. Gosh, must mean people who value the scientific method are Democrats while Republicans are just a bunch of religious nut jobs right?

Strangely, the left-wingers who have commented on it don’t seem to be that concerned as to how the survey identified who a “scientist” was.  Is a scientist someone who works at a university doing pure scientific research on the breeding patterns of fruit flies? Does it count someone who works at say a software company researching new ways to simulate different uses of carbon nanotubes?  Something tells me the survey identified the former as a scientist and the latter was not counted as one.  Icky capitalists aren’t scientists right?

Would people who want “affordable” health insurance be willing to go to your door with hat and hand?

I was reading Digg the other day and as some of you know, Digg is largely populated by far left-wing people who are largely unaware of how far left they are (they freak out about FOX News pretty much daily). 

Anyway, on the topic of health care, every time there is a discussion on it, it always boils down to the consensus (on Digg anyway) that single player health care is the way to go.  Single player meaning really tax payers which, as some know, is only around 60% of the US population, the other 40% paying zilch.

So let’s put this in perspective.  Presently, around 88% of the adult population of the United States has health insurance that they either pay for themselves or (mostly) is paid for by their employer. No matter how you slice it, they’re “paying into” the system.

But single payer advocates prefer a system in which only 60% of the population is paying into it.  This means either massively higher taxes just to get what we have today OR (more likely) a lot crappier quality health care than we have today and all so that the remaining 12% of the population can have health insurance.

Most people I’ve met who want a single payer system happen to be in that 40% of the population who pay no net federal income taxes.  I wonder if they’d be willing to come hat in hand and ask you to pay for their pills in person? Of course not, they’d rather act like they’re taking the moral high ground in demanding that you pay for their pills via taxes.

Tree huggers & agendas

I don’t expect a lot of out activist environmentalists.  Most activists seem more concerned with making themselves feel like they “care” than actually doing anything constructive to help the planet. It’s purely about emotional satisfaction for them.

In the mind of the modern American liberal, results are irrelevant, it’s about caring. Don’t you care about the environment? Don’t you care about the poor? Don’t you care about…?

I wish they’d do a little less “Caring” and a little more “DOing”.

Case in point, in an on-line debate on whether SUVs should be outlawed or not I pointed out that yes, I drive an SUV to work every day. It only gets 18 MPG. 

The lady debating me in the post took the high and mighty position that it’s people like me destroying the environment because I don’t “care” about the environment.

I pointed out “Well, I only drive 6 miles a day, that means I only burn 1 gallon of gas every 3 days, how far do you drive?”

Well, she has a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. She kept pointing this out throughout the discussion because it apparently gets 40MPG.

After a few times of me asking how much she drives, she admitted she works “about” 30 miles from work.  That means 60 miles a day or a gallon and a half of gas PER DAY.

So when I suggested that if she’s so worried about the environment and wants the government to start banning things, why not limit the # of gallons of gas someone can use per week instead of worrying about what kind of car they drive.

And so I got the usual “Not everyone has the luxury of living only a few miles from work, I can’t afford to live any closer.”

Awww. See, it doesn’t matter that she’s burning about 8 gallons a week of gas because she cares. It’s not really about saving the planet. It’s about feeling better about oneself.

I mean, if CO2 is going to cause “millions” of deaths and is the most important issue facing the world (as she repeatedly said) then how can she possibly justify burning 8 gallons of gas a week? Especially when she’s saying “deniers” like me need to give up our “toys” (said toy that burns a quarter as much gas a week as she does).

That’s always been the bottom line with the activist environmental movement. They’re not really serious. It’s just narcissism posing as political posturing.


Comments (Page 2)
on Jul 13, 2009

I use public transport.

I walk to the train stop and take the train.

If more Americans did that rather than drive cars and complain about those who "don't care", that would be an option in more American cities as well. (Don't tell me you don't have public transportation in your city. Build it. That would an excellent starting point for those who "care" about the environment.)

Cities generally do have public transportation.  It also generally sucks.  Were I to use the bus system in my city to commute to my university, it would take me nearly two hours to get there, one way.  Driving my car, it takes me 10-12 minutes.

Telling us to "build it" sounds all and good, but as they say, easier said than done.


I personally am one of those demons who "doesn't care" in every sense of the term.  I guess my problem is that, like Draginol, I seem to be a bit more practical than most environmental activists.
Wind power is stupid, it causes ecological damage far beyond its potential power output.  DDT was outlawed for less cause.
Fuel cells are stupid.  Their manufacture creates far more CO2 and other pollutants than they save over their lifetime.
Ethanol is stupid.  Emissions are just as bad, but instead of oil, we use corn and sugar cane.  What's the point?

Speaking of alternate fuels, if people wanted to save the environment, they would use electric plug-in cars without exception.  But they don't, because they worry that the more limited driving range will harm their lifestyle.  I believe you're absolutely right about the activists, Draginol - they want change, but only if it doesn't affect them.

I guess I'm a demon because I have a hard time taking the environment seriously when even the tree-huggers are unconcerned by its "peril."

 

Oh, and as for the whole engineer/scientist debate, everyone should consider the fact that many engineers can also be scientists.  Whether or not someone is a scientist is not determined by what degree they hold, but what they do.

on Jul 13, 2009

Cities generally do have public transportation.  It also generally sucks.  Were I to use the bus system in my city to commute to my university, it would take me nearly two hours to get there, one way.  Driving my car, it takes me 10-12 minutes.

We all pollute because it is more convenient. That's nothing new.

The question is, how much inconvenience are environmentalists willing to take on themselves to save the environment?

It seems to me like they are only willing to charge other people for their ideals.

 

Telling us to "build it" sounds all and good, but as they say, easier said than done.

Everything is easier said than done. The issue here is that many people tend to talk a lot about the environment but simply aren't willing to spend the money to build the things that would actually help.

Heck, even we here in Ireland managed to build a tram. And the general attitude here is "We don't plan. We review.".

If every treehugger paid 2000 dollars per year into a public transport fund, don't you think public transportation could be improved dramatically at the same scale as we gain new treehuggers?

 

on Jul 13, 2009

Cities generally do have public transportation. It also generally sucks. Were I to use the bus system in my city to commute to my university, it would take me nearly two hours to get there, one way. Driving my car, it takes me 10-12 minutes.

Public transportation is very good in certain parts of the US and horrible in others. The bay area in California has a solid system (Bart I think), I went from Sacramento to the Airport in San Francisco with the train - very european. But my friends in Sacramento warned me not to take the citybus there - too dangerous.

The east coast is densly populated and has a good public transportation system where alot of people live. But as soon as you live outside on the country side, a suburb or similiar conditions, there won't be public transport. The car is not only a means to go somewhere, it is also part of american culture - freedom of going everywhere you want, and in poorer areas (South) very much needed because you need to be able to move around if you change jobs and cities. I did a survey on countrysongs once for a class and my thesis was that you could find almost every issue of american society today in country songs, most songs are about peoples lives. And many many many songs feature being on the road, roadtrip etc.

The point to all this is that limited range in cars is probably percieved as sth similiar like clipping a the wings of a bird and people can't afford it when their life situation changes and they have to pack up and leave.

I already tried to make the point about the ethical and moral obligation of protecting the environment, and the common consesus here seems to be that the economy is more important and that activists are only nuts or almost terrorists which in turn makes their demands sound almost like extortion. The question is really if man can afford to brush this "issue" (environment) off as "crazy" and unnceccessary. And just to say this once more, environmental issues are NOT limited to global warming, there are a enough other issues that are a threat, or can be a threat, like pollution in all its forms, nuclear power - how secure are your plants? The US has over 100 nuclear power plants - what do you do with the nuclear waste? How much more uranium is there anyway, I read that is a very limited resources in itself, etc pp.

 

on Jul 13, 2009

And just to say this once more, environmental issues are NOT limited to global warming, there are a enough other issues that are a threat, or can be a threat, like pollution in all its forms, nuclear power - how secure are your plants? The US has over 100 nuclear power plants - what do you do with the nuclear waste? How much more uranium is there anyway, I read that is a very limited resources in itself, etc pp. 

Well, looking at nuclear power as an environmental hazard is quite silly.  Nuclear power, per Kh/h of electricity produced, is the safest form of electricty by far, and the cleanest (ecosystem side effects included).  Uranium is not terribly limited, since over 90% (I don't remember the exact number here) of the Earth's crust contains uranium - the problem is finding deposits large enough to mine.

As for nuclear plant security, in the US they're as well guarded as Area 51.  Forget getting into one if you don't belong there.  Also, nuclear power plants don't use enriched uranium as fuel, meaning you couldn't take the fuel and make a bomb from it.  Third, studies on the containment buildings of nuclear reactors have shown that the average nuclear power plant could withstand the equivalent of the 9/11 attacks (both of them) without failing.

But hey, don't take my word for it:

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/default.aspx

on Jul 13, 2009

Your words in gods ear. Right now there is quite a frenzy going on in Germany because a reactor here is constantly having trouble and little accidents. But its all a super nonrisk business, of course! hah.

It is only NOT a healthhazard as long as nothng happens, which you can only guarantee 99%. This wouldn't really be a problem but the remaining 1% could have a pretty huge consequence. I know that the example of Chernobyl has been overused and usually it is argued "well THAT was in backwards USSR, nothing like that could ever happen "here"". Human error is always possible, a stupid accident that nobody could predict is always possible and then a radioactive non-healthhazard would be a non-problem for the next few hundred years.

As for nuclear plant security, in the US they're as well guarded as Area 51
I wasn't even thinking about an attack, the human factor alone is worrysome enough

You conveniently forgot to mention your solution for nuclear waste as well.

the average nuclear power plant
*cough* it only takes one!

I am not lobbying to deactivate all nuclear powerplants, we need energy and as long nothing happens it is the preferred alternative to burning fossil fuels, but it not a foolproof method and people should be aware of the risks and problems. Scientists and technicians and engineers hopefully find another less risky way to generate energy in the future.

You'd be incredibly naive if you truly believe that nuclear power is not dangerous.

on Jul 13, 2009

I think perhaps a higher proportion of engineers than scientists are Republicans. Doers are often Republicans, "thinkers" are often Democrats.

Yeah, I mean, really..... that whole notion of that crazy thing called gravity, the earth revolving around the sun and the periodic table, what a bunch of mamby-pamby existential HOGWASH, right!?!

I honestly don't believe that scientists vs engineers have a political inclination either way. Trying to prove one vs the other is often like trying to make a connection between the colour of shirt a person has chosen to wear vs what kind of driver they are behind the wheel... there is no connection!

I don’t expect a lot of out activist environmentalists.

The true environmentalists practice what they preach. This is true for anything in life. However,  you are painting with very broad brushstrokes here, stereotyping "environmental activists" as city-dwelling, prius driving folks who only want to feel good about themselves instead of enacting any changes.

I know lots of 'environmental activists' who would disagree with you entirely. These are folks who use solar and wind for their homes and grow as much of their food in community collective gardens as possible.... you want to talk about pollution, sit down and calculate how much fuel is burned in shipping your clothes, electronics and food all over the world so we can have our consumerist lifestyle and buy peaches in January from the supermarket!

There's also another kind of environmental activism which often goes unmentioned, and that is community activisim- ensuring that corporations carry out their due dilligence, which is often sorely neglected in the name of profits. This means that say, nearby to your community a mine wanted to set up shop. In order to ensure that the mine isn't going to start pissing cadmium or mercury into your nearby river, local concerned citizens are a key component of the mix.... doing your homework on the company that's moving in, their track record in the past and then actively participating in the civic meetings that occur.

Most folks aren't aware that whenever a mine or other industry opens up that the review boards are open to the public, or, they just don't care enough to attend. A mine loves nothing more than for an empty house in which it's just the local board/council and the company hack, they kill a few hours and the council says "well, no comments from the public so let's pull out the ol' rubber-stamp!"

A great example of when things break down is in Kingsville, Texas. I keep using this example as it still blows me away. Turns out a uranium mining outfit came into the area. Local authority (I think it was a State-level organization) basically rubber-stamped the operation, company cut ALL KINDS of corners in order to get as much mineral out of the ground as fast as possible. This resulted in the water tables getting contaminated, there was a clean up effort but it was way too late at that point.

So, now, you have an entire town that has a pretty much permanently ruined water supply, no joke. That's one town that could have used a few more environmental activists to make life miserable for the mine and things might have turned out differently!

on Jul 13, 2009

I have used both public transporation and personal vehicle and I can say with little if any worry that I will drive my car when possible over public transportation. Not only is public transportation bad when it comes to timing, it's uncomfortable, it's disgusting, the people on it are inconciderate and it's more inconvenient than useful. BTW, it confuses me a bit but how exactly is public transportation better for the enviroment? Sure 1 bus can carry many people but the damn thing throws more polution than almost anything out there. The same goes for the trains here. I drive my car to work, and then back, a train or a bus drive for several hours a day non stop.

on Jul 13, 2009

More inconvenient than useful - it probably is to someone who is used to be able to come and go as they please without worrying about bus- and trainschedules. If you had a good public transportation system you'd see the benefits quickly. No need for parking spaces, you can do something else while notdriving and sitting in a train like homework or reading or sleeping. Trust me, good public transportation is a blessing, even if it had nothing to do with environmental issues.

on Jul 13, 2009

More inconvenient than useful - it probably is to someone who is used to be able to come and go as they please without worrying about bus- and trainschedules. If you had a good public transportation system you'd see the benefits quickly. No need for parking spaces, you can do something else while notdriving and sitting in a train like homework or reading or sleeping. Trust me, good public transportation is a blessing, even if it had nothing to do with environmental issues.

on Jul 13, 2009

More inconvenient than useful - it probably is to someone who is used to be able to come and go as they please without worrying about bus- and trainschedules. If you had a good public transportation system you'd see the benefits quickly. No need for parking spaces, you can do something else while notdriving and sitting in a train like homework or reading or sleeping. Trust me, good public transportation is a blessing, even if it had nothing to do with environmental issues.

That might be true in some cases but unless you have travelled in the public transportation of New York and South Florida, your concept is but a pipe dream.

on Jul 13, 2009

It's all fine and dandy in your dream, but we need to remember that this is a Gov't run system and as usual something Gov't run usually sucks.

on Jul 14, 2009

The true environmentalists practice what they preach. This is true for anything in life. However,  you are painting with very broad brushstrokes here, stereotyping "environmental activists" as city-dwelling, prius driving folks who only want to feel good about themselves instead of enacting any changes.

I am stereotyping activist environmentalists who are different from general environmentalists.

Activist environmentalists are the ones protesting, trying to get feel-good laws passed, etc.  They are stereotyped because their behaviors can be stereotyped.

 

on Jul 14, 2009

It's all fine and dandy in your dream, but we need to remember that this is a Gov't run system and as usual something Gov't run usually sucks.
Do you mean public transportation? I was a little confused. If you did then  privatize it. I am not exactly sure how they are run in Germany but every city has its own public transport agency/company. How much subsidiary they recieve from the government though or if they do at all - I just don't know. I think it is something similiar to roads (the gov`t builds roads and maintains them), a thing of public interest that everybody benefits from. It works well enough here - I could probably travel all over Europe without having to use a car or a plane.

I've been in New York City and thought it was OK, and nobody ever would make me go to Florida (hot, humid and you have freaking 'gators there and all kinds of disgusting critters). I am for protecting the environment and its creatures, but I really don't like huge carnivorous lizards.

on Jul 14, 2009

They are stereotyped because their behaviors can be stereotyped.

They actively seek to belong to a group with certain characteristics.

Why shouldn't one "stereotype" them?

 

on Jul 14, 2009

Everybody can be stereotyped. Stereotypes are used in commercials, TV Shows and movies all the time because everybody recognizes them. The innocent blonde, the sexy passionate redhead/brunette, the hooker with a golden heart, the enterpreneurial yankee that could sell ice to eskimos etc. pp.

The question is wether using stereotypes is really helpful while discussing something - because Leauki, you fall right into one as well - the Bildungsbürger with a socialdemocratic background. It is a pretty positive one but it is a stereotype, as is being a teacher or a musician (classical orchestra: brass players are always hardcore drinkers while flute and woodwinds are sissys and the coolest guys are the bass and chello players; Jazz: smoke and drink and have intellectual debates at 4am- those are my personal experiences with musicians I met and orchestras I played in and its relativly true for all).

But it is a pitfall if you only see the stereotype in a person and assume then that you know exactly what someone would say or think or do.

So one shouldn't stereotype right away but rather listen to reasoned arguments first and stereotype later.

P.S.
Otherwise stereotyping could be viewed as a sort of racism in the sense that you don't treat someone equal based on some percieved idea/stereotype you have. I read Peter Singers essay about animal rights last night and he is really radical about equality - extending it too all animals and condemning what he called speciesm. He did do an interesting analysis about what equality should mean though, otherwise he was too radical for me

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