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 3)
on Jul 14, 2009

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

I think that with some research you'd find that the reactor in Germany is actually causing no probelms, radiation or otherwise, in spite of these accidents.

The Three Mile Island incident resulted in a partial meltdown of one of the reactors, yet the resulting radiation release has been estimated to be about 1/6th of a full-body X-ray per person exposed.  There were no casualties, not even to the operators.

So unless Germany's reactor is partially melting down on a regular basis, you've got nothing to be afraid of.

Also, nuclear waste is certainly a unique problem.  However, all forms of power produce waste is some form or another.  Repositories such as Yucca Mountain (should it ever open here in the US) would easily be able to store that waste for as long as necessary without a problem.  I guess you could say it's something like a nuclear landfill.  Any at any rate, nuclear power plants generally only need to refuel 33-50% of their rods once every 5-10 years - we're not talking about a ton of radioactive material.

And as for your use of Chernobyl, yes, it was a major accident.  It was also amazingly stupid.  There were so many things that went wrong to cause that steam explosion (the one that released all the radiation and started the graphite fire) it's almost insane to think it was even possible.  And even then, if the USSR had bothered to finish building the reactor's containment building (instead of cutting corners to save money) the death toll would have been limited to just those working inside the plant itself - who without question deserved what they got .  Very little radiation would have been released.

I'm not saying that it's totally risk-free, because it's not.  It's just very unlikely that a lethal accident will occur.  Coal power plants kill far more people than nuclear facilities ever have.

on Jul 14, 2009

It's just very unlikely that a lethal accident will occur.
Well, I certainly hope so lol I live in a so called red zone of a french nuclear power plant. They built most of theirs along the rhine, and since the wind is mostly coming from the west any radioactive clouds would be pushed away from France and into Germany. If ever something went wrong and the biggest possible accident occured, no help would come in - no use - and nobody allowed out - too radioactive. I just have to trust the french do their job right - which they have so far

I always thought that the problem with nuclear waste is that it is radioactive for such a long time that it is difficult to guarantee the continuing secure integrity of whichever landfill is used. They are thinking about building one in Germany, in an old saltmine. Salt would simply encase the barrels airtight, but the problem is in guaranteeing that no natural disaster could endanger that integrity, which has to be 100%. They are still testing but it does not look very promising. 

Another worry is not knowing for certain that future generation will be aware of the radioactive inheritance we left them and will still posess the knowledge about it. That is something that can be only assume but not guarantee.

 

on Jul 14, 2009

Yes, the radioactive waste is certainly the biggest problem.

on Jul 15, 2009

Yes, the radioactive waste is certainly the biggest problem.

The mines aren't very pleasant either - uranium ore is no cleaner than coal, with the added bonus of toxic leakage into the aquifers.

on Jul 15, 2009

The question is wether the risks - the problem of storing nuclear waste for more or less eternity and the problem and dangers of permanently poisening the waterboard(s) of mining uranium - are outweighed by the relatively shorttime benefit had from nuclear energy.

Today, technology has the power to wipe out all (human) life, and that is a BIG "No No" if you argue that human life has value. If it does, then selfinitiated extinction is not allowed.. but with nuclear technology it is possible. That's why maybe not everything that is technically possible should be pursued because now we have to consider the future in everything we do technologywise. People 100 years ago didn't have the means to be so destructive, even if they wanted to. And when the future is considered, anything that potentially endangers it has to be not done, ergo nuclear waste is a threat to the future and thus should not be allowed to be produced in the first place. The contemporary energy and economical needs pale in comparison to the collective future of man.

Just because a nuclear reactor is "safe" doesn't mean it's not a threat.

Let's hope that worldwide proliferation can be achieved.. and you can use that argument to deflate any argument made by Iran, it's difficult to find a good argument against the used logic, Hans Jonas - read him!

 

on Jul 15, 2009



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,

There is nothing wrong with steretotypes. People want to belong.

People actively try to belong to certain groups by displaying certain characteristics. That is a good thing because it opens the door for contacts between people of different backgrounds.

As for "Bildungsbuerger" (education citizen), I don't even have a degree. I was almost a total failure at school.

 

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.

It saves time.

 


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.

If I treat people different based on their ideas, I am practicing the opposite of racism. Racism is when you sort people according to race or biological ethnicity. But steretotypes like the ones we are discussing here are based on what people do, not what they are. Stereotypes like "all treehuggers think and do X" is not racism, it's the rejection of racism; the rejection of race and biological background as even a minor factor in how one describes a person. You can rephrase the sentence "all treehuggers, black and white, think and do X" and it would be as meaningful and as true (or as false), and as bigoted (or as fair) as the version that doesn't mention race.

When I say what I don't like about, say, "liberals", I am generalising; but I am also specifically ruling out race and biological background as a factor in my generalisation. I am indeed talking about _liberals_. Race has no place in this.

 

 

 

 

on Jul 15, 2009

I am indeed talking about _liberals_. Race has no place in this.
I wasn't trying to make it about race - that was just the most convenient example to illustrate issues about equality and what equality means in itself. Maybe I should have gone with prejudice.

Saves time - but that is very prejudicial. It's used in racism all the time - you see a black guy with a gun he's automatically a criminal, you see a mexican hes automatically lazy, etc. pp. you see a person from texas with a gun and automatically assume hes a redneck without any education beyond highschool or community college (Or maybe I would) .. stereotypes are a good way to get an idea about a person and to fit in with a group but they shouldn't be used to exclude someones oppinion just because you have a percieved notion about what that person is gonna say, do or think. That would be the same mechanisms as racism.

on Jul 15, 2009

Saves time - but that is very prejudicial.

Yes, but that's not a problem. Who cares if anybody is prejudiced towards assuming that liberals are liberal.

 

It's used in racism all the time - you see a black guy with a gun he's automatically a criminal, you see a mexican hes automatically lazy, etc. pp.

The problem with racism is not that it is a generalisation, but that the generalisation is wrong.

While treehuggers, for example, really do have certain characteristics in common (although not all of them do), there is nothing inherent in being Mexican that makes him lazy.

Racism is generalising from a lie. A lie about one black person suddenly becomes the truth for all black persons. That's the problem with it.

But generalising from a truth is not a problem.

Nigerian natives are black. It's a generalisation based on race. And while some nominally black persons are not black, there is nothing morally wrong with generalising and claiming that they are all black. There really is an objective connection between being Nigerian and being black.

Nigerians are all criminals. It's also a generalisation based on race. But it's a lie. Even though some Nigerians (possibly even many or even most, it doesn't matter) are criminals, there is nothing that objectively connects being a criminal to being Nigerian, which is why that statement is a lie when it is used as a basis for generalisation.

 

you see a person from texas with a gun and automatically assume hes a redneck without any education beyond highschool or community college (Or maybe I would) .

People from Texas with guns are rednecks without education beyond highschool or community college.

Some are proud of it.

 

on Jul 15, 2009

You are suggesting that a liberal being a liberal can't have another oppinion about an issue than what your stereotype of a liberal consists of. And you claim that your stereotype is the right generalization - how are you going to turn your generalization into a universally acknowledged truth (sorry for the Jane Austen moment here)?

there is nothing inherent in being Mexican that makes him lazy.
Stereotypes are all based on some sort of truth - Mexico is a hot country and people don't work in the midday heat but sleep or rest - isn't that what siesta is? You can also find that in Spain and some parts of Italy and France. So from that I generalize that Mexicans just sleep all the time. It is true under certain circumstances - alot of people have that charachteristics in common.
Nigerian natives are black. It's a generalisation based on race. And while some nominally black persons are not black, there is nothing morally wrong with generalising and claiming that they are all black. There really is an objective connection between being Nigerian and being black.
You know well enough that it is never an objective observation, just describing what you "see" when talking about different ethnicities. People automatically have an assumption - and it does not have to be a negative one. For me black nigerian is connected with worshipping Ogun and being really superstitious. I saw a Documentary about sextrade and illegal immigration form Nigeria to Europe (mainly Italy) where the coyotes made the girls all swear on Ogun not to betray them, and it works. Some that did break that oath went mad because they thought Ogun would avenge this in some way. Also very poor and selling their children to work with far away relatives for a few years is common practice. So objectivly them being black doesn't really mean anything, but its always connected with other stuff. Positive stereotypes are really cool rythm and drums music, great singers as well.


on Jul 16, 2009


You are suggesting that a liberal being a liberal can't have another oppinion about an issue than what your stereotype of a liberal consists of. And you claim that your stereotype is the right generalization - how are you going to turn your generalization into a universally acknowledged truth (sorry for the Jane Austen moment here)?


A stereotype remains the right generalisation even if some (or even many) individuals that are described by have different attributes.

Dogs bark. Dead dogs don't. The generalisation is still true and useful.

A stereotype does not suggest that an individual covered by it cannot have different attributes, it suggests that the individual probably won't have diferent attributes.

It's inductive logic, not deductive logic. And it is highly useful. Without it we couldn't even form political parties. (Not that they are necessarily useful, but stereotypes are useful for founding those.)



Stereotypes are all based on some sort of truth - Mexico is a hot country and people don't work in the midday heat but sleep or rest - isn't that what siesta is? You can also find that in Spain and some parts of Italy and France. So from that I generalize that Mexicans just sleep all the time. It is true under certain circumstances - alot of people have that charachteristics in common.



That generalisation is wrong because you know what the reason for the siesta is. That reason doesn't translate into general laziness, so a stereotype going into that direction is logically wrong.

I.e. you can generalise from an attribute observed, but not if you know the reason for the attribute and can tell that it doesn't translate into whatever situation you are generalising about.

If a dog barks all day one day, you can generalise that he will bark all day every day.

But if you know that the reason he barked all day that one day was that burglars were busy in his master's house, you cannot generalise that he will bark all day every day.


on Jul 16, 2009

Again, your interpretation of stereotypes is entirely based on assumptions on your side, which you have to assume are correct. But a stereotype exists on its own, it'ts not attached to my personal knowledge.

A stereotype remains the right generalisation even if some (or even many) individuals that are described by have different attributes.
That's why stereotypes are mostly prejudicial and should not be relied on to make an argument.
A stereotype does not suggest that an individual covered by it cannot have different attributes, it suggests that the individual probably won't have diferent attributes.
Prejudice again - Black guys are criminals - stereotype - and the point you make is that he might not be but probably is..

Dead vs alive is a really bad example for a stereotype lol

I wish everybody would be so thoughtful as you in regard to generalization.

you can generalise from an attribute observed, but not if you know the reason for the attribute and can tell that it doesn't translate into whatever situation you are generalising about.
that is not how it works, and you know it. Stereotypes aren't individual observations but mass perception, pub talk and demagogic preaching, propaganda etc. If everybody would use what you suggest then racism wouldn't exist, but it does.

on Jul 16, 2009

Prejudice again - Black guys are criminals - stereotype - and the point you make is that he might not be but probably is..

No, I specifically said that a steretype based on a connection that is not true, like "blacks" and "theft" is not valid.

 

that is not how it works, and you know it.

It is how it should be done and why some steretypes are valid.

 

If everybody would use what you suggest then racism wouldn't exist, but it does.

Precisely.

 

on Jul 16, 2009

What you describe is an utopia, a place that can never be reached.. all you can do is being a good example.

Can you explain to me how you know that your generalizations are true and that they aren't based on prejudices? I want to learn that trick..

on Jul 16, 2009



What you describe is an utopia, a place that can never be reached.. all you can do is being a good example.

Can you explain to me how you know that your generalizations are the right ones aren't based on prejudices? I want to learn that trick..



It's easy.

If an individual wants to belong to a certain group (treehuggers, for example), you can safely assume that he has (or wants to have) the attributes of that group.

So any member of a group that is based on wanting to be a group will have the attributes that the group is about and for which he wants to be a member of the group.

It's safest for positive attributes. But it also works for negative attributes.

on Jul 16, 2009

That whole principle relies on your right assumption about what treehuggers are like, what they think and what they do. And you know what they say when you assume something..? Also, groups aren't defined clear cut, it's not a cult where you have to follow a rulebook and undergo some initiation ceremony or trial (survive a week chained to a tree in order to be accepted?).

 

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