Archive for August, 2007

So you want to be a Liberal?

August 28, 2007

Following today’s Stefan Sharkansky episode, I am left scratching my head at how someone can honestly consider Stefan in the wrong for what he did. (link) Well, the truth is that intellectually, I understand completely what is happening. But it is still mind-boggling.

To help our more conservative readers understand what is happening, let me introduce to you the 8-step program to becoming a liberal. You’ll notice that these steps are like a religious baptism, a rite of passage all liberals must pass through. Upon understanding these 8 steps, you should be able to identify to what extreme your liberal associates have gone based on their actions.
Step 1: You must hate something, something that is actually quite a good thing. But start with this hatred, and cultivate it. Don’t try to understand the object of your hatred, nor question why you hate it so much. Just hate, hate, and hate some more. Let it burn and fester and grow within you. There is power in this hatred–it makes you strong! Here are some examples of things you can start to hate:

  • Parents
  • Children
  • People
  • Freedom
  • Marriage
  • Employers
  • Employees
  • Patients
  • Doctors
  • Black people
  • Asian people
  • White people
  • Men
  • Women

Step 2: If you are hating as best you can, then this step is easy. You must lose all rationality. Whether or not you believe something is no longer predicated on whether or not it is true. It is now predicated on whether it makes you hate the thing you hate more or less. If it makes you hate it more, then you believe it. If it makes you hate it less, then it must be untrue.

Step 3: Now you are ready for the next step. With that boiling hatred and the absence of reason, you must now take the boldest step of all: changing the way you attack what you hate. See, in our case violence is probably not the best answer. (Though at times it is excusable, such as at the WTO demonstration.) You must learn to use words. But don’t try to use reason–you are above reason. You must attack the object of your hatred, using as strong as terms as possible. Start with “Evil”, “Hitler”, “Genocidal”, etc… Then move on to curse words or profanities or even vulgarities. The more severe, the more likely you will win the argument. If you are still losing the argument, yell louder and faster, and don’t allow your opponent to respond. If you still are losing, start attacking your opponent with whatever attack you can think of. If you are still losing the argument, as a last resort, change the subject.

Step 4: You have come far on your path to become a liberal, but you are only half-way there. Now you must find people like you and spend all of your time talking to them about the object of your hatred. Your job, when you form a friendship, is to ensure that your friend should hate the object you hate at least as much as you hate it. Note that this is a give-take relationship. If your friend is a liberal, you must learn to hate what he hates as much as he hates it. As your circle of friends grows, your repertoire of hatred must grow as well. Should anyone not fall prey to your superior reasoning and intellect and superior debate skills, you must shun them and start hating them as well.

Step 5: Now that you have a circle of friends, you should become politically active. The best way to hurt the object you hate is throw the all-powerful arm of the government. (No other institution has a monopoly on violence, you know.) How do you choose people to represent you? Why, you administer a litmus test. All you are looking for is if they say they hate what you hate as much as you hate it. That is the only qualification that matters. Whether or not they are capable or corrupt or actually hate what you hate is unimportant. Just vote for whomever say they hate what you hate the most. That’s all the matters ultimately.

Step 6: On  the other hand, you must oppose those who do not say they hate what you hate. If they do not hate it, by definition (see Step 2 above) they must be supporters of it and must be your mortal enemies. To successfully attack your mortal political enemies, you must destroy their careers. (See: John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzalez, et al…) How do you destroy their careers? By making all sorts of false, unsupported charges. The more the merrier! In fact, the less factual relationship they have to reality (I mean, the real reality, not the manufactured reality you live in thanks to Step 2), the more loudly you should scream the claim. Anyone who is making false claims against the person of your hatred must also be a fellow spirit, so support their claims in whatever ways possible, no matter how evil or nefarious. Lying is a good way to get started, but don’t limit yourself to that. Try forging documents, producing false witnesses, and twisting their words as well. Oh, and above all else, avoid true claims! They have a nasty habit of not being as serious as the manufactured ones.

Step 7: Now, don’t limit yourselves to defaming elected or government officials. You must also hate those who support them, no matter how tepid their support is. The world is divided into two groups: Those who hate what you hate, and everyone else, remember? You must attack these people using the same methods in steps 3 and 6. Remember, the more wild and more profane and more grotesque the attack, the better! Don’t forget to avoid real claims. The last thing you want is for your target of hatred to get exonerated like the Duke Lacrosse players.

Step 8: Finally, the last step. In order to completely become a liberal, you must pass through this gate. After having satisfied all of the above 7 requirements, you must now join a protest. But you can’t merely go there with a sign laced with profanities and false accusations. No, that’s way too mild. (Only FBI plants carry those signs.) You have to do things like strip naked, draw pictures of your enemies engaging in unspeakable acts, and shout vile things at the top of your lungs to little children. The more offensive, the better. In fact, it has to be so offensive that no TV or newspaper would ever show you or your sign. Also, you must attack any authority figure at the protest in the most unspeakable way possible. Don’t think of the police as people trying to keep you and the public safe so that you can get your message out in the best way possible. No, they are stormtroopers, mind-washed robots who follow the beck and call of your enemies all for a little filthy lucre. You are justified and encouraged to spit, scream profanities, and attack them. If you get thrown in jail, remember Step 2: You weren’t imprisoned for your behavior, but because there is a conspiracy to get you because you know the truth!

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Are you a True Believer?

August 27, 2007

Question: If I confronted you with hard facts that absolutely dispell the assertions of global warming alarmists, would you stop being concerned about global warming?

If you cannot say, “Yes,” to the above, then you are a “true believer”. It makes no sense to talk with you about anything even remotely related to reality. You have decided long ago you want no part of reality, and would prefer to believe in lies than truth. To prove my point, let me list some lies you likely believe in, in addition to catastrophic anthropogenic global warming:

  • You believe Al Gore won the election in 2000, and you believe John Kerry won the election in 2004.
  • You believe that communism failed not because it was a flawed concept but because of its poor leadership. You also believe that capitalism is evil, and admit to no positive effects of its practice throughout the world throughout history, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • You believe in individual liberty as granted by the government and that can be freely revoked by the government. Or, that government is capable of granting any liberty at all to any of its people. You don’t recognize any inherent contradiction in the previous statements.
  • You believe that we never landed on the moon and that President Kennedy was not assassinated by a communist.
  • You believe that President Bush blew up the twin towers. You also believe the fighting in Iraq caused terrorists to blow up the twin towers. You believe radical Islam started on January 29, 2001 when President Bush was sworn into office.
  • You believe that the Iraqis (like the Vietnamese in the 60-70’s) would be better off without the Americans trying to help.

If I have hit a nerve with the statements above, because you actually believe some or all of these statements, it is not because I am wrong. It is because you know you are wrong but cannot accept it.
Now, I want you to go read this fascinating article that attacks Dr. Hansen of NASA’s belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming at the American Thinker. Note carefully what the author is attacking. He is attacking Dr. Hansen’s assertions, declarations, and beliefs. He is attacking them with hard facts, facts that are readily available to anyone who would bother to look them up. This article will be painful for you to read, not because it is wrong, but because it shows that you are wrong and you cannot accept it.

This is my opinion of the global warming community. This is the opinion of most of America (in my opinion.) The global warming movement is a religion, a religion that worships not mommy earth or global temperature, but the power of a few to order us around, to tell us what we can and cannot do, and whether we can drive our cars or fly our jets or even turn on our air-conditioning. This is something that Americans do not accept. And that’s why Global Warming doesn’t resonate with us like it does with the Europeans.

The Scientific Religionist

August 21, 2007

I have yet to find an incongruity between science and my religion. That’s because my religion believes in truth, and science is truth.

Now, I wish to put forward a little logic puzzle to my readers.

A religion is what? It is a system of beliefs.

What is a belief? It is a conception of how the universe works.

Beliefs may be incorrect (in which case it was a misconception) or it may be true.

Now, the LDS religion treats the matter of faith a little differently than most other religions. Faith is a belief put into practice.

That is, it is faith which turns a light bulb on. First, you have a belief that by turning a light switch, the light in the room will go on. Then, you actually flip the switch. Now, if your belief was true, the light will go on as promised. But if it wasn’t (and there are a variety of reasons why it wouldn’t be true) the light won’t turn on.

Now, once faith is exercised, no longer is faith necessary. That is, once you know a belief is correct, there’s no reason to believe anymore. In sticking with the light switch example, once you flip that switch and once you come out on the other side seeing the light turn on, your belief has been verified and now you know that turning that switch would turn the light on.

So these concepts–belief, action, and faith–are all related, and are each an aspect of a very important core concept.

You scientists in the room are already squirming at the words I used. You are mentally replacing hypothesis for belief. From there, you see the rest.

Now, back to the original point: A religion is a system of beliefs.

One belief says, “Do this, and you will be sad.” Another says, “Do this, and you will be happy.” And so on. Mostly, these beliefs have something to say with how the universe works and especially with how to obtain true and lasting happiness. Buddhists dictate pondering impossible statements, Christians dictate praying to an unseen God, and so on.

There is a simple way to obtain said happiness: to simply do what the belief requires. Skip past all the theory, all the reasoning, all the questions, and simply flip that switch. You don’t need to understand how light switches work or the theory of what an electron is actually made up of or the effects of quantum mechanics in a physical electric switch. In fact, understanding these things gets you no closer to actually turning on the light in the room.

That is, in my mind, the substance of religion, and why I can be a religious scientist.

As for the impossible questions that atheists like to pose, I spend little time pondering them because it isn’t necessary to understand it. In the framework of a religion, sometimes those questions sound silly, almost incomprehensible.

Take, for instance, “If God is good, why does he let bad things happen?”  In my religion, this is easily explained away. Bad things can be good. In fact, all things—good or bad—are good for us, ultimately, if we endure them well. That, and a variety of other reasons make answering this question easy–within the framework of my religion. I know these answers are hardly satisfying (else you would have been satisfied long ago). That is why the atheist arguments simply don’t work on a religionist.
So to you atheists, let me ask you a question: If Jesus were right, and you had to repent and follow Him to obtain eternal life and happiness, why have you not already done so? Certainly, this is a simple hypothesis, one which, if proven true, would prove the greatest source of happiness for you. Or are you too afraid that you can’t explain how electrons really work and you can’t decide whether the classical or quantum view of the electric circuit is more correct and thus refuse to flip that switch?

Data as good as its source

August 21, 2007

Here is a girl in high school who does more to debunk global warming than all the oil companies in the world… combined! (link)

She takes pictures of the weather stations across the US, and explains how they are improperly placed near heat sources such as barbeques, air conditioners, or asphalt, and are not properly ventillated.

This is important. Why? Because the data we collected to determine if the US is heating or cooling was collected from these stations. And if the stations aren’t measuring properly, what good is the data?

She also finds one instance where a weather station was reporting data years after it was taken offline. Interesting, huh?

You’d think before declaring global catastrophe and the end of the free market you’d at least check that your data is good, right?

On Government Health Care

August 21, 2007

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you have any right to force anyone to do something they want to do?
  2. Do you have any right to take something from someone else without their permission?

Those of us that live in the real world realize how  terrible life would be if people did have such a right.

If people had the above two rights, we wouldn’t be able to function as a society.

Imagine walking down the street and having someone else force you to work for them—maybe raking their leaves or cleaning their gutters. Or what would it be like if people could force you to hand over your money, your car, or even your house? It wouldn’t be very pretty.

Now, those of you who are bright enough will see where I am going with this.

For the rest of you, let me spell it out in plain English.

  1. We have no right to demand that people become competent doctors, nurses, drug researchers, or other medical staff, anymore than I can force you to be a firefighter or a computer technician. We have no right to demand that people who are qualified medical staff treat us when we are sick anymore than I can force you to fight fires or fix computers.
  2. We have no right to demand that people give us money, even if that money would be spent on medical care.

Now, some of you are asking, “What about taxes?” and so on. Well, government is a necessary evil. That means it is still evil. It is necessary because if it weren’t for government, it would be impossible to organize ourselves to such a degree that we could repel an invasion, regulate trade (providing the infrastructure for free markets to operate) or to resolve disputes. If government didn’t exist, these things wouldn’t happen, and we would all be much worse off for it.

However, we don’t need government to have a medical system. Doctors and nurses and lab technicians are trained and hired every year, simply because that’s what they want to do. People find money for medical treatment and get treated every day, because they want to be treated and the doctors want to treat us.

What about the poor? Why, they are taken care of as well. Doctors volunteer their time, entire organizations and charities are organized, and free clinics are established to take care of the basic medical needs of those who can’t afford it.

This all happens without government, and would happen a lot better if government got out of the way.

All of the problems in the medical industry, in fact, are caused by government.

It is government that forces doctors and nurses to see people in a hospital, thus taking valuable bed space and face time away from other patients. If people knew that they would have to pay for their service, or rely on the goodness of the hospital staff and doctors for service, they wouldn’t abuse it nearly as much.

It is government that artificially limits the number of doctors and nurses and such in the industry. They set arbitrary limits on who is allowed to be a doctor and what they are allowed to do, limits that could be enforced by a free market.

It is government that limits innovation in the medical industry. The FDAs purpose was to “protect” consumers of medical products from themselves. In the end, all they did was limit innovation and artificially raise the price of developing new treatments, all the while allowing dangerous drugs on the market.

It is government that artificially inflates the price of medical care, by setting prices by government decree in the Medicare program and competing with the insurance industry.

President Reagan was right, more so than you remember. Government is never the solution to our problems. It is the problem.

How to help our soldiers

August 17, 2007

I’m just as disturbed as anyone else at the rate of suicide among our soldiers. I wish there weren’t any suicides. Suicide is never–never!–the way to go, no matter what the situation.

However, I don’t believe that our soldiers are getting the kind of medical care they need to treat various mental disorders or conditions connected with military service. I have a solution.

The way it works is this:

First, we allow soldiers a choice. You can (a) get medical help from our military, or (b) if you feel dissatisfied with that, you can get a voucher to get treatment from the private medical industry, regardless of circumstance.

This might sound familiar to those of you who follow the education issue. It is the voucher program, applied to soldiers and medical care.

I predict several things will happen if this program is put into place.

The first change will be that several soldiers will get medical help from the private industry.

The next change will be that employees of the military medical wing will fix the military medical system to address the weaknesses that are causing people to seek help in the private sector. After all, they like their jobs. Or they will flee to the private industry because conditions there are better.

The final change will be the improvement of our soldier’s medical care. When their needs aren’t met, they can find someone that will meet their needs, and there will be no red tape standing in the way.

I understand that having a medical corps capable of following our military and treating their unique needs is necessary to having an effective fighting force, but I don’t believe that that corps necessarily needs to be a part of the government. This kind of service can be provided by the private industry, the same way we get our soldiers fed and clothed and armed. We do a pretty good job finding advanced technology for our weapons–why not use the same market forces to improve our medical care as well?

Right v. Left — or Up v. Down?

August 16, 2007

I used to consider myself on the right politically. I don’t anymore.

It used to be that the conversation about someone’s politics would be based on where they stood on the so-called political spectrum. Are you a leftist? Then you agree with socialism and communism. Are you a rightist? Then you agree with naziism and fascism. What about in between? Then you are just right—neither too hot nor too cold.

I used to think of myself as on the right. Of course, I didn’t consider myself a fascist. I didn’t agree with any of the policies of Hitler or Mussolini, and the last thing I want is a country ruled by a personality where disagreement isn’t even tolerated. But I did agree that there was such a thing as morality, that the free market was the solution and government was the problem, and that people were generally smart.

But if you really look at that spectrum, there is only one color. Those on the right, according to that spectrum, are also on the left. They both believe government is somehow capable of doing something beneficial. They both believe the solution to life’s problems lie in more government spending and taxing. They both believe that the state should have rights the people don’t have and can’t ever have.

That is wrong. In fact, the entire revolution, started in 1776, was a rejection of that general concept.

Governments are a “necessary evil”. Necessary because all men are not angels (although most are), and evil because government is always bad, in every form. Government can do no good. Any institution that operates on threat of violence can never be good.

Yes, without government, we can defend our own rights. We would never be able to organize ourselves enough to form a military strong enough to keep bad people away from us. Yes, without government, it is difficult to build certain kinds of infrastructure. Yes, without government, it is difficult to keep the peace and enforce the law. These are things that we value so much that we are willing to put up with government doing it, only because we haven’t thought of a way to do it without government.

The debate in politics is really about–and always has been–between up and down. Shall we elevate the human condition, or shall we debase humanity? Shall we protect freedoms or destroy them? Shall we educate or shall we enslave?

I refuse to call myself a member of the right-wing. I instead will refer to myself as an American, and American with a tradition of loving freedom and fighting for it on whatever battlefield the war is on. That is up—and everything else is down.

The next time someone proposes a government solution, I am going to make a few points:

  1. That government is evil, and always will be, and always has been. It is, by definition, evil, since it operates by force and not persuasion and can never act in persuasion.
  2. That we only allow government to do certain things because the people are incapable of doing it themselves. Should the people already be providing a solution, even if it is tolerable at best, then turning things over to the government will not only make it worse, but make it a net negative.
  3. The our current federal government has so much exceeded its original limits that we should be fighting instead to reduce it back to its original size, including abolishing all offices except those immediately related to national defense and the keeping of law and order between the states. That means the IRS, FCC, FAA, FDA, at least as official government authorities, should no longer exist.

Global Warming? Citations please.

August 15, 2007

I recently posted an article on NASA revising its temperature data putting 1934 as the hottest year on record. (link) This inspired a bunch of comments that collectively tried to make the following points:

  • NASA’s data doesn’t record global temperature.
  • The ice caps are melting faster than they have in millions of years.
  • 2005 was the hottest year (even though 1934 was) in recorded history.

I don’t mind having a discussion on scientific topics. By all means, let’s discuss the facts and theories. If you are going to make a claim, please provide citations and links to the information. All other unsupported claims of facts are worthless to the debate. They can neither be verified nor challenged.

Or has the debate already been settled and we don’t need to bother with facts anymore?

Is Oil Better For Earth than Bio-Diesel?

August 15, 2007

In man’s quest to be really, really nice, we have done some really foolish things. If you look back in history, one of the motivations for slavery, according to those who supported the practice, was the eternal salvation of the slave’s souls. Yes, we laugh at it now, or can barely believe it, but it is nevertheless true.

One of the things we are doing today is destroying the earth to… well, save the earth.

Consider this article: Orang-utans home destroyed for bio-diesel. Then consider this: How much damage to the Orang-utans home be if we instead installed an oil platform offshore to produce just as much fuel as a palm oil plantation?

The world is a complicated place full of complicated decisions. Don’t just assume that the “natural” solution is the best. Often it is not.

Which brings me to the problem of government. See, government tends to make a decision and stick to it, no matter how bad the decision was. We can count the number of times a government admitted its mistakes on our right hand, it seems.

Then consider the free market—the arena of choice and decisions that all of us participate in every day without government telling us what to do. If we are doing something wrong, we can individually change that. And since groups are composed of individuals, our collective impact can be felt almost immediately. Consider how quickly “organic” foods appeared in your local grocery store, how quickly “trans-fatty” foods disappeared, and so on. These things happened faster than a government bureaucrat takes to get his morning coffee. They happened because of what economists call “market forces”, or what layman can call “people choosing to do things on their own”.

When it comes to bio-diesel and the complicated decisions required to protect the earth, who would you rather have making your decisions? You or some distant bureaucrat and politician? If you like the freedom to choose, then government should have no role in bio-diesel. If you’d rather some heartless politician tell you what to do, then by all means, elect people who will set our nation’s bio-diesel policy and watch the Orang-utans disappear from planet earth.

(Hat tip: Redstate)

Global Warming? Science says, “Nope.”

August 10, 2007

Remember how people were all upset about how the earth was warming and we’re all going to die and New York was going to get flooded and we had better stop doing everything we are doing RIGHT NOW or we’re all going to die and there would be storms and wars and earthquakes and more storms and global cooling and droughts and floods all at the same time and children starving and republicans getting elected and stupid Americans that don’t believe in Global Warming because they believe in Gawd and not in evolution?

Well, it turns out, once again, scientists were wrong.

See, science is good. The principles of the scientific investigation are correct. When science absolutely proves something is the case, it is the case. Science is not human, it is a concept, a set of core beliefs, hypothesis, facts, and theories that are correct.

But scientists are often wrong. Scientists are not infallible. They are human, and they make mistakes, and sometimes they make really, really big mistakes and refuse to admit that they made a mistake even until they die. I understand that. That’s the way we humans are. And I can see history just as well as you do and I can see an unending chain of stupid, wrong, and foolish scientists who were once regarded as brilliant and insightful.

They were wrong that 1998 was the hottest year on record. 1934 was.

They were wrong that the world is warming up due to human activity. The busiest we’ve been is since WWII, and yet, it seems the world cooled down after WWII and is only recently returning back to normal.

Don’t believe me. Believe science. Go see the data for yourself: link

Michelle Malkin does a nice round-up of the issue: link There are several people linked to from those pages that explain why the original data was wrong and what they did to fix it. Don’t believe them either. Read what they wrote, and see if it is correct for yourself by using scientific principles and methods.

All you global warming believers? YOU WERE WRONG. Get over it and move on. I won’t hold it against you that you fell for one of the biggest scams of the past two decades. After all, you’re only human, and humans are often wrong.