Following Rome

So. As the Roman Empire got too large and complex they went to a Eastern/Western Empire situation. If you take as given that the job in front of today’s US executive is too complex to be handled by one man, would instead of a geographical a similar separation of responsibilities might help allow someone with who could be more expert in the area and a smaller contingent of responsibilities make sense? For the following take it as a given (as in we won’t argue that point) the job needs to be broken up and concentrate instead on how to do so.

This question it seems has two parts. The first is, wow to best break the job up. Foreign/domestic seems an obvious choice, but there may be other ways. Bertrand de Jouvenel suggested in his political philosophy that there were two types of leadership, one that drives forward toward a goal and one that can reconcile differences between people. Perhaps that would be another way to divide the two. Any other suggestions?

The second part is, how to implement this? Could this be done by dogmatic precedent (like the two term limit which followed Washington’s example for so long)? Could a President announce at his inauguration that he was doing this, and his vice President was going to, say, handle 100% of foreign affair issues and he would 100% concentrate on the domestic affairs.  The titular President would promise to rubber stamp any decisions made by his VP as if he were signing them as long as there were in the foreign affairs sphere and vice versa. Would this fly? If not, why no? Or would a full Constitutional amendment process be required to effect this?

So. Vaccinations?

Some ground rules should be established in these conversations. Everyone should agree:

  • Vaccines greatly decrease the chance of contracting the disease which they target.
  • If a significant proportion of the population is vaccinated, then epidemics are unlikely.
  • This “significant” number does not have to 100% to be effective. Flu shot vaccination rates hover around 50% for the last few years according to the CDC, and no epidemics have occurred.
  • Vaccines are not 100% risk free, although globally speaking the benefit outweighs the risk. This, of course, does not help either the person getting sick or having an allergic or auto-immune reaction.
  • All currently required childhood vaccines are for horrible illnesses. Measles for example “Most patients with uncomplicated measles will recover with rest and supportive treatment.” (from the wiki). Like chicken pox, in childhood in the 50’s and earlier .. almost all kids got the Measles. Oddly enough people survived.

My question is, if you think measles vaccinations should be mandatory, why don’t you think flu shots should be mandatory?

If you think free riders are a problem and deserve active censure, should childless middle age adults (or older) be similarly censured?

Race, Logic and the Left

Consider the following, almost to a person those on the left would agree it was (would be) OK to vote for a man for the President on account of his being Black, or for a woman (say like Ms Clinton, but never never like Ms Palin) on account of her being female, or for a student to be admitted on account of his/her gender, race or other superficial feature.

This is wrong and here is why. I will use “vote” and “Black” as my examples, but this can be extended without modification to other situations and criteria (like admissions and gender or race).

Premise 1: It is a permissible criteria to vote for a man because he is Black.

Premise 2: If a thing is a valid criteria for, then it is valid criteria against. Valid criteria compromise those things you consider when making a choice. If a thing is a valid criteria then it is purely personal preference whether a particular criteria weighs for or against a decision.

Statement 1: It is racist to vote against a man because he is Black. Conservatives get told this all the time, it must be true.

This is a direct contradiction, of the two premises. Therefore either premise one is false or premise two is false. Premise two is not false by symmetry (and kindergarten, “turnabout is fair play”). Therefore premise one must be false.

If you voted for Obama because he was Black or support affirmative action, therefore you are a racist. Logic insists. See.

Or to put it another way, Martin Luther King said the color of a man’s skin was not a valid criteria with with to judge him. Why was he wrong?

“Islam is not the Problem” … Is that Right?

Many of our intellectual elite keep (White House, others) keep repeating that Islam is “not the problem” behind the terrorism, violence and so on in the Middle East and elsewhere (France for example). What is not said in those pronouncements is, if Islam isn’t the problem, exactly then where does the problem lie? It seems likely that the statement Islam is not the problem is only half right. People who claim “Islam is the problem” (or not the problem) can be compared with people who claim “germs cause disease” (or that they don’t). Stating that Islam is or isn’t “the problem” isn’t useful. What are some more useful remarks or questions that might be raised instead? Such as, what does a more complete story/picture look like? What are useful ways of approaching this matter, not that the President and the left elite don’t have a useful way, they just are very very coy about what that way is, as “it’s not X” does not explain “it is Y”. Continue reading →

A Little Confusion

So, the left has gotten unhinged about Mr Christie offering that vaccinations for kids be voluntary. This isn’t an “anti-vaccination” position, as he hasn’t said not get them. If you need evidence that they have gotten unhinged, the proof is in the conflation, equating “anti-vaccine” with “optional”.

Look. I’m not getting the kerfuffle. Explain to me the difference between optional flu shots and optional measles shots. The first is OK, the second a horrific idea. Not getting it. So. Explain. (hint: “It’s about the children” or “‘cause they are minors” earns you a dunce cap and won’t be considered a response). So why are flu shots not required for everyone? Hmmm?

Or is this just the purely partisan stupid hacking like it looks like?

 

Wednesday Linkage

So. Back to work tomorrow.

  1. Carnegie-Mellon puts PV=nRT to the test.
  2. No prejudice in the alteration of data.
  3. Methane for vehicular fuel, exhibit a and exhibit b.
  4. School hi-jinks.
  5. Corruption in (a) government noted.
  6. Someone on the right praises Ms Obama.
  7. With the common practice of security free medical devices, do you think security will be a primary concern for its use. (Update: I hadn’t checked past the headline when I linked this. Apparently it’s a security update that makes this a possibility. I’d still be concerned however, I think if you were installing a hackable device on my heart).
  8. Very cool. Wonder what it would be like to play with that on at the same time.
  9. 200 million? That seems not very much, it’s likely they lost more than twice that from employees borrowing pencils and office supplies.
  10. Unemployment and welfare.
  11. Military aid for families takes an ironic turn.

Tomorrow’s the Day

So. Surgery (sort of) tomorrow. Technically it’s a cardiac Electro-Physiology Lab study. The lab study will attempt to replicate my SVT (Supra-Ventricular Tacchycardia). If it can be replicated then RF ablation will be used to stop the cross-talk between nerve clusters on my heart. Then the SVT trigger process will be repeated event. When if/when the SVT cannot be triggered via electodes …  we are done and my SVT will not recur (and ala Monte Python, there will be great rejoicing).

If you have a mind to, offer a prayer for me tomorrow about 11am CST. Thanks.

Update: Good news and bad news. Good news is, I’m in recovery (at home) and things look a good … for recovery. The bad news is that they couldn’t emulate the SVT event in the first step and never did any ablation. I’ll have a followup in a few weeks. One option I’m considering is seeking the option of trying this or s similar procedure with a EP specialist who is an amateur endurance athelete. My impression is that they didn’t push hard enough to trigger the event, in part not realizing that my heart is quite a bit fitter than average.

Links Ahoy

Linky link.

  1. Still seems like mental illness to me. The dysphoria <->BIID comparison seems to make that clear. It might be that the best available treatment is to live with it, but that doesn’t make it not a mental illness.
  2. Not unrelated, Mark Daniels on addiction.
  3. Toyz.
  4. Nutt’n better to do I guess than pretend to know about that which you don’t.
  5. “Digitally faked”. Now that’s just wrong (and embarrassing to own up to I’d think).
  6. An animal with a backpack.
  7. A use for old hard drives.
  8. “Everywoman” … isn’t.
  9. Extra-terrestrial taking a leak.

26 days to (Western) Lent. 31 Days for the Eastern Church (for which there are 10 days to the Triodion … this Sunday is Zacchaeus Sunday).

Tech Attempt

New Tablet … an attempt to see how android 5.01 works with WordPress for creating links posts.

  1. Oh. It’s a race!
  2. Color me unsurprised.
  3. I am not unsympathetic to the notion that at some point in end of life, end is inevitable and pain and loss of dignity is the only thing left. However, I also think euthenasia should be illegal and a likely jail term in the offing. That isn’t to say, if push came to shove and the hard choice was mine to make, I think if you love your parent or spouse, isn’t that love great enough to go to jail for your beloved? *That* will prevent abuse. It is often the error that illegal=immoral (hint: it isn’t. And furthermore, when given the choice, moral wins, not legal).
  4. I use LastPass. How ’bout y’all?
  5. Fiction, Fact, stranger than … Raiders of the Lost Arc edition.

Well, that wasn’t impossible. I need to figure out how to create enumerated list in the android wordpress app.

Tuesday Stuff

And nonsense.

  1. Heh. A history lesson of sorts.
  2. The sooner people figure out that human value is uncorrelated with salary, the better.
  3. Conservative vs Liberal Supreme Courts (by a paint by numbers metric) measure with respect to freedom of religion.
  4. Seems I grew up in a transition period. I think A grades are exceptional, but that as well, Failing means you were also exceptionally unexceptional.
  5. Church and men.
  6. Snipers and public perception.
  7. Heh.
  8. Security and Progressive. In a word, yikes.
  9. If Picketty is right (capital trumps salary) then gosh, you’d think the President would be proposing policies that encourage investment in markets. Not the reverse, ah, our moron-in-chief.
  10. Great muscular strength helps sometimes.

Monday/Weekend Stuff

Links?

  1. Ms Warren (is probably not running).
  2. Macular degeneration and a possible cause.
  3. Bake your own energy bars, with some help.
  4. State solvency and some suggestions for the basket case states. (earlier post here)
  5. Snail poisons.
  6. Almost sounds like the “cafeteria Christianity” heresy is enshrined in American common law.
  7. Damned lies and statistics.
  8. So. We all try to empathize and understand those on the other side of the aisle (or we should). But I completely strike out here. I have no idea why anyone in their right mind would utter the phrase “That is irrelevant”. Because, no. It! Is! Not! I fail to understand any circumstance in which that would not be the only relevant factor.
  9. Somebody else here mistakenly assumes the result of the Habermas/Ratzinger debate. Uhm, the argument isn’t as cut and dried as you pretend.
  10. Bang for beginners. (if you have bucks)
  11. Backwoods epicurean delight?
  12. And .. I bought the book. Haven’t read it yet though.

Last Nights Belated Link Post

So, what do we find?

  1. Consider the hypothetical
  2. Innocence and loss.
  3. Snow.
  4. Yikes!
  5. Where accuracy is king.
  6. Your administration, restricting liberty every which way it can.
  7. Of income and nation.
  8. Camouflage.
  9. It looks like a case of overhype. In which “Potentially leading to a solution” actually means potentially maybe leading to something, but … maybe not.
  10. The response by Ferguson police examined.

A Health Note

I have been diagnosed (finally after much testing and such) with a cardiac condition known as SVT. This is repairable, which when repaired should just “fix” the problem.

My “study” which will repair has been scheduled but will be February or March.

For a person who likes and enjoys working out hard, I must say SVT is very very annoying.

Tuesday Stuff and Nonsense

Hmm, lactic acid abounds from tonight’s workouts.

  1. The President pushes wants to persuade/pressure journalists to moderate their criticism of Islam.
  2. His supporters in the press apparently fear for their safety.
  3. But it would seem one should perhaps instead do something material to discourage this sort of thing and this.
  4. Encourage this and this.
  5. Technology and impressionism.
  6. Biologists and their passions.
  7. That is what I’d expect, although those in the wake of Ferguson expect the reverse.
  8. Two notes on the European response, here and here.

Links from the Weekend.

So.

  1. Socialism, the goal of the American left is not what it is cracked up to be. (HT)
  2. Also on the left, an odd remark. Let’s see, Picketty recently wrote a book offering that investment trumps salary. The left loved it, but seems to fail to notice that SS is salary, not investment, based. Odd that.
  3. Economics for our times.
  4. An Advertising suggestion.
  5. Apparently the right defends Charlie Hebdo, the left does less so. This is strange for a very left wing satirical mag, the actual publication it is unclear why anyone would buy a copy for any reason with attitudes like this.
  6. And the American left, trying to distance themselves from freedom of expression, succeeds.
  7. Legal PED? Tylenol?
  8. On military service.
  9. Here’s a stupid idea fronted by Mr Obama.
  10. Here is a less stupid idea that Mr Obama might have said, but didn’t.
  11. Hmm. So which study is more worthless this one or this one? Kinda seems a wash to me.

Wednesday Traffic

So.

  1. Hitting the nail with the noetic hammer.
  2. We would be guessing alcohol was involved.
  3. Energy weapons, … although the writer misses that one suggestion is that energy weapons are used in space because of the small momentum transfer (low recoil).
  4. But those duecedly odd and uncouth chemical weapons can join the “Interwebs of things”. Reprising, I guess, Richard Stallman’s notion that every program grows until it can send email to, every houshold appliance gains intelligence until it can serve a web page.
  5. So, Wooly mammoth got the flu?
  6. I realize my very smart dietitian once said “cheese isn’t food, it’s a condiment” and that advice is very good for my cholesterol levels, but … cheese!!!! (grommit).
  7. Ouch evolved.
  8. Now, just apply that indemnity from suit to medicine, nuclear power, and other desirable technologies and we’d have more useful progress in other fields.

Tuesday Tuesday, Links+

Links with remarks?

  1. My, uninformed guess, would be that this liberal disaproves. Alas, he’s only half right. “Hate crime” are apparently committed when you do a criminal act and the jury decides you have ideological motives. Seems to me that a crime against police may very well fit into this category. Alas, after all, turnabout is fair play, which in this case means if the ideology is one you approve it still makes it a “hate crime”. And the scare quotes are intentional, for the real way clear out of this mess is to remove all traces of “hate crime” from the books.
  2. So. Are you the kind of person to laugh at the misfortune of someone young, inexperienced and clumsy? I certainly am.
  3. The west coast liberal anti-vaccine crowd gets a wonderfully apt acronymic sendoff. (HT)
  4. Look, when you read some statistical result you have don’t have to google for opposing studies. The first thing to do is the Fermi test, do a back of the envelope estimation of the numbers and figure out if you think it is a reasonable quantity. 1 in 30 homeless. No freaking way.
  5. So with Ferguson, the kerfuffle (I don’t recall names) in New York and the movie Selma, much ado has been made about how nothing has changed and things are still horribly racist and wicked in America. Alas, this isn’t actually true. As this post points out, things in the 50s were very very bad, but guess what?  Things are very very very different now. Why does lying about the current state of affairs help? Everybody actually knows they are lying. How does it help to destroy your credibility on the outset.

And … Ant-man? Is it too late to change the name?

Monday Link Dump

Hey. Weekend is done.

  1. Meta-linking (linking of links), and I will say, the point on the “trauma” is spot on.
  2. So, Christmas and Islam.
  3. Teh noodity meets the Constitution.
  4. One of those models looks like it’s still tracking the data, although it does it by predicting very little warming.
  5. Powder go bang.
  6. Obamacare and a twist.
  7. Nicknames and history.
  8. Danger! Danger! Danger!(Will Robinson?)
  9. Snarf.
  10. Click through, it’s worth your while.
  11. Oddly enough actual leadership involves people following your lead. Doesn’t matter what you say, if you can’t get people to follow your lead … and in fact they resist and go the other way either your a bad leader (and didn’t realize they’d not follow) or you intended the result that was achieved (the not following).

Tuesday Highlights

Last full day in Jersey.

  1. Of course, what he misses is that those millions would be captive Democrats.
  2. PC from the CP. Succinct.
  3. In that same vein.
  4. A suit that shouldn’t win.
  5. A question asked.
  6. Origen would not seen a difficulty and that was in the 2nd century.
  7. If anyone doubts modern liberals are clueless when it comes to Christian beliefs, doubt no longer.
  8. Tech and art working together.
  9. A very non-standard interpretation of Shostakovitch’s 7th.
  10. Uhm, some Duh Science. Stress impacts the immune system negatively. That isn’t news.

 

Monday Highlights

Ok. Back to it, after all, I haven’t stopped reading and saving links, just reporting them. So, what’s in the backlog.

  1. Here’s a x-mas suggestion for the old-calendar practitioners who haven’t gotten anything yet. (For those who don’t know, much of the Easter Orthodox are still on the Julian calendar 13 days later than the Gregorian until the end of the century. This is why the Orthodox Easter/Pascha is so wildly different from the West, as both are based on the full moon after the spring equinox, but … when that equinox is changes by 13 days).
  2. Mr Degrasse’s 8 “books everyone should read“. Yikes.
  3. I haven’t a clue whether Mr Schraub disapproves or approves but, geesh, anyone who holds Israel and ISIS as morally equivalent is ethically blind and should be regarded functionally as a psychopath.
  4. Here is another equivalence, possibly slightly less morally suspect.
  5. Yet again, repeat ad infintum, the argument against torture is not gotten via consequentialism.
  6. I’m not up to speed on hate speech and the legal status of same, but as a layperson one would be lead to suspect that “hate speech” should involve in some way, you know, actual hate or even mild dislike.
  7. Speaking of which, there are plenty of liberals who clearly hate conservatives. I wonder if their hate-speech microscope will be turned on themselves in this regard?
  8. Union labor and why it sucks so often.
  9. Very cool.
  10. Graft and equalite, liberte, fraternite (and buckets of blood).
  11. A gun (which is sort of on my wish-I-had-one list)

The Cunning (and current) Plan

So the current cunning (blog) plan is to return to weekday (Sun/Mon-Thursday) daily links blogging, 5 days a week and an occasional essay. I’m not giving up on returning to essay blogging but I’m not going to try that again until my #2 daughter has gone off to college (late August).

With that being said, links return tonight. Wednesday however will be a off-day as I will be on the train all day returning to Chicago.

Off the Cuff

So, Dr Gruber, not a politician. Ya think? This gets much mileage in the press and the liberal politicians are going distance themselves from him as if he he were scalding acid. Abortion as eugenics, to be applied to minorities, hmm. That’s palatable, albeit Ms Sanger was in the camp too I think. Regarding Mr Gruber, the outrage is confusing. I mean, here is a guy who admits selling Obamacare on falsehoods. But I mean, why is the right acting all put out? Those lies were not believed by the right, but by the left. Why is the left not outraged that they were sold a bill of goods? Politics remains very confusing for me.

Some IQ specialist thinks he has evidence that intelligence is not nuture but nature, which will alas irk the (mostly racist) race theorists no end (see this too). So, if it comes out that intelligence (and therefore success in school) are due to nature not nurture, can we stop with the stupidly high inheritance taxes that the left thinks are necessary to stop the “rich” from having unfair advantages?

I wonder what this sort of graph but instead for the WWII Germany/Soviet Eastern front wars would look like. It would be appalling I think. Appropos of that and in the discussion which mention Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo. But like most of the Western canonical history forget that Russian led armies sacked Paris in 1814. The same poster (rightly) mocks those college students of today who are so so so ignorant of history it seems.

Regarding Ms Feinstein and her “release” of CIA investigations on torture. The left’s thesis (which is badly flawed) is (a suggested thesis of her report) is that torture doesn’t work, ergo we shouldn’t do it. Actually historically it seems very very likely that when done efficiently with an understanding of what you are up to, it works and works very well. See Mr Fernandez excellent book  No Way In (or read about the Gestapo and well, anywhere they operated). Look. Every single time a resistance cell loses a member to the torture using establishment everyone has to find a new safe houses, move and so on. Why? This wouldn’t be so if torture was ineffective. But. It is. The argument against torture is not that it isn’t effective or cost effective but that is immoral. It is wrong. That is the only argument needed or which should be used against it.

 

Reader’s Exercise

So, Mr Obama is going to offer his “executive order” on immigration tonight. Constitutional scholars are going to offer their opinions. But I’m going to give you a homework assignment, in two parts no less.

Part 1. Imagine a Democrat held Senate/House and a GOP conservative President. Craft what you might see as an abortion executive order that would elicit the same <em>Constitutional</em> objections regarding balance of powers between Congress and Executive as are debated by, say, the Volokh lawyers in the wake of Obama’s immigration order.

Part 2. If you honestly did the homework of part one, explain why (if GOP) you support the part 1 proposal but object to Mr Obama’s proposal or, if a Democrat why you support Mr Obama but reject the GOP proposal.

(note: if you are “consistent” and oppose/support both, this is probably a sign you didn’t honestly complete part 1).

A Few Remarks on the Comet/Shirt Kerfuffle

Ms Althouse has some interesting remarks regarding this kerfuffle (I’m going to assume those readers aren’t hiding under baskets and know the actual subject of this particular kerfuffle, which dealt with particular details on an engineer’s shirt during a press release after the successful landing of a satellite on a comet). Mr Reynolds (Instapundit) points that the landing on a comet by a satellite is more important than what a person wears and the “feminists” (or some feminists) were hijacking this event. Ms Althouse in an attempt to “be provocative” suggests:

And I will be more provocative: In the broad span of human culture, fashion is more important than space travel.

She is in some ways correct, in other ways not. I will return her provocative remark by noting that which is important about fashion, is exactly the same as what is important about “space travel” or landing on comets. What is important about fashion is man’s search for beauty. This is the central search in science, space travel, and much of engineering. The search for a beautiful solution is not far adrift from the cathedral (architectural beauty) or fashion (beatiful people/clothing). Beautiful clothes and in general the quest for beauty is precisely what was achieved in a different field (aerospace engineering) as what is sought (and I’d offer rarely found) on the fashion runway. Fashion is not “more important” than space travel. Landing spacecraft on comets is the height of fashion for those who don’t do color and form, but instead do maths.

And I disagree that wearing that shirt is “an attack on feminism”. Feminism celebrates such displays, witness vagina displays, slut walks &c. I’ll also disagree with Ms Althouse that he intentionally “made a statement” by wearing that shirt. More likely, given the engineering culture, is that is was the top “button down” (read as ‘fancy’) shirt in his drawer or closet.

Secular Immortality and Cinema

Two films recently have been very similar (and this afternoon I saw the second, even though it’s been out for some time). Elysium and In Time are very similar. Both feature a totalitarian control on magically efficient health care. In both access to this is highly restricted. In both of them health (or immortality) access is highly restricted. Why? Population pressure is explicitly mentioned on one, but it is not clear that this is the problem they might pretend. As an extreme, Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time are all immortal by a technology long lost and long forgotten. Our hero in that story is unusual, he’s the only person alive who was “born”.   Continue reading →

And They Pretend Ms Palin is Stupid

Ms Clinton trumps everyone on the stupid-meter.

If there is any justice, listen to Ms Clinton. This has to be one of the top 10 stupidest things said by a politician, “business doesn’t create jobs”. Honey, the only thing creating jobs are businesses.

And she doubles down with “trickle down doesn’t work”. Uhm, “trickle down” is Democrat slang for growth. And if you think growth doesn’t help, then why aren’t we all stone age subsistence farmers? Oh, we’re doing quite a bit better. Why? Hmm, that would be that growth thing.

If anyone votes for her now, they’re deluded.

Better You Than Me (literally)

So. In the next few essay’s I’m going to begin a small series commenting on my reading the book (of essays coincidentally enough) by Christos Yannaras titled “The Meaning of Reality: Essays on Existence and Communion, Eros and History”. My plan is to go through this book essay by essay. Some essay’s I’ll separate a precis post (summary) and follow that with one or more posts with remarks refering back to that post. What follows (below the fold) is the remarks on the first essay titled, “A Reference to Alyosha Karamazov”. This is short (3 1/2 pages) and I’ll perhaps to combine summary and remarks in one post. This opens with a quote from the Brothers’ Karamazov (from which, obviously, the character Alyosha is drawn).

  • I understand it only too well: it’s the innards and the belly that long to love. You put it wonderfully, and I am terribly glad you have such an appetite for life,” Alyosha cried. “I have always thought that, before anything else, people should learn to love life in this world”
  • “To love life more than the meaning of life?”
  • “Yes that’s right. That’s the way it should be; love should come before logic, just as you said. Only then will man be able to understand the meaning of life.”

And so we begin (below the fold) Continue reading →

Simple Consistency

So, if as noted last night, consistency in political stance was seen as valuable is this even possible. Consistency, or the lack thereof, is used often as a rhetorical weapon for example, “how can you support/oppose abortion saying life is valuable if you oppose/support the death penalty?” is an example. Here lack of consistency is seen as a failing. Yet every political plank is wrought through and through with inconsistencies. Is a global consistent stance on issues possible?

Looking the maths as a template, often in group theory a trivial example which satisfies your criteria serves as both a useful model and an existence proof. It so happens that with respect to consistency. So is there a (or set of) trivial consistent ideological stances one might take? Indeed. It seems apparent that the single issue (if simple enough) individual can take an internally consistent stance, if “oppose abortion”, “love pets”, or “taxes suck”  is your only public position then you can consistently offer a position on all relevant issues and abstain on the rest consistently.

This is of course, not something anyone does. People have have a varied number (in which that number is greater than one) of positions they’d like to hold. Many times these issues are in conflict. How a particular resolves a conflict differ, but it also demonstrates the relative importance of those same issues. A Democrat driving/owning an SUV indicates that status symbol ownership is more important than climate.

So inconsistency is not exactly an indication of actual inconsistency, but one of the evaluation of multiple criteria and their weightings. Thus a SUV owning Democrat who claims global warming is an urgent priority is signaling that the “urgency” part of this statement is at best empty rhetoric (more likely an untruth). This ownership doesn’t signal an inconsistent belief, just that it signals the priority of which this particular belief holds in their panoply of positions.

A Confusion of Party

In the US, Democrats (liberals) and the GOP (conservatives) are confused. Liberals fear jingoism, patriotism and enthusiasm for the country, yet prefer and support big government. Studies show Conservatives want to belong, are patriotic, and demonstrate enthusiasm for their country yet they are the anti-government party. The Democrats affirm support for the “little guy” against corporate and government abuse (not unrelated … this weekend Mr Obama held a 50k per plate dinner in which he spoke (apparently not ironically) against income inequality. Those conservatives that doubt Mr Obama’s oratorical skills should note that somehow that was delivered and received without a pause or for laughter (or an expectation of same)). Idiots of course abound on both sides of the aisle, partisan flacks somehow manage to only remark on those on their side. Mr Schraub, old time blog neighbor, for example manages to notice dumb statements regarding Ebola from the GOP, apparently missing almost identical stupidity from members of his party. Democrats claim to support those without defense, yet a party de facto requirement is that to be a Democrat one must support abortion. A fetus is without question one of the most vulnerable points of the human existence. Conservatives on the other hand, struggle to reconcile their “don’t tread on me” with desiring crack downs (by government) on illegal aliens and enforcing restrictions on marriage. Liberals drive their big SUVs to “green” global warming affairs and lay claim to be the “party of science” (on global warming) while at the same time speaking out against the “dangers” of vaccinations.

The point is that the neither side of the aisle is the least bit consistent in either their choice of ideals or their application of same. So, this consistency thing, is it of any value at all? Is expediency and power for its own sake the only priority? Sides have to be taken so the party leaders divvy up positions on a first come first served historical basis? Must the non players be always forced to choose party and pol by principles of which is the “least worst”. Is consistency of principles possible?

So what next? Well, the task (for tonight) seems to be as follows, first is an y consistent policy/ideological stance possible? This might follow several steps, first can one make a “toy” internally consistent stance (the analogous Maths thing would be a trivial solution or an existence proof). If not, then perhaps the only solution is to follow Eastern church’s solution to doctrine in contrast to the Western (western tends to go by Catechisms and statements of faith, the East in place of statements patterned after law points to a large body of poetry as to define their beliefs). If a toy solution is possible, then the next step would be to search for a realistic one.  Then finally if realistic solutions are possible, we might try to find some realistic consistent ideals to which one might desire to hold for oneself.

One of the fundamental problems with “being consistent” and not contravening known features of governance is that there are tensions. Government is, currently, by definition “top down”, the government dictates to the governed. Yet, as Hayek pointed out asymmetry of information points to an essential flaw of the top down approach. In some sense, having any government at all runs against the informational asymmetry. But of course, having no government (as Hobbes pointedly assures us) leads to nasty, brutish, and short lives, which is not at all conducive to life, liberty, and the pursuit of eudaimonia (happiness).

(to be continued)

A Change of Pace

For the last two weeks, those few who follow this blog have noticed I’ve not posted. My posting of late has been irregular and I’ve some changes are in order. When I began this blog, I wrote an essay every night. I have since accomplished my primary goal. Which was to write much better. My sentences are now more structured, less frequently I resorted to double negatives, fewer non-sentences jammed in there, hopefully I get the correct preposition more often than not, and so on. Then time constraints occurred, plus I had less “new” to say and I resorted to my strengths, that is to say … I read very fast so collecting links was perceived as something I could do well. For I had begun my interest in blogs as a reader not a writer. I had, and still have, a large list of feeds which I keep up with and I read quickly. “Links” posting become a stop gap.

At present I see a few choices. I could stop. I could continue link blogging. I could try to start writing regular essays. I could try some combination of the above.

So …. after this two week period. What have I decided. Well, I’m going to try returning to essay blogging. I’ll use links occasionally to spur conversation, but I think the links only posting will fade away. I don’t know how regular I’ll manage to write. But … on this flight to Atlanta, I’m going to write. The results … you see in the next post.

Thanks for your patience as always.