Chad Perrin: SOB

7 February 2007

an email to my Republican mother

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 02:17

Don’t read this if you don’t want my thoughts on the upcoming probable Republican nomination for President — unless you just want to skip to the list of Reagan quotes.

My mother, a party-line Republican voter who happens to be pretty smart, despite her devotion to the Republican ticket (sure, she always votes Republican, but she’s still pro-choice and anti-taxes, for instance), recently brought up the issue of politics with me. She brought it up by sending me an email with a bunch of Reagan quotes and a comment about how you’ve “just got to love this guy” as the subject line. Of those quotes, I agree with about 98% of the content of them. While this nation has surely had better Presidents than Reagan, it hasn’t had any better since his time in office. George Sr., Clinton, and George Jr. have represented a disturbing downward trend, while the Reagan administration was a distinctly positive turn of events after the economic disaster of the Carter Administration.

A couple of choice quotes from that email are:

  • The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
  • The taxpayer: That’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.
  • Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
  • The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.
  • I’ve laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it’s in the middle of a Cabinet meeting.
  • Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
  • No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

Of course, I expressed my enjoyment of these (and others in the email), and some of them will be going into the signature rotation for certain of my email addresses. The conversation, in following emails, then turned to more timely political matters. The subject of the 2008 Presidential election came up. I mentioned that Ron Paul, a Texas Congressional Representative, may be running for President. She responded. I quoted part of her response in my reply, as follows:

> Hmmm, I will try to pay more attention to him.
> Gingrich probably couldn't be elected anyway.  Unfortunately a strong
> personality doesn't get much chance anymore.

That's part of the reason I'm doubtful about Ron Paul's chances.  He's
also not much of a favorite among the other Republicans in Congress.
For one thing, while he is unabashedly pro-life (which is a political
plus in the Republican party), he has stated on many occasions that he
absolutely will not support pro-life legislation because he's a strict
Constitutionalist, and the Constitution doesn't allow for making
abortion illegal.  That sets him at odds with the Republican Party
orthodoxy.

That's not all, of course.  It's just one example among many that make
him unpopular with his Republican peers.  He consistently votes no on
pay raises for Congress, on tax hikes, on Welfare (and Social Security
and Medicare) increases, on corporate and agricultural subsidies, and so
on.  The Republican Party orthodoxy might even like him less than the
Democrats do, despite the fact that he's pro-capitalism, opposed to
affirmative action legislation, supportive of 2nd Amendment rights, and
strictly opposed to the Democratic Party's ridiculous "net neutrality"
bills.

He's basically everything the Republican Party at large pretends to be,
which makes him a thorn in the side of the actual Republican Party on
the whole.  He's also on his ninth term in office as a Congressman, so
his constituents obviously think he's doing something right.

It's unfortunate that the Republican Party will probably favor someone
else over Paul for its Presidential candidacy nomination.  He's probably
the best bet the Republican Party has for winning the election.  The way
the political winds have blown lately, the tide of popular opinion has
definitely turned against the Republicans, which means that running a
more commonplace Republican against the Democratic candidate in the next
race will probably result in a rout at the polls.  Ron Paul, meanwhile,
would grab the popular Republican vote because they'd all be voting
"against the Democrats", and would net a significant portion of the
swing vote (probably a sizeable majority of it) because of his defection
from the lobbyist-funded party line.

At least, that's my take on it.  I'd certainly vote for him.

Her response, which arrived while I was composing this SOB post, is encouraging:

Sounds like my kinda guy!

Anyway, it seemed like kind of a waste to let that explanation of the benefits of a Ron Paul presidency, and of the potential for his nomination and subsequent election, to disappear into my mother’s inbox never to be seen again except by her eyes. Thus, it’s posted here for your enjoyment.

. . . and by “swing voters”, I mean of course to include every member of the LP that isn’t a complete wanker. That’s most of us (in contrast to the Republican and Democrat parties, which are almost entirely made up of wankers).

Cry havoc and let slip the pigs of capitalism!

Filed under: Cognition,Liberty — apotheon @ 12:54

A few days ago, an acquaintance via TechRepublic who goes by the monicker Absolutely invited me to participate in discussion threads about the global warming debate. I skimmed some of the material there, but not in enough depth yet to really grasp the main thrust of the debates at TR on the subject, and not even quite enough to be sure I know which side this acquaintance happens to support. The truth is that I haven’t really looked into the climactic change armageddon theories since the ’90s.

The major reason for that lapse in my studies is simple: I discovered that there are far more pressing concerns to be dealt with than whether or not global warming will kill us all in about three centuries. For one thing, if we don’t solve the looming energy crisis problem, or at least indefinitely delay it, within my expected natural lifetime, the human race is doomed to live out its last days trapped on Planet Earth in a steady technological decline. The most likely solutions that don’t involve free market innovations are entirely unendurable, in an ethical sense, as they would involve extermination of a vast majority share of the population of this planet, either as part of reducing and redirecting energy use or as a planned use of human lives as a (perhaps metaphorical, perhaps literal) form of fuel.

I’m pretty sure that, if we’d just cry havoc and let slip the, err, pigs of capitalism (with apologies to Shakespeare for mangling the famous quote from Julius Caesar), free market innovation would solve the problem for us in a manner entirely within the realm of ethical palatability — even according to the utilitarian ethics of many anti-capitalist collectivists. Sure, they’d just point at the writings of Marx or Mill or some other leftist, collectivist, utilitarian, or whatever, and claim that the result was just an aberration, or achieved only through the oppression of an underclass that would have been better off if we all suffered equally, or actually a function of some other (anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, generally anti-liberty) process, but I’m okay with that. I’m not so much after the end of being lauded as a hero as I am of making things work out the way they should. I just happen to think that the best way to reach that end is for everyone to get over their ideological conceits and really question their core values, and start really learning for themselves and applying some good, solid critical thinking skills.

I’ve strayed a bit. Let’s get this back on track.

Since that invitation to engage in debate on climactic crisis issues, and what humanity should do about it, and how much humanity is to blame, tra la la, I’ve serendipitously stumbled across some other sources of information on the subject that just happened to be more well-packaged to grab my attention. It helps that some of it has been appearing on economics and liberty related weblogs that I’ve been following (at least half of which, in terms of my introduction to them, are ClueByFour‘s fault). It also helps that they tend to be stand-alone short essays so that I can get up to speed quickly and without having to sift through three hundred flames in a debate thread for a few pearls of wisdom.

By far, the single most enlightening, and comprehensively bringing-it-home-ish, was a recent post in the excellent Coyote Blog, titled Check the Thermostat!. I not only enjoyed it, learned from it and its well-selected relevant links, and linked to it here, but also reddited the thing. What that information, and the corroborating data I’ve culled from other sources in my desire to check its relevance before running off on this jag, has told me is that humanity has very little control over the climate here, and anything we can do to increase global temperatures in the short run (say, the next three hundred years) will probably help us in the medium run (say, the next three thousand years) — but, more importantly, we simply cannot do enough to reliably control our environment with our current understanding of climactic processes and current levels of technology to even think about it. While we continue to study climactic phenomena and the effects of humans on them (because increasing our understanding is good), we should focus our corrective efforts on other problems, such as the very immediate concerns of rising authoritarianism and tyranny, a likely energy crisis, and the fact that both are fueled more by governmental interference in the economy than any other single, discrete factor of comparable scope.

In fact, what my increasing knowledge of climate crisis science is telling me is that our best bet for solving the problem is to advance the technological state of the art and implementation to the point that we are not dependent on the planet for our well-being as a species or (in many ways more importantly) as individuals. The quickest, surest route to that is, I’m convinced, to cry havoc and let slip the pigs of capitalism.

note: I once gave an ex-girlfriend a “Capitalist Pig in Training” t-shirt (that I had custom-made at an embroidery shop) as a birthday gift. She was in school for an accounting degree. I think I want one, as well — but only if I can figure out how to justify such a label for myself.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License