Friday, March 30, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, And Medved

On The Michael Medved Show today: Mr. Medved used statistics to make the current voting record of one of his favorite presidential candidates appear very more conservative than it – and he – has become.

Mr. Medved loves to tell us how he's a former liberal activist. Is he still brazenly performing stupid liberal tricks on behalf of the more liberal candidates? You decide.


All the following transpired as I heard Mr. Medved downplaying the presidential "non-candidacy" of Fred Thompson.

Mr. McCain
In the course of his comments, Medved compared the lifetime conservative voting scores (tallied by the American Conservative Union) of Fred Thompson (8 years) with John McCain (24 years).

Medved said that the two senators shared similar scores -- about 85%.

That McCain's lifetime numbers are so high isn't too hard to believe since he scored in the high 90s early in his career.

But without looking, I will bet that for the last few years Senator McCain's ACU rating has been about 50% if not lower.

To be fair, I don't view McCain's behavior as being much different from what happens to Supreme Court justices after they've been on the bench for some time. That McCain suffers from the communicable diseases endemic of the DC swamp, there can be little doubt.

But thinking of Supreme Court justices -- and of their Actonizaton -- should arouse in us all the most important of concerns about McCain: Is this the man we can depend upon to nominate conservative candidates to the high court? [shudder]

Mr. Medved
Now, overall, Medved was doing this carefully, in a softball fashion. But clearly, Medved was dismissive of any Fred Thompson candidacy. While he made many substantive points about Thompson having more played (as an actor) the leader than being the leader, Mr. Medved didn't -- wouldn't, couldn't? -- stop there.

Medved is quite candid. He's still pumping for McCain, Guiliani and Romney, in that order. It is not lost on me, nor should it be lost by other conservatives, that Medved's penchant is consistent with the behavior of an old-fashioned
Progressive; that is, promoting men who have pulled up one or more set of "stakes": the anchors that sustain conservative principles. The Progressive is for men whom, presumably, can be relied upon to comfortably re-orient society to some point (typically left) where will henceforth be considered the political center.

As Mr. Medved was admittedly trying to promote the early establishment favorites, I guess he figured it was okay to stoop to such disingenuousness.

Did he think we wouldn't notice?

And what can we make of all this if he did figure we would notice?

The point of concern I wish you all to take away from this commentary is not about McCain, but about Medved.

Conclusion:
Yes. Medved loves to tell us how he's a former liberal activist. Well, is he not still brazenly performing stupid liberal tricks? And on behalf of the more liberal candidates?

Watch your back conservatives.

Another Piece of the Puzzle Is Glaring At Us

I’ve been working on an examination of the concept of Utopia and of those who seek it and believe they can achieve it. It was inspired by commenter MoreNuancedThanYou in comments to “The Nature of Evil.” It’s not half done.

And then I read Our Curmudgeon’s screed for today: Repeal the Laws of Economics!

In it he wrote:

“Were the ACT-UP idiots to get what they've demanded, twenty years from today there wouldn't be an AIDS sufferer loose anywhere in the world. They'd all be dead or quarantined awaiting death.[emphasis in the original]

Economically Our Curmudgeon would be right. It would be hard to find any cures for anything, let alone AIDS, given the sort of medical establishment our Post-modernist effete are longing to foist upon us.

But I think he’s wrong about the continued existence of AIDS victims.

Given the way things are today, I think he underestimates the power of our Politically Correct officials and overestimates the chances of rebellion by the rest of us.

Dear Curmudgeon: Can't you see where, were the ACTUP crowd to succeed in their demands, their physical outcome would not be permitted to become as bleak as you paint it? The rest of us would simply be forced to put up with less health care. Considerably less. The PC crowd would see to it.

You ask: "What would be their basis? And what do you mean by ‘considerably less’?"

I will try not to get too involved.

PC officials will make rules on the same basis that we allow them to champion the "rights" of all their pet groups at the expense of everybody else's rights.

Unlike those of us who have a grasp on reality, I've come to the conclusion that PC officials are actively seeking Utopia. As you so often chronicle, they are building Utopia to their specifications. You also know too well how much of a big deal they make of equality. Well, I contend that equality in achieving happiness is the Utopian's ultimate measure of success.

However, time and again, they find that they cannot succeed in making everybody happy. But they’ll not be deterred, by gum. So they instead resort to the next best thing: making sure that everybody is somewhat unhappy.

They have been attempting to do that for quite a long time now with wealth redistribution schemes. This nation has “poor” whose annual “income” (that is, in all forms of assistance) exceeds by far the working middle class’s income in most of the rest of the world.

I sure hope it’s dawned on not a few of you what I’m seeing here: by what standard would compel the PC official to shrink from employing the same approach in offering health care?

You actually think AIDS victims will merely die off because drugs that could keep them alive them will not be found? No, no. The AIDS patients must, eagerly, be kept around. Their usefulness as a pet group is too great. You are thinking in too limited a fashion, my dear Curmudgeon. You are thinking along morally defunct, non-Postmodern lines of thought. For surely it would not take long for some super person to ask “by what right do the rest of you claim to have access to untainted blood?”

Do I really have to spell it out?

These "Utopians" could very well demand that our blood supplies be statistically rigged to match the percentage of AIDS patients in the country (or even the world).

I’m going to end it right there.

And if some of you -- geniuses I am sure -- think that it is me who is mad, go reread the short story Harrison Bergeron (the link has it in full) and recognize that Vonnegut wrote that long before the Politically Correct became the bold bastards we’ve allowed them to become.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Nature of Evil

As part of a much longer conversation with Og the Neanderpundit, his first short story, Slayer, published Saturday, prompted a short side discussion between us about the nature of evil. I had my own notions of what constitutes evil before reading the story (that I read quickly while conversing with him) and so I didn't immediately concur with him.

However, that is not the same thing as saying that Og was wrong. One of the great advantages to reading Neanderpundit is how Og stresses the simpler nature of what others weave into complicated explanations.

Og subsequently published this
The Nature of Evil. In it he refined the three elements of evil he was conceiving during our discussion.

Primarily, he relates all evil to the infliction, enjoyment and profit from suffering.

My initial inclination was to think that his definition seemed a bit narrow. I am inclined to see evil in those who deliberately mislead others to their own destruction. As for those who are themselves misguided and then help mislead others, what are they? Well, they become agents of evil even if they themselves don't mean to be. Those who may be called "useful idiots" fit this latter description.

In our discussion, it didn't take me long to figure out how ticked off he is with the medical establishment. And even so, that is hardly reason enough to declare his view of evil as narrow. The trick, of course, is to take the report of his vision and see how it fits in with what I see.

Now Og knows I like to take my engineering skills and use it to study how little items fit into the forest we call living. I do it to to figure out better how the forest operates.

To me it's a big jigsaw puzzle. (My Mom told me that while still in my crib, when I became bored completing puzzles with the picture side up I would complete them cardboard side up). Sometimes you see the whole picture before you're complete. Sometimes you are missing key pieces, but so what? Overall you can still comprehend most of what the picture tells you even before it's half complete.

So Og knew what he was doing, as usual. Yes, Og, I think I can fit your definition of evil into my own.

First of all, for any new readers. Though it might seem not to be the case from the following discussion, know that I am religiously agnostic. I am a searcher.

Some have said I am doing it the hard way. Others have said worse.

But if there is a God, that is between Him and me, and that seems to be all that any religion has a right to ask of its followers. Get right with Him. Sadly that seems far too often not the case. Get two people to agree and they too often — almost automatically, like it is something beyond their control — will make the third person a heretic.

What I refer to is the Concept of God. The Ideal. The Creator is First before the creation. When a man seeks out perfection he has a damn good chance to catch excellence. And we live in a whole world in which to seek excellence. It's really hard to get bored unless one limits oneself (most common) or if some outside forces attempt to limit you (next most common).

We can bowl a perfect game: but who can claim to ever bowling 12 mixers: 12 perfect strikes? "In your mind" we would tell such a claimant.

Exactly.

And if we can conceive of perfection in some matters of creation, why not all creation? Such clearly implies a Creator. And yet some don't even want to allow your children to even consider Him as a concept. If the Creator doesn't suffer from that course of events, then He really doesn't exist.

See Og. I finally got here. Sorry for the delay.

Evil as suffering. Evil is intent on inflicting suffering upon the Creator of the universe. He suffers as a parent who suffers when he or she witnesses his offspring coming to a bad end.

We are told that the first thing He told us to do, as he was taking us out of our box: "Be fruitful and multiply."

Why? Because He built all creation for us to enjoy. The more of us there are, the more opportunities for mankind to get one of us to see things the others just cannot see. We each are a potential help to each other.


What profit it men to have the Lord suffer in this way? So that men who don't know Him will turn to the scheming little demigods who will offer themselves to fill the breach. So that they will be worshipped instead of the concept of the Creator.

And why would the demigods want the Creator's creatures to suffer? Because that is the easiest way to drive the Creator's otherwise thinking creature (man) to allow themselves to be treated like cattle. People who suffer from illness want to die. The demigods can more easily cull a herd of thinking cattle if you can get the cooperation of the cattle. So let them suffer rather than spend "limited" resources on now useless eaters. What place has love and appreciation for a life well lived? Well: "Don't let her suffer: kill her. Please!"

And why would such men enjoy the suffering they are inflicting? They have do dismiss the humanity of those they are inflicting the suffering upon. They have to see themselves as higher up on the food chain. It's so much easier to do once they teach themselves to enjoy their "work" rather than wretch as would be the normal response.

It is like in battle. When the general who wants his men to fight tougher than the enemy? He wants his men to hate the enemy. So much easier to enjoy killing.

Well so it is with those who are warring against humanity. It is so much easier to get the agents who are waging that battle to enjoy the suffering they're inflicting. You of an earlier and more wholesome influence would think of such things as aberrant, as abnormal. Hell, the megalomaniacs who wage war on "overpopulation" need to make what was once abnormal and beastly become acceptable? As for allowing you your self-defense: now, that is unacceptable -- to them.

Now the medical profession has had many noble men in it. Many from the past did life-saving work with very little pay. But we've permitted the institution to become corrupted along with so many other institutions in our besieged culture. How? (Well, I've another puzzle sitting in a box that describes that. It will have to wait. )

All one needs to know about the medical establishment today is that many medical schools have eliminated the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm." It is gone.

After that, how long do you think it would take for many to descend to this? "Psst. When we don't offer pain medication, and our patients really suffer, we'll have their loved ones begging us to let 'em go. Heh, heh, heh."

So Og. Here you are. Here is how your concept of evil blends in with mine. At least, that's my "short" order response.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Keystone for Postmodernism: "Post-Normal" Science

Last week Wretchard posted "Post-Normal" Science As Proof of Global Warming.

In it he let an insider (Mike Hulme, the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) reveal in his own words the nature of that "science."

Wretchard does a nice turn on this there (and in a subsequent post).

Still, let me try to summarize why "post normal" science exists:
"Because our goals are so very important, mere facts cannot be allowed to get in our way. We must fund the right scientists only. We must get the science we pay for."
Where one finds true believers and radicals, one could logically expect some who are decidedly ruthless:
"All others must be ignored, barred, discredited and even ..., well let's not state that last part outright."
Go there and to see that I am well stating my summary. Yes my second quote is my own interpretation of course. But given the threats sent to dissidents, is it not wise to be cautious?

I've not written at length about Postmodernism yet. I've tended to refer to it here and there at my main site Pascal Fervor and in comments I've left at other sites like the Belmont Club. However, I have written long ago about casuists and sophists, and how the latter know how to make use of the former. Surely the power hungerers who exploit sophistry shamelessly have little qualms about misleading well-meaning people who time and again trip over into casuistry.


Please look into this. It quickly becomes clear to those who research Postmodernism (and I'm not talking about the architectural mode) that postmodernists takes a dim view of humanity as a whole. In short, their primary concern is global "sustainability." And that makes reducing the number of people on the face of the Earth, by hook or by crook, their chief agenda. Naturally, they are always welcoming volunteers; but they are not beyond seeing to it that more deliberate means are employed.

Misleading the wealthier humans on the earth into self-destruction has well begun: witness the huge decline in populations in the advanced world.

Making sure that the developing world — doesn't — continues. Groaning but doing nothing whilst the Mugabe's of the world do their worst is about as emblematic as it gets. Supporting violent Islam is their latest wrinkle: all the talk about making life better for little people everywhere is somehow gone and replaced with "let the local culture decide." See? Mugabe many times over.

And the Global Warming "Crisis?" To me and many like me it is the new excuse to foist command economy on the world. For those who don't know, that is what the old Soviet Union was aiming for. It is what the PRC still has but with adaptations to please a world market — eager for the products of its slave labor — to help sustain it.

Yes, the new face of World Dominion is simply a mask with Karl Marx behind it. And, in turn, Marxism always had the misanthropic Malthusian worshippers hiding behind it. This last group is ever so proud of the pile of corpses that Marxian ideology "produced" worldwide.

Anyway, nowadays haters of humanity live under the tent labeled "Postmodernist."

Whether you are conservative, classically liberal, libertarian, or even a modern liberal who has been made skeptical and wary by the unsavory behavior of Leftists, and you wish to survive in a personal sense, then it will serve you well to learn what postmodernists wish for you.

And now — as never before — you have "Post-Normal" Science as the verifiable proof of their hubris.