This post is an introduction and will serve as an index to a series of posts I am doing on myths about the United States Govermental system. It was one post but it grew too long.
It is an important series because the myths I will be addressing are very widespread, and many of them are quite damaging.
- The US Is A Two Party System, Not A Coalition System
- The US is Formally A Two-Party System
- The Purpose Of Voting Is To Determine A Winner
- My Vote Doesn't Count
Interlude: Making Sense Of The 2004 Election
- "Liberal" and "Conservative" Have Some Sort Of Meaning
- Third Parties Are Useless and You Waste Your Vote With Them
- The Two-Party System Has No Redeeming Characteristics
- Democracy Means I Always Get My Way
- Checks And Balances Being Used Implies Broken Government
I was reading somebody talk about the distribution of people who
"agree global warming is an issue" and how it has changed over time,
and it made me wonder where I would fit in.
- I agree that the evidence is that the global average
temperature is rising.
- I agree that there are certain economic issues this causes, and
recall that when I use the
word "economic" I automatically mean "potentially costing lives"
(as opportunity costs come home to roost).
- I do not agree that it is proven that human influence has had an
impact. I agree that this is a plausible hypothesis, but I think that
it is far from proven. Evidence that the Sun has heated up a little
strikes me as far more likely to account for it; at the very least
this demands a factors analysis and I pretty much a priori
discard any claimed analysis that says humans are 100% responsible, on
the grounds that climate change has happened in the past, indeed,
climate stasis never has. (No reasonable environmentalist
claims 100%, of course, but unreasonable ones are talking, too.)
- I do not agree that warming is automatically a disaster. I think
it is plausible that it may even be a net gain (more useful land), but
there's only one real way to find out and that is to see it
happen. Analysis that we loose X feet of coastland invariably fail to
take into account other lands we gain; Siberia could become more
hospitable, for instance, and that's a huge chunk of land.
- I don't agree that we should drastically cut back on pollution for
global warming's sake. In fact, this argument really boggles my mind
when there are invariably better arguments for reducing
pollution. We could reduce the emissions of our coal plants to reduce
global warming... which many people still do not accept and no one is
qualified to say whether the coal emissions are affecting it, or in
which direction... or we can reduce coal plant emissions because
people die (sooner) when they breathe them. Pollution should be
rationally minimized for many reasons, and global warming, even
if we grant the most catastrophic versions, is still rather far
down on the list of reasons, swamped by many other more immediate and
pressing ones like killing people, animals, or plants for no good
So, do I "believe in global warming"? Beats me. I guess you could
say I "agree global warming is an issue", but that phrase often is
used to mean "agree human caused global warming" is an
issue. And of course, "agreeing it is an issue" is often taken to mean
"a pressing issue", and I'm not convinced of that, either.
Binary questions about such things are so useless.
Over the past few decades, psychology has taken great strides towards becoming a real, hard science instead of an "observational science" like history. Cognitive psychology has helped lead the way, since it has been lucky enough to be able to measure things like response times to stimuli for a long time now, but it has proven more difficult to test theories of how minds work on the lowest level.
It was about this time last year that I was finally getting tired of the election.
Observation: Maybe it's just my connection to the weblog world, but the intensity of the election coverage doesn't seem to have gone up much. Which is to say, we've been going full-bore on this issue for over a year now.
If Bush wins this year, are Democrats and the media going to start holding the primaries for 2008, oh, say, February of next year?
How long is it before some candidate actually tries to use election fatigue as part of their campaign, I wonder? I'm not certain how that would work but I'm not sure how half of the current campaigns are supposed to work either so that's hardly a stopper....
So far, barring major changes in policy by Kerry, I still plan to vote Bush on the grounds that the problems I have with Bush are just totally unaddressed by Kerry.
Here's an example: Russia has slid back to a dictatorship and Bush doesn't much care. We aren't looking at a repeat of the Cold War (the USSR lost economically and the gap has only widened), but this is a big deal, because they have nukes.
|<- Future Posts||Past Posts ->|