27 October 2011

Climate change denial != science-averse

I just watched this clip from last night's Daily Show:

Another segment of this show was devoted to poking fun at various pundits' criticism of science and scientists. Putting this interview in the context of that previous segment sheds a little more light on Mr. Stewart's apparent confusion about the "resistance" to science. The reason is apparently that climate change deniers are all crazy, liars, or idiots or possibly all of the above.

Let me suggest another alternative: people don't want more government intervention. Assuming for a second that climate change is real and further that it is man-made (thus implying that it is man-reversible), then the logical next step is government intervention to combat this scourge. This likely entails more regulations on emissions which means increased costs for fuel and cars, government subsidies to "green" businesses which means gambling tax dollars on politically connected businesses, and limitations on production of goods considered to be non-"green" or produced via non-"green" methods which means violation of property rights.

My point is that climate change "deniers" are not necessarily science averse. Their reticence to accept it may be based more on a desire to prevent greater government intervention or simply on the idea that climate change better be really "for-damn-sure" before government guns are used to forcefully reorganize society around its implications.

11 October 2011

How quickly we forget

I received an email containing a number of complaints about the current administration. On the theory that, in reality, this administration is no different from the last, or any other for that matter, I present the following.

If any other of our presidents had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?
When Clinton left office, the federal debt stood at 5.8 trillion. Bush increased this to 10.4 trillion by the time he left office. The current federal debt as of the government's last fiscal year stood at 11.9 trillion. Bush doubled the debt, not Obama.
If any other of our presidents had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?
In Bush's last year in office, the federal government spent 3.1 trillion dollars. The federal government spent 3.09 trillion in the last fiscal year on record, a 2.4% decrease from Bush's last year.
One also has to remember that Bush refused to make the wars part of his budget and continually funded them through emergency funding measures. So, any claims that Bush was going to balance the budget are without merit.
If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head?
"As a governor, he did not appreciate the federal government stepping in, telling states what to do," Fleischer said. 
Later, he amended his comments: "The president believes that all policies, state or federal, need to respect the culture of life. He differs with Gov. Davis on this."
If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on?
If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot?
If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?
If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87000 American workers unemployed would you support him?
If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Teleprompter instaled to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?
If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America?

Is this what it's come to? Gift giving? Fine.
If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?
If any other of our presidents had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?
If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his capabilities?
If any other of our presidents had flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in his home town, would you not have thought he was a self-important, conceited, egotistical jerk.
If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, wouldn't you have winced in embarrassment?
If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?
If any other of our presidents' administrations had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?
If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
If any other of our presidents had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have ever approved.
If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?
So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?
Nothing. He's exactly the same as every other politician.