Tag: politics

Politicians, Debates and Schrödinger’s Cat

I just thought of something, if politicians were prohibited from alluding to a scenario involving Schrödinger’s Cat -metaphorically or otherwise- it might actually save the world economy a ton of money and time spent in syndication, thus disallowing them to pander fears and ideas that exist only by those same politicians’ own descriptions.
Schrödinger's CatIf you didn’t understand what I said:

    1.Please go find out about Schrödinger’s Cat.
    2.Understand the application of this theory to modern political asshattery in the media.
    3.Watch the debates again.

or as an alternative you can:

Drink more Kool-Aid.

Anyhow, it occurred to me tonight, that buried within most of the rhetoric and banter between candidates in the GOP debates, these guys directly allude to Schrödinger’s Cat in one form or another.

…My example is as follows:

…Pandering to the idea that the cat is dead and might still bite and scratch you…or maybe…the cat’s alive and out to steal your freedom as soon as it’s released. Worse still, the idea that someone actually KNEW there was a cat in the box AND gave it poison. Is that person criminal? How do we charge them?

…you have to remember…no one knows if the poison even affected the cat. Yet…we’re going to allow ourselves to be guided on a crazy journey of how beautiful this poor little cat was and how we wish it were still alive…

…then we’ll be guided into how we’ll hold responsible the horrible man that put that poor cat through such a horrible ordeal.

…then the media will make it worse by sensationalizing the state of the box that poor poor cat was imprisoned in.

…then we find out that some country that we have a some strategic or financial interest in supplied the poison.

…by the time the politicians are finished inspiring us and protecting our national interest in the cat…billions of dollars are allocated and we’re going to stop that country from ever poisoning cats again. Because that’s what they are. Cat killers.

…it gets worse. we are informed that an small extremist group of fanatics (who it so happens don’t even know what a cat is but believe the U.S. to be responsible for all the problems that arose from poison boxes) intend to place cats in boxes across the U.S. and poison them. With a fervor that shakes the world economy and eventually accounts for a truly scary portion of the national deficit, we eliminate and destabilize those horrible cat killers.

In the last ten years since things have become REALLY crazy and scary, the loss of innocent life in the last decade makes me saddens me to the bone, the effect of profiteering at the expense of our economy has sliced my income in half and even then, there are a lot of people here far worse off than I am, and yet the politicians got their salary increase and kept their benefits while the people they likely misrepresent to satisfy special interests and lobbies start to become a little more aware of the practice.

…and now comes the time where we have the opportunity to decide on which leader will be most capable in making sure the box is never opened again, the poison is never produced again, and the cats never die.

After repeatedly making laws that serve the big business and the financial block, we begin to realize that we have far more to fear and distrust in those who represent us in the government. All the candidates are either viewed as proven failures, proven liars, proven crooks, proven loons, even worse…proven inexperience.

…debates rage between potential leaders regarding the dead cat, the unclean box, and looming threat of yet another poison.

…we are told we have to remember what’s happened historically with cats, boxes, and poisons, and that the party that wants to make antidotes for the poison just in case isn’t a priority because the cats all of a sudden are jumping into boxes. Worse still, we’ve found out that a nation that hasn’t attacked another nation in hundreds of years suddenly hates Geiger counters.

And so the debates are still going now. They are getting more and more poignant and the candidates are fighting already, the tasteless commercials depicting candidates as faithless lunatic crooks are in full swing. Again, we begin to loose faith as we realize that the current electoral, media coverage, and campaign system will not allow the US to rally behind a single leader ever again…even if they deserve it.

The worst thing of all. For the last umpteen years, we’ve had to listen to politicians earning a living and invariably stressing information about a cat that never existed, a box that we never owned, a poison that actually was never created, and lastly a Geiger counter that was never really necessary.

Maybe you’ll get it. This isn’t about which GOP candidate can beat Obama in an election (if that’s even possible coming election time). This isn’t about all the dirt you see in commercials and advertizements. It’s not about who’s got some truly radical ideas (in every sense of the word).

I think it’s more about your own priorities after you’ve managed to filter out all the crap they’ve been feeding you about the idea of Schrödinger’s Cat.

Thus ends my rant for the evening.

For everyone returning to my site after everyone on the internet got a 12-24 hour taste of what kind of effect SOPA/PIPA will have on the US-based netizens, you can find a VERY clear and descriptive article on what SOPA and PIPA are on Wikipedia. So far the very best (and maybe the most objective) description of what the bill is about.

Take care and good night.

-Tony

PS – Ignoring the lines starting with … will serve as a shining example of what I was trying to point out.




The Six-Year-Old Argument

I was sent this snoped email recently and was really surprised that it was still going around.

It is chuck full of poor analogy and even more importantly it’s flat out inaccurate.

It’s laden with what I like to call “The Six-Year-Old Argument.”

This is going to take some explaining, because many people with no experience in truly defending their beliefs unfortunately are often as equally inept at attacking others’. Thus continually using what most people refer to as fallacies…also known in slang as bullshit.

Now for the person that has a general idea of what fallacies are, let’s be even more clear. They are points of an argument that either invalidate or weaken it. In this particular case it’s almost like someone tried to pump as many fallacious tactics into one email as they could!

So where are we? Personally I find the continued and repeated attacks on politicians by politicians and their parties detestable. What is more saddening is seeing people outside the government managing to convince themselves that slander and bad media are acceptable methods of delivering the message for their political parties. Why? Because in teaching someone to argue improperly, we’ve hurt not only the person that thinks they’re delivering a message or point properly, but we’re also hurting anyone and everyone that is convinced of these beliefs for the wrong reasons. The Six-Year-Old Argument is a tactic by which an idea or story is given so much vanilla attention that facts aren’t debated or disputed. Just like Six-Year-Olds, we’re given to trust that what we’re being fed isn’t in fact a big bucket of bullshit.

It’s a tactic used with absolutely no regard for truth or legitimacy to gain popular opinion. It’s like imprisoning a man for the rest of his life deliberately under false pretenses just to get him incarcerated. This is not a tactic of our government, it isn’t just in our court of law and is in fact illegal here. But it’s okay to give others the misinformation in amounts just adequate enough to make them want to “spread the word.” It’s that mentality…where our trust in the information we’re given is accurate solely on the basis that we trust the speaker. I’ve named this tactic the Six-Year-Old Argument. It’s that string of bullshit given to a six year old to elicit a desired reaction/response because the speaker is either incapable or unwilling to give a more accurate analogy or argument to prove a point. And here we go!

It doesn’t take a genius…..

“When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
-Adrian Rogers, 1931

I am going to start with this quote. Whoever used this didn’t really do any research on the person they quoted, otherwise they would have known that the date 1931 is incorrect. In addition, where I would definitely expect some famous experts opinion here someplace, what we’ve found is that this person is not in any manner a political guru, he was in fact a religious icon and lobbyist, he was a stanch conservative that was opposed to separation of church and state and in no manner identified with the present world view, and certainly had no hand in the economic problems we face now (much to his credit). My point is that while the quote sounds correct, it is incomplete and unfortunately is the start of a long example of begging the question 1 In this case allowing you to assume this argument is prefaced by someone important that knows what they’re talking about. Here’s the real quote:

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don’t have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.”

What is described above is not Socialism2. It’s a description of quid pro quo (i.e. this for that) and a hypothetical imbalance in the economy when the government gives money away. How this equated to the foundations of worker-ownership in the author’s eyes I do not know, but simply put this quote not only doesn’t apply to Socialism, it barely relatees to the scenario depicted in the rest of the email. Now to be clear, I am not trying to Poison the Well.3 I am simply saying that the person quoted is not in any manner an authority on Socialism, Communism, or even Capitalism.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan.”

To be clear, “a local college” was originally emailed as Texas Tech. The teacher was supposedly Cecile Gericke, but that also turned out to be outright lie, as “Cecile Gericke”…either of them, have never held an American doctorate nor have they taught in the U.S. Making a reference to “Obama’s Socialism” further lands the reader in a scenario whereby we associate Obama with Socialism as if it were an established fact, when it actually isn’t established in the least, being neither belonging to Obama, nor being Socialism in any respect. I would lay this Straw Man4 at the squarely at the feet of the author.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The sentence stressed at the beginning of this paragraph prove the experiment didn’t work. Not that it did. The parameters of the test dictated that no one would Ace, nor would anyone fail. This parameter was not breached by those being tested, but by the administrator of the test. By any measure this isn’t a test of Socialism but of administrative corruption. We don’t need to cry Socialism for that 😉

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Again, we see the Straw Man prominently displayed, making the allusion to Socialism when this is very clearly geared towards a Communist5

Could not be any simpler than that.

Simple…yeah, but it leaves soooo much lacking in accuracy that it’s albeit useless to read.

NOW…….DO YOU DARE PASS THIS ON TO EDUCATE OTHERS, OR DO YOU LEAVE YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND?

I did more than dare. I just stamped my name on this for thousands of readers. I can only hope that mine sees more readers. One of my nephews thinks my pointing out the inaccuracy in this was a waste of time. I am not sure about waste, but I can’t really think of a good reason to not break this down into the bullshit it represents. I can’t help but be concerned that people are buying into this kind of media.

Anyhow, below are a few of the links that might help explain my point. The Snopes forum dialog is a fun read but makes a TON of interesting points.

-Tony

City Data Nukes Socialist Email
SNOPES RIPS APART SOCIALISM EMAIL
Origins of Logic

Show 5 footnotes

  1. Begging The Question: Asking the reader to simply accept the conclusion without providing real evidence, often the argument either relies on a premise that says the same thing as the conclusion or simply ignores an important (but questionable) assumption that the argument rests on.
  2. Socialism refers to various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended.In a very basic view, the workers own the business, and earn profits based on the labor they provide. Keep this in mind when comparing to the scenario above.
  3. Poisoning the well is an attacker tries to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person.
  4. A Straw Man is an argument or aspect of argument that deliberately misleads/miscommunicates an opponents position and then attacks based on the assumption that the distortion is true.
  5. Communism is a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.




Political Lamesauce and How to keep it from sullying your opinion.

I’ll be the first one to admit, I am sort of a political outsider.
I have some pretty strong opinions on what should be done by the government and what roles it should play in our lives.
This post isn’t being made to feed anyone’s fire, but there is some common sense in following a leader I think many people need to re-evaluate.

Here are some rules and guidelines I follow in determining who I vote for:

1. Know what you want in our future.
I am pretty solid on what I want in my future. Without grandstanding, simply put I am a minimalist. There are exceptions, but that’s it plain and simple. Figure out what values YOU want, and stick to your guns. There is no moral sacrifice in voting. You either want something enough to vote for it or don’t want something enough to vote against the guy promoting it. Abstaining is a concept that has zero effect on our nation except to further other peoples values.

2. Know your choices in politicians.
This is the HUGE mistake everyone makes. Dems vs GOP…blah blah blah. None of them are in the same boat. Traditionally there are some lines drawn between those two parties because of lobby ties (like gun control and abortion etc). You should look past the party ties here. Write your local politicians. Ask them where they stand. ou can even use a canned letter detailing your concerns. I have received responses that are FAR more educational/enlightening than anything the news could or would provide in this manner. Believe it, they write you back…well unless you happen to have a website that might hurt their cause 😉

3. Don’t be an ass! Get out and Vote!!!
If you are of legal voting age, you have no excuse. I usually get involved with some programs to reach out and booth voting. If you have kids getting close to that age, show them the ropes, make it a part of their lives, etc. Just saying, this is an area where everyone should be leading by example.

Now if you’re wondering why I am writing this?

This morning I woke up and was reading my feed. A local Republican I was actually following had linked something that was VERY out of character for him. I went to the link and it was a mudslinging article against a local Democrat. This was the first time I’d seen this guy subscribe to this tactic…especially since the article was published by a blog rather than a legitimate news source. If it had been a local newsgroup etc this would have been different, but a little half-assed website that looked canned was publishing it with NO REFERENCES, and the contributing author is using a YAHOO email account…how funny is that?! essentially what I am boiling down is that the linked site is bullcrap. It’s a site without credentials, and most importantly designed to give the feel of something legitimate that it isn’t. I am not going to reference the site, and I will NOT endorse it, but I am going to keep watching it and see if they publish ore inaccurate articles. If that continues, then I will just start responding to them with articles of my own on the same topic…and I guarantee mine will see more readers 😉 Oh…and that local Republican just lost my vote too.

-Tony