Beyond Letting A Person Die

September 14, 2011

Much ado has been made of the Tea Party Debate moment when the audience cheerfully agrees that our country should let people die if they don’t have health insurance.

The real information here, though, is not what a couple of hecklers in the audience are saying, but what the politicians are saying. Namely, what was Ron Paul‘s actual answer as to who should pay for health care?

They may seem like strange bedfellows, but insurance and religion actually team up pretty well when it comes to health. Ignoring the metaphysical role of religion, the societal role of churches is a form of insurance in itself. Everyone pays their dividends with the understanding that the church will cover them in a time of need, whether in this life or beyond. It is no coincidence that the countries with the best health care in the world are also the least religious. They also have a very small insurance industry.

The fact is, if people don’t need God in this life, they stop coming to him for help, and that means less donations to the churches, not only from the masses but also from charities who work with the churches to provide care to those in need. There is a very good reason why religious establishments would not want the government to provide health care to the American people—because if the government isn’t there for the people, the people will turn to the churches for help. It’s why the churches are there.


The Two Evils (Part Two)

August 19, 2011
Michele Bachmann

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Read part one here

What happened? How did our only choices become ideologues and bureaucrats?

Let’s start with the Republicans. The right wing have some advantages that other groups don’t. The American Civil Christians are the largest cohesive unit in the country, and every Sunday morning, churchgoers are given their marching orders for the week. Attend one of these services, and you may be surprised to learn that very little is said about God or the Bible. You’ll hear the name Jesus come up a lot, but not about the life of the man in the New Testament, but rather in reference to the power churchgoers are given to go forward with their plans. “In the name of Jesus, I implore you to call your Congressman and tell him to vote for H.R. 3200.” Yes, you will hear the phrase “H.R.” as often as you’ll hear anything about faith.

It’s hard to pinpoint the reach of Civil Christians, but I’ve mentioned before that they tend to make up about 26% of any voting bloc. Any Republican who caters to this group is halfway to being elected.

Beyond this group, Republicans also have a greater sense of cooperation. It seems strange to say when it seems that every day there’s another story about Republicans’ refusal to compromise… the “party of No,” as they’re called. I’m not talking about compromising with liberals, though. This was where President Bush got his power. Many Republicans opposed the wars, and the Bush Administration’s shameless handouts to their corporate allies didn’t go over well, either. But there are many Republicans who do feel strongly about not allowing gay marriage, and they’re willing to compromise on those other things if a candidate opposes gay marriage. Still others care about nothing but lowering taxes, even if they may not agree with a Republican’s views on education or religion. If a candidate promises to stand for every conservative principle, even if they contradict each other, he’ll get the conservatives’ votes.

On the other hand, left-leaning Democrats must accept that they will never get all of the liberal vote. Liberal agendas are much farther reaching and much more likely to contradict each other. Technology and science tend to be fairly liberal demographics, but reaching out for the pro-science vote may not sit well with environmentalists or animal rights groups. Minority groups tend to be fairly jealous of each other, and a focus on black rights may get feminists wondering why women don’t get the same attention. The ACLU staunchly believes that free speech of all kinds, even hateful or defamatory, must be protected, yet other liberal organizations like ADL and GLAAD have the phrase “Against Defamation” right in their names.

Beyond these internal conflicts (which aren’t really internal at all, as they stand for their special interest first and Democrats only when it suits them), if activists on the left don’t feel that a candidate will be loyal to them, they’re perfectly happy not voting, or placing a symbolic vote for a third-party, one-cause candidate. I would say that garnering liberal votes is like herding cats, but I wouldn’t want to piss off the PeTA people.

So what’s a Democrat to do? Unsurprisingly, they just take the far left votes where they can get them and ignore the rest. So since they have dismissed a large chunk of their 26%, they make up the deficit by going after the disaffected Republican vote, moderate conservatives who look for any excuse not to vote for the nutbag their primaries let in. It’s no wonder, then, that the only Democrats to be elected President in the last 40 years all had a conservative (or at least non-liberal) bent, and even then, only one could win a reelection.

So what option do liberals (or even moderate liberals) in the United States have? Let me know what you think.

To Be Continued…


May 31, 2011

I saw an interesting poll on Facebook… I know, that has to be the single worst place to look to for insight, but there was something very revealing on it… the poll question was to answer the following mathematical equation:

10 + 10 x 0 = ?

Now, the answer is 10, but about a third of people answered 0. It’s a perfectly understandable mistake… tons of people know that anything times zero is zero, but they forget that multiplication is always done before addition, so it’s actually 10+(10×0). What makes it worse is that a calculator will give you the wrong answer. But the correct answer is 10.

What I thought was revealing was the comments by the people who got it wrong, who noticed that 70% of the people polled gave the correct answer, 10. Overwhelmingly (actually, unanimously among people who commented), they pointed to it as proof that 70% of people are stupid, commenting with things like “what’s wrong with the world” and “this is pathetic” and “how sad that people don’t know basic math.” They truly believed that they were the mere 30% who knew correct math, and it never occurred to them that the majority of people may be onto something.

I only mention it because it’s such a pure instance of a lot of “debate” that has been in the news lately, and I think it explains a lot. A solid minority of people (I’ve pegged it at 26%) honestly, truly believe that they have all the right answers, and the fact that a vast majority of people disagree with them only proves that a vast majority of people are wrong. It’s the only solution.

I actually think those people have always been around, but they haven’t had a forum until the internet came around. When we got our information through schools and newspapers, there were people who took a greater world view and determined what was true and what wasn’t. Now a minority of people can access other people who share that minority, and band together. Even on the internet, they’re just 26% of people, but if they spend all their time on websites that cater to their world view (and 26% of people is still hundreds of millions of people in the English-speaking world alone), it looks to them like they are a massive force to be reckoned with.

It may even look like that to the other 70% or so of us, and lead us to conclude ourselves that humanity is in trouble, but if we continue to be aggressive in demanding intellect and reason in everything we see, and ignore the anti-intellectualist resistance force who attack us as elitist or naïve, we still have numbers that they never will. They may have never been as vocal and as powerful as they are today, but they’ve always been just 26%.