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January 26, 2005

Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Socialist

Okay, for those of you who are confused about political parties, here's a nice example using race to demonstrate the difference:

Democrats: Racial profiling is okay for affirmative action, social programs, etc., but is not okay for preventing crime or terrorism, such as patting down Saudi immigrants more often than little old white grannies.

Republicans: Racial profiling is okay for the prevention of crime and terrorism, but it's not okay in the business world: just say "No" to affirmative action.

Socialists: Racial profiling is okay, period, in both sets.

Libertarian: Racial profiling is never okay, period. The government must be colorblind.

Posted by Jeff at 10:53 AM | Comments (5)

January 02, 2005

New Research: Non-whites can be criminals too

Who is the Troublemaker?

Children as young as four hold racist views, identifying black people as potential troublemakers and criminals, according to shocking new research.

The only thing "new" about that research, it seems to me, is that it was conducted in Great Britian, not the United States where similar experiments have been carried out for decades. And the only thing shocking about the story is that the scientist, apparently British, actually suggests that Great Britian is behind the United States on an important social issue:

Lord Winston said the study raises new concerns that British society is "breeding a kind of racism" at an early stage in life.

"We have failed as a society to promote respect of individuals from ethnic minorities," said Lord Winston, professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London. "We should be encouraging five-year-olds to have an ethnic identity. There is a lack of respect for blacks in the Army, in the police, and we still don't have many black Members of Parliament.

"In the US, they have statues of Martin Luther King, but in Britain we do not have the same black icons. I don't want to claim that Britain is a racist society - we have a wonderful history of tolerance - but I am concerned about it."

Obviously neither "B" nor "I", below, represents my opinions on the subject (each holds views both in favor of and contrary to mine), but I thought this dialogue had just enough truth in it to be funny:

Children as young as four hold racist views, identifying black people as potential troublemakers and criminals, according to shocking new research.

Hmmm.....

Children as young as four hold waterist views, identifying water as potentially wet and slippery, according to shocking new research.

B: Don't say that! You're a waterist!
I: But water is wet and slippery.
B: Not always. Sometimes its dry and hard. Ice!
I: But ice is slippery too.
B: Only when it's wet! Don't hold the entire block of ice responsible for what that thin film of water around it does!
I: I don't. But, even according to your argument, water is potentially wet and slippery.
B: But that's not the water's fault. Whether it's hard and dry or wet and slippery has to do with environmental forces completely external to the water. It's not the water's fault!
I: So you're saying, then, that water is non-self-determinate...essentially just stupid.
B: Right!
I: And you call ME the waterist!

Posted by Jeff at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

Michael Crichton: State of Fear

Just now, at the top of google news were two stories on the Michael Crichton book, State of Fear:

A Right Winger Attacks Global Warming

and

Interview: Jasper Girard Meets Michael Crichton

Read though them and tell me which author was sober and well reasoned and which one engaged in hysterical histrionics.

Then keep that idea in mind when you read political columns. You'll see that it fits a very strong pattern.

Michael Crichton: State of Fear
Buy the Book Now

I read it because George Will compared it to Atlas Shrugged. I understand the similarities (and there are many, some not particulary laudible), but State of Fear is not nearly as ambitious of a project as was Ayn Rand's magnum opus. I suspect that it'll rise fast, then die quickly, in part because he's probably right on his primary argument: that the current environmental "crises" exist primarily because humans feel a need to fear something, and not because any crises actually exist (in fact, he cites references to studies showing that the beginning for the term "crisis" showing up hyper-frequently in the media coincided at almost exactly the time that communism fell - with nothing left to fear from "The Cold War", humans easily fell prey to specious arguments about an impending environmental catastrophe). When humans find something else to fear (and perhaps Islamic fundamentalist driven terrorism will do), the environmental hyper-fear will fade away.

But that's not the point of my writing tonight. Instead, I was just struck by the tremendously different tone of the two writers of the above linked articles, then further by the aftershock of realizing that it fits a pattern which began at just about the time George W. Bush was elected president in 2000.

Posted by Jeff at 02:29 AM | Comments (1)

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