My distinguished and respected colleague, Total Angular Momentum Coupling, aka Eye of the Tyger, has posted a list of 18 rules for liberals.[Link] As my (few) regular readers know, such are an attractive nuisance for me and I herein reproduce list and my comments thereon:
“18 WAYS TO BE A GOOD LIBERAL
1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.
Actually I agree with John Stuart Mill that capital punishment is a less cruel, more humane punishment than lengthy incarceration; also, I support the right if humans to be free individuals constrained only by precluding damage to others. In the latter regard, women have the right to make their own decisions vis a vis reproduction.
2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression, and governments create prosperity.
Both businesses and governments are human organizations, which inherently, from the perspective of humans, are capable of good and ill. We persist however in trying to force organizations to have the same behaviors and traits, including altruism (e.g.,) as humans.
3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding
citizens are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in
the hands of Iran, Chinese, or North Korean communists.
It is not clear that the weapons question has a stable solution except at the extremes: either everyone is armed or no one is armed. The latter is unworkable because the weak will be preyed upon by the strong and dishonest; the former is unworkable because the slow will be preyed upon by the fast and dishonest. Hence the only general solution is the elimination of humans.
4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.
A more valid question is whether there has been art since the founding of the federal republic, and what it is? I have my opinions and the rest of American humanity has their’s, admitting that a null opinion is still an opinion. How then are we to agree on what is art? One suspects that if art subsidy was provided on the basis of democratic vote, then it would go to people who already command atypically large incomes as entertainment celebrities. One may ask how valid the process of determination is, although a more interesting question would be the comparison of liberal subsidies to the leisure poor and the unappreciated intelligentsia to conservative subsidies to the corporate.
5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by
cyclical changes in the earth’s climate and more affected by soccer
moms driving SUV’s.
If one takes a pendulum clock and steadily strikes the pendulum every x seconds such that 2*Pi/x is greater than the natural frequency of the pendulum, then the pendulum will still describe simple harmonic motion but at the frequency of striking. The clock will behave proportionately through its gear train.
6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural.
To the extent that gender is different from sex, that is, reproduction and continuation of the species, then gender roles are largely determined by society. Homosexuality is observed in other species than homo sapiens, but a more interesting question is what is Nature? Presumably natural derives from Nature?
7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.
The last I checked, HIV/AIDS was spread by a contact vector.
8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can’t teach
4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
Actually, as much as I think it would be beneficial for children to be educated about sex, what they are taught in these courses is largely reproductive physiology and biology. Interestingly, and depending on how one defines Nature, reproduction education may be more natural than teaching reading, which is clearly artificial. Barring some sort of accidental event, most teachers have some qualification in reproductive physiology and biology. But in that vein, it would also be beneficial if students were taught some survival skills like gun safety, change making, and thinking rationally.
9. You have to believe that hunters don’t care about nature, but PETA activists do.
Whatever else we are, humans are still animals.
10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.
Actually, the two are complementary but it is unclear under what conditions they are and are not mutually deterministic. Until we understand the mechanics of the two, any engineering of them is a form of Russian Roulette.
11. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
See above on the nature of organizations.
12. You have to believe the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
See above on the nature of organizations.
13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
Ah, but they are both the same. Taxes are a fee imposed by an organization for existing in the organization’s environment. ATM fees are….. So long as the organizations exist the fees are neither too low or too high.
14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are
more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert
E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.
One of the interesting behaviors of humans is that we tend to worship other individuals of our species. In doing so “the evil is oft interred with the bones, the good lives on” to misquote the Bard. If the adulation leads us to adopt behavior that is beneficial both individually and to the species, then it is constructive.
15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.
What is a race? Another example of invalidly defined terms that cripple our lives and improvement. But don’t let me get off on truth.
16. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked
anywhere it’s been tried is because the right people haven’t been in
Actually, socialism worked for untold thousand of years. It quit working for the majority of humanity somewhere around 12 KYA when the cold phase ended and we wholesale adopted sedentaryism and civilization. When we were hunter-gatherers in autarkic bands of 25-100 people, socialism worked and worked well. Once the conditions of those bands changed, especially increased numbers and amount of property, socialism failed. The real question is whether there are any other conditions under which it will work as an organization mechanism?
17. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag
queens and transvestites should be constitutionally protected, and
manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
The issue would seem to be what one can do as an individual that will harm another individual and hence needs to be constrained or forbidden. If the sight of a homosexual or a manger will injure another, then they should be constrained.
18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.
This is the fundamental problem – belief. Is there any data or evidence. If not, then the matter is irrational and as such probably uninfluencable by rhetoric.