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Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Left Versus Right Wing

It seems to me that a good many people are confused as to what Left and Right wing “look like” and, as a result, what political ideologies fall where on the “left versus right scale.”

I would like, with this article, to talk just a little bit about how I understand things, so that others can either benefit from my understanding or, if they find it errant, correct me in my errors.

On this website (my blogging platform) is a blog entry that links to a video from the John Birch Society, that talks about this, but I thought it would be a good thing to help others to understand by reading from me and seeing how I differ and agree with JBS (as I’m NOT a member at this point in my life).

One thing with which I find myself in agreement with the John Birch Society, is how they express what it means to be on the left and the right from a political perspective. Even though that’s true, let me clarify.

Political left and right can be looked at as being on opposite ends of a scale. What PUTS them on opposite ends? The simple answer is, “On one end is total government control (farthest left) and on the other is NO government control (farthest right).”

What this means in the grand scheme of things is, very few people you’re EVER LIKELY TO MEET will be far left, or far right. This is because far left is well beyond the Orwellian work 1984 (if you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so as, though it’s horribly depressing, it’s a good descriptive of a society that is trending quite strongly to the left); and far right is essentially, anarchy.

So very few people who claim to be Constitutional conservatives, could make a case for no Federal government, and those same folks would have an even harder time by and large, of making a case for no state or local government.

At the same time, few folks who are the liberal by the definition commonly used in the United States could be said to be far left. That’s because, where most of them believe in far more government (and at higher levels) than do Constitutional conservatives, VERY FEW believe in a government even as overreaching as those in China or North Korea.

So talking about ALMOST ANYBODY in the United States as either “far left” or “far right” betrays the ignorance—if you will forgive my saying so—of the person so doing.

Put another way, a vast majority of U.S. Residents are centrists that LEAN to the left or right.

Having clarified the preceding, let’s talk about some political ideologies, and where they fall on the “political spectrum of left and right.”

Socialism

To begin with, let’s make sure we understand that Nazism is a form of Socialism (having been the National Socialist Party of Germany by origin). If a person calls him or her self a Nazi, but DOESN’T support Socialism, he or she is CONFUSED. If he or she DOES support Socialism, then BY NATURE he or she is FARTHER LEFT than the average U.S. Liberal (at least, that’s my belief), much less the average Constitutional conservative.

To be clear then, Socialists OF ANY KIND are NOT on the “right” (not just not on the FAR right, but not on the right AT ALL—in point of fact, they are BY IDEOLOGY, farther LEFT than most on the left in the U.S.).

Communism

If one looks at the ideal of Communism, it is in THEORY, a moderately far right ideology. The end of Communism is supposed to be VERY close to anarchy. Essentially, people are supposed to be adjusted to the point that the needs of the society come FIRST, and then, essentially be left alone.

PRACTICALLY though, Communism NEVER GETS EMPLOYED. Let me explain. All of the “proof texts” for Communism essentially say that what must happen is that, society must become “fed up with” the way a standard societal entity functions and there must be a “revolt.” The “end of” that revolt is essentially a despotic or totalitarian regime that is essentially (in most cases where Communism has been tried to this point) Socialist in nature.

The result of this? Well, it’s that societies that aim themselves towards Communism, must go through a phase that generally looks more like “strong” Socialism rather than communism. Even though there’s no love lost between Communists and Socialists (being on the road to opposite ends of the political spectrum), effectively, they end up being the same thing—at least as a part of the Communist process.

The final problem is that once most Communist “transitional leaders” get a “taste of power and wealth,” they tend to like it too much to leave. This means that most entities that call themselves Communist WON’T EVEN END UP NAMING THEMSELVES something Communist. Don’t believe me? Consider the following: The Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics, The People’s Republic of China, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Monarchy and Oligarchy

People like to separate the idea of Monarchy and Oligarchy, but in truth, they tend to be effectively the SAME THING. Why? Well because a monarch is typically unable to effectively run a country without an underlying power structure that supports their rule. Can there be an oligarchy that IS NOT headed by a monarch? I suppose there can, but as a rule, there’s pretty much ALWAYS a “figurehead ruler” of an oligarchy who may as well be a king or queen.

Funnily, in the end, oligarchies (and I include monarchies in oligarchies based on what I’ve said above), all tend essentially to be Socialist entities with inflexible leadership (which, frankly, is a HALLMARK of Socialism).

Democracies

One of the WORST mistakes most people make, is to consider the United States a Democracy. Pretty much to a man, all of the founders and those who penned the founding documents, could not agree LESS, that the U.S. Was intended to be, or should ever become, a Democracy.

Why is this? Well, it’s simple really MAJORITY rule, amounts to MOB rule. If you can get fifty percent of the populace to agree with you (even if doing so drives the country to RUIN), you “WIN.” And since a large number of the electorate are unwilling to take the time and effort to understand the effects of the things they put into motion (or that are suggested to them as good things by those who wish to be elected to power), that’s pretty much NEVER  a good thing.

Representative Republics

The sad truth is, a representative republic is only as good as:

  1. The laws pronounced to make it a Republic and
  2. The enforcement and rigidity of the laws (particularly in the foundational ones).

Dictatorships and Totalitarian Regimes

Dictatorships and other types of Totalitarian Regimes are essentially “Socialism with a twist.” They may as well be considered in the same light as Oligarchy and Monarchy. As such, they barely deserve independent discussion.

Anarchy

Finally, we have Anarchy. As others have said (the John Birch Society among them), Anarchy is a “transition tool.” This is because Anarchy AS A RULE “invites” people of power and strength to come in and take over. So if Communism ever reached the essentially anarchistic final state, it would likely die in any case, because you can BET somebody would be there to take over after that happened.

So, if you ever hear somebody calling a leftist centrist an anarchist or a rightist centrist a Socialist, you can be sure that individual is BADLY CONFUSED.

As usual, thanks for reading and have a good day.

Categories
Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Science and the Scientific Method

One of the saddest and scariest things I have seen in the course of my life, is the patently absurd abuse of science and the scientific process by people wanting to bend reality to fit their will.

The first error that many make where science is concerned, is the assertion that science is supposed to be a destination. Science is a process, not a destination.

Some of the “waypoints” along the various paths taken result in solid models for prediction of events and methods of mitigation; some result in more shaky models and some in absolutely horrible ones (that mostly, are relatively quickly relegated to the scrap heap where they belong—but not as nearly quickly, in some cases, as is warranted and would be preferred).

In the course of history, there have been people who have done a relatively sound job of using the process to create models, and a good deal more who have not done the job so well.

The (I would have thought obvious) result of this? Assuming that, because “science modeled” a thing reasonably well, means that all scientific modeling is exemplary.

The first obvious problem with this, is that not all scientific predictions or models were created by the same person or even persons. Considering how long the scientific process has been in use, I would have thought this to be a fairly obvious thing.

That means that there are folks who are reasonably astute applying the scientific process, and those who are not so astute. To make this worse, even those having done reasonably solid work may not be dispassionate in all the work they do.

The end of “passionate” research can still be good work. On the other hand, it can result in skewed outcomes—most particularly when the person in question is unable to separate truth or fact from emotion. And you need to know, this happens more often than many in the scientific community at large would like us to believe.

I spent a short stint (about a year) of my life in “support of” folks doing primarily (if not entirely) medical research. Because I was a “technician,” largely, the only “dog I had in the  fight” was in making sure the equipment and algorithms in use produced faithful results. This was, in my experience, not nearly always the case for those doing research.

So often, in fact, was this not the case, that I would term it a “more common than not” situation.

You see, most researchers postulated as a result of some effect, a cause, then wrote papers indicating their desire to study the effect (with a typically unstated predisposition to their prospective cause). This is pretty much in direct opposition to how the process ought to work.

What should happen, is the person should note an effect, write a grant proposal to attempt to find the cause (without a presupposition what the cause may be), study that effect, and try to come to a conclusion what the cause or causes of that particular effect might be.

Instead, I witnessed people attempting (mind you, in what they believed to be “good faith” by and large) to get data that proved their assertion. By way of example, I literally watched people “cherry pick” microscope images in order to obtain data that better supported their assumptions.

What made this worse, is that other people tried to “build on” their assertions and were entirely unable to even replicate their results, much less build on top of them. You would have thought that peer review would have “solved this issue,” but that’s often not the case for whatever reason.

And some of the people supporting (if not directly involve in) this approach, were considered (at least locally, if not more widely) “pillars of the scientific community.”

All of this is bad enough, but when you couple it with the fact that study is, and to some degree, by necessity must be, based on current understanding and assumptions, you begin to realize that much of what is done is based on preexisting faulty observations and assumptions.

This is the sort of thing that made it so people like Copernicus and DaVinci were looked at so poorly in their own time. Regardless whence comes the bias, there it is; and attempting to do work unaffected by it is nigh unto impossible.

One other point that people tend to count reasonable which is not reasonable at all, is that consensus “matters” in science. The only way “popular opinion” can be said to “matter” in science, is in the completion of multiple “competing” studies that come to the same results (a thing which might also make a person rather wary at times).

The “scientific consensus” in times past, was that the Earth was flat, that the Universe was geocentric, and that heat was transferred via a liquid referred to as “caloric.” I’m reasonably certain that few “average Joes”—much less scientists—would be interested in being associated or affiliated with such viewpoints today.

One more thing I think needs to be talked about here, then I will move on to other (equally or more important) things.

At least in the United States, scientific endeavors—most certainly at institutions of higher learning, by and large—are financed not only by government, but by people have a vested interest in seeing certain things get studied and, like it or not, certain outcomes be “proven.”

The result tends to be that some of the best outcomes are a result of “happy incidentals” or even entire accidents rather than the main thrust of a given study.

I know of multiple results of study that came about when somebody or some group was studying something all but (if not) entirely unrelated to the result in question.

Sometimes, the individual or group would get funding to study one thing, with the intent to study something entirely different as a “side study” (for which payment was not being made).

Sometimes they just came to realizations as a result of a given line of inquiry that was technically unrelated to the original study subject matter.

Regardless how it happened, the most interesting work was not in the “planned outcome,” but in some “sideline” that worked out to be more significant or interesting.

In conclusion, the fact is, the scientific disciplines and the studies conducted by them at various levels are anything but perfect. It’s not that the results they produce are useless, just that they are bound to be flawed. Further, it’s very likely that what’s accepted as the “best or better” theory today, is a thing of all but forgotten history—possibly even a matter of scorn—tomorrow.

So before you throw your eggs in a “single scientific basket,” be well assured that this is not how things were ever intended to work. Rather, it’s always been intended that science would be a matter of open discussion that would produce results which in turn could be used to “model the Universe until something better came along.”

Okay, so yet again, I’m slightly over my “thousand word break point,” and yet again, there is far more to say that I’ll have to cover later, in yet another article.

That being said, thanks for reading, and have a good day.

Categories
Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Pregnancy and the Sanctity of Human Life

In my previous article, I took the time to dispel some myths about the sanctity of human life and how Conservatives are wont to see it. I consider that to have been important to do, but not as important as what I feel the need to address in this article.

Though the prior article made clear that folks assumed to hold certain things to be true, do not do so (at least, not “to a man,” to use the old expression, and would venture that the majority of said persons do not do so), the point of this article is to logically think through the sanctity of human life most particularly when applied to the concept of pregnancy.

To begin with, I must talk about something that I would not normally “air” in public as it is an “adult topic” (I.e., most children are not prepared to discuss it, as a result of the idea that maturity is something that takes time to achieve). The idea is that of male and female reproductive components (in particular, sperm and ova).

The thing that makes the discussion a little less palatable to me, is the idea that—entirely ignoring convictions based on non-scientific beliefs—what I’m about to say ought to be patently obvious.

So what am I going to say that most folks seem to have missed? Well, there are a couple of things.

  1. Assuming the “standard” act associated with reproduction, human males produce multiple sperm and human females produce multiple ova that are essentially “used in” each conceptive “attempt.” This means that the idea that an individual sperm or ovum is a “baby” or a living human being is obviously not valid. I could make arguments to the contrary, but see no reason to do so based on the second point.
  2. If not used in the act of conception, sperm and ova are naturally disposed of by the body (I.e., both have a “shelf life” and when they are no longer potentially viable, the body rids itself of them).

The result of the above points? The assumption that a given unfertilized ovum or a given sperm cell not “used” to fertilize an ovum is a “human being” seems to be just a bit of a stretch for anybody.

I say all of this to make it clear that I don’t think any sensible individual ought to be trying to say otherwise (unless they can give justification so to do).

Now, once a sperm fertilizes an ovum (and I know this process is not necessarily “that simple,” but what I’m about to say is generally true for the majority of circumstances, I’m just using this as a simplification for the sake of brevity), a question must be asked. The question would be, “At what point does this combination become a human?”

Many make the (in my view errant) argument of “viability.” I should point out that there are many folks out there who would not be able to survive without constant care and monitoring by others. In my mind, that pretty much does away with any argument that viability is a requirement for life or personhood. And considering that more and more, “premature” babies are being born, and living into adulthood, it seems the argument that there is some “natural age of viability” for a baby in the womb is highly suspect at best.

I am personally aware of the idea that children “born” in the “second trimester of pregnancy” can and do survive, given proper care (not that all do, but even if some do, that is enough to convince me against a definite “time of viability”).

So what about miscarriage, “spontaneous abortion,” accidents and the like? That’s a fine question, let’s now examine it.

Once upon a time in my distant past, I was foolish enough to leave a hose attached to an outside faucet, which caused a pipe in a wall to freeze and break. I argued that I didn’t know doing such a thing would potentially result in a busted pipe in the wall of the residence in question.

My argument was reasonably good. I stated that I had grown up in places where freezing was not an issue and, as such, was entirely unaware how things of that sort worked. Where I may not agree with the choice to charge me for the repair bill (the residence was somewhat like a duplex rental), I do understand why they did.

The person responsible for making the decision used a word that is today, derided and counted as almost evil. That word was (and is) prudence. He went on to define the term. The definition used was something like, “Failing to act in a manner that a person with normal knowledge would have in similar circumstances.”

I bring this up because folks who are pregnant should, it seems to me, act prudently when dealing with their bodies. That’s little different in my view, than doing things to lessen the likelihood of being hit by a car. The primary difference being that, failing causes a second person’s life to potentially be jeopardized.

So simply accepting that a baby is a baby—inside the womb or not—pretty much answers the question about a “woman’s right to choose.”

Is that an issue for you? Allow me to clarify. If I am a single father, charged (for whatever reason) with the well being of a child, and I decide that the child is “inconvenient,” is it reasonable for me to dispatch the child? That is, may I decide my life would be better or easier without that child around, and take the child’s life?

I would venture to say that very few people would answer that question with a, “Yes.” And to be clear, though the mother of a child she is carrying must deal with issues the father in question doesn’t have to deal with, the father (unless he puts the child up for adoption) will likely deal with the issues for a great deal longer than the mother must deal with a child in the womb. Granted, if she doesn’t give the child up, she will have to deal with that child as well, but frankly, at that point, it is a choice on her part.

One more point, then I must be moving on to other things. The argument that the mother will be harmed by carrying a baby is an interesting one; unfortunately for most people making that argument, the number of children killed for such “reasons” is a very small percentage of all terminated.

On top of that, I personally (albeit anecdotally) know of women who were told that either they or the baby “had to go” or both were likely to die, the problem is, that’s not how things worked out in any case where they chose to have the baby regardless the warnings.

Okay, I know I promised, but one more thought. Doctors and other medical professionals are fond of telling parents-to-be (among others), that their child will live a “substandard life” for one reason or another, if the pregnancy is not terminated.

Sometimes they’re correct, but far too often, this turns out to be not at all the case. As such, I have a hard time making the case the killing a baby for this cause is reasonable. To go a step further, yet again, overall, the number of times this happens by comparison to the number of abortions that occur in most of the world, is so small as to almost be negligible.

Okay, as usual, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day.

Categories
Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Conservatism and the Sanctity of Human Life

In many senses, perhaps one of the WORST places from which to garner information is Facebook. There are worse, you could choose to gather information from Twitter. High on the list as well, would be mainstream “news” outlets.

The reasons for Facebook and definitely for Twitter make them much worse even than the mainstream media though. Often, people will say things on Facebook and Twitter that are PATENTLY untrue. And since they tend to be “speaking to” people of like mind, the information is—at least by many—processed and stored as fact.

To be fair, the media IN GENERAL has a much stronger tendency towards bias than is generally realized. If in NO OTHER WAY, the tendency to not report things that are important, to misreport based on on a skewed perspective and the tendency to report things that NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED make media in general questionable in their “reporting.”

That being said, if a media outlet or individual is prone to tell you about their particular bias (and be HONEST about it), you can AT LEAST see what they’re saying through the lens of the afore-stated bias. In so doing, you will have an idea what they’re likely to do to bias a given report.

My problem with the mainstream media, is a tendency to NOT report a bias that—depending on the entity in question—is somewhere between mildly and extremely liberal in nature. The result is, I must constantly be trying to decide the direction, level and extent of a particular entity’s bias when dealing with the mainstream media (which often makes it rather difficult to determine what they’re not saying that the SHOULD be or are saying that they SHOULDN’T be).

This article though, is on the sanctity of human life, and I’d like to make it PERFECTLY clear that it is largely in response to something seen on Facebook, that was taken from some other, “thread-based micro-comment” tool… not sure which one, and DON’T REALLY CARE, I don’t use, and probably NEVER WILL, such “tools” as I find them to be too close to the “sound bite” concept that so many media types and politicians so greatly seem to love (hence my STRONG distaste for Twitter). Terseness is a wonderful thing, SO LONG AS one doesn’t sacrifice clarity on the altar of brevity (put another way, is TRULY terse, not brief in a way that loses context).

In essence, the “post” in question made the (at least largely errant) claim that, “Conservatives care about the lives of babies in the womb, but not about the lives of certain folks outside of it.” Allow me to dispel this “myth” by talking about a few of the things people use to justify it. If I miss anything from the post in question, either I can cover it later, or it’s not important enough to warrant the use of my probably over-valued time (keeping in mind that I’m NOT really in any way compensated  for writing this, other than hopefully educating others so I won’t have to live in the world that otherwise results).

Firstly, I should talk about the idea that Conservatives don’t care about children because of their failure to support things like government welfare and health care.

I know it’s true that most Liberal folk, consider Conservatives “heartless” for their stances on welfare and health care. Let me make it clear that—based on the way Conservatives tend to view the World, government welfare and health care are FAR more heartless than the things most Conservatives would propose.

The closer most Conservatives come to Libertarianism, the more likely they are to propose solutions to these pressing issues that rely on the private sector, on charities and on faith based organizations.

This is because when GOVERNMENT does the job of managing welfare or health care, for them, it TRULY IS A JOB—and sadly as a result, a good many of them do it QUITE POORLY.

On the other hand, when private entities and individuals do so, if it’s a job at ALL, it’s typically a LABOR OF LOVE (and often one for which they DO NOT GET PAID).

That doesn’t mean private entities “always get it right,” but it DOES mean their motivation for so doing tends to be a great deal stronger than that of the average “low end government worker.” EVEN AT THE LOW END of non government volunteers etc.

Put simply, paying people to allot resources for welfare or health care with a litany of regulations hanging over their heads, telling them how they WILL do WHAT THEY CAN DO is NOT a way to be truly helpful to those TRULY IN NEED.

In fact what it IS “good for,” is creating a class of people (aside from those in real need) who learn how to navigate the regulations to their own benefit (and often to the DETRIMENT of those ACTUALLY in need). Put another way, “People who game the system.”

It is for this reason, that most Conservatives (and especially Libertarians) DO NOT support government welfare and health care. And this is ASIDE from the fact that Federal entities are NOT mandated to create such systems or administer them (in fact, they are given a list of “enumerated powers” with the idea that they are LIMITED TO those powers, and welfare and health coverage and health care are INTENTIONALLY NOT AMONG THEM).

And just as a matter of interest, if you want to see the mindset of Conservatives and Liberals regarding children and how they should be dealt with, I urge you to look into what happened to Charlie Gard in the UK, and who, in the UK AND the U.S. wanted what as a result.

The next thing used to discredit Conservatives’ care for the sanctity of humans already born, is the argument concerning folks in prison—and most particularly, those on “death row” one place or another.

About this, I will say that I am NOT a “fan of” either prisons or the death penalty. If EVEN ONE person is put to death in punishment for a crime they DIDN’T COMMIT, that act has happened one too many times for my liking.

That having been said, I have yet to hear ANY of the complainants suggest a better solution where dealing with the problems in question are concerned. Further, the things being done are “enshrined” in the law (and the United States being a REPUBLIC makes it so that can scarcely BE more important). As such, instead of castigating folks for enforcing the law, if folks have a PROBLEM with said laws, they should seek to CHANGE them (not IGNORE them).

One more important point on this issue. When a person is put in prison, and MOST PARTICULARLY  when the person in question is on “death row” it is intended that this individual’s RESULTS are a CONSEQUENCE of their ACTIONS. Put another way, actions have resultant consequences, failing to accept or expect those consequences is not the fault of others. Even the Bible says clearly:

“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”

The obvious point of this statement is that, if one is punished for what is considered wrongdoing, there’s really no “credit” to be taken for that.

The last point I want to discuss, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on, that would be war.

Again, as a rule, I don’t really support war personally (nor honestly, do I believe Christianity does so). That having been said, I believe it to be the province of the state to conduct wars. The hope is ALWAYS that those who cause the deaths of others through war, are concerned with being sure those who perish as a result have acted in ways that justify their deaths.

Does this always happen? Certainly not! That having been said, I believe IN GENERAL, most Conservatives would hold with the idea that unwarranted deaths that are not accidental or incidental (to the deaths of those whose deaths would be considered warranted), should be dealt with as though the people in question deserved to have the incidents that resulted in their deaths properly investigated and cause appropriate action to be taken—and to some degree, that should be true for accidental and incidental deaths as well.

I’m more than willing to hear what I’m missing, or in what way I am incorrect, but be assured, until I do, I am not likely to take the argument that Conservatives “don’t care about” human life after a child is born as being a reasonable one.

I promise that there is a great deal more I could say here, but I know I haven’t the time and most haven’t the patience for me to do so in this article (in fact, I’ve already “exceeded my standard word limit” by half again). That being said, if I talk about this again, it will be in another article.

As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.