yesthattom: (Default)

(This is old, but it's still funny.)
yesthattom: (Default)
I think I understand the Republican party a lot better now. They aren't about taxes, spending, not spending, abortion, gays, guns, or god. They're about the ends justifying the means. If your goal is to make money, so what if you have to kill a native and steal their oil-rich land? The ends (making money), justify the means (killing, stealing). "You have to break some eggs to make an omlette."

Look at the recent case where someone faked getting mugged by an Obama supporter. The ends (electing McCain) justify the means (lies, defaming others).

If the goal is to control people, lies that make people fear each other are justified.

If the goal is to maintain power, racisim and sexism is justified.

If the goal is to prevent competition, threats to anyone that supports Netscape is justified by Microsoft.

This belief hurts us all.

For example... The majority of Americans want universal healthcare, or want healthcare to be improved. Every small business wants healthcare fixed. In 1993 when HillaryCare was proposed Republicans didn't fight it or try to modify it into a market-based system that would improve people's lives, they worked to kill it to make Democrats look bad. Bill Kristol privately distributed a strategy memo outlining that Republicans must work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan. The plan "is not, in fact, just another Democratic initiative ... It will revive the reputation of the ... Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests." In other words, the ends justify the ends: Fuck people struggling because of our lousy heathcare system! We should keep it broken and help their party.

Of course, people will point out that if we try to make the means justify the ends in every way we can't get anything done. One can't run to prevent a child from being hit by a car because we might stomp on a bug. That's a ludicrous example, but certainly I've heard worse.

So what is my alternative? Should there be some ballance between "ends justifying means" and "means justifying ends"?


I actually prefer something completely different. I'm in favor of something that is orthogonal to this debate: sustainability.

What do I believe in for an energy policy? Sustainability. I want to see a replacement for oil and coal because I believe there are alternatives that are more sustainable for our world.

Why do I believe in for freedom of speech and the press? The sustainable plan includes transparency and retains our ability to freely express our opinions and that requires our ability to retain privacy when we require.

What do I believe in for solving poverty? We need solutions that are sustainable. Solutions that help 1% of all people, or charities that would stop when the donations stop are useless. I prefer something likek the Harlem Children’s Zone model. It works, it is cost effective (creates a stronger tax base than the cost of the program). It sustains the community. What about inside the schools? Within schools we place administrators in no-win situations, which leaves them to simply administer programs, rather than be leaders in improving education. (The #1 department in a school is the attendence office, not a group that is focused on excellenence in teaching.) The incentives are also unsustainable in other ways: real improvements won't pay off between now and the next election, making it politically difficult to give the issue any concern. To fix education we need salaries that will attract better qualified administrators and teachers.

What do I believe in for environmental policy? Sustainability is the watchword. There is no "away" anymore. We can not talk about throwing something "away" because there is no "away". The cradle-to-grave monitoring of toxins is an excellent sustainable system (Bush weakened it, we must reverse that truend). Water policy, air policy, noise policy, these all must be based on sustainability not profitability.

There are libertarians that say "the only solution is no government" and there are Republicans that say "the only solution is less taxes" and there are Christians that say "the only solution is the bible". That's all bullshit. These are all tools, not goals. When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The truth is that we should be using those tools, selected when appropriate, to serve the future of our world. Market-based solutions are right for some cases, but even then we need a governmetn fully funded to enforce the rules that keep the market a level playing field. Economists have a term for things that are not influenced by "the market", they call these things "externalities" and the list of externalities is bigger than anyone can imagine. Sometimes the solution is less taxes, but only in the sense that sometimes the right solution is more taxes... not just for the sake of being for or against more tax revenue, but because it is a working part of the overall solution to gain sustainability. Faith and community are going to solve some problems, but making it harder on same-sex couples is never going to make the world a better place.

Sustainability. I think this is going to be the #1 watchword in the future. Either that, or we will not have a future.

(This is a draft. Feedback welcome!)

December 2015

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