The Price of Progressive Policies - Technocracy

Frederick Winslow Taylor (Photo credit: Wikipedia) During the Progressive Era from the 1865-1935, the "progressive movement" supported eugenics and other "scientific" methods for improving the societies of humans. The rush to embrace the new and improved — the future — blinded many progressive thinkers from the risks of their ideology. They foresaw a technocratic class in charge of government, rule of the educated class. Like today, they wanted to ban unhealthy activities (Prohibition) and demand people accept the regulatory power of experts.

The caricature of the right, that it wished to go backwards, was and is generally inaccurate. Instead, most conservatives simply wanted to move ahead cautiously and with a conservative skepticism of the experts. Looking back now, the conservatives were right about more than a few things the Progressives promoted.

We should realize from experience that there is no one, universal, predictable path forward for any community.…

Your Meme Won't Change Me (or anyone else)

Facebook "memes" are among the least and most effective rhetorical devices in use. They are ineffective at changing ideas or winning arguments. They are extremely effective at ensuring your community perceives you as a loyal member, and they reinforce the dominant values and positions in the community.

The memes get more and more extreme as people seek to prove just how much they hate the opposing camp. The claims about the values and authenticity of the opposition also trend towards absolute dismissal and discounting of any genuine differences.

Republicans become thugs and fascists. Democrats become communists. Both sides argue the other represents "real" fascist and authoritarianism. The reality is, there aren't many radicals in the United States. Most voters are centrists.

Social media posts from left and right are demonstrating absolutist stupidity in many of these threads. Conservatives and libertarians are neither extreme anarchists nor fascists. (A…

Exhausted by the Panic

By the end of 2017, I'll care much less about all things political. I'm already finding the constant calls to "do something" exhausting. Sorry, but no... I'm not going to "do" anything anymore.

I wrote... and wrote. I made art, including a satirical campaign film.

Like many, I voted. I didn't get my way.

Listening to Ohio and WV radio stations, I realize that the planned protests actually deepen the support some have for the winner. It makes them all the more committed to resisting "left-coast" radicals and the "elites" they already distrust and dislike.

My job is to take care of our kiddos and take care of myself. That's about all I can manage, right now.

And I'm pretty convinced that little will change (not nearly as much as some fear/believe) in a year or four years.

Activism can wait until I'm up to it. Right now, the panic seems a bit much. Maybe it isn't, but it seems over the top to me.

No, the new presiden…

Time for Supporters of Trump and Clinton to Face Reality

Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to be stuck in reality distortion bubbles. This is slightly more pronounced on the Trump side, where outright misinformation is believed. But the Clinton supporters are quick to selectively cite misleading information. Misleading data are only slightly better (and sometimes worse) than wrong information when trying to understand and correct problems.

Trump supporters:

He lost the popular vote. There was no widespread fraud, no mobs of illegal immigrants storming the ballot boxes. He lost, and lost significantly on the raw national popular vote total. (But it is complicated. See notes to Clinton supporters.)He is the least popular president-elect in the history of polling data. There is no mandate.He plans to nominate a cabinet that troubles many traditional conservatives, libertarians, and progressives. That's not a way to build bridges when you lack a mandate.He has a serious problem with facts. You know, that "truthiness&…

Polls Were NOT "Wrong"

Stop blaming polls or calling them "wrong" because only the Huffington Post polling was seriously flawed. Every other model actually offered accurate *ranges* of potential outcomes.
The polls were not wrong. Polls give probability not certainty. They were accurate. If I tell you Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance of winning... hello? She still has a 15% chance of losing. People didn't want to accept that. They assumed 85% = she can't lose. Sean Trende has attempted to explain this with the example of Pennsylvania. The commonwealth was a close election: so close that one percent in both directions did change the winner, but that does not make the polls incorrect. It wasn't the polls: It was the pundits
What occurred wasn’t a failure of the polls. As with Brexit, it was a failure of punditry. Pundits saw Clinton with a 1.9 percent lead in Pennsylvania and assumed she would win. [Note: Margin of error was 3% in most polling!] The correct interpretation was that, if …

Stop Offering Opinions "to Trump Voters"

Every online post, newspaper column, or magazine puff piece written "to Trump voters" will be read by exactly ZERO Trump supporters... or will be taken as the condescending, presumptuous tripe it is by the one or two Trump voters who care what The New Yorker or National Review (for that matter) have to say.

No Trump voter cares what I write. They don't. They don't care what my opinion of them is. They don't care what any other over-educated Ph.D. or media elite offers as a critique.

The reality is, the few Trump voters I know don't actually like him. They voted against the system, against BOTH parties, and hope it all burns to the ground. Some voted for the Supreme Court and district court appointments. But otherwise, they didn't vote "for" anyone.

The day-to-day worker has moved on. The majority of people didn't vote and a good portion of those who did aren't that engaged a few weeks later.

Life will go on. Some of us will obses…

Pain, Elections, Social Media, and The Blahs

By November 7, 2016, a swollen spinal cord was making it nearly impossible for me to sit, walk, drive, or even rest. The next morning, my wife managed to get me to the urgent care center at our physician's office. His staff called in the doctor, who sent me off to the emergency room.

Election day was spent with morphine, Percocet, an MRI, and a really bad reaction to the mix of painkillers and pain. My wife still stopped by the polling station on the way home from the ER that afternoon and we both voted. It was the most painful election ever.

Worse than the election has been the days following.

This is my own fault. I've been stuck in bed, on painkillers. Unable to type on my laptop, unable to sit and read for any sustained period of time, I have been consuming social media.

Normally, I would have been outside during the daylight hours (four more decorative grasses to plant) and watching movies for my MFA classes. Instead, my semi-lucid moments were spent reading the p…