Saturday, February 4, 2012

British Columbia politics

The recent BC supreme court ruling calling into question the constitutionality of the ‘enhanced police power in dealing with drinking drivers’ suggests we’d do well to give some thought to what we have done - to what kind of people have we granted the power to govern our lives?

Let’s begin with that ‘claim to protect the driving public’, giving police officers the power to judge and sentence, to impound vehicles and revoke driving privileges without oversight. The members of our legislature have deemed it appropriate to eliminate the judicial process entirely in the case of suspected mixing of alcohol and driving. In general, the public doesn’t appear to have much resentment in accepting the belief that alcohol and driving don’t mix at any level, a message spread by MADD and other social pressure groups for many years. Years of scientific research as to the actual impairment caused by a particular volume of blood alcohol is ignored. I’ll return to this later, but first a few more reasons why we need to look again at who we grant power to.

If we open our eyes and minds, taking a clear look at the actions of our governments over the past number of years, we will see that we now have a dysfunctional system staffed by incompetent, arrogant busybodies with no respect for the individuals whose labour buys the bread for their tables. Can I support that statement? Let’s take a drive down memory lane and, while the BC Liberals are the subject of my inquisition, I’ll also remind everyone that if we were to backtrack a little further, the provincial NDP would fare no better.

Let’s first consider the privatization of BC Rail, a move I personally supported but a process hidden from public scrutiny and shrouded in stifled controversy. There was never a public inquiry into this controversial, complete with criminal acts, deal. And after the taxpayer picked up the 6 million dollar legal bill for a couple of ministerial aids, the premier just said, “Case closed”. The broken election promise to never sell BC Rail was ignored and no sitting members of our legislature ever provided an honest, sworn,  official explanation of what took place and why the decision went the way it did, literally giving away BC rail.

Another example is the denial of public access to the books of BC Ferries, of stretching reality beyond the breaking point. The taxpayers of the province own BC Ferries but by calling it a private rather than a crown corporation, financial accountability has largely been hidden from the ‘owners’.

The implementation of BC’s carbon tax was carried out with no regard as to what was being done in other jurisdictions of Canada or the USA. Nor was consent asked from the people of the province through a ballot, only the arrogance of elected representatives believing they hold a mandate to do anything they want brought in this tax. Their claim of a revenue neutral tax, just means that they have no problem taking your money and giving it to me and saying that’s fair. While many will disagree with me here, the unscientific demonization of carbon dioxide gave legitimacy to the move to bring us a carbon tax. Events over the past couple of years entirely erased any credibility for the  belief that our world is about to suffer catastrophic, human-caused global warming.

The implementation to harmonized the BC sales tax and the GST, the infamous HST was handled in much the same way, with just months after winning an election, partly based on the promise look at any HST, the arrogant members shoved through the bill making the HST law. While the backlash was immediately obvious, the arrogant attitude prevailed not weakening until finally the pressure of a referendum awakened the sitting members to reality, that they are but a number of votes away from re-entering the competitive work force. And though the arrogance of Mr Campbell forced him out of office, his replacement continues to dig deep holes of her own by continuing that arrogance by very slowly replacing the old tax structure.

The final cost of this boon-doggle , in both financial terms and lost opportunity will be in the billions of dollars.

The government has, for years, used the crown coronations as tax collectors, siphoning revenue from both BC Hydro and ICBC. Obviously, BC citizens have been paying more for auto insurance and electricity than those organizations return to the citizens in services. Even recent revelation that these crown corporation have negative cash flow and the kickback have only been possible by increasing the debt, the arrogance of our elected representatives is not reined in.

BC Hydro’s mandate to purchase private power at far higher rates than they can sell that power for is another example of a government that has lost sight of public service, choosing to rule without consequence instead. Need I mention how arbitrary and arrogant they have been in implementing the billion dollar ‘smart-meter’ program? A billion dollar of your money spent, their own advertising claiming instant recognition of a power been interrupted as their only justification for this expense.

Recently, because members of the legislature ordered the bureaucrats in charge of licencing mines to ignore a company’s application for development, BC taxpayers paid them a 30 million dollars penalty. The justification, that the health hazard of mining uranium justifies stopping this development meets no test of science. Other jurisdictions mine uranium safely with Saskatchewan’s Cameco being the world’s largest uranium  producer. This neighbour province currently has the best growth rate in the country. Of course, watching Mr de Jong’s rant against uranium shows him to be firmly sequestered in the unscientific camp.

And my last ‘straw’ is the government’s recycle policy. Many years ago, a fee was levied to reduce beer-bottle litter. Since then automobile tires and  batteries have been considered dangerous for landfills and because those fees where greeted with public apathy, recycle fees have now been extended to every kind of beverage container and every liquid ranging from oil to paint carries a form of these ‘sin’ taxes. Now all small electrical appliances, toasters, microwaves and televisions carry the burden of extra fees and levies for the purpose of recycling.

I could list many more instances showing that our governments have been operating under the guiding principle that all citizens are fools and idiots, looking at ski-hill helmets and food control. There are few areas where we have not had  the decision making power stripped from our personal lives and rules have been implemented to spoon-feed us all the same diet of ‘socially correct’ pablum.

Forgotten entirely is our history - by both our elected leaders and by ourselves, the general public. It was an environment of political freedom allowing individuals to fail that sorted through our action, giving us the feedback to determine when we acted beneficially or detrimentally to our own and the health of those around us. Now the decision making has moved to our parliaments, ultimately turning those institutions into elected dictatorships. While bicycle helmets and cell phone usage are more of the same in the destruction of personal freedom and responsibility, I consider the modified drinking and driving laws to represent a monumental step away from legitimate law. There is no clearer example of an impending police state than this. That our legislators could conceivable see this as a proper way to rule a state tells me we have a very serious problem.

Historically, in the development of law, two hard-fought principles helped ensure that justice was achievable. The right of appeal along with the separation of arresting and sentencing authorities were prime factors in removing the arbitrary from the enforcement of rules in a society. Police are the enforcement arm of law. Their task is to arrest said violators of law. Historically guilt could not be determined by the arresting police officer and the accused subject was considered innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. Giving police the ability to sentence individuals and removing the right of appeal is a monument step toward dictatorship.

We can debate the accuracy of roadside, hand-held breathalysers or the need prohibit driving for 0.05 and changing the legal limit from 0.08, but those are details detracting from the broader travesty of transferring arbitrary power to our police. The foregoing is irrelevant to the broader question on the means by which law should be established and enforced.

Furthermore, just as we’ve not made law better, we’ve not helped the police with this either. We have opened a can of very smelly worms as the opportunity for graft that arbitrary, unmonitored power bestows on the officers will certainly have us see criminal acts by police officers.
But a further look sheds still more light on how dysfunctional our BC legislature has become. The stated justification for this change in law was to both ensure the safety of the driving public by taking drunks off the road and help the government’s clear the clogged court system. They claimed that lengthy arrest procedures restricted the ability of the police to set up enough road checks but on the cogged courts I’m going to predict, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet” compared to what is coming.

With the ruling by justice Don Siguardson labelling portions of this law to be unconstitutional the appeal process has been opened up and is about to flood the courts. That he also grants a 6 month extension for this law to the government  so they can draft suitable, legal regulations simply show that he too, has no consideration for taxpayer cost nor justice for individuals. Previously a suspected drinking driver could insist on having a legal breathalyse reading taken at the station to challenge a judgment of a roadside suspension. Now the only choice is a different road-side machine. I do not believe the judge has ruled correctly in favour of law and we have not yet seen the end of this legislative fiasco.

The case of Ms Margaret MacDonald of Cranbrook, who wisely had the foresight to have the hospital confirm her sobriety, should have been a wake-up call. Instead we see the minister, the MLAs and the police joining forces and continue to deny justice. Though supplying proof of innocence, the bureaucracy stonewalls by claiming to ‘study’ this case, almost a year after she was falsely charged. A case of the individual being fought with the tax dolars of every other citizen - a travesty of justice.

At the root of the entire problem is our society’s move away from personal responsibility and the desire by a meddling class to try creating a problem-free society. But the so-called commitment to clear the roads of drunks becomes a rather shallow promise when those who do cause death by irresponsible driving often spend a year or less in jail. The fact that we have people stealing cars that have been convicted of more than thirty offences for the same thing shows that our government’s commitment to halting crime has been hollow, words with no action. Instead, looking at their stated concern, that the costs of enforcement means that laws need revision to reduce court time, shows that our governments are incurring costs beyond their ability to collect money for. That both taxes and fees are sky-rocketing while services such as law enforcement are considered sacrificial is further proof of how dysfunctional this government has become.  The big three, healthcare, education and welfare are driving the cost of government yet the elected body is unwilling to reduce funding in those very areas where the financial problems are.

And the unavoidable question that is being ignored by all, is, how much further down the road of taxing one individual to provide service to another will we go before we open our eyes and our minds to reality. Are we going to go over the debt cliff before we stop? Are we going to tolerate a state that subverts all law in its zeal to provide all things to all people? Are we going to ignore the lessons of history and destroy a once affluent society, ignoring all those factors that created our wealth? It is intelligent human action that forms a free, affluent society - it is thoughtless reactionary government policies that destroys it. We have the ability to avoid a disaster but we’ll only do so by reclaiming control of our own lives.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Servitude vs. Destroying Evil

As I looked once more at the images of those flaming buildings, I thought back to the day of that ignoble event. I relived my thoughts and feelings at the time, going to work on the west coast and hearing that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings. The incredulous voices of the radio announcers, speculating on an horrific accident and the number of lives that might have been lost - running through my mind, as I started work. Going back to the radio at the top of the hour and hearing that a second plane had struck the other tower. Stunned...dazed response from all - by the most monumental body blow in living memory.

Catching pieces of news as it came in, the lethal fires, the exasperated rescuers unable to reach those above the strike zone, the panicking victims, jumping, rather than dying in that inferno, the Pentagon HIT and finally, a pile of rubble in the streets of New York as the most visible signs to describe our capitalist society succumbed to the flames and were no more......and all air travel halted. Freedom, also, brutal injured that day.

When I think back, a number of other things are refreshed in my mind. Seeing the carnage, I’m once again reminded of how little it takes to be destructive. A single match can undo a lifetime of productive effort, yet that foolish, popularly-repeated phrase, ‘man is destructive’ evades everything from the pyramid, to space travel. Those few determined fanatics, who valued their own lives less than another person’s death, armed with a few hour of aircraft simulator flight hours and utility knives, destroyed billions of dollars worth of infrastructure.

Their ‘kill ratio’ surpassed 150 to 1 and they change the very fabric of the society they despised.. They were immeasurably successful - up to this point.

Thinking back, I see the USA to be as fragile as those buildings were. And how only the intellectual disarmament of America made the 9/11 massacre possible.

So what did we get - the first call by the new, still-in-shocked president, after the dust of the Trade center building had settled, was for ‘Americans to go back to normal, the government will solve this outrage and justice will prevail’. A reassurance that this government fully knew its responsibility, to provide the protection from physical harm a free people need to resume productive lives. And, we were told to spend, a rational activity in an abundant capitalist society, but behind the scenes, a nervous government seeing looming transfer-payments entitlement while a nervous people waited, straining a fragile financial system with a shrinking revenue flow.....ominous signs.

The very first thought I had when that first building was struck, was that the Empire State building had sustained an airplane hit, shrugged it off, and stands today in all its glory, albeit, bathed in the colors of red China, a graphic display of the intellectual rot of the country. In the months of cleanup and investigation that passed, two things - the war against asbestos had succeeded on helping the hijackers achieve their purpose - the building only had an illusion of strength above the seventieth floors. And the slime began to ooze from where it had been shocked into silence.

We heard shrill denouncements, of unaddressed environmental concern at the cleanup site and, America asked for the attack because of years of inconsiderate foreign policy, belligerently steamrollering over passive underdeveloped nations, stealing the resources from these peace-loving helpless people, across the entire face of the earth.

And we heard about Bin Ladin. Quietly, for, if one read between the lines, he had issued a decade of invitations to fight - The USS Cole, a couple of embassies, but easy to overlook if the dress holds dried semen stains. Oh, could that be the intellectual bankruptcy thing again?

The face of the enemy became more visible as we saw modern weapons carried on the backs of donkeys in Afghanistan’s gravel pile. We saw a people, utterly impoverished by their commitment to a medieval religion, lead by zealots with no consideration for human life. And we saw precision guided bombs, turn rubble into different rubble.

We watched months of deliberation, posturing, pleading, looking for support, and finally an American president deciding to, essentially, go it alone and the army forming on the border of Iraq, a face-off with one of the most brutal bandits to ever take over a county. We were graced with film footage of literally a surgical strike, taking out the strongest army in the zone, careful to avoid civilian death, and winning in less than two weeks of fighting. And then, our exhilaration shattered as that intellectual bankruptcy set in once more.

A nation with militarily supremacy , showed that it lacked the knowledge of how to win the peace while on the home front the barricades were going up and the random searches began. What I believe could have been simply solved by retro-fitting secure cockpit doors and sporadically arming the flight crews, was instead solved by a bureaucracy ill fitted to think. The politically correct absurdity, considering everyone a potential homicidal terrorist, brings us now, eight years later, passport requirements to travel over what used to be considered the friendliest border in the world. And the militarily decisive blow needed to end the reign of terror - still undelivered.

These action do not show a mind able of conceiving of a means to lift a conquered foreign citizenry from feudalism to a modern, free society. The decision makers of today lack the ability or the desire to create such a country as the USA was. From the time of its inception in 1776 till 1900 England and American transformed themselves from cottage industries to industrial empires. The rest of the world watched but failed to grasp what made it possible.

A small aside, I have a theory and it is rooted in the concept of common law. In those early years, when power of life or death had been stripped from the monarchy, the early law makers looked to the rules that guided the common folk in their day-to-day actions and largely, those were the rules that guided the formal laws that the infant representative governments brought forth. All of that had changed by the 1900's as the legislators took an elitists view, bring down laws that forced a sometimes, reluctant and other times willing, public to change their behavior.

England, lacking any government controlling document such as the American constitution, disappeared as an economic force rather quickly. The property rights clause in American has been able to make the destruction a longer, drawn-out process, but now the country is in a comparable state to those World Trade Center towers. To an uncritical eye, the country remained the financial giant of the world - to one with the vision of Ayn Rand, rampant intellectually bankrupt had eroded its strength before 1930. Few people now, are blind to the fact that there are serious problems. But, there are also, oh-so-few, who clearly see the direction that is not terminal to our free society.

Today, in a span of years twice as long as it took to free the world of two mighty, dictatorial empires, Afghanistan’s Taliban, living in a primitive rock pit, denies victory to what is still, the strongest army the world has ever witnessed. Domestically internal security rules are utterly out of proportion to an intelligent response to the actions of nineteen religious maniacs and, in New York, the most visible sign that all is not well. Rather than a giant defiant building showing the world the pride America has in capitalism, the productive system that sprinkles prosperity on all who accept it, we have.......... a hole.

And finally I come to servitude. This president is calling for the citizen to exchange public service for a purposeful retaliation for September 11th, 2001. The call is to forget the outrage, the pain, and the unfulfilled passion to cleanse this world of the force that drove those distorted minds to kill themselves and publicly destroy, taking with them into death, 3000 innocent people who were trying to put in a productive day. But the capitulation to servitude can only come to fruition if the nation’s people have become complacent.

Across the entire world, the chains of servitude hang heavy from the shoulder of all productive people. We need to ask ourselves, how can a heavier burden solve our problems? Clearly, this asylum is not in the hands of the healers.

And so again and for the final time, I bring up that missing intellect, vacuumed to oblivion, and I lay some of the blame for this problem on the shoulders of one of the truly greats of American history, Thomas Jefferson and his support for public education. That was the mistaken belief, that the education process could be placed in the hands of any government and remain uncorrupted. If the 56 founders of the United Stated had foreseen the utter collapse of reasoning skills that institutionalized public education has delivered to helpless children, they would, I’m sure, have burned the Constitution and started over.

But is that intellectual bankruptcy simply a result? Could it be that, as Ayn Rand said so long ago, with altruism as our basic moral code it was simply inevitable the ‘right’ would be consider ‘wrong’ and the wrong, right? The world we live in is upside down, because our morality is inverted. Do we need reminding that placing others first will lead to our own destruction? Until that poisonous idea is removed from our knowledge base, the field of education will deliver ever more broken minds. I believe, only by spreading the words of Ayn Rand can those minds be healed.

Here it is time to state that I’m a citizen of Canada but my personal stake is the same as each of you, a chance to live in a world where capitalism allows me to produce and benefit from my production. If by chance the USA become the USocialistSA, the collapse will not end there, rather the entire free world will disappear. Hence, every freedom loving individual is in this fight.

And this fight needs every healthy mind. If now, president Obama’s collectivizing plans are broken, the surge could well be enough to open a flood gate of reason and discredit collectivism beyond recovery. There has never been a better time to support the efforts of the Ayn Rand Center, but that is not the only place help is needed. Be it tea parties or speaking with anyone who support capitalism, we need to, apologetically and publicly, claim ownership of our own lives, never a bow to servitude.

And if by chance you have lost your passion, that time has transformed it to cynicism, open your mind and look at the burning buildings at the top of this page, think of the jetliner cruising over Pennsylvania, its passengers condemned to death, and remember the cry of Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll”, choosing a patriots end to life rather than helpless slaughter. It was not an act of servitude, it is an exercise in meting out justice. Recall from Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here......”. Once again, let your sense of outrage loose.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


This LTE was sent to the Victoria Times Colonist shortly after 9/11happened, something to hold in mind when asked by President Obama to make 9/11 the day of public service.

On September 11th 2001, some 3500 of our fellow citizens started their day the same way we did, harboring no grudge toward others and simply wanting to put in a productive day. They were denied that desire by nineteen people with a death wish and a determination to take as many innocent people with them as possible. It is to late to help the victims but they will not have died in vain if we learn from the massacre that took their lives.
There are three things we need to keep in mind about the perpetrators of these murders.
Firstly they both hated and feared capitalism - freedom, for those more comfortable with politically correct words. For too many years, we in the free world, in an attempt to avoid confrontation, have not pointed out that capitalism and freedom are irrevocably linked. To quote Kenneth Minogue ‘capitalism is what people do if you leave them alone.’ That is the reason why wealth follows capitalism, because it so closely matches human nature. When free of restrictions, each of us gives our support to the things we value the most and inevitably we support those people who give us things that enhance our freedom. Freedom gave us capitalism and capitalism continues to give us back ever more freedom. Cars, washers, airplanes, velcro, telephones, ball point pens, computers, zippers and endless other items, these are all things that free more of our one constant in life, time, to pursue in the most rewarding manner we can think of.
The murderers who brought down the World Trade Center towers pick their targets well. While the greatest symbol of freedom is the Statue of Liberty, the most visible symbol of capitalism was the Trade Center towers. These murderers problem with capitalism was two fold: they hated capitalism for the phenomenal goods and services it makes available, and they feared capitalism for what it does to the people of their own countries.
They try to hold their own people in the iron grip of an unforgiving and unmodifiable medieval religion that can’t compete with capitalism. They desire an impoverished quality of life for all. Bin Laden, who has enough money to live where and how he wants, chooses instead a prayer blanket, an AK-47 and a cave in a desolate gravel pit.
Secondly, they were so poor, they had to steal the tools they used for killing from the very people they are trying to destroy, from us. Without access to our technology, they would never have achieved any notoriety at all. They might have killed a few people with their bare hands but without access to capitalist technology, they would never be a problem. But instead of denying them access to harm us, we’ve now begun to dismantle our freedoms in a futile effort to defend ourselves.
Thirdly, they were very determined. They held their distorted values so dear, they had no difficulty dying for them. As Victor Hugo stated years ago ‘there is nothing as strong as an idea who’s time has come. Their ideas gave them the strength to destroy the WTC.
And that brings up the main question for us, do we believe as passionately that we have the right to defend our way of life from people who are determined to destroy that way of life? How strongly do we hold our ideals? Only by being outrage at what was done to us and becoming determined to fight tooth and nail to preserve our way of life will we win. Even with our somewhat crippled semi-capitalistic system we can easy produce far more than these barbarians could even think of destroying.
But we also need to remind our governments that a return to pre September 11th standards is not an option. Black Tuesday happened because our government’s main focus has become the redistribution of our wealth and, rather than protecting individuals from aggression, the focus has become tax and spend. That is one of the reasons why we keep hearing our leaders urge us to ‘get back to normal’ because they see no tax revenue coming in while they can’t stop what is going out.
Our inept political leaders consider that by installing more and more bureaucrats to monitor our every action and transaction, they can make society safe. They fail to remember, in North America some 400 million of us did largely live in peace before 9/11. More policing of the law abiding members of our world won't help.
Over-reacting and turning our society into a police state will not stop terrorism but the additional restrictions may well destroy our economy. It is physically impossible be everywhere and stop every destructive act but if we had simply kept nineteen people from having access to the cockpit’s of four airliners, 6000 people would be alive today.
We are concentrating too much effort on a result without addressing the cause. We know each terrorist was trained to believe in the moral correctness of his cause, a cause that justifies death for us even if it costs his own life. We also know his trainers value their own lives more for they send their disciples out to do the killing.
Self-preservation dictates that we focus our anger on those leaders and tell them to change or they will die.
Respect for life must be reciprocal. Someone with no respect for your life is your enemy and inevitably it becomes you or him. We have no choice but to be brutal to those who choose to be brutal to us. Until they change or are eliminated, we can never be truly safe.
Garret Seinen

Saturday, August 8, 2009

desolving empires

I found this on Bill Ayers’ site....

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free.

Lyrics by Randy Newman, from “A Few Words in Defence of This country”. Seems obvious that both Mr Ayers and Newman see an America with a far smaller global influence, and just around the corner. I’d also say they aren’t sorry to see the empire label coming to an end. So why?

I caused me to think about what is happening in the US of A today. I’m sure most people regard the USA to be an empire, and depending on one’s morality, it’s either evil, or great. But before we talk about morality let’s define empire and talk about what others see.

The degree of influence a nation has on other nations is what makes a nation an empire. And the USA has indeed been a huge influence on the entire world, but is this empire the same as previous empires? Historically, the empires of the past have had their roots in the sharpest sword or the biggest canon but the US empire is a rather unique entity.

The free world’s common folk work to swill coke and cram down big Macs. Those who have them, need to protect their jeans from thieves, and the mindless electric guitar noise excites the youth around the world. Is this the empire that is crumbling, that many see as evil?

The American empire is unique in that it was not build with a club but rather it’s been held from spreading by a club. Whenever a group of people have been left free it’s the American model they build as their personal society. From Canada to France, to the now defunct USSR to China, the Muslim middle east and on around the world, Political and intellectual leaders demand restrictions to stop their own citizens from emulating the ‘good ol’ US of A.

This empires messy in the middle. The painful body piercing, the disfiguring facial tattoos , the shocking hairdos and outrages dress codes are all part of the messiness, as are the obnoxious language. The ipods and twittering and facebooking and bloggers are all part of this empire’s culture. As are highways and cars and airplanes and highrises. It’s still far from complete if we throw in space travel, atomic weapons and cell phones and oh so much more.

An empire like none before with something about it for anyone to hate, just as there are a multitude of thing to love. Truly a mixed bag that satisfies no one, yet attracts so very many.

From its inception some 240 years ago, the forceful individuals living in those 13 signing colonies, determined to fight unfair taxation and take their chances with forming a unique nation based on the ‘that all men are created equal’ thought, could hardly have predicted the social upheaval they would cause.
...more to come...

Monday, July 6, 2009

When ideas have consequences

Individual rights -when ideas matter.

The origin - It all starts when the idea that we are created or born without sin, obligation, duty etc. become widespread in a culture. the view that equality is the rule, that none can be held to be more than any other, that a covenant of debt can not be placed on the life of any person.

The justification - By way of reason it is easily understood that slavery is the result of holding a belief that people can be slotted into different categories of worth, hence, to achieve freedom for ourselves we need to reject the notion

The consequences - an individual, holding the forgoing as basic truisms in their mind, will come to realize that with no guiding deity, no prebirth obligation, they are, like all persons everywhere, their own masters. As such, their actions are their own and cloak of responsibility for neither the good nor the bad can be draped over the shoulders of another. And while the mirror of responsibility can be a cruel reminder of mistakes if we hold the wrong attitude, accepting that life is a learning experience showers us with euphoric endorphins for the things we do right.
..more to come..

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On pragmatism

I’d never considered pragmatism to be anything much more than a non ideological outlook on life but after reading a post stressing how debilitating an effect it can have on the thought process, I can see that I’m mistaken and need to rethink the meaning clearly in my own mind. Doug Reich gave a great analysis here, .

I have difficulty accepting that a human mind can consistently hold a pragmatic outlook, deciding that reality is what everyone believes it to be. I can however, easily see that an inconsistent pragmatic approach with deviations allowing both reasoning and perceptual powers to smooth over the areas involving life and death rational decisions.

Because so much of the world we live in consists of applying manmade rules to human actions, the pragmatist is often able to function well and even to be financially successful. There are individuals who thrive in regulatory environments, where all the rules are laid out and memorization brings success. But the success would unfold only for the strongest minds as the economy of understanding complex things by way of cohesive ideas is not available to the consistent pragmatist and, only those people with exceptional memory skills could cope.

The economy of thinking made possible by using a rational, conceptual based system to integrate ideas into understandable pieces allows even the people with lesser intellectual capacity to fully understand complex thoughts.

But the pragmatist evaluation and its application to the sciences provides an explanation to a phenomena that has long troubled me. I often wondered at the absurdity of some of the flaky so-called scientific studies or reports, claiming proof for an idea that logic or induction proves without any statistical analysis. Something like an evening news report documenting that most obese people eat more than the people with no weight problems, or some similar fact totally reasonable with out any study.

I believe the researchers hold the view that a fact can only be discerned from observation, that for the experiment to be objective the researchers must be completely unbiased to the point of ignoring reason, until the results are tabulated and then, only statistical analysis constitutes proof.

Does the true pragmatist fully rejects induction as a means to knowledge?

I have always considered pragmatism to be a beneficial trait for a person in business and a despicable vote-gathering tool in a politician. I’m beginning to see the personal destruction that the inability to understand the world or the actions of people around oneself would bring to any questioning individual. We all require an understandable future to feel comfortable about the future.

Without the ability to do inductive thinking, all issues boil down to my poll verses your poll. To the pragmatist, numbers count, status of supporter count, even the sophistication of the presentation makes a difference. Only the facts, if not presented glamorously are ignored.

Is there any thinking going on or is every thing decided by the opinion of an other, an outsider because the individual has lost ability to discriminate? Does the pragmatist inevitably derive any sense of self-worth from the opinions of others? Is the modern belief that we need rules for everything the normal outcome of pragmatic thought? Is it responsible for the elitist idea, that the common guy lacks the ability to look after their own life and needs help?

I think it is the basis of the belief that only what has taken place before can be properly evaluated, the financial community's statement, " we're in new ground here. We've never tried this before so we don't know if the printing of this much money will work". And the pirate situation, where we fear the sailors may get hurt if the are given guns, or we don't know who to punish to stop the piracy.

More to come.