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US Wealth-care System 

13 03 2017 | 12:Mar 3 #1

There is no free market health care option; a true "free market" would allow poor people to die. 
However, the Republican party is wedded to an antiquated ideology that the free market is king - believing that cutting taxes is a universal solution (even though trickle-down economics has been shown to be a joke) and reducing government interventions - whether for protecting the environment of keeping people alive - are always anti-freedom. So what happens when someone is lying dying following a road accident, and has no insurance? Do the paramedics simply leave them?

Even staunch conservatives (well, most) have a morality of last resort - don't let the free market kill. That's why America's new health care system falls back to pre-death coverage as their only real consession to counter a truly free market.

Paul Ryan's proposed wealth-care system is then an object lesson in why ideological positions can lead to harmful consequences - but if it doesn't directly affect the self-interested (or their chosen demographic "family") they can shut those bad consequences out of their minds.

/politics /trumpcare

Why the rise of the Right is inevitable

17 02 2017 | 08:Feb 3 #1

Globalisation and free-market capitalism has led (as James Goldsmith foresaw out in the 9/politicss) to the deprecation of the western worker. Unfathomably cheap goods and rising asset prices (particularly property) have dulled the effect, enriching the baby boomer generations beyond what they could have ever imagined - but this mask cannot hold forever.

As the east continues to make ever more labour available, and automation increasingly makes labour irrelevant, the near-monarchistic financial glory felt by the majority in the western world will begin to crack. Indeed, it has - with resurgent inflation and the law of diminishing returns from money printing & debt overheating the powerful but fragile economic engine.

And what happens when things go wrong? Unless we are smart, we blame others. Are those baby-boomers who sit on £5/politics/politics,/politics/politics/politics of assets going to feel favourably about anyone that points out their part-time job as a postman shouldn't really have reaped such rewards? No, they will listen to the strong voice that blames the polish coming in, or the chinese for manipulating us (with all their pesky cheap goods), or liberals for forcing change when things used to be good.

Optimistically I hope that Trump is the last death-throes of a dying historical convervatism built on protection from other races/genders/sexualities. But thinking about it, this bizarre sociopath marks but the start.

/politics /globalisation

Why is Everyone Racist?

31 01 2017 | 10:Jan #1

Everyone is, actually. Or rather, everyone is prejudiced / scared of other groups. Show me someone who you claim isn’t, and I’ll point out who the other tribe(s) are. They may not be racial differentiated, some examples:


Scientists can be uncomfortable with artists, and vice-versa. University campus divisions are more likely to be along discipline rather than racial lines.


Techies:  Comfortable with the aspergic, socially disfunctional of any ethnic / sexual mix - or anyone in jeans + metal t-shirt + hoodie (or dressed as a comic book hero for that matter. Uncomfortable with unintelligent people of all flavours, but especially lads/jocks. Suspicious of females, marketing types, hipsters.


Lads: Uncomfortable with anyone dressed as a comic book hero, or who comes across as too clever. Unable to understand anyone on the spectrum.


Further, we identify with multiple groups - some may be along racial or geographical lines but others are not - e.g. I’m a techie, and thus am more comfortable at a comic-con than a marketing meeting.


My identified groups are musicians, techies, intelligent, open minded people. That means I’m pretty comfortable with different races, religions, genders, sexual orientations - however, I’m scared of closed minded people, misogynistic people, those who hold extreme views (in any direction) without consideration or ability to moderate their thoughts. Being a techie I’m suspicious of marketing people. 


From an evolutionary perspective we are distrustful of outside tribes. Centuries ago we grew up with the same small group of people - we knew them all deeply; not just their personalities but their fundamental characters. We needed to be suspicious of representatives approaching from another tribe. The chance they were friendly and wished to trade must be balanced against the possibility they would rape their women. kill their men and claim their land and resources for themselves.


As societies evolved, governance spread to cover regions and whole continents, giving consistent (if not always balanced) justice systems and groups expanded to cover their similarly looking and same language speaking country folk - after which scepticism was directed to those across borders (and often with good reason). Narcissistic ideologues tend to apply for positions of power, and countries with superiority complexes have a history of attempting to spread their brilliance. Soldiers can be readily found if those invaders / invadees are first branded as “other” - different to them and thus a threat to their families and friends. Invasion means either spreading your “goodness” - no matter what terrible means it takes to make that happen - or defending your culture, even if that means sacrificing people.


In the modern world, these deep suspicions still hold - we want to preserve our cultures and protect our groups. Sometimes that’s along racial lines, but more often it’s not. We are all part of multiple different groups - scientist or artist, rich or poor, techie or manager, thinker or footballer.


Techies distrust a new managers’ motivations just as fundamentally as small town folk distrust the new muslim family’s.


A (non-racist) friend of mine expressed that they would do anything for their family and friends - to keep them safe, healthy and happy. In almost any culture that sentiment is regarded as notion of great integrity, and moral high. Yet it is the very same emotion that powers our intolerance.


WW2 and The great disaffection with Intolerance

Something incredible happened out of the back of WW2. It’s horrors were recorded and spread far and wide. The abject and near universal distaste caused by the holocaust and war generally created the start of a grand period of tolerance. The only solution seemed to be to treat everyone in the human race as part of the same “group”. Much like in an alien invasion movie, where old enemies bury hatchets to fight the greater danger, so we embarked upon an unprecendented movement against racism / tribalism of all kinds. The civii rights movement, bringing down of the berlin wall, globalisation itself. The European Union was a great vision to treat the historically warring countries of Europe under a banner than said “us”.


But as with so many patterns of life, that endeavour was an arc - as memories of WW2 fade, and peoples feel disenfranchised by globalisation, threatened by resurgent religious ideologies and generally don’t care to learn about history so we revert to our tribalist norms. For Americans that perceive a threat to their culture of shooting guns, loving jesus, having barn dances the other cultures injected into their midst feels like an invasion - the consequences are to their minds a proportion of the same.


Every group has an 'alt-right'. This point cannot be overstated enough.

Is there really a difference between white supremacists and muslim supremacists, or black supremacists? Hate is hate. In the modern society, where powerful white people are the norm, it's easy to come to the conclusion that only white people are racist. It's more true to say that currently only white racists matter in places where whites have a monopoly on power - but that's not to say other peoples are not just as into protecting their group.


Tribalism is universal; it takes a certain empathy / reflection to rise above it; many, many people don't bother.


/politics /racism /prejudice /tribalism

Morality free Donald is useful peek into how AI might behave

06 02 2017 | 16:Feb 1 #1

"[he]’s a great way of understanding how machine learning algorithms can give us stuff we absolutely don’t want, even though they fundamentally lack prior agendas"

https://mathbabe.org/2/trump16//trump8/11/donald-trump-is-like-a-biased-machine-learning-algorithm/

/trump /politics /maths /AI /machineLearning

The modern day equivalent to burning books?

30 01 2017 | 16:Jan 1 #1

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2/politics17/jan/3/politics/statistics-trump-administration-numbers-manipulation

/politics /trump