Monday, May 8, 2017

Reconciling Atheism and Humanitarianism with Conservatism and Libertarianism

Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

Humanitarianism is the promotion of human welfare.

Conservatism is the holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

Libertarianism is an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens.

Atheism leads the individual into the realm of defending the lack of belief in god and religion. The common argument on the side of religion is that without it there would be no morality. Standing against that, atheists have to show morality is influenced by the structure of society. The rule of law and decency allows atheists to act morally without the need. Most atheists are scientists; the tools from science lead to one to be a skeptic. Question everything. What is the evidence. Does the evidence support the claim. Can an individual be moral without religion? Of course. Can one help one's neighbor without religion? Of course. Quite often people go out of their way to help another without referring to a religious text. That's just being a decent human being; that's a humanitarian. You act that way, because if the situation was reversed you would want the same. Science also brings with it innovations, whether it is technology, procedure, or information. Those can bring forth things to help your fellow man or to not. As an atheist, even as a good person, you want to help as many people as possible. One of the driving forces of the atheist movement is that by ridding the world of religion we can unite together and achieve even greater feats. So, we come together and form these organizations for all sorts of causes. There is already a powerful organization that represents the people and that is the government. If atheists come together, or any group for that matter, we can appeal to our representatives and they can take action.

Now, my political outlook is a conservative libertarianism. We believe that government is a necessary evil. Without control it can grow far beyond its intended means. So, it needs to be restricted. We are against taxes. A purist would say taxes are not necessary, but a realist agrees that some taxation is needed for maintaining government infrastructure. Another core belief is that the freer the market the better off the economy will be. Leave all economics to the private sector, especially including charity. Government policy can dictate how taxes are used. It's a recurring issue in politics is how one's money is spent. Simply it leads many to think “is this what my taxes are being used for?” What if the individual doesn't agree with how taxes are being spent? This is a core idea of the libertarian movement is that the government shouldn't be able to make decisions on how money will be spent. Especially, the individual's money. They and only they should be able to make that decision. You cannot force an individual to purchase or support something they do no believe in. In the US the “right” or “conservatives” are conflated with “religious.” Even though these groups overlap the ideas of both outlooks, conservatism and christian belief, are quite contradictory.

So, how do you reconcile these seemingly opponent ideologies. Simply, you leave charity and goodwill to the private market (especially with the advent of internet crowd funding). Leave the scholarly atheism in formal debates. Keep opposing religion and religious dogma with private organizations like FFRF (Freedom from Religion Foundation). But don't go around on the street and push your ideas onto people. Foremost, continue to a genuinely fine human being.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ethics; Terrible Media; Terrible People

I had quite a few articles started, but I decided to put them on the back burner. Why? I did not like all the negativity involved.

I started reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. One of the opening conversations he has is about why do people do anything? The answer being for good, of course. Depending on the the field of study of the individual determines which good they aspire to. With that said, I believe that everyone-- barring psychopaths--strives for good. Everyone does what they do with the best of intentions. 

There is a lot of ill amongthe politically active. They exaggerate every little thing. It is not rhetoric, it is libel. These stories go on and on about the negatives of this election's candidates. Regardless of whom you want to vote for, they are human beings. Humans make mistakes. We often say contradictory things. We speak in context. We do things that are on the fringe off ethical and legal, especially if it is for the greater good.

With social media and memes, the libel is out of control. I understand that they are meant to be humorous, but the majority of people that share them believe them at face value. Anyone with conflicting views will see them as an affront and inflammatory. This does not lead to sincere discussion at all.

Time Lapse: This article was being written in July, 2016. A lot a has transpired since then.

Recently, there have been quite a few attacks on the smaller independent content creators on the internet. Especially, in the case of YouTubers. Larger mainstream media outlets are trying to become popular on the internet. So, what do they do? Create quality content and spend resources promoting and expanding their viewership. Not even close. They instead go after more popular content creators and concoct stories about them. Unbelievable. What happens when this doesn't work the way they want? They go after the money. Now YouTube is going lengths to demonetize creators of controversial content. The result is a more bland and uninteresting content; and no one can profit from that.

Another big issue with mainstream media is that they do not have writers, or journalists, of quality. They are complete nobodies. With very little formal education. Hell, they don't even bother to proofread their content. The are usually riddled with spelling and grammar issues. They do this on purpose. The companies wrangle in people to squeeze as many articles out as possible for ad revenue. These authors go out of their way to make stories which mostly wind up being complete fake news or complete nonsense.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Racism; Police; Violence

I'll take the bait on this, but here goes. I'll start with the numbers:

Killed by Police so far (as of 9/23) in 2016*
Race Gender Amount
Black Male 199
Black Female 10
White Male 347
White Female 26
Other Both 262
Total 844
Killed by Police in 2015*
Race Gender Amount
Black Male 314
Black Female 14
White Male 494
White Female 31
Other Both 354
Total 1207

So, right off the bat, it is not true to say that police have killed more blacks than any other group. That is not to say that it is proportional. Using 2016's data, blacks account for ~25% of persons killed by police, and account for ~13% of the population. In 2015 blacks killed accounts for ~27%. It's debatable if that is statistically significant, as a sample size of 844/1207 (depending on year) is not reliable for a population of about 324 million.

Besides mathematics, any amount of people killed by police is too many. Even one is too many. How do you fix this? What measures do you take? The Black Lives Matter site is dedicated to a strangely political platform rather than how to deal the issue of police brutality. It seems it has moved to Campaign Zero. These values and ideas are fair and agreeable. This only affects the deaths by police.

There is a greater problem with crime and crime involvement in the black community. They are only ~13% of the population; then they should commit roughly 13% of crimes. However, they commit 27% of all crimes, and the numbers are higher depending on the crime. They commit more than half of all murders and robberies. There's no way that this is the result of profiling. FBI Crime Statistics by Race

How do you solve this issue? There's no system that forces anyone to commit crime. This has to be solved of the community level. I don't think any political movement can change this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Health Insurance: Right or Privilege? Is it even Necessary?

Depending on your view of the constitution this line in the preamble is up for debate: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The bold being what is referred to. However, at the time welfare refers to the well-being.

At the fundamental level health insurance is gambling. You pay periodic premiums on the bet that you will become unhealthy. Eventually, you win the bet, and you have to go through all hell to get the insurance companies to pay your winnings, that is the money to the health provider or laboratory. So be it.

We run into a problem when things like this are forced upon the population. People group and force the government to pass legislation requiring employers to provide insurance. They pass legislation mandating that everyone be insured. This at a basic level is crony capitalism. Forcing people to insure themselves leads to false demand for insurance. Is insurance a scarce resource? This has to be determined if we want to have an actual economic analysis. From the time of the ACA insurance premiums have increased. If demand increases and price increases that means that health insurance is a scarce resource and supply is dwindling. Which that has to be the case as doctors and laboratories are both themselves finite.

Now there is also another effect working here and that's price v. money supply. Whenever the amount of money increases so too do the prices. By the government forcing demand and then subsidizing that same market, you get increased prices. To the end insuree that doesn't seem too bad, but it's a waste of money. It drives prices up for those that do not have insurance as well. Perhaps we've gone to far with this now to turn back. But we have to do something or else this market will act as the housing market did before it.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gun Violence, Gun Control, Gun Stupidity

Population of the US:      323,730,000 [1] (Current)
Registered Gun Owners:   80,000,000 [2] (2010)
Guns:                               310,000,000 [3] (2014)

These statistics may seem a little odd. Nonetheless they are the current statistics (within respective margins of error) of gun ownership in the US. About 25% of the population owns a gun. And there are more guns (by other estimations other than [3]) in the US than actual citizens. Easily explainable buy numerous gun and weapon enthusiasts. There are only the registered guns; who knows how many illegal weapons there may be. 

Deaths by Heart Disease:              611,105 [7] (2013)
Deaths by Cancer:                         584,881 [7] (2013)
Deaths by Suicide:                          40,700 [6] (using the rate of 12.57 per 100,000 in 2013)
Deaths by Motor Vehicle:               32,675 [4] (2014)
Deaths by Murder:                          12,253 [5] (2013)
Deaths by Firearms:                          8,454 [5]
Deaths by murder of other means:   3,799  [5]

It's reasonable to say that murder by a gunman is one of the least likely ways to die. Note also that more murders are done with guns as people are less likely to survive a gun inflicted wound then by other weapons.

With current events [8] [9] [10] it's hard to get lost in the emotions of something as traumatic as losing loved ones. It's really easy to be provoked into thinking that guns are a problem. 

But the real truth is that more people die from preventable natural causes or mental health issues 10-100x more than murder by gun.

That's not too say these incidents of gun violence aren't tragedies; by all means they are. They are just as much of a tragedy as any other death.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Defeat of Sanders; Rise of Trump v. Hillary

The defeat of Bernie Sanders seems to be quite the upset. He's not that great of a candidate begin with. He espouses socialistic policy, but he has a history that cannot make him look true to them. He lived at a commune, which is the smallest form of a socialist society, to which he was kicked from. Why? He didn't not time taking politics then doing actual work. He never worked a steady job and he was the recipient of welfare programs. He was always seemingly poor. He has no skills. According to his policy that "anyone working 40 hours a week should be paid a living wage," does not apply to himself.

Sanders then ran for office. Which he was successful. Mayor for eight years, Representative for 16 years, Senator for nine. Successful so to mean that he has held an office for such a time. His time as a congressman has been unfruitful. He's had only three proposed legislations ever successfully become law. None of which really scream socialist policy.

The man is really a lame duck. Many liked him for whatever reasons, but his time has come and gone. The current Democratic party wants nothing to do with those ideas.

We're left with two candidates now: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both of which are entirely worthless. Neither has any real skill or intelligence they people find attractive.

Clinton was a lawyer for some time. She was a moderately successfully lawyer and professor. She has no real accomplishments other than holding office.

Trump is pretty much a failure as well. Basic academics. OK businessman. Nothing really to note about him.

That's the battle we'll see unfold: two atrocious candidates battle it out over who is less mediocre.