is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Ideology, part II

Yesterday I briefly sketched out why I don't like either major party. For me, the most important issues facing government are our continuing ratcheting down on the rights we are given. The more conservative the federal bench has been getting, the more our free speech, privacy, and equal protection rights get tossed to the wayside. I blame the Republicans primarily for this phenomenon, although as Ralph Nader pointed out during his Quixotic quest for president, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wouldn't have been confirmed but for Democratic support. The minute a politician starts talking about legislation to protect what used to be our constitutional rights, I'm tuned in. Yet, I hear a lot more about tossing people in jail than I do about solving societal problems. Basically, the key political questions of the day aren't being answered by politicians. Hell, they aren't even being asked. The key questions are: Is x a problem? If so,who should solve this problem? Government is the biggest and most powerful tool of our society, but it isn't the only one, nor should it be the first one. It's also a lumbering, slow moving weapon. This is a good reason why more democracy is not necessarily a good thing for our government. Consider the Federal Reserve Board. Of the possible economic tools at the disposal of the government, fiscal policy is too slow and carries too many unintended consequences to use much. Thus, we have an unelected body make the bulk of the decisions that affect our daily economic lives.

So, if we need more liberty, and less government, that makes me a libertarian, right? Well, not exactly. Although the Libertarians start out very well, I'm not so naïve as to think that we can repeal all of our regulations and suddenly the market will take into account such problems as low paying jobs and the environment. It doesn't work like that, and for good economic reasons; they're called externalities and the market doesn't consider them at all. You have to regulate so the corporations don't just do anything you want. Speaking of which, many of these hardcore Libertarians seem to be largely pro-business. Many of our laws for business are complete corporate welfare. Defining corporations as people and giving them the same rights as us is absolutely unconscionable, as is the corporate welfare that is given out. But as far as I'm concerned, the most important thing is the rights, dammit. I mainly don't want people to be defined as more important than me then given the right to do virtually anything they want to, like arrest me for an invented traffic charge to get a reason to impound my car, or otherwise do things to me for arbitrary reasons. As my eighth grade civics teacher, Jim Akey, always said, "Rights? Tell me about rights when you're pulled over at three in the morning. You don't have any rights."

It's that reason primarily why I wasn't very keen on what Ralph Nader did in running for president. He knowingly tubed Gore in favor of Dubya, thus allowing the GOP proxy candidate to take over the White House. Both parties may be corrupt and bad for us, but the Republicans are definitely worse. The reason is that they are meaner. For eight years, the GOP dragged their feet on Federal Judge appointments so that Clinton couldn't have an impact on the makeup of the judiciary. In some cases, they justified these decisions by saying that the federal bench didn't need so many judges. Now that the Dubya administration is in power, you had better believe that not a single seat will be left empty, especially if they have a Scalia/Thomas clone to appoint. Remember that these are lifetime appointments - they will be there forever. The Democrats will predictably roll over and let this happen. Thanks, Nader!

To come - free trade.

Ugh. Too serious, too long

Cowbirds are a type of bird parasite that lay their eggs in other birds' nests and then have the host birds raise their chicks. How, then, do the kids know that they're cowbirds? New research is beginning to shed light on it, and it involves the "armpit hypothesis." Seriously. From Honeyguide.

Hidden in a mushroom gatherers' website, I found this account of an adventurous member's eating of a "poisonous" variety.
12:00 midnight - I have no appetite whatsoever. The mushroom seems to have removed any desire for food or, for that matter, any other sensual pleasures. There have been no "psychedelic" symptoms. No colors pulsating, no shapes changing, nothing like that. The effect is entirely cerebral. It might have been nice to do this with another member of the mycological association, I think, since there is so much to think and talk about. I find the roster of MAW phone numbers and begin calling people; most of them seem strangely groggy, irritated, and uninterested in chatting. Could there be a bug going around?


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