Thursday, April 28, 2011

QotD: There Is No Fairy Godmother Edition

From Robb Allen in the comments section of his blog:
...[O]ur neighbors are constantly granting powers to the gov't that they were never allowed to have. Too many people traded in their freedom for the illusion of safety and, in the deal, traded in yours as well.

You can get rid of Obama. Do it today because his birth certificate didn't have an 'i' dotted correctly or whatever, but the fact remains that Barack Hussein Obama is not the sole source of the problem that you can take out with a single strike. The rot runs
deep, and there's no birth certificate that will magically clear all that up.
The whole birth certificate thing is just the flip side to the Magical Thinking coin that got us into this mess in the first place.

Whether it be a magical government that will care for them in their old age at little cost to them, or a magical piece of paper that will make the Bad Man go away and all the bad stuff unhappen, or a magical Day of the Wookie when suddenly the clock is turned back to some never-happened Golden Age (let's not forget that the ink was barely dry on the Constitution before federal troops were marching against tax-protesting militia kooks,) people want some Magical Solution to hard, real-world problems, and all it winds up doing is making the problems worse.

19 comments:

Tango Juliet said...

“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.” -- H. L. Mencken, "Why Liberty?" January 30, 1927

Tango Juliet said...

Also very much worth repeating:

Liberal: The right laws can get us good results.
Conservative: The right leadership can get us good results.
Libertarian: Government activity can't get us good results.
- Aretae

atlharp said...

The birther thing was a legitimate beef, but regardless it is nothing more than a distraction from our real problem. The fact is that Obama isn't the problem, but a symptom. At the end of the day it is all the people that voted him into office who are the problem and still cannot realize that they fucked up royally. The same way that birthers cannot let this issue go is the same type of mindset that does not allow Obama's most faithful to proclaim "I don't care, he is awesome!" The fact is to be learning from your mistakes, not repeating them.

theirritablearchitect said...

Tam,

Do you think you can get this message across to, say, 51% of the dolts who inhabit this fair land?

Me neither...but well put regardless.

Y.T. said...

+10

Magical thinking is common everywhere. A lot of people are still in denial that the oil is (slowly)running out and energy won't ever get cheaper than it is now.

But they're looking for easy technofixes and dreaming about flying cars. (even if all US cars were electric, you'd still need about two hundred good sized nuclear plants to provide the power).

That's some trillions in investment and completely unacceptable to the TV-watching idiots.

GuardDuck said...

Magical thinking is common everywhere. A lot of people are still in denial that the oil is (slowly)running out...

Which is more than balanced by the people who believe that the oil will 'magically' dry up overnight. Meaning they want the gov't to extort money from me now in order to spend it dreaming up new fanciful methods of producing power that is more expensive that the oil we already have.

Tell you what, after we have actually drilled for oil everywhere we can, and after we have utilized more expensive methods to pump out oil that isn't as easy to get out, and after we can't squeeze any more oil out of shale and sandstone and every other place that isn't just sitting there waiting for us to scoop it into a waiting tanker....

After all that, if the actual free market hasn't been able to react to the rising prices of oil by producing it's own alternatives to oil then I'd bet you that the only government action we'd need is for the government to stop interfering so that the free market could, you know, be free.

Ken said...

Sometimes I think the biggest piece of magical thinking of all is that we could delegate the right to initiate force to people who actively sought it, and that it would somehow turn out well.

(Exeunt grumbling, to mend moth holes in wookiee suit...)

Y.T. said...


Tell you what, after we have actually drilled for oil everywhere we can, and after we have utilized more expensive methods to pump out oil that isn't as easy to get out, and after we can't squeeze any more oil out of shale and sandstone and every other place that isn't just sitting there waiting for us to scoop it into a waiting tanker....

Your problem is, that building a large scale coal to oil plant takes a decade, if you have no nimby problem. Costs for such production are on the order of $35-50 per barrel. (South Africa has large coal to oil industry).

How many plants are being built in the US? Zero. Wanna bet on the average price of oil, in gold ounces over the next decade?

I doubt the 'free market' would be so wise as to foresee, fifteen years before oil starts to get really, really expensive that it's about fucking time to start building those plants.

Even if it had perfect info, which it hasn't. (Countries lie through their teeth about their oil reserves).

And shale sands oil production by baking out the oil with natural gas fire is an enviromental atrocity of the highest order. What's left is a polluted moonscape. I mean, were they using nuclear heat to do that, okay.

GuardDuck said...

building a large scale coal to oil plant takes a decade

It took less time to build the continental railroad - without machines to do the labor.

Sounds like another 'get the government out of the way' problem.

Nathan said...

building a large scale coal to oil plant takes a decade

The above is an unserious argument.

We knew nearly 40 years ago when the ragheads cut us off the first time that we needed to drill, or build the coal to oil plant, or build new nuclear plants. And we did nothing. We could have built four generations of ten-year energy-independence infrastructure by now.

I don't care if it takes ten years to accomplish. If we never start in the first place, it will always be ten years till it's ready.

Y.T. said...

@Guardduck

US DoE actually commissioned a report once on how to mitigate a liquid fuels crisis. The Hirsch report. Not done by a crank but by a scholar. They paid for it and then forgot about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_report

He put the oil peak at 2015. That'll prove to be too optimistic.. and most likely the date when people realize shit really has hit the fan..

BTW, when US was building the continental railroad, how many affluent, lawyers infested suburbs were bulldozed because they were in the way, or afflicted with unsightly views?

Railroad is also much pretty easy to build, especially when the quality is shoddy. Large scale chemical industry, and especially pollution control for that.. something entirely else. Lot more components, lot more interdepencies.. etc.

Tam said...

"Scholar" /(ˈskälər)/ n.: Crank with whom I agree.

docjim505 said...

GaurdDuck and Nathan are dead right. Every friggin' time we talk about building a new refinery, power plant, oil well, etc., we are told, "Oh, no! That'll take TEN WHOLE YEARS to do! So, as you can plainly see, there's no point in even trying."

O' course, if we're talking about "green energy", time doesn't matter. I've talked to people who just sort of blithely assume that all those racist technical problems will just sort of work themselves out and solar and wind farms will produce all the power we need (it's a miracle!), and don't know / care that these predicted technical miracles may take years (perhaps never).

GuardDuck said...

Railroad is also much pretty easy to build, especially when the quality is shoddy.

Oh, ok. Then put this in your pipe: It took the US/Soviets five years to put a man into space and just over twelve years to put people on the moon.

I don't think building a refinery is so complex that you can't throw one up in less than a year.

Y.T. said...

@Tam
Imho, a proper survey would find far less cranks(people who hold irrational beliefes) among people who have hard science phd's from reputable universities than among any demographic.

Women on the other hand..are more likely than men to subscribe to irrational beliefs such as religion or astrology.

@Guardduck

Because it was just scaled up ICBM's and showmanship. Lot of money spent, little return.

Apollo was a colossal waste of money,and one that destroyed the only chance at serious space exploration there ever was.

Project Orion would've meant manned Mars and Jupiter missions before the end of 20th century. And those'd be real spaceships, weighing tens of thousands of tons, not fireworks like Apollo.

GuardDuck said...

Because it was just scaled up ICBM's

And a coal to oil refinery is just a scaled up moonshine still.


@Tam - Hey baby, what's your sign? :)

Tam said...

Y.T.,

"Imho..."

You've never had a h.o. in your life.

Y.T. said...

I've had them, but like you, I'm more likely to share those that may be humble but are offensive to someone..

Will Brown said...

Y.T.

Not just "someone", bub.

As regards the whole "birth certificate" thing; this was an interesting issue in the Spring of 2008 as the constitutional qualification speaks to eligability to stand for/be elected to the office of President. Once the Electoral College has held it's vote and the result conveyed to the Secretary of State, the issue becomes moot as the winner of the election is legally the President (Elect) of the United States. Once that occurs, the only mechanism the Constitution allows for removal of a President from office is the Impeachment process. Anything else is some form of rebellion, which the Constitution also speaks to.

President Obama is (and lawfully will remain) President until he is no longer eligible to retain the office, or he does something that is overwhelmingly regarded (by the House of Representatives, not to put too fine a point on things) as rising to the level of an impeachable act while in office.

As to his having to show a copy of his birth certificate to someone at some point during the campaign, I looked into the requirements for declaring oneself a candidate (which vary by state) and Obama's being a sitting US Senator at the time of his declaration of candidacy would have preempted any such requirement, as that office requires US citizenship too.

The First Rule Of Tautology being what it is, that's still how it works. Ask any US Senator ...