Phooey on Political Parties

Recently this text-meme appeared on the social-media feed of a longtime friend, who also is a consistent, sturdy and respectable conservative.

D

While I agree with this statement, per se, it can be (and based on comments, often is) misinterpreted as pro-Republican. Instead it only lays down the truth about one half of the problem with political parties today.

Most of us who have decided not to play this binary, lesser-of-two-evils game anymore, can see the forest from the trees and clearly understand that BOTH parties have abandoned American exceptionalism, rugged independence, national sovereignty, wholesome family values, and the Constitution. Both treat the Constitution as optional and interpretive instead of as its own literal words read, the founding law of the land, changeable not by interpretation but only by amendment. Republicans too have been guilty of this, capitulating meekly to amoral social leftism and anti-Constitutional ideals such as “free trade”, globalism, unfettered immigration, and domestic spying via CIA and NSA. They have pandered to conservatism in primaries only to go to Washington and turn into a gaggle of center-left slugs who conspire with the Democrats to bloat the national debt, and who and put far more effort into theatrics than accomplishment.

That said, the Ds have gone much, much, much farther askew. They have become dominated by radically far-left lunacy unimaginable 20-30 years ago, and are veering so deeply into the weeds as to be absolutely unrecognizable to those (mostly before my time, sadly) who recall when such a thing as dignified statesmen actually existed in that party. To wit: John Kennedy’s taxation and military principles would be considered “Tea Party” today, and his opinion on so-called “gay marriage” was…what, exactly? I challenge anyone to look it up and tell me. I’d love to go back in a time machine and ask him. The answer likely would shock the sycophants who worship the false god of the rainbow flag.

Democrats? Republicans? Traitorous, one-world puppets and two-faced purveyors of slime, they both have become.

How befitting, really, that a noisy, unhinged, false-conservative opportunist like Trump has taken the Republican Party over from a bunch of weak, spineless, corporatist, bailout-pushing RINO sellouts. Meanwhile the Democrat Party (also decidely corporatist, free-trade puppets of big money…Bernie was right about just that one thing) has been conquered virally by a mass orgy of moral rot and corrupt “leadership” the likes of which only Satan himself can be credited with influence. That is a combination sure to doom this nation for ever and ever, without sure and speedy intervention.

At least 95% of them all should be exported to a faraway island and never allowed back.

Regardless of your inclinations–conservative, liberal, libertarian or some blend of the three, vote third party this cycle–and work to end political parties altogether. Political parties are corrupt, insular, lobbyist- and corporation-controlled bastions of greed and payoffs, and are malignant tumors destroying this country. As they are not enumerated in the literal words of the Constitution as a functional part of governance; national political parties are unconstitutional.

All national elections should be nonpartisan, with only names on the ballots. This way votes are cast solely on the stated positions of candidates, and we can work toward what we should have had from the start: a positional, issues-based meritocracy, instead of an executive and legislative branch controlled by distant, detached, elitist, globalist, “we know what’s best for you” arrogance, wolves in sheeps’ clothing, offering partisan machine politics where Democrat and Republican are distinguishable only by conveniently divisive hot-button issues.

Brexit: Calm Down, Knee-Jerk Reactionary Fools!

Several days ago, a majority of the British people, in a fair and open democratic referendum, and with a margin comparable to the Obama-Romney election here, voted to pull out of the bureaucratic and regulatory quagmire known as the European Union.

I’m not going to pretend to be any sort of expert on the logistic or economic details of the “Brexit” maneuver. Yet I guarantee I’ve read more about it than 95% of the instant-experts on social media, who had no clue about it a month in advance, yet somehow grossly overestimate the meaningfulness of their day-after knee-jerk thoughts thereabout. All I can do is draw some parallels to tendencies I see every day in the news and in the society here, and draw upon experts I do read, most from the homeland of our former colonial overlords.

Brexit, in many ways, was inevitable. Ivory-tower left-wingers on this side of the pond have been casting the vote as “xenophobia” (example). Bullshit. American leftist Bill Maher, of all people, countered nicely: Is it really a phobia if you really have something to be afraid of?

Or, as Ian Tuttle put it: “They are unable to believe they may be wrong, so their opponents must be irrational bigots.” “Bigot”, of course, is a common, hackneyed, petty, laughable, increasingly meaningless, ad hominem slur, arising from the insular catacombs of a leftism that acts so self-congratulatory when some election result does go their way. No, xenophobia had nothing important to do with it. Instead, authentic, real-world concerns of real people did.

In addition to immigration, and likely more importantly, the issue of globalism was at play. The opposite of anti-globalism is not “xenophobia”. The latter simply is a convenient and patronizing pejorative used by the economic, bureaucratic and (pseudo-)intellectual elite for those they perceive as ignorant, drooling rubes. This is done to elicit head nods from the agreeable fellow members of the herd, as I’ve seen commonly on social media.

Go the globalists: “Clap clap clap…yes they’re xenophobes, clap clap clap, yes they’re xenophobes! Thank you sir, shall we pander to one another some more, and continue with our patronizing, elitist puffery…”

Instead the opposite of globalism is more properly termed sovereignty. Boris Johnson, who actually is English and is immersed in this issue deeply, elucidates this well, as he assures us all from within that the U.K. still is part of Europe, and isn’t going to collapse into a smoldering heap of ashes.

The reasoned people who supported this (yes, they exist!) cast a vote substantially for sovereignty, or if you prefer, against the slow-creep toward one-world governance. And yes, there were young voters who voted for this also; this fact is being swept under the rug. Minority or not, they clearly matter(ed). And yes, there were highly educated people who voted for this; that also is being conveniently ignored. I have read a few of their well-reasoned essays. But if one wants to take the easy road and label this “xenophobia”, it’s apparent the proletariat aren’t the ignorant ones.

Yet for expressing this layered, textured idea, I’ve been labeled “absolutist”. Hardly! Indeed, to dig deeper than that is the farthest from “absolutist”–but instead peels into layers of the onion that aren’t so readily apparent.

One of these is the supposed “regret” bloc that is receiving attention far out of proportion to its size of assorted well-publicized individuals. This is so short-sighted and irrational. If you’re going to vote one way and second-guess that the next day, you should have studied the issue better, or stayed home. Your vote is your word…too late now, grasshopper. That passionate one-night stand is done and you must live with your decision. Such is the case in any election in any nation.

Two days is much too short of a time to determine ramifications. The meaningful consequences of this vote, for better or worse, will unfold over 5-10 years. Rantings of pundits this soon thereafter are worthless drivel (it’s way, way, way too soon!)–much akin to NFL draft-grading before the players have even reported to training camp. That (including the aforementioned buyer’s remorse reactions) is itself reactionary, emotional, shortsighted.

Whither the shock and rage over losing value in the equities and monetary exchange markets? That is a very overstated, short-fused gnat fart when you graph it versus the past seven years’ bull market; if we do happen to go to into bear mode soon, factors far larger, deeper and darker than Brexit will be responsible.

Brexit is a sign simply and foremost of working-class disillusionment with an inertial and bloated bureaucratic establishment, globalist trade policy, unfettered immigration at the expense of domestic jobs and security, and loss of both economic and sociopolitical national sovereignty. It’s very loosely similar to some sentiments behind the Trump phenomenon here–but not necessarily in the way you might think at first.

Instead, it’s a manifestation of democracy as it should work: enough people get sick and tired of what those in power are doing and want to go a different way. Personally I wish that “way” in the U.S., were a truly intelligent leader like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, and not a conceited, false-conservative buffoon like Trump, who is driving me even farther out of the Republican Party than the reprehensible “RINO” establishment in DC did. But for all his flaws, he (along with the authentically principled, if misguided, Bernie Sanders) has figured out one thing: there is a lot of discontent with the “way things are” out there and an intense desire to knock it down and start over.

In the U.K., the people had their vote. Agree with it or not, we should respect it. Or as more than one Obama voter obnoxiously and pompously stated after 2008: “Deal with it”.

As for the anti-establishment sentiment here, I refuse to support a candidate entirely devoid of integrity, whether “establishment” (HRC) or pretending to be anti-establishment (Trump). I will not play that binary-choice game anymore. Hillary and Bill Clinton (and they are a package deal, remember) are classic corporate-globalist tools (not to mention corrupt as hell), and Trump is simply deranged. Neither gives a whit about the Constitution in full; either would ratchet domestic spying and Constitutional evasion to new levels. I’ll be voting third-party; hence, don’t blame me for whatever happens when either of those two egomaniacal head cases attains the presidency.

The Proper Roles of Hype and Emotion in Science

Recently a few respected scientific colleagues responded to some findings regarding the relatively warm global surface temperatures apparent so far in 2016, compared to the previous year(s), with adjectives such as “stunning”, “shocking”, “disturbing”, etc. Why?

As scientists, is our purpose to act stunned, shocked, saddened or ecstatic (depending on our emotional attachment to the findings or sociopolitical biases revolving thereabouts)?

Alternatively, should we dismiss the temptation to launch hyperbole and simply present scientific findings to media and policy-makers in a factual, levelheaded, mature manner?

I advocate the latter. It is not our purview to influence policy or public opinion on the merits of our own work (or others’ research that directly involves ours); in fact one can argue that it is a conflict of interest. To any extent I may have done so ever, I ask for forgiveness.

Moreover, hyping and exclaiming results also leads to cumbersome, divisive backlash that can range from nuisance-grade distraction to substantially counterproductive to completely self-defeating. That wastes time and concentration that could be used to do science. Instead, we simply should present results, be open, reproducible and accountable about what we’re doing, and let the policymakers and opinions go from there.

If the data, methods and conclusions are robust, and can stand up to scrutiny, they will stand the test of time and attacks by ignorant non-scientists. As I often say, “Excellence is self-evident.” Also: “Excellence needs no self-advertisement.” Nor does it need embellishment from emotionally derived hyperbole. Humility and calm still have a place…or at least they should!

    “But…but…we’re humans, not robots! We have emotions!”

Acknowledged. True, yet irrelevant. To counter: we’re humans, not subhumans. This means the ability — and responsibility — to compartmentalize in a self-disciplined way, to extinguish the smoldering, toxic cigarette of emotion when we need to be objective and analytical. Snarling wolves arguing over a kill can’t turn off their rage or overexuberance, but we are higher-order sentient intellects than that. We can…and should.

It’s great to have a burning, chronically motivational baseline of passion about our fields of study; otherwise why do it? Yet in science, sometimes we need to be able to question, critique and even attack our own work dispassionately, and flip the switch off our egos and self-investments. We need to be prepared to defend our work objectively when it is robust, and to falsify it when counter-evidence appears. Check your emotions at the lab door. Those without that level of self-discipline are not well-suited for science and should consider other lines of work.

Scientists who find themselves emotionally invested in their research should back off that work until such time as it can be done more objectively, or pass it off to someone who has more maturity and self-control. Sure, results may surprise us; that’s the nature of any anti-hypothetical finding. However, hypotheses are meant to be refuted as much as supported. When I am doing research, I am not “shocked Roger”, nor “astounded Roger”, nor “conservative/libertarian Roger”. Those things are dropped off in a box and left there to pick up at the end of the research hours. Why? Easy: they are immaterial to the data, analyses and conclusions.

Data don’t care what we “feel”. The results simply are what they are. We analyze, report and conclude. Why add hype to that? To generate clickbait and draw attention to ourselves in order to pander to fawning from the frothing e-mobs with ten-second attention spans? I pray not! What we do as scientists is not about self, nor about shock-and-awe, but about science, about assessing evidence and offering the results thereof. To inform, not to titillate…otherwise we become walking mini-versions of TV “crockumentaries”, entertainers instead of informers, foolishly validating ourselves as scientists by how loudly an audience claps and whistles at our dog-and-pony act.

The Venn diagrams of reason and hype don’t overlap. And science, above all, is about logic and reason. Keep shock and shouting out of it and compartmentalized elsewhere, in other realms of life. Keep reasoned, keep cool and keep humble. Away from the lab or cubicle walls, in the world outside our own scientific studies, there’s plenty to be about which to be shocked, disturbed, dismayed, thrilled, ecstatic, enraged, etc. Inside: drill into the science and do it with utmost focus, unadulterated by emotional contamination.

Next Page →