Archive for December, 2008

The Environment

December 24, 2008

The United People firmly hold that the government needs to protect peoples’ lives, property, and freedom from one another. In order to do that, the government must regulate the environment. However, though it is very easy to draw the line of lives over property, drawing the line between environmental groups’ freedom and someone else’s property rights is a different matter. Let’s illustrate with a few examples.

There is a village in China, called the ‘Cancer Village’, because 73.1% of deaths are caused by cancer. The village’s main source of water, the Laza River, is polluted upstream by a government owned mining corporation, the Dabaoshan Mining Company. This leads to a shortage of water for the villagers to drink, and poisonous crops for the farmers.

The United People would solve this type of problem by regulating air, land, and water, with the guideline of protecting one person’s life over another person’s property. In this case, scientific evidence clearly shows that many of the deaths in the village are caused by cancer, and can be linked to the cancerous river. The United People would then place limitations on the offending company, and enforce those limitations by taking away the company’s land if it fails to cooperate.

However, in cases such as the Clean Air Act, the United People would require extensive research and double blind experiments from multiple private institutions over several years to prove that such an act is necessary. Also notice that in the Clean Air Act,   research was proposed with restrictions at the same time – educating and deciding in the same piece of legislation. Such an approach is both naive and counter intuitive. The United People firmly hold that such decisions hurt the economy and American lifestyles(as they require private institutions to allot more resources to processes that do not earn either the consumer or the producer any profit), and should only be made after extensive research, or during a national emergency. Since neither situation had arisen prior to the passing of the Clean Air Act, the United People oppose it.

Another reason the United People oppose over-zealous environmental regulation, is that we as a nation simply do not have enough information to make such large decisions. Several examples illustrate this point. As recently as the 1990s, scientists believed in global cooling, but now they believe in global warming. Proponents of the global warming movement cite things such as ‘scientific consensus’ as basis for their argument… but so did global cooling proponents. The problem is that human beings have just not been recording data long enough to make any sort of regulatory decision yet. The United People does not oppose regulation in and of itself – but it does oppose blind regulation, such as what is going on today.

Another case of human failure in environmental knowledge are Biosphere 2 and BIOS-3. In both cases, humans attempted to create a miniature environment on a small scale, and to regulate it themselves. In the case of biosphere 2, the experiments were failures. The first mission lasted two years, but only with oxygen injections from outside, and the humans inside constantly reported hunger due to scarcity of food. The second mission dissolved prematurely due to management conflicts.

In BIOS-3, the longest experiment was only about half a year, and dried meat was imported from the outside to support the inhabitants.

So to conclude; mankind is simply not prepared to regulate or understand a small environment, much less the global environment. And because of this, the United People is extremely skeptical of environmental regulations without scientific evidence that provides a direct link between cause and effect.

Congress, progress, and failure.

December 6, 2008

Failure. It’s a word people use to describe lots of different things in life. If a company venture doesn’t work out, they call it a failure. If the economy is bad during an administration, they call it a failure. If the pizza comes out of the oven burnt, they call it a failure. And if the cake at the wedding reception falls all over the floor, they call it a failure.

Our Congress and President often try so desperately to stop failure, but what they don’t realize is that countries which try to prevent failure end up halting progress. And just like trying to stop a vehicle on a steep hill covered in ice, not moving forward often leads to moving backward.

Failure is a sign that ‘you’re doing something wrong’. If a beekeeper goes out to the hive and picks up the honey combs without any gloves, he receives a few bee stings and learns to wear gloves next time. The United States did not succeed at every thing with the very first try – we have adapted through failure.

All that anger directed at the private industry for ‘greed’ and ‘bad decisions’? It’s actually the government’s fault. It’s a little known fact that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were actually created by the government. And now the government wants to reward foolish behaviour both in the GSEs and in the private industry? Rewards for failure, regulation against success. People often talk about the government taking over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as if  they are not government controlled already, which is simply not true. There were many attempts over the past few years for reform in the two GSEs, but an agreement was not reached.

Here is an interesting book from 2004 that argues to privatize Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Failure happens. Alot of questioning goes on, as it should. Americans have a right to know why the failure happened and where it happened. But commonly spread rumors that go unresearched are both dangerous to our economy, and to our freedom.

Science reports

December 6, 2008

Do you believe in global warming? Are eggs good for you?

Many people don’t do fact checks when they hear something in the media. A good idea is to see if the news station you are listening to cites sources to where they are getting their data, and then to find where the funding comes from for the source cited. Here is a short read on the subject.