Tag Archives: ignorance

Nothing will pervert the English language more than the advancement of political-correctness

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Being an American, I cannot refute the notion that we have changed the English language in such a way that the Queen would not be pleased.

Thanks in large part to Noah Webster, American-English is unique through economized spellings of words such as “color” versus “colour.”

Noah Webster
Noah Webster

But while those in the Eastern hemisphere may consider what we’ve done sacrilege, we think of it as merely more efficient. Us Americans, if nothing else, are historically quite productive, we simply don’t have time for superfluous letters—they just slow us down. (Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek; please hold the hate-mail.)

But unfortunately, we’ve launched a new breed of people who feel that we need to alter our language to make America a kinder nation as well. And so began the era of political-correctness.

The reasons for this practice generally fall into one of three categories:

  • A term has evolved into a status of disrespect; such as the anthropological word negroid devolving into a perverted version with such a hateful history, few people dare to utter it, and in so doing, almost completely eliminating its similarly sounding and scientifically accurate origin from normal discourse.
  • A marketing strategy to find a term that will sell your product better than a more accurate description. For instance, the PGA’s Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior Tour until 2002, when the PGA decided to change the name. This despite the fact that in order to play on this tour, you don’t have to be a former champion, but simply a senior of at least fifty years of age, making this name change disingenuous at best.
  • A deceptive maneuver to somehow differentiate what you’re describing in a way that makes it unique, and somehow more palatable in the opinion of the person using it. Such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling” from Chris Martin, which despite her best efforts to sugarcoat it, is simply a divorce.

    Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin and Family
    Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin and Family

My problem with political-correctness is the destruction of scientifically accurate terms in favor of touchy-feely ones, which often muddy the waters of what is trying to be said.

If you’re at least one generation older than children of today, you grew up referring to someone with a learning defect as mentally retarded. Anyone who works on cars knows the word retarded is simply the opposite of advanced. It is not an insult, it is accurate. It simply implies that they will learn at a slower pace than someone without a learning defect.
But today, we’re expected to say mentally disabled, a term that means, “unable due to injury or illness.”

I’ve known many people with this learning defect, and I can attest that they are quite capable of learning, it is simply more difficult for them to do so. As such, I find it insulting to call them disabled, when they are indeed able to learn, just merely slower at it than that which is considered typical for the average human.

The term “African-American” has almost completely replaced the biological term negroid, as was mentioned earlier, although black is still very common and widely accepted despite it not being any more accurate than calling Caucasians white. But isn’t this prejudiced in its own right?

The terms African and American refer to someone who is born, raised, or living in Africa or America, and when adjoined, should indicate someone who has been born, raised, or lived in both.

But if I were to encounter a Jamaican visiting the United States for instance, by calling him African-American, I’ve prejudged him by the color of his skin by referring to him as such. And in so doing, potentially insulted him if he’s a patriot who loves his home country of Jamaica.i-am-a-jamaican[1]

What is scientifically accurate should not be replaced by what is deemed friendlier or has better public perception. When we do this, we pervert our language in such a way as to confuse those who may not speak it fluently, and we erode the ability to have truly honest discourse.

But a more important issue for me is that there is only one time when it is acceptable to be offended, and that’s when someone is purposefully disrespectful with the intent to offend.

In giving the easily offended these linguistic victories, we enable their dishonesty and fake outrage. But no one likes the easily offended, and by enabling them, we merely encourage the attention-starved among us to be more like them.

Instead, we should strive to use words that are accurate, even if there is a negative connotation that may go along with them.

While I understand that divorce is rarely seen as a positive, are the Paltrow/Smith children really better off by calling a divorce a conscious uncoupling?

This differentiation insinuates divorce must somehow be unconscious, as if to say one day, in your sleep, you unwittingly drafted up divorce papers, and your partner woke up, and thought, “Hmm, I should sign this thing, whatever it is.”

At ten and eight years old, I’m pretty comfortable their children understand what is going on is a divorce, and calling it anything different is only serving to confuse them. It’s not what they call the process that matters, it’s how they present the situation to their children. As long as it’s done in an honest manner, and in such a way that the children understand that it won’t affect their love for them, semantics are completely unnecessary, and often counter-productive.

Maybe I’m a bit prejudiced since I call myself The Logical Libertarian, but can’t we all agree logic should trump opinion? That accuracy should trump fallacies? I will not lower myself to the level of the easily offended; it’s incumbent on them to be better at identifying that which is truly offensive, then learning to accept everything else. They’re the ones preaching tolerance and understanding, it’s time they practiced what they preached.

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Can I be GM’s new CEO?

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In 2009, a very bad thing happened. GM went from being General Motors, a privately held and operated corporation, to General Motors, a majority-share government-owned corporation. After a Chapter 11 filing, in order to save a company deemed too big to fail, the government bought out 864 million shares of the available 1.4 billion. While it was not a hostile state takeover that would make Fidel Castro proud, let’s look at some of the highlights here.General Motors

  • In 2008, GM began losing money, partly due to a crippled economy. However, this could have been managed if not for unreasonable and unwavering demands from the UAW. GM executives at the time, headed by then CEO Rick Wagoner, had decided that bankruptcy would likely be the solution. This would allow GM to terminate and renegotiate new, more manageable union contracts, enabling GM to survive into 2009 and beyond.
  • December 19th 2008: Then President George W. Bush approved TARP which in total, gave $17.4 billion to General Motors and Chrysler in an effort to prevent such a bankruptcy.
  • February of 2009: GM makes it known that the bailouts had not solved their solvency issues and bankruptcy still seems to be the most likely option.
  • March 29, 2009: In a deal we will likely never know the details of, current president Barack Obama ousters CEO Rick Wagoner in hopes of preventing a bankruptcy that would ultimately harm the UAW. It was stated that Wagoner “agreed to step down,” which we all know is code for “He was offered something to step down and shut up so that we didn’t have to fire him publicly and have him tell people what actually happened.” There can be no doubt Wagoner did not want to step down, he was turning GM around. Obama then replaces him with Fritz Henderson.
  • July 2009: Federal government buys a controlling interest in the new General Motors after bankruptcy.
  • November 2010, Government sells approximately 358 million of its 864 million shares back to private investors, thus relinquishing a controlling interest, but losing $11 billion dollars of taxpayer money doing so.

    Rick Wagoner
    Rick Wagoner

I understand that Bush and Obama felt GM was too big to fail, and certainly had GM closed its doors, it could have seriously hurt the American economy. But no one was proposing that, nor even reasonably insinuating it would happen. The intent was to reorganize and draft more manageable UAW contracts, not close the doors.

As this debate raged on, I watched a labor union rep say in an interview that GM’s issues had nothing to do with labor unions; that it was purely about the economy. Interesting argument since the facts were that non-union automakers, with significantly lower labor costs, while hurting from the economy, were still quite solvent. Such lies and/or delusions are quite common among the UAW ranks.

In a properly free market, as GM sales were down, GM should have had the flexibility to cut staff, lessen benefit expenditures, reduce hours, or whatever it took in order to insure the solvency of their organization; something labor unions simply won’t allow. The idea that the UAW weren’t contributing to the problem is absurd.

However, the UAW isn’t the only villain. Since Obama is a friend to the unions, he felt it was his duty to intervene and protect them as best he could from the bankruptcy Wagoner would have negotiated. So Rick Wagoner was forcibly removed from office so that Obama could bring in new CEO Fritz Henderson; one who would manage such a bankruptcy if it occurred, in such a way as to benefit the UAW the greatest.

Fritz Henderson
Fritz Henderson

The problem? Any contract GM signs should be done with the best interests of GM in mind, period. The UAW conversely should negotiate the best deal for themselves. But when both sides are working for the betterment of one side over the other, that’s not a negotiation, that’s corruption.

And so it was, the UAW got a fully loaded Cadillac, and the taxpayers and General Motors got a driveshaft in the rear entrance. You can read about this UAW inspired, Obama approved corruption here.

So the money Bush approved in order to prevent bankruptcy was a waste. It obviously didn’t work; GM filed for bankruptcy anyway. The sale of GM stock later by the government, another big loss. Whether we lose on what we still own—only time will tell.

In my opinion, the problems don’t end there though.

President Obama knows that the people frown on government directing a private company, but he’s not exactly known for his humility. He has demonstrated he will do what he desires to do, then figure out a way to present it to the American people in such a way that they’ll accept something they would otherwise not support.

So a man who has zero private sector experience, zero automotive experience, zero management experience, and zero business administration experience decided that in an ultimate show of hubris, he somehow knew what was better for America’s largest corporation than its current CEO who had a significant amount of experience in all the aforementioned areas.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Imagine if Obama decided he could perform surgery better than a practicing physician who may have just lost a patient. Then he gives medical advice to this doctor’s patients contrary to what the doctor prescribed. Whether the doctor is sub-par or not, Obama would have absolutely no business doing this—it would be a serious breech of ethics.

As a person who spent over 20 years of my professional life involved in both the sales and service management of new and used automobiles, I literally have infinitely more experience in this arena than Obama. Anything times zero is infinity before you accuse me of hyperbole. The only difference? I’m smart and humble enough to know that I’m not qualified to run General Motors.

When Dr Rand Paul weighs in on medical issues, he knows what he’s talking about. When Obama weighs in on legal issues, he knows what he’s talking about, even if he’s not a practicing lawyer. But nothing qualified him to make a single decision regarding the management of General Motors.

We expect our presidents to be strong, confident, even a little arrogant on occasion. Maybe it’s the same phenomenon of implied danger that drives good people to date bad people. But if America is to have an effective leader, that person should have the humility to understand their duties are to protect our rights, not drive a market which has a nearly infinite greater wealth of experience than any one person could have.

This boondoggle cost us taxpayers billions, and we are no better for it. Much like the false belief that Roosevelt saved the American economy after the great depression, Obama didn’t save the auto industry either.

The president represents the state, and state-run markets are never good—there’s more than enough history in this world to know free-markets are always better. If GM manages to achieve success again, it will be despite Obama and the UAW, not because of it.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_Chapter_11_reorganization

http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg959.aspx

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/march-29-president-obama-fires-ceo-general-motors-132056452.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123836090755767077.html

Government is you. Act like it!

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

One of the things that I find most troubling with the public’s attitude towards government is the misunderstanding of what the government is, what it is for, and how it was designed to be used.

We elect representatives to protect our rights, as enumerated in the Constitution, but that are deemed innate among each of us, simply be virtue of being alive. If we strictly adhered to the Constitution, that’s pretty much all government would do.

Then, for reasons I can find little logic to justify, we let them do other things like carry the mail, administer health care, manage our retirement, and even study the effect of pot on a man’s most prized appendage.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind people what our forefathers intended for government: it is essentially an extension of you. We pay our government officials to do things that we can’t be bothered to do ourselves because we don’t have the individual resources, money, time, or expertise. Everything the government does, is literally done at your behest.

Below are a few glaring examples of where government has overstepped its Constitutionally-defined bounds. But using these examples, I’m sure you can think of many more; which is why I have a “comments” section below this post. Please, spout off at your leisure.

For those of you, like me, that do not use recreational drugs such as marijuana, I have a bit of information that may surprise you: I solemnly swear to you that you have several acquaintances that smoke marijuana. If you’re a realist, you already know this. But if you’re a prude, you’re saying, “I would never be friends with someone like that.” I promise if you are the latter, you are indeed friends with someone like that—they just know you’re a prude and bite their tongue to avoid your reaction.http://localtvkdvr.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/marijuana-joint.jpg?w=400

So imagine that this person happens to be your favorite neighbor, which it probably is, because trust me when I tell you that marijuana users can be quite entertaining. Now imagine if you knew they were smoking it next door. Would you go over, barge in, put a gun to their head, and demand they stop immediately or you’ll use deadly force?

I’m guessing your answer is no.

Conversely, if you knew your favorite neighbor were over there molesting a child or murdering their spouse, unless you’re the most depraved of individuals among us, you would not hesitate to intervene and potentially stop them with deadly force.

So the difference is obvious. One is a personal choice without a victim. One is a blatant infringement on someone’s right to life and liberty.

So if you insist on making something illegal, at least hold yourself to a standard that says you would intervene yourself if there were no such thing as government to do it for you. Because in both the above scenarios, if you call 911, people with guns will shop and potentially use lethal force on your behalf.Utah-DPS-SWAT[1]

The other issue is a little more subtle, yet equally troubling; tolerating things you wouldn’t dream of tolerating if it were done to you personally.

Imagine you had a nice house with an unused extra bedroom. A friend of yours is down on their luck, lost their job, and can’t afford the apartment they’re currently in. So you offer to let them stay at your place rent free because you’re a good person, and you believe that it will be a short-term cohabitation.

The days turn into weeks, then months. You even tell your friend about some job leads you’ve heard of that you know he could do, but your friend’s answer is always the same.

While I’m living here off of you and not paying anything, I’m going to ride it out for my ideal job.  I could take a lesser job for now in order to earn something while looking for a better job during my off time, but I’d rather not.

Is there anyone among you that wouldn’t grab that freeloader by the scruff of their neck, bury your foot in their salad shooter, and tell them never to come back? I’d be furious! Yet we all allow this to happen every single day with unemployment insurance. That’s your money they’re living off of! Many could work and take a less optimal job, but they choose not to while there’s “free money” just lying around.freeloader-beer-2[1]

If you read my previous post about privatizing everything, and you think I’m onto something, then maybe it’s time to do some serious blue sky thinking and look at getting rid of government subsidized unemployment insurance in favor of a private version.

You may point out that no one offers private unemployment insurance. Ss far as I know, you’re likely be right. But that’s only because the government has a monopoly on it; and therefore private insurers aren’t bothering to even try. You’re being pilfered for the government’s unemployment insurance, so why would anyone pay additionally for a private option on top of that since opting out of Uncle Sam’s isn’t allowed? https://logicallibertariandotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/20110316_unclesamgrope.jpg

I propose that we demand the government give people their money back and let them use that money to buy private insurance if they want, or live with the consequences of that risk if they choose not to. Liberty doesn’t just mean you have the right to have fun and enjoy life, it also means you have the right to gamble and fail. I will never acknowledge someone was successful if there was no risk of failure to begin with.

One thing I know about the private sector is this. If there’s a market for something, there’s an entrepreneur willing to provide it for a fee. If you get rid of the government monopoly on such things, private insurers would surely offer unemployment insurance for a nominal fee. Likely for less than the government does, and with far less waste and abuse.

So remember, if you wouldn’t do it yourself if you could, don’t ask government to do it for you.

Science and Skepticism – Don’t allow democrats to claim it as their own

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I consider myself to be agnostic/atheist.  I am not a devout atheist who has an active believe that there is no God nor am I a true agnostic who maintains that it is impossible to know if there is a God.  I am in the middle—I readily admit that I personally do not know if there is a God.

I must also confess that other than my public K-12 education, I’ve received no formal training in science. I am however, a science geek, and I’d like to point out a basic tenet of science and skepticism that I’ve learned:

A person should not assume something to be true until they have evidence to support it. We humans, especially politicians, have this incessant need to purport to know everything. When we don’t understand something, we often opt for a reason of convenience instead of just saying those three beautiful words: “I don’t know” or the three even more lovely words, “I wonder why…”

Politicians on both sides have been conditioned to act as though they know it all because ignorance appears weak, but this is wrong! Lack of curiosity is weak.  Ignorance just means there is more to be learned!

Curiosity is one of mankind’s most amazing qualities. It’s the reason why we know how to cure a vast array of illnesses that befuddled us no less than a hundred years ago. Have you ever seen a bear solve a problem it couldn’t have solved a century ago? I didn’t think so.

To give you a practical example of why this is important, look no further than the American criminal court system where you are “Innocent until proven guilty”.

Imagine if John and Jane are at a party. Jane says to her friends, “John is a murderer”.

John will of course exclaim, “I’ve never murdered anyone!”

“Prove it” replies Jane.

Think about that. How would John PROVE he has never murdered anyone? The fact is that he can’t. Proving a negative is often impossible. So the burden of proof should always ride on the person making the claim.

This leads me to skepticism, a word that is often mischaracterized. I consider myself part of the skeptical movement thanks to people like Dr. Michael Shermer. Don’t worry—it’s  not a club, cult, or anything else. It’s more of a mindset. The common misconception is that skeptics don’t believe in anything.  The truth is that skeptics resist believing anything without supporting evidence. They gather as much data as possible, then make a decision if they believe they have enough evidence to do so.

What does all this have to do with politics you might ask?

The Democratic Party asserts that they are the party of science and skepticism while painting Republicans out as cavemen even though many conservatives, like me, embrace this philosophy as well. Because I’m a small government conservative, I get very annoyed when pseudo-intellectuals (people who assume they are smart with no evidence to support that claim) assume that  I must be anti-science and therefore not very intelligent because I’m conservative.

Many of you are reading this and saying, “Yeah, I’ve had people assume that about me once or twice”. Right?

But conservatism and science have NOTHING to do with each other. Being a conservative should mean that you are for little government intervention in your personal and professional lives and that strict adherence to the constitution of the United States is important to you.

Many Republicans wrongly believe that, by acknowledging science, they are admitting to being aligned with atheists, man-made climate change proponents, etc. Don’t sell yourselves short!

The fact is, we as conservatives must embrace accepted scientific evidence.  Things like eyeless/pigmentless fish that exist in caves, the human appendix, and countless other examples are proof of some form of evolution whether you believe in a creator or not. To deny evolution exists in some form means to deny much of which we learned in basic high school biology. Conservatives cannot afford to be seen as the “Flat Earth Society”.

Before you think I’m about to tell someone they should not be a creationist, stop! I always feel it is appropriate for me to tell you what I believe, but it is NOT acceptable for me to dictate to you what you should believe.

Here’s where science AND skepticism come in. It is possible that a creator put evolution in motion isn’t it? So it is possible to have a belief yet be open to new information. That open-mindedness is the definition of being an intellectual.
As for climate change: You have Al Gore doing his best Harold Camping impression. Convincing everyone the world is going to end soon rarely helps your career. But, if climate change is man-made (There’s evidence to support both sides), then it’s worth addressing with an open mind.

Democrats claim skepticism, yet they’re in lock step regarding this issue. Objectivity left them years ago. This is where conservatives should capitalize, but instead, Republicans are also in lock step, just in the opposite direction. Conservatives could hit a home run by acknowledging the data, acknowledging the claims are possible, but pointing out that it’s still a theory and not universally accepted fact.

Conservative should make a statement like this:

“I believe the data is real and worthy of concern. However, there’s still research to be done. Until that research is proven beyond any doubt and other contributing factors that we can’t change have been ruled out, I have no interest in breaking the backs of American businesses and bankrupting our country to combat it. Had we done so not that long ago when scientists believed there was an impending ice age, millions would have been wasted for no good reason. So I’m not about to do that to America now.”

My simple statement acknowledges the scientific data, yet responsibly demonstrates skepticism in a way that any reasonable party should welcome. I believe conservatives that do this will display a superior attitude and intellect than most, attract those who are also skeptical about such issues (most Americans are), and will bring the Republican party out of the “dark-ages” pigeonhole that Democrats have worked so hard to put us in.