Tag Archives: lies

Trying to understand the rules of the game

2 Jan

Natural selection is the engine that drives evolution, but within the heart of natural selection is a concept that is central to all of existence; there are rules to the game that determine who wins.

This concepts of rules exists in every aspect of our lives. The rules may change from scenario to scenario, but nonetheless there are rules. We are born into this game not knowing what the rules are for each scenario, and as we grow up we hope to uncover little by little what those rules are. In order to survive and prosper you must understand the rules of the game, for it is only then that you can manipulate and maneuver through them.

The most immediate and glaring example of the existence of these rules is in evolution, from whence we first discovered the concept of natural selection.

In evolution, the goal of the game is to survive and pass on your genes to your children. Nothing else matters. Anything that hinders you in this process will be phased out. A bird better adapted to catching a worm will survive and have children more successfully than a bird more poorly adapted to this task. Those are the rules. That which is most efficient in helping you achieve the goal of the game wins. There is no mercy or tolerance for anything less. Such is the brutality and indifference of nature.

One of the biggest challenges we face growing up is uncovering the true rules, the true mechanics of the game which are often hidden under the more palatable false rules.

For example: “Just work hard and you will succeed” portends that the most efficient and best way of achieving the goal of succeeding is by hard work. Surely the harder you work, the more you will succeed.  While hard work is definately needed in a lot of situations in life, this is a misleading explanation of the rules.

In 2010 Nike’s CEO Mark Parker made 13.1 million dollars. The average Vietnamese Nike sweatshop worker makes $.26/hr. In order for the sweatshop worker to make the same as the CEO, she would have to work nonstop for 5,748 years. Most of these workers are trapped in sweatshop jobs with the choice to either work 40 hours in overtime a week or starve to death on the street.  Obviously in this scenario the notion that “hard work equals success” is a delusion.

A less extreme example is in the American workplace. Yet again, as children we are told that the rules are “hard work equals success” and that knowledge gives us a leg up. While these are both true in some degree, we quickly learn that this is not how the game functions. In order to achieve the goal of getting a promotion and being “successful” it is more important who you know than what you know.

We see the same thing in the dating world. From the onset guys are told that in order to succeed (ie, have lots of sex) the rules are “be sweet and caring.” Yet what it takes years for some guys to figure out, and others never learn, is that maximizing sweetness and caring in an attempt to maximize success fails because sweetness and caring equate to boring, and boring = death. Hence why aggressive asshole guys are more successful in having lots of sex because, while they might be assholes, they’re interesting.  (Now if the goal was to have a stable and healthy relationship and not just copious amounts of sex, then the rules would change and sweetness and caring would be more important)

Another great example of the concept of rules and false rules in action is politics. Ostensibly politics is about how to best lead the nation, how to best maximize the quality of life for the people who pay taxes and make up that nation. A naive person who still believed this would likely also believe that the rules would favor politicians and legislation best suited to this end. (I was once one such naive person) However, if you closely follow politics long enough, you will quickly discover that this is not the goal of the game, nor how the game operates. The game has never been about “the nation and the people who comprise it.”  That is just glittery lip-service every politician gives to half-heartedly mask the true mechanics of the game, namely the self-enrichment of the powerful players (the politicians) within the game.

In politics, as in much of life, those with the most money win. It is the cold and indifferent fact of the game, no different than the fact that the slower bunny will be dinner for the wolf. We may cheerfully delude ourselves with David and Goliath stories, but in the end the mechanics are what they are, irregardless of your strongest desires.

This is why nothing more than PR campaigns and package re-branding will ever be done about global warming until the problem is so severe it starts seriously hurting profit margins. (By which time it will be too late and our life sustaining eco-system is destroyed) This is why despite a 70% approval of a public option in healthcare the measure was defeated. Competition would have been bad for business for those who were writing the congressmen’s checks.  This is why America’s deficit will never be brought under control. Politicians will pay lip-service and feign outrage over the debt and then turn around and add $3.9 trillion in debt over the next 10 years by giving taxcuts to themselves and the other richest people in America.  That is the reality of the politics game and how it is played.

So the question then becomes “Is there a way to change the rules?” I honestly don’t know. The only example I can think of where we’ve changed the rules slightly is in basic survival. Over the centuries science has developed new technologies that increase our life span. Child mortality has fallen drastically in most parts of the world, and many people who normally would not have survived thousands of years ago do. Chances are you’re one of them. I know I am. I have poor eye-site; if it were not for the science of optics, I would be blind to everything 5 feet away from me.

Even if the rules pertaining to human survival have been tempered by technology, the rules regarding prospering and politics have not. Ultimately the rules regarding those two games effect the rules regarding basic survival. (Earlier I gave the example of global warming) So far we as a species have been unable to effect the rules governing politics and prosperity except by temporarily resetting them through violent revolutions.  “Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders become cruel.” I’m not sure if it is possible to effect a paradigm shift other than regularly tearing everything down. But I digress.

I just wanted to reflect on the existence of these rules that govern every scenario and how one task of growing up is discovering these underlying principles through experimentation and observation.

Tea party craziness

5 Oct

Ok, we  know that the tea party claims to be about smaller government and doesn’t officially take a stance on social issues. We also know that the tea party complains that “the main stream media” maligns them by calling them racist extremists. Maybe the media only showed pictures of a few crazy people with Obama=Hitler signs and the rest of them are calm, rational people who only care about economics. I doubt it, but it’s possible. All that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what the tea party says they stand for, and it doesn’t matter how the media portrays them. What does matter is who they elect to office and support. Their actions transcend any superficial image they may or may not be projecting. My interest is in the tea party’s social agenda and whether or not the candidates are sane. I may have some libertarian leanings when it comes to economics, but for me, social issues will always trump economics. So lets look at some of the tea party canidates:

Sarah Palin. I don’t need to say anything. You know. We’ve been talking about her since the 2008 elections. There are posts all over about her draconian social policies, her anti-woman’s rights stances, her end-times theology, and various other scandals. So, moving on.

Christine O’Donnell: “Aka, younger, dumber Palin” This woman is a strong social conservative christian. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about her anti-masturbation stance and seen the old video clips of her talking about masturbation and the bible, along with her claims to have “dabbled in witchcraft”. Back in 2006, while running for another office, she claimed to be privy to secret information obtained by christian missionaries in China that revealed China had an elaborate plan to take over America! Recently Palin advised her not to give any national interviews (gee, I wonder why?), but before she shut her mouth she said that god was keeping her campaign alive. She’s strongly anti-science, thinks mice have human brains, and believes birth control is “anti-human”.Where you got your college education is not overly important when running for office, but O’Donnell has managed to make it a huge issue by repeatedly lying over and over about her education background. She’s claimed to have her college degree for years, yet never graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University until last month. She’s claimed to have done graduate work at Princeton, Oxford, and Claremont. All liesEven Karl Rove thinks she’s insane! Look, I could go on and on about this lady who needs to be put in a straight jacket.

Jim Demint: Another winner. A senator from South Carolina and the tea party’s man in congress, he’s fiercely homophobic and believes unmarried women should not be allowed to teach in schools. He’s also strongly anti-woman’s rights and fits nicely into the conservative christian mold.

Michelle Bachmann. Like Sarah Palin, she’s been around for a while and there are so many posts on just how bat shit insane she is that I needn’t bother. Just google her. Here, if you’re lazy, are 10 quotes from her, only 10, and she’s been at this a long time so there are plenty more.

Chuck Devore: Running in California, not nearly as crazy as the above people, though on legislative score boards he’s received a 0% from Equality for California, 18% from Planned Parenthood, 30% from the California National Organization for Women, and 29% from the Lambda Letters Project (LGBT), so he’s also votes socially conservative.

Trent Frank: Strongly Conservative, Anti-choice, and anti-gay equality. He also believes that current abortion rates in the black community means black people were better off as slaves.

Glen Urquhart: I quote “”The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ASK THEM WHY THEY’RE NAZIS!” He’s running in Delaware like O’Donnell. He is also a strong social conservative and is backed by the anti-woman’s rights group “Concerned women for America”, the National Conservative Fund, and the vehemently homophobic Family Research Council.

Sharron Angle: You might have heard of her. She’s running against Harry Reid and thinks healthcare reform should be replaced with the barter system. She’s also counseled rape victims and women who might die if they carry a pregnancy to term to go ahead and carry the baby. You can find a list of her crazy history here.

Carl Paladino: Thinks housing poor people in prisons is a great idea: “These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities!” He also threatened to kill a NY Post reporter. Lately he’s been in the news for a slue of racist e-mails and e-mails containing porn and women having sex with horses.

Steve King: Thinks Al-Qaeda supports Obama and cheered his election. He is also an extremely strong social conservative. Best friends with Bachmann, even shares congressional staff with her.

Louis Gohmert: Wants to overturn the birthright citizenship part of the 14th Amendment, believes there is a secret plot to have terrorists born in America and then trained to attack in 20-30 years.

Lamar Smith: Feels the greatest threat to America is not a recession or terrorists, but the “liberal media”. It’s all a conspiracy you see. He’s also another extreme social conservative.

Joe Miller:  Encourages people to bring guns to rallies, called his female running opponent a prostitute, and believes women should be forced to carry their rapist’s child.

Ken Buck: Also would love to force women to carry their rapist’s baby, opposes birth control, believes a 13 year old girl raped by her 14 year old brother should be barred from the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy, and wants to tear down the wall of separation between church and state. Yet another religious nutter.

Dan Maes: Despite also having resume issues with lying, like O’Donnell, he is best known for revealing what his is certain is a dastardly conspiracy to deliver Colorado to the “Marxist United Nations” by ways of a bicycle sharing program!

Mike Lee: Like Gohmert, also wants to over turn the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship if you’re born in US territory. Also wants to get rid of a woman’s right to control her body, and is against marriage equality.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. It doesn’t matter if the tea party claims to be focused on only economic issues, if and when these people get elected, they will have to deal with those issues. It is important to know where they stand. It doesn’t matter how the tea party started out, if the core founders where socially liberal and economically conservative libertarians or not; what matters is what the tea party has become. It’s been hijacked by people who were so fringe, the republican party didn’t want them. It’s been hijacked by 9/11 truthers, birthers, people who believe Obama’s a secret muslim, and other conspiracy theorists of all stripes. It doesn’t matter what they claim to be, but the people who they put up for election and those already elected whom they support.  The people they have put up so far on the national level have muddied pasts with problems writing factually correct resumes, believe in draconian restrictions on women’s rights, wish to repeal parts of the constitution, view the civil rights movement as a black spot on US history, and support a host of conspiracy theories from Chinese takeovers to Trojan bicycles. While I might like to see a smaller government and less debt, I could never bring myself to vote for a party that tries to shift focus off their barbaric social and religious policies.

Just a few minutes ago I stumbled across this study done by the Pew Research Institute looking at how religion and social values factor into the tea party. Really interesting stuff and confirms my suspicions.