Home
Leadershi*
May 14, 2012
Recently President Obama announced that he supports gay marriage. But he also said that if states want to continue discriminating against gays, it's their decision. I assume the President also believes Abe Lincoln should have stayed out of the slavery issue under the theory that the states should decide which rights they grant their minority populations. (Someone clever said that before I did. I forget who.)

Meanwhile, President Obama is using scarce federal funds to shut down marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized medical marijuana. On this issue, the President is opposed to states' rights.

The interesting thing about the dual issues of gay marriage and medical marijuana is that both have a track record that can be evaluated. Why not use science, or at least economics, to figure out what works?

In places where gay marriage has been legal for some time, what has been the cost to society? Has the social structure crumbled? Did taxes go up? Did any hetero Christians turn gay from peer pressure? Was there an outbreak of bestiality? Did it rain toads?

Medical marijuana has also been practiced long enough in some places to have a track record. Did the states that legalized medical marijuana experience an uptick in traffic deaths? Or did all of the stoners driving home from the dispensaries slow commute traffic and make things safer? Did residents eat too many munchies and become obese? Did cancer patients start robbing convenience stores to pay for their habit?

One could argue that the minimum requirement to be called a leader is that you don't wait for your Vice President to become so embarrassed by your position on a prominent national issue (gay marriage) that he takes control, forcing you to meekly follow. President Obama glibly said that Vice President Biden "got over his skis" when he came out in support of gay marriage. Actually, Biden displayed leadership. I understand why the President didn't recognize it.

On the Republican side, Romney is like a bag that's half snakes and half candy. When you put your hand in, you never know what you're getting. Romney might be awesome. I like the general idea of putting a turnaround expert in the oval office at a time when we need one. But the reality is that we don't know what we're getting with Romney. He is, after all, a robot that professes a deep belief in magic. Good luck predicting how that would shake out.

President Obama is getting a lot of credit for killing Bin Laden. But how much credit should we give to luck? It was lucky timing that our intelligence people located Bin Laden during Obama's term. And if no one knew for sure that Bin Laden was at the compound before the attack was launched, the President was guessing. He guessed right, but guessing isn't a repeatable skill. And realistically, you and I would have made the same decision to launch a strike.

In theory, the United States is protected from revolution because we have the option of voting out the bums we don't like. The reality, which is sinking in, is that our only option is to replace bums with bums. As long as no candidate feels the need to be philosophically consistent, or to base decisions on data, we don't have a functional government.

That's why I favor starting an emergency backup government using social media. I think we need an insurance policy against the total breakdown of civilization. We need a backup government that's ready to go in case our existing form of government loses its last shred of credibility and citizens start ignoring it.

Other countries have an emergency backup government in place. It's called the army. When the civilian government loses credibility with the people, the army can step in and maintain order while a new government is formed. That's roughly the case in Egypt and Pakistan, for example. But that sort of system has a high cost. The citizens of the United States wouldn't want a military government as an emergency backup. I think this country would prefer some sort of government-in-a-box backup solution that is organized over the Internet.

I think the major problem with our current form of government is that although the major parties are competing with each other, the system itself is a monopoly. There's no competition for the federal government as a whole. I think it would be useful to form a shadow government on the Internet, complete with chosen leaders and policies. That would create a sort of competition for the existing government. The media could keep tabs on how many citizens have a preference for the shadow government over the existing one. If the shadow government gets too much support, the existing government is likely to evolve to avoid relegation.

Competition is good. We need some competition for our entire system of government, not just competition within it. We also need an insurance policy in case citizens decide to revolt. Admittedly, that's a small risk, but that's the point of insurance - to protect against small risks with catastrophic potential.

If you think competition is good, insurance is prudent, and fact-based leadership is better than naked politics and superstition, you should be in favor of forming an emergency backup government on the Internet.

 
 
Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +182
  • Print
  • Share
  • Share:

Comments

Sort By:
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 23, 2012
I like it.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 20, 2012
Not sure how electing Mitt Romney is going to improve the situation on gay marriage. Anyway, you shouldn't compare gay marriage to slavery. One is a slight inconvenience, the other slavery. Go figure.
 
 
May 19, 2012
WATYF1 said, "I wonder how long it'll take you to figure out that a FEDERAL government can't involve competition. The whole problem is that you want power to be CENTRALIZED.... all in ONE PLACE."

Which is actually not correct, the point of a federal government is to have clearly delineated roles, rights and responsibilities split between member states and the central (federal) government.

But a) the federal government is greedy and when you give them an inch they want the whole yard and b) people(especially 20th/21st century Americans) are inherently lazy and many(most?) want everything bundled up into one convent package where they only have to vote for Crooks vs. Conmen every 4 years or so (congressional elections having some but a lower turn out leading to the 'or so') in order to maintain an illusion of choice/control.
 
 
May 18, 2012
@Kingdinosaur you definitely have a point. If people can't handle a simple vote, I guess they're not going to understand a ranking system.
 
 
May 17, 2012
Quick history lesson: Lincoln said repeatedly during the 1860 campaign and in his first few months as President that while he opposed slavery and would oppose its expansion into new federal territories, he absolutely respected the rights of States to maintain slavery under State law. He only changed his position as a war measure and only in the States that were in active rebellion. Slavery did not end in all Union States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment after his death.

So perhaps if some States try to leave the Union over the issue of gay marriage and we get into an armed conflict over it, then Obama can implement federal measures.
 
 
May 17, 2012
@kingdinosaur
"One could make an argument that gay marriage is just a bunch of masogynists and misandrists celebrating their beliefs that the opposite sex isn't good enough to be their equals. It is just a bunch of guys discriminating against women in a way that is politically correct for them to do so, the only difference is one word is replaced with another."

Amongst gormless things you have said, that does rank extremely high. Not fancying someone is definitely not the same as a) discriminating against them b) considering them less than your equal (e.g. I found Einstein unattractive but would not consider him below me).

Marriage is generally not about celebrating a belief that others are beneath you. It is generally considered to publically celebrate your own, personal union. You appear to offer a somewhat nasty insight into some right wing thinking.
 
 
May 17, 2012
Re Abraham Lincoln
I read in a biography of Lincoln that slavery was not an important issue in the civil war. It was a collateral issue. Lincoln went to war to prevent some states from seceding from the Union and breaking up the United States. Which in some ways is surprising as earlier when these states decided to join the Union, they had been told that they could leave it any time they desired to.

 
 
May 17, 2012
A politician will parrot off, any la la land, magic unicorn, feel good bull crap, the constituency wants to hear. :)

Thanks,
http://superbfacts.com/
 
 
May 17, 2012
Oh I love this.... the second option for a government is the ARMY.... and you use Egypt as an example.... do you guys actually read the news????? Try Syria, Libya, Somalia... there are too many examples to bother with.... the military are a tool of the government.... they are NEVER the government because they are generally myopic !$%*!$%*!$%*!$
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 16, 2012
I just want the people in office to make me feel like I should have mittens pinned to my jacket all year.
Is that so much to ask for?
 
 
May 16, 2012
You are still my #1 candidate, but never use "science" and "economics" in the same sentence again. That's like classifying astrology as a skill. :)
 
 
May 16, 2012
I've started something along these lines... http://the99percentvotes.com

It's a platform in which:
(1) people submit, discuss, and vote on public policy ideas
(2) popular policies are established and get traction in the debate
(3) candidates adopt popular policies because it's in their interest to do so
(4) candidates are held accountable through monitoring consistency of views during campaign and in office and rewarding those who achieve their aims

It's a common sense way to use the internet to get government working for the people. If it catches on, I think it can make a big difference. It introduces a method for candidates to gather votes directly rather than through money. In the future, it's the kind of thing that could function as an emergency government, as you're talking about in this post.

Let me know what you think. And sign up!

 
 
May 16, 2012
Drowlord: "There are unending benefits and no disadvantages."

LOL. You might be right but I live in FL and I could just imagine the south florida voters finding a way not to rank their people right. They couldn't punch a ballot, all you had to do was take a punch and punch a hole. They couldn't get touch screens to work right; you just have to touch a screen. You really want them to do something as complex as ranking?

It'd never work down there.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
May 16, 2012
[I assume the President also believes Abe Lincoln should have stayed out of the slavery issue under the theory that the states should decide which rights they grant their minority populations. (Someone clever said that before I did. I forget who.)]

It's amazing what passes for "clever" these days considering this is a remarkably dumb thing to say sarcastically. Yes, Lincoln SHOULD have respected state's rights. Every other Western nation ON THE PLANET got rid of slavery gradually WITHOUT a civil war. We (or should I say Abe and his supporters) were the only ones stupid enough to think that it needed to be forced upon every individual simultaneously by means of violent action that killed hundreds of thousands of people. And... apparently so does almost every modern commentator on the topic. :Op


[Meanwhile, President Obama is using scarce federal funds to shut down marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized medical marijuana. On this issue, the President is opposed to states' rights.]

Yes. It's almost as if he doesn't have a philosophically consistent position and just makes calculated decisions based on what he thinks is going to work out best for him politically.


[I think the major problem with our current form of government is that although the major parties are competing with each other, the system itself is a monopoly. There's no competition for the federal government as a whole.]

I wonder how long it'll take you to figure out that a FEDERAL government can't involve competition. The whole problem is that you want power to be CENTRALIZED.... all in ONE PLACE. And that will NEVER, ever, ever involve any meaningful competition. If you want "competition", you should be supporting a very minimalist federal government and State's rights, but no... that would make too much sense, so instead you support some silly utopian conceptualized nonsense that could never actually happen in the real world. :^D


[If you think competition is good, insurance is prudent, and fact-based leadership is better than naked politics and superstition, you should be in favor of forming an emergency backup government on the Internet.]

Wrong. If you think competition is good, insurance is prudent, and fact-based leadership is better than naked politics and superstition, you should be in favor of stripping down the federal government to its original Constitutional level and letting States compete based on their own merits and nothing else.
 
 
May 16, 2012
@Kingdinosaur, well, that's kinda my point. Ranked voting is a different method of voting entirely. It somewhat eliminates the need for dominant political parties. Right now, major political parties (and two of them specifically) is the most practical way to guarantee a voting majority. If you had (for instance) 20 presidential candidates that were all treated the same, it would be unlikely that any one of them would get more than 50% of the vote as necessary to win.

With ranked voting, that problem goes away. There would also be no need for primaries. A party could run all of its presidential candidates. You could also vote independent candidates 1st, and conservative (or liberal) candidates second.... There are unending benefits and no disadvantages.
 
 
May 16, 2012
Drowlord, it'd be nice to vote for a candidate you liked but democrats always give you the same progressivist BSers and republicans always give you the same spineless wussies. In fact this presidential election, just like the last one, will be between a progressive and a spineless wussy.

So your only real option is to vote for the party you dislike more in theory, safe in the knowledge that no matter who wins, it probably won't effect how things go on in washington very much.

I only vote so I at least have the right to complain about all those idiots.
 
 
May 16, 2012
@bixby

Hindsight is always 20/20, no? Let's not forget Pakistan is a government of genuine nutters (as much if not more than Iran) with nuclear weapons. There was a real price to be paid if there were any !$%*!$%* on that one. You can see the headlines - 'Helicopter crashes destroying mosque trying to take out Bin Laden lead that turned out to be a bearded schoolteacher.'
 
 
May 16, 2012
Politicians are just symptoms/personifications of the deep seated impulses of the populations they serve. As such, they are all fairly similar in that they are inconsistant in the same way that the average human is inconsistant and they will often shift positions according to the prevailing winds in order to win the popularity contest. For that reason, if you created a shadow govt, it would be full of the same bs as the regular govt. Because those that are not like the current politicians do not get many votes.
 
 
May 16, 2012
Going after Bin Laden took political courage. Romney said "even Carter would have done that," but recall that when Carter ordered a similar strike on Iran -- and it failed -- it was seen as weakness.

Only weeks after the Bin Laden raid another raid involving some of the very same troops ended in tragedy.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2012
Your first comment of Obama's wimpy declaration following his vice president regarding marriage equality is right on - weak, a lack of leadership or courage. This is the same defect most find in his opponent. The rest of your post about a shadow - backup government is unworkable and wouldn't happen in the US. Those who criticize marriage equality as a mere diversion don't understand that marriage is a serious and vitally important issue for a large, albeit minority. It doesn't pass the freedom test of being able to do whatever so long as it doesn't harm others.
 
 
 
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog