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View Diary: We can't afford as a nation to be stupid anymore ... about Energy, Health Care, our future (107 comments)

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  •  I wished I shared your optimism (8+ / 0-)

    There has been growing evidence that global climate change and our healthcare crisis are serious for nearly two decades.  The progress in addressing those issues has been neglible.  The more conservative in our country have actually hardened their opposition to addressing those issues, particularly in addressing the environment because of the diffusion of responsibility beyond our shores.  The rhetoric has been less vituperative on healthcare, yet every conservative that I know of utters their opposition to "socialized medicine" in any discussion of the issues within minutes.  

    To address these issues, we as a people must believe in the common good.  Conservatives, including the ones that participate on dKos, are quick to point out that they do not believe in the common good.  It undermines my optimism of mind, although does not diminish my will to work toward solutions.  

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Sun May 13, 2007 at 10:44:41 PM PDT

    •  These folks (7+ / 0-)

      Conservatives, including the ones that participate on dKos, are quick to point out that they do not believe in the common good.

      These folks believe in a go it alone strategy, or (unadmitted) that they belong to a special group that will presrve their personal butts while everything around them goes to hell.

      Unfortunately, peak oil, global warming, and the rest of the sustainability crisis are not suited to a go it alone strategy. Depending on membership in a "special group" is equivalent to signing up for resource wars and other forms of needless destruction, at a time when we can afford such waste less than ever before.

      The human tendency to fall into such foolish strategies is cause for pessimism. On the other hand, WE DO NOT HAVE TO DO THAT. We CAN choose otherwise, and that is the reason for optimism.

      •  Dumb and dumber (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, mudslide

        I saw a report on a Pew Research study done in February that is very depressing.  It suggests Americans are even more dumbed-down today than they were 20 years ago.  It also indicates that while more people are getting information from the internet, all-in-all the number is still very low compared to the MSM.

        It says only 2/3 of the people surveyed knew who their governor was.  A full 31% don't know who Dick Cheney is.

        It doesn't bode well for the future.  It tends to confirm my suspicions that about a third of Americans are dumber than rocks.  These people - the study implies not a lot of them are registered to vote - are not swayed by fact or opinion.  Fear, half-truths and outright lies are probably effective with these people.  Our education system has a lot to answer for over the last 20 years.

      •  Capitalism, at this energy level, is unrealistic (2+ / 0-)
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        A Siegel, DBunn

        because we now have so much extra-biological power as a species, the idea that individual accumulation and choice manages it most effectively does not make sense any more.

        Our impact as individuals at this level of power goes so far beyond the sphere of our biological existence that we can't afford to manage it as if our activity were still individual in nature. Our individual activity has been accelerated into collective activity on a massive scale without our being really aware of it. When I drive my car to work it is really a collective act. Much natural abundance has been transformed in order for me to drive and the effects of my driving are felt by biological systems far from my immediate circumstance in ways I don't directly see. Evolution gave us the capabilities to create this power. Now we are going to find out if we have the capabilities to manage this power. It isn't natural and our evolution has not prepared us for managing it. I think we have the capacity to do that but it is a race we are loosing now.

        Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

        by Bob Guyer on Mon May 14, 2007 at 06:24:23 AM PDT

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        •  Why do you hate America? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, Bob Guyer

          Just kidding. But somewhere along the line, "capitalism" became a sacred word, like freedom or democracy.

          Capitalism defeated Communism, the US defeated the USSR, and therefore capitalism is the same thing as the US. To have defeated such an evil monster as Communism, capitalism must be heroically virtuous and perfect in all ways. Since Communism was godless, capitalism must be holy. Or so the thinking apparently goes.

          But what really happened was that in a struggle between two unsustainable systems, Communism simply failed first. It could even be argued that what made Soviet Communism fail was its effort to compete with capitalism, the ultimate unsustainable system.

          •  Not sure that I agree with both of you ... (2+ / 0-)
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            DBunn, Bob Guyer

            Unbridled capitalism is, I think, an unsustainable system.  A well-regulated, well managed (not stupidly mismanaged) market seems to be the least worst path for economics ...

            Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

            by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 07:57:34 AM PDT

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            •  I keep an open mind (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel, Bob Guyer

              As you say, clearly there are problems with unbridled capitalism. However, capitalism is obviously superb at motivating productive effort, and at developing ingenious solutions to many (but not all) types of problems.

              In a best-case scenario, if we can align financial incentives with essential sustainability goals, capitalism can be a terrific engine for accomplishing a lot of what we need to do. That would be the well managed market to which you refer, I guess.

              The mindset of the unbridled capitalists is what I was referring to in my comment above. Their brain-dead logic of dualism leads them to conclude that if some capitalism is good, more capitalism must be better, and that if too much government control is bad then no controls whatsoever must be best.

              My feeling is that capitalism will out-compete any other system under conditions where man is small and nature is big-- more or less the conditions that have prevailed during its entire history, until recently. When man becomes big relative to the rest of nature, we have to become cautious about two innate qualities of capitalism: its imperative for constant growth, and its drive to convert anything within reach into money.

              •  We are at a new place in history (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel, DBunn

                where man is big, nature smaller and relatively more vulnerable. Well regulated capitalism is a system that could work but it would be much different than the American system.

                Incentives, taxes making price reflect the environmental externalities it excludes, and public private projects are the most practical way to go for now because of the system we do have and I don't oppose those measures. It is just that in thinking it through I see a mismatch between the underlying assumptions of capitalism and living productively within the scope of nature at our present energy level. When I also feel that time is very much against us in responding effectively, part reading part intuition, I think we need a bigger change in systems so that we can move faster.

                I think the goal of capitalism, growth  in private capital accumulation for its own sake is not a good foundation for a sustainable system that lives in the context of biological life being the basis of all value that can be generated. A system that acknowledges its root dependence on nature and a generative purpose within that constraint would be preferable and more realistic IMO.

                Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                by Bob Guyer on Mon May 14, 2007 at 02:25:49 PM PDT

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    •  the majority in terms of numbers (5+ / 0-)

      hard core among those you mention are marginalizing themselves out of the political discussion by virtue of being part of the Bush 2x%.

      The opposition to the idea that global warming is something we need to doing anything about has already been reduced to handwaving.

      It's hard to quantify, but there seems to be an awareness among a whole lot of people regardless of ideology that Bad Things are going on with respect to weather and climate.

      The polls already indicate that people are coming around on health care. As I've said, the middle class, especially the increasingly large uninsured portion, are demanding economic relief from the Democratic Party. Health care is a major part of that group's economic problems.

      The significant opposition on health care are the wealthy and powerful and those GOP and Democratic politicians who are more interested in keeping campaign contributions coming from the health care insurance industry than in the health of their constituents or the interests of America as a whole.

      The difference between now and the past is that there is a swing group with real and growing political power within our access. I mean, of course, Democratic politicians who had been shut out of the action right up to November 2006.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Mon May 14, 2007 at 12:39:33 AM PDT

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      •  Handwaving is all it takes for some (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There are a lot of folks out there who, in their lives, were always intimidated by math and science.  They have been delighted with certain segments on the right who tell them science is bad, and science has "an agenda".  Their ignorance is catered to.  As a result, they're not just ignorant.  They're proud of it.  The sit back and wait for people "on their side" to tell them what stance to take on the issues.

      •  Look how hard it is on Global Warming ... (0+ / 0-)

        What about renewable energy/wind power?
        Health care?
        Improved public education?
        There are, to be honest, so many 'framing' battles out there where the simplistic Luntz slogans have serious sway.

        Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

        by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:38:32 AM PDT

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    •  There is a simple fact ... (0+ / 0-)

      staring in the eyes of youth (children ... one's own and others) drives a requirement for at least some optimism ... optimism of the will to make things better, to strive to work toward a better place.

      Now, for example, you would have thought that the tax exemption for the 6000 lb vehicles would have been killed in the first 10 days of a D Congress and sent to the White House.  Where are we on this? I believe it still stands.

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Mon May 14, 2007 at 04:37:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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