Three Pound Brain

No bells, just whistling in the dark…

The Globe and Mail – Canada’s Paper of Apologetic Record

by rsbakker

This is actually what I meant to post before being distracted by all that environmental nonsense. I mean, why can’t the frogs just shut up and let the water come to a boil?

According to the G&M editors, the public financing of political parties needs to be ‘revisited’ because of its ‘failure to make politics cleaner or more inclusive.’  Why has it failed to improve democracy? Because ‘voters have not been convinced that their votes count more’ – something proven, they contend, by the continuing decline in voter turnouts.

This is one of those arguments that sends a shiver down my spine. Why? Think about it. The argument is that democracy has not been improved because the voters do not think its been improved. Democracy, according to them, is all in the eye of the beholder. This argument, coming from Canada’s most authoritative editorial board, is either the product of folly or a wilfull intent to deceive. Either way, it’s some scary shit man.

As social psychologists who track this stuff have shown, the unsurprising fact is that the more transparent political parties are to private interest capital, the more their policy serves those interests. And this is just common sense. Given all our genius for rationalization, we need to do everything we can to insure that public institutions are not hijacked by private interests. Everybody thinks God is on their side. Which is why, despite 25 years of middle-class stagnation, you have people like Neil Reynolds arguing that what the middle-class really needs is even more fiscal conservatism. This guys buy their own bullshit, which is what makes them so fucking dangerous.

The first half of the argument, that public funding has done nothing to ‘clean up politics’ they never really address, save citing the Tories ‘In and Out’ scandal – as if only the utter absence of corruption would be the only thing that could justify the legislation. If anything, the In and Out Scandal demonstrates the tendency of money to corrupt democratic institutions, and therefore, the need to tighten the legislative screws, not cut the bolts!

Horrible, horrible. The Paper of Canadian Record. Oh my.

The Philosophical Environmentalist

by rsbakker

Daily Aphorism: Leave metaphysics to the philosophers. Some things are so stupid you need highly trained specialists to make them sound smart.

A couple of nights back I watched yet another environmentalist get their rhetorical ass handed to them by a pseudo-academic right wing thinktank type. The American Enterprise Institute guy began with a superficially appealing false dilemma, then dove into another nice sounding fallacy of equivocation, with some guilt by association thrown in for good measure. The environmentalist called him on none of it. My wife suggested it was the interviewing journalist who should have jumped in, but since they like to pretend to be photographers – the invisible viewpoint behind the frame – I don’t expect much from them. They too invested in their phony self-images too actually consider the possibility that they are regularly manipulated. How can you manipulate someone who is invisible?

For quite some time I’ve been worried by how much better prepared right wing pro-industry advocates. This morning I happen to bump into a couple of environmental advocates at the coffee shop, and after discussing this problem, I decided that I’m going to actually try to DO something – for a change.

The idea is to collect right-wing arguments, cull them for patterns, then put together a little rhetorical manual for environmentalists. The tentative title will be The Philosophical Environmentalist: How to Win Arguments and Get Mother Nature Laid

On another note, it’s nice to see some familiar e-faces! I hope to make my first browse through the first comments soon. I just need to figure out how this damn blog thing works.