Saturday, March 31, 2012

About that, "Conservatives don't trust science study,":
CONFIDENCE IN SCIENCE BY CONSERVATIVES HAS DECLINED SINCE 1974: “That represents a dramatic shift for conservatives, who in 1974 were more likely than liberals or moderates (all categories based on self-identification) to express confidence in science. While the confidence levels of other groups in science have been relatively stable, the conservative drop now means that group is the least likely to have confidence in science.”
The reason is the use of science as an argument-from-authority for bigger government. If scientists want more trust, perhaps they should try not to be tools.
UPDATE: Reader Mary Ritenour writes:

I tracked back to the original paper ( to see what the exact survey question was.
“The GSS asked respondents the following question: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?”(page 172)
The confidence in “people running these institutions” was being measured, not “Science” itself. Huge difference. HUGE!
Maybe we should be skeptical of science reporting, too.
Taken from Instapundit with emphasis added.  BTW, the study also pointed out that the more educated conservatives were the less likely they were to trust those running the Scientific Community.  Those with less education had greater faith in them.

Perhaps we haven't really forgotten the full warning of Dwight Eisenhower after all.

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” (emphasis added)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Conservatives Fluent in Values, Liberals Not So Much?

Conservatives may not like liberals, but they seem to understand them. In contrast, many liberals find conservative voters not just wrong but also bewildering.

One academic study asked 2,000 Americans to fill out questionnaires about moral questions. In some cases, they were asked to fill them out as they thought a “typical liberal” or a “typical conservative” would respond.
Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal,” were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.
Now a fascinating new book comes along that, to a liberal like myself, helps demystify the right — and illuminates the kind of messaging that might connect with voters of all stripes. “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, argues that, for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.
Those latter values bind groups together with a shared respect for symbols and institutions such as the flag or the military. They are a reminder that human moral judgments are often about far more than just helping others. Some of Haidt’s most interesting material is his examination of taboos.
His team asked research subjects pesky questions. What would they think of a brother and sister who experimented with incest, while using birth control? Or of a family that, after their pet dog was run over, ate it for dinner?
Most respondents were appalled but often had trouble articulating why; we find these examples instinctively disturbing even if no one is harmed. (One lesson of the book: If you see Haidt approaching with a clipboard, run!)
Of course, political debates aren’t built on the consumption of roadkill. But they do often revolve around this broader moral code. This year’s Republican primaries have been a kaleidoscope of loyalty, authority and sanctity issues — such as whether church-affiliated institutions can refuse to cover birth control in health insurance policies — and that’s perhaps why people like me have found the primaries so crazy.
Another way of putting it is this: Americans speak about values in six languages, from care to sanctity. Conservatives speak all six, but liberals are fluent in only three. And some (me included) mostly use just one, care for victims.

Politics, Odors and Soap - NY Times

Some other bits of trivia that are quite interesting, people are more moral when they have just washed or someone releases a fart odor into a the whole thing.

 Oh, and the author of the book went from being a liberal to a moderate in the course of completing the study/book.


The results were striking.  As Kristof puts it: “Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as ‘very liberal,’ were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.”  Tom Chivers at the Telegraph goes on to say that the “very liberal” were “especially bad at guessing what conservatives would say about issues of care or fairness. For example, most thought that conservatives would disagree with statements like ‘One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenceless animal’ or ‘Justice is the most important requirement for a society.’”
Updated: 03/31/2012 15:52

NY Times credits Bush, Cheney with US energy surge

I’m getting ready to start any number of conspiracy theories here. Was the New York Times website hacked by Anonymous? Did someone accidentally click on a redirect to The Onion? Did some editor at the Gray Lady suddenly suffer from a stroke and go rogue on us? In any event, as Walter Russell Mead discovers, the Paper of Record unleashed some good news on the energy front this week.
Not only has the United States reduced oil imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by more than 20 percent in the last three years, it has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline for the first time since the Truman presidency. The natural gasindustry, which less than a decade ago feared running out of domestic gas, is suddenly dealing with a glut so vast that import facilities are applying for licenses to export gas to Europe and Asia.
National oil production, which declined steadily to 4.95 million barrels a day in 2008 from 9.6 million in 1970, has risen over the last four years to nearly 5.7 million barrels a day. The Energy Department projects that daily output could reach nearly seven million barrels by 2020. Some experts think it could eventually hit 10 million barrels — which would put the United States in the same league as Saudi Arabia.
That’s not the amazing part. (Well, OK… it’s somewhat amazing because you’d hardly expect this particular paper to act happy about any oil exploration. But it’s not the most amazing part.) The real, spill your martini in shock and awesome bit comes in the next graph.
The Bush administration worked from the start on finding ways to unlock the nation’s energy reserves and reverse decades of declining output, with Mr. Cheney leading a White House energy task force that met in secret with top oil executives. [...]
The Bush administration also opened large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico and the waters off Alaska to exploration, granting lease deals that required companies to pay only a tiny share of their profits to the government.

Taken from HotAir:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Thoughts Exactly

I have been telling anyone who would listen that all of the issues we are debating as a nation are really just a symptom of a government that has shifted too much power to the federal level.  Now those Jonah Goldberg has put those thoughts into National Review:

But what if the real compromise isn’t in forcing the Left and the Right to heel? What if instead the solution is to disempower the national elites who think they’ve got the answers to everything?
Federalism — the process whereby you push most political questions to the lowest democratic level possible — has been ripe on the right for years now. It even had a champion in Texas governor Rick Perry, and Ron Paul still carries that torch.
The main advantage of federalism is more fundamental than the “laboratories of democracy” idea. Federalism is simply the best political system ever conceived of for maximizing human happiness. A one-size-fits-all policy imposed at the national level has the potential to make very large numbers of citizens unhappy, even if it was arrived at democratically. In a pure democracy, I always say, 51 percent of the people can vote to pee in the cornflakes of 49 percent of the people.
Pushing government decisions down to the lowest democratic level possible — while protecting basic civil rights — guarantees that more people will have a say in how they live their lives. Not only does that mean more people will be happy, but the moral legitimacy of political decisions will be greater.
As a nation we should be more worried about who is mayor or governor then we are President or member of congress because those should impact our daily lives to a far greater extent.  Somewhere someone along the line decided they were the end all to cure all our ills, and that can only be done from a central government so no one has to suffer that freedom of choice, yes, even to be stupid, again.

You can't outlaw stupid but somehow the feds keep trying!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vicious Circle

President Obam's Whitehouse recently posted this image:
To which I reply:

You mean the same subsidies that companies like the NY Times and Apple get? Oil companies make huge profits because they sell a lot of product, period, no great mystery. As a matter of fact the oil industry makes just 7% profit whereas many industries (computers/appliance/beverage manufactures to name a few) earn 12 to 22%. The various levels of government make at least 13% off of the price of a gallon of gas. If we gave oil the tax breaks and subsidies that wind energy received oil would only be $50/barrel. The oil and gas companies pay a higher tax rate then nearly every other industry, about 41% effective rate compared to S&P average of 26% (Apple was 25% last year and Obama want's to reduce their rates). (I thought we were all for fairness or is that just a buzz word I keep hearing that doesn't mean what it used to?)

Oh, and where does that 7% "Big Oil" worked to make go? Into the evil hands of retired folks, pension funds worldwide, mutual funds, business owners, oil employees, gas station owners, etc. (all of which is taxed again helping the government take even more oil money). It isn't like it is just sitting there in the company treasure.

In a world that wasn't topsey turvey and rife with envy and politics we would be thanking them for working to provide us with the resources we need to function in our modern society! There is almost nothing you do in a day that is not dependent upon that worker and company that made the dangerous effort to risk their life and money to provide these products. But that isn't our world any longer. We would rather find someone to demonize making it more difficult and expensive for you to do every daily activity in your life.

When you have an administration that believes that resources and human potential are limited you will inevitably end up with limited opportunity and resources/higher prices.
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