Monday, April 18, 2011

The Invisible Hand Is Amazingly Stupid

Musings of Avast! Right Winger* is all upset that we don't know where General Gordon's horse's grave is. Apparently, celebrating the Civil War is much more popular in the South than it is in the North . . . except for Pennsylvania, which isn't mentioned once in the post. Do you know why? Because Gettysburg** is in Pennsylvania, and there is no Civil War site more visited. Every person in Pennsylvania has been there. All school children in Pennsylvania make the trek at least once. All of which makes it a little odd that a piece of the coat Lincoln was wearing when he died is mentioned- pieces of coats are unsurprisingly unpopular- but the site of Lincoln's most famous speech is not. Hmmm.


I am alarmed when people think successful business owners would necessarily make great mayors, governors and presidents. Seriously alarmed. Why? Because what makes you great at business isn't anything you want unleashed on a country.

For example, the IT guys had been telling my boss forever to buy actual surge protectors and UPSs instead of those "surge protector" strips. Those things do nothing. My husband's studio has over $500 worth of surge protection, including a power conditioner. (I guess it makes the electricity soft and frizz free.) But no, meanboss don't spend no money, bichez.

Then we got a windstorm with 50mph winds. The power line was torn off the building and the resultant surge fried every computer that was on: our server and the billing computers doing backups. Oh, yes, we're screwed. You think he's the only business owner that pulls that shit? Think again. Business owners are all about the right now, what's making me money now, what's saving me money now. Next quarter, next year, next decade doesn't mean shit to them. Why do you think we're in the infrastructure mess we're in right now, anyway?


All mothers are women, but not all women are mothers.

I can't have children because it would likely kill me (why, yes, restrictions on abortion do make me nervous, why do you ask?), but I had decided not to be a mother long before I knew that. You know why? Because I know I wouldn't be a good mother. I simply don't have the patience or the boundless affection necessary to be a good mother***. I have the patience and affection necessary to be a good dog owner, so I do that instead.

Does this make me a bad person? I don't think so. I think what would make me a bad person is knowing that I don't have what it takes to be a good mother but doing it anyway.

There is a myth that simply have two X chromosomes automatically qualifies one to be a good mother, and that bad mothers are aberrations, crazy people and very, very rare. Yeah, not so much.

But mothers kill their children in this country much more often than most people would realize by simply reading the headlines; by conservative estimates it happens every few days, at least 100 times a year. Experts say more mothers than fathers kill their children under 5 years of age.

At least 100 times a year isn't an aberration, nor were every single one of those women delusional or psychotic at the they killed their child. Some women just aren't good mothers. Unfortunately, they have children anyway.

I think we should start taking women at their word when they say no to childbearing.

*Actually, it's Musings of a Vast Right Winger, but I think mine makes more sense.

**I'd give you a link, but there are so many pages with "gettysburg" in the address, I can't even figure out what the official website is. Because nobody in the North cares about the Civil War.

***I know, I know, it's different with my own kid/once you have a kid. Maybe. And if it's not, I've done something horrible to a person who had no say in it.


  1. I've told a few people I dun want da kiddies when it came up. I mostly get weird looks, as if there's something wrong with me. And when you consider the prevalent philosophy that "kids are all we leave behind in this world", perhaps that's not surprising.


    On the subject of business owners: they're not all as bad as yours. Some actually look after their employees and infrastructure, thinking long-term and placing more importance on sustainability than short-term profits. I work for one of those (and consider myself frigging priviledged for it). And that would probably be a very good POV to bring to modern government.

    But the good ones are rare, and they only get rarer the higher up you go.

  2. I've been thinking ever since UNRR challenged me on my "big government" position (sorry for dropping that debate, UNRR: blogspot ate my reply and then real-life interfered and then I lost interest), and I've realised something that I always knew but didn't really have words for: I'm not, nor have I ever been, "pro big government". Goverment is almost always a big bumbling screw-up seemingly incapable of thinking more than 4 years ahead. All political factions are pretty much the same: the democrats are quite happy to forgo their beliefs to appease an unappeasable opponent, the labour party are just watered down conservatives, etc.

    Goverment is inefficient, stupid and short-sighted but it does, thankfully, exist to give something to the people of the country. It's base function is altruistic. But it is also a point of power, of both the restrictive (regulation) and constructive (infrastructure) varieties, and this makes it open to corruption.

    What I oppose is unchecked restrictive power: so I'll support a "big government" that builds and repairs infrastructure and oppose a "big government" that curtails freedoms and choise. BUT...

  3. (continued)

    ... but it isn't only goverment that have access to restrictive power. By taking more and more money from the poor and diverting it to the rich, the corporate world has become a far greater source of restriction than the government could ever hope to be. Every day, millions of poverty stricken people in your country have unpleasant actions forced on them by financial circumstance: a financial circumstance brought about by the simple fact that the top 10%, 1% and 0.1% have exponentially more money than they contribute to society. It's not a case of "choosing between health care and food", as my debate with UNRR previously characterised it. It's a case of being denied the ability to choose "both".

    But the corporate world has an advantage over goverment in that their restrictive power is secondary and nebulous: while government restrictive policies have to be nailed down and defined in legalese, corporate restrictive power is a mere side effect of making themselves rediculous profits, their primary (and, in some cases, only) function. This means that the corporate powers-that-be can turn a blind eye and pretend that the restrictions they force upon their 'constituents' (their customers and employees), are not their fault, but the fault of other things like the economy (which they made) and the government (which let them).

    There is only one solution to the problem of poverty in western countries: the poor and poverty stricken need more income, and the unemployed need work. To achieve this, either the country as a whole becomes much, much wealthier, or the distribution of wealth stops slanting so aggressively towards the richest 1%. Since the former probably isn't going to happen any time soon, we need to work on the latter.

    And that brings us back to the government, and my unwilling but (I feel) necessary endorsement of restrictive goverment power. Leaving the corporate heads to raise their salaries every year and perform a social experiment to see just how little they can pay their employee's without them starving to death so far hasn't fixed the poor-rich gap, so regulation becomes a necessity. Sure, it's curtailing the CEO's their freedom to underpay and overcharge, and get that extra few million dollars on top of their existing salaries and profits, but I don't think that's too much of a loss when you consider in balance how much more freedom the lower-classes would end up getting in return.

    So that's where I've ended up: not pro-big-government but anti-big-corporate. If BigGov is the only way to control BigCorp, I'll pick the lesser of the two evils. In the modern economy, by supporting the freedoms of the rich you restrict the freedoms of the poor, and the freedoms of the poor are things like food and health care, which are far more important in my mind than the freedom of the rich to have an Aston Martin and a third house.

  4. Hmmm... crap.

    Okay, new rule. In the future, I don't write political essays, get involved in political debates, or venture any more than a brief opinion on the subject of politics. Several reasons: it takes too much of my time, it reads more than a little like propoganda (mind you, I feel that way about anything that uses persuasive language), and it increases my cynicism and world-wearyness. But most of all, and unlike debating and discussing matters of science (FOR SCIENCE!), it apparently puts me in a bad mood. I feel apathetic and annoyed, and that pisses me off 'cause I don't want to be apathetic and annoyed. Damn my inherent cynical nature!

    I'm going to go do something less depressing that doesn't involve multiple consecutive off-topic comments on someone elses blog. My apologies to PF, and to anyone who suffered through the last two comments.

  5. well, it annoyed you and put you in a bad mood, and that sucks - but it articulated something i've been trying to say, so i can only thank you for that.

    *hugs* if you like 'em, for the annoyed bad mood :)

  6. No worries, I seem to have bounced back. I've been in a wacky mood all day! :D

  7. i'm glad you bounced? [i feel so weird saying that...]


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