More Evidence, If More Was Needed
The astute and regular reader (yes, just the one) may have figured out by now that neither of the contributors here at YPS have a great deal of trust and faith in government or our fellow man. Government is a necessary evil, although just how necessary is a subject of occasional debate here at YPS Manor. People, on the other hand, are generally stupid, often insane, and sometimes both.
A shining example of stupidity and insanity can be found in an account of ManBearPig’s talk yesterday at GWU. If you are taking Al Gore and his accounts of the world seriously, you are either dumb as a post or non compos mentis. I have a copy of his earlier opus, Earth in the Balance, floating around somewhere and it’s as tepid a piece of warmed over b.s. as I’ve ever tried to read. He’s a dreadful writer, even if you discount the quality of his ideas. All that aside, I have recently come across an explanation for Gore acolytes: rational irrationality.
Rational irrationality is a theme of a recent book by Bryan Caplan, discussed here. It is an extension of the rational ignorance effect. Key concept is this:
This goes beyond the standard public choice concept of "rational ignorance" (where voters aren't educated on policy because it doesn't pay off personally for them to be so) to point out that, since people get some pleasure out of certain irrational beliefs, and in a voting process in which we have almost zero chance of affecting the outcome it doesn't particularly cost us anything to indulge them, people have economically sound reasons to not bother being rational when they vote. Indeed, they don't bother doing so, he maintains (with scads of evidence) in his book.
Aside from explaining the enduring popularity of a certain set of bad ideas in the public discourse and ManBearPig’s followers, this provides us with yet another reason to strictly limit the power of government at all levels. People are ignorant and crazy, and it is completely rational, from a cost-benefit analysis, for them to be so. So why on earth would you give them, even by proxy, any more power over you and your affairs than the absolute bare minimum? It is generally considered a bad idea to let the inmates run the asylum, no? Why is government any different? There is no evidence implying bureaucrats and politicians make decisions better than any other segment of the electorate. Why give them any more power than the absolute minimum? If I make a crappy decision, it doesn’t affect 299,999,000 other people. Some asshat in DC has a bad day, makes an ignorant, stupid decision, and we all suffer.
Politics As Entertainment
Yes, the MPAA is a powerful industry organization. So what? Sell your film on the internet. You want to buck the system, accept the price for following your artistic vision.
Death by Popularity
I am rather consistently amused by the attempt of all parties to discount Ron Paul from the various internet
popularity contests Presidential polls. This started several months ago, when Pajamas Media yanked Ron Paul from their straw poll because his supporters were “cheating” or some such crap. The comedy has continued, with nearly every poll being fiddled with amidst charges that Ron Paul supporters are doing horribly nefarious things, like voting multiple times! The horror! Now the bafflement is in full swing amongst the mainstream media and Jesse Walker has some good points up on the whole issue.
Let’s face the facts: internet polls are literally, and virtually, meaningless. What internet polls do quite well is give the press (and bloggers) something to discuss. Beyond that disputably useful service, I’m not real sure they accomplish a damn thing except give supporter warm fuzzies. They don’t translate in any meaningful way to electoral results. If they did, Howard Dean would be President right now. But the need for content is insatiable these days, so the discussion turns to why Ron Paul keeps doing so well in the useless online polls. I mean, really, he’s a minor candidate! Roger Simon says so!
I wouldn’t ask why Ron Paul is doing so well online. (The answer, by the way, is a committed fan base among online residents.) The question I would be asking is why are the “major” candidates doing so poorly in these polls right now? The anointed first rank is not doing a good job of getting the supporters riled up if Ron Paul’s groupies can ‘skew’ the results this badly. Somebody might want to ask why, but the answers might be a tad bit unsettling. Instead, we’ll keep hearing that Ron Paul doesn’t matter and that he’s a minor candidate until the web savvy finally get with the program and vote for some candidate who has been anointed. Then we can go back to ignoring the pesky outsiders and focus on the true candidates, like John McCain. After all, he’s going to win the Republican nomination right around the 12th of Never, so he must be a serious contender.
Silly me. I thought the debates and all the activities occurring right now were to figure out which candidates were serious. I didn’t realize the press, in its infinite wisdom, could handicap the race this far out. Personally, I don’t think any of the currently declared candidates are going to get the GOP nomination. But I’ve been wrong before, so we’ll see.
Update: Apparently, Ron Paul is not only not a serious candidate, he’s not even a Republican. I'm sure all the people that voted for him under that assumption will be crushed.
Vote, Damn You
Oh, yes, lest I forget, tomorrow is an election day here in Texas. In my polling location we are running a county, a city, and a community college district election. It appears that three separate sets of people are doing this, all in the same room. I expect much clustering of the copulation, yes I do.
Anyhow, participate in your democracy. It doesn’t take much time and it keeps me from being bored. After all, you wouldn’t want me to get bored, would you?
Meatspace vs. Web
Dorothy has a nice point up about many amateur works. The nice thing about the internet is it allows one to engage in all sorts of amateur activity and have an audience and an outlet without being annoying by pestering friends and relations. Let’s face it, what you’re really seeking when you nag folks to view/listen/read the latest proof of your complete lack of talent is validation. You expect them to be polite and tell you how nice it is. Strangely, people don’t do this with me. Well, not more than once, anyway. It’s not that I can’t be polite and diplomatic, it’s just that I usually don’t see any reason to put forth the effort. So I’m inclined to tell you what I think and not worry about it.
I, on the other hand, need no validation so I post anonymously to a blog. I don’t think I’ve ever brought up to anyone in conversation its existence, though. I do it solely for you, my fans. It’s your love and adulation that causes me to go on. Oh, wait, I forgot, I have no fans and barely any readers. I do this to amuse myself.
So I was in municipal court yesterday, because I’m a lazy scofflaw. While I was there, the nice officer who serves as the bailiff was going over the rules of the court. The part that perked my ears up was when he mentioned CHLs and knives. I’m paraphrasing here, but his speech was essentially they aren’t allowed in the courtroom, so if you have them, take them back out to your car now. He followed up with the old “if I see them, it’ll be unpleasant” speech we’ve all heard at least once.
I find this a little bit odd since concealed carry in a courtroom is supposed to be a felony for us reg’lar folks. Of course, since I live in a dinky little town, court is held in the municipal auditorium. I don’t know if that affects the legalities in any way. It might not technically be a court until court is in session since it’s a multi-function venue? I dunno. Still, I thought it was an awfully laid back attitude to take about the issue.
Seriously, Shut Up
Seriously, I've got a good long time before I should need to start paying attention to the pathetic and lackluster field of candidates the GOP has running around like money-grubbing dwarves right now. So all y'all need to sit down and have the BIG cup of STFU. Come back in November and maybe I'll start to pay attention.