Inequality in America

I’ve seen the above video linked quite a bit on social networks during the recent past, and while I don’t usually stop to pick up every pebble in the road, I felt a little compulsion to do so with this bit of misinformation today. I don’t have time to debunk the many, many problems in this video, so I’ll just hit the big points. The first and most important is the sources, which are not sources of actual data, and he mixes them inappropriately, producing a graphic that is factually inaccurate. He also mixes the terms “money,” “wealth,” and “income”…

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Future Crime: The Moral Difficulties of Indeterminate Consequentialism

http://youtu.be/wEkIJb12GVA Above is a video I made as a companion to this piece for those who prefer speaking and video to reading. The content covers the same rough areas but is spoken in different words. The essay begins below.             “Future crime” is not a term of my own making; it’s one I lifted from the Spielberg movie “Minority Report,” which was based on a Phillip Dick story of the same name. In it, there are three mutants who are able to see the future, specifically murders, which are most disturbing to them. The police react to these visions by…

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A Gross Oversimplification of Monetary Theory Through Hypothetical Monetary Systems

Monetary theory: everyone’s favorite dinner topic? Probably not. Monetary theory can seem complicated to a non-economist, and even when it is understood by parties over dinner, it is likely to fall into the two most forbidden categories of conversation: religion and politics. I realize writing this that I am probably a terrible dinner party guest, an incorrigible lunch time acquaintance, and a downright nuisance at family functions, because religion and politics is the only thing I really prefer to talk about. Well, from my perspective it’s philosophy and truth, and I consider politics merely the game of sociopaths and the…

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A Little Bit on Anecdotes

I came across a plea today on Facebook, asking for people to send to a particular individual stories about the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially called “Obamacare,” for the president who signed it into law.  I pointed out that anecdotes are not good evidence, and I had objections to their use as such, since I feel it is emotionally manipulative and therefore not totally truthful.  I was met by a lot of opinions counter to my own. The arguments were fairly varied, there were some ad hominem attacks, but most seemed to take my use of…

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More Words That Emanate From the Hindquarters of Male (Genetically Modified) Cattle

1. GMO/Monsanto/etc.  Let’s be honest, most people who post on Facebook about Monsanto (you know who you are) have no flipping clue what they are talking about; they’ve never set foot on a farm and have no concept of how the food industry works. They have probably never seen a live domesticated chicken (hint: was it white?), or have no idea what the fertilization process of corn is. Unless you eat exclusively wild game, all the food you eat is genetically modified.  ALL OF IT.  Cows didn’t just evolve into oversized meat-bags producing an excess of milk.  Those phenotypes were carefully…

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Words or Phrases that Should Immediately Set Off Your B.S. Detector

1. Equality-  There’s such thing as equal before the law (in concept, not in practice), but whenever somebody uses “equality” as a justification for something, you know the actions will involve theft, revocation of rights, or punishment for success and subsidy of failure. 2. Democracy- Even a casual student of the humanities knows how well democracy worked out for Socrates. Besides its serious shortcomings as a means of political organization, the idea of the majority rule is used as justification for a host of atrocities including foreign wars, theft through taxation, and as with Socrates, murder.  It, along with its…

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The Value of an Education

Lots of people talk about the value of a good education, but what is this value, really? The Market Value of a Degree Whether the market values your degree is almost entirely dependant on the type of profession you are entering and the type of degree you have acquired. A doctor must legally have a medical degree. Likewise a law degree is necessary to practice in most states. These are pretty significant gate checks if you are entering into these fields. So if you put in the time and effort to get an MD or JD there is a good…

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