Date: Dec 20, 2012 4:14 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: Would effective gun control laws be 'unacceptable social engineering'?

On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 10:02 PM, Paul Tanner <> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> > I'm not sure how to get out of this mess.
> >

> We're in this mess because of how people voted - enough people voted
> for enough conservatives over time to kill some progressive laws that
> served us well, those laws created under great progressives like
> Franklin Roosevelt.

Voting is a quite distant form of control, more like the remote control
channel changer. Once you pick a channel, unless you're involved with TV
production and programming choices, you're just a passive viewer who needs
a "take what you get" attitude. Of course people change channels a lot,
many times a minute sometimes, whereas voting for a US president happens
only every four years. There's no way this 2 and 4 year voting cycle, by
itself, makes the wheels of government turn. If most people think their
only duty / obligation to share governance is the mere act of voting, then
democracy dies (was dead long ago).

Note: If you have voted for the more conservative Republican
> alternative when you vote, then you have partly caused this mess.

I'd say all the presidents since Eisenhower have been trapped in the post
WW2 system for priming the economy, which is / was through defense
contracting, with the pork distributed to all 50 states in exchange for
various levels of cooperation. The state interstate highway system was
originally part of this same budget (NASA too), as their original
justification was defense.

However I think today we more honestly see the military as a jobs program.
In the times following WW2, 'Report from Iron Mountain' satirically mocked
the idea that a large standing military was primarily about providing jobs
-- that was considered a subversive / cynical view. Nowadays, people are
much more willing to acknowledge that George Orwell was right: a state of
perpetual warfare and defense spending keeps a lot of people fed and

Soldiering is an alternative to poverty and relies on institutionalized
(socialized) wealth. Living on the USS Enterprise with Internet and
computer games beats living on food stamps and hanging out in bars in
Baltimore. Forward base camps in Afghanistan feature steak and lobster,
though often overcooked.

The only way to get out of this mess is to have enough people vote for
> the most progressive alternative over enough election cycles, to
> change the laws back to the progressive side, to keep going.
> Also:
> ...

> > This discussion takes me back to Paul's pathetic attempts to have us
> think
> > the USA could ever be like Sweden,
> >

> I'm only talking about voting: I'm talking only about whether people
> vote for more liberal or the most liberal or more conservative or the
> most conservative candidate.

Voting might just be how people fool themselves into thinking they're doing
their part for democracy. They pull a little lever once every two or four
years and think that's the sum total of their contribution.

Partly why I want to refocus to the campus level (school level) is I want
people to actually participate in the day to day workings of their group,
and without thinking they have to go to Washington DC in the process.
Start developing those democratic reflexes early. Learn to cook together,
share knives and appliances, plan meals. Home economics but for
institutional servings not always "nuclear family" with mom making Chex
Party Mix.[tm]

> My arguing that people should vote and my wanting them to vote for the
> most progressive candidate among all the given choices says nothing as
> to whether I would think that enough people would vote in such a way
> over enough election cycles to cause the US to have the same type of
> laws as the Scandinavians.

It's not just about "laws". You can have all the laws on the books but if
you don't have police to enforce them or budget to implement them, then
they're just nice rules for a society that only exists on paper.

To have universal health care at a high standard, you need way more than
"laws" and way more than "money": you need a lot of highly trained health
care workers with equipment and facilities, happy enough practicing health
care to want to contribute their professional services.

If the US has too brain-dead a STEM curriculum to create the needed health
caring "army" and instead devotes its resources to building prisons and
military bases, then all the pretty laws in the world won't make up for
that deficit.

It's not like you can just suddenly write a check and get a million new
brain surgeons. There's no turning on a dime. There's such a thing as
inertia (momentum). We're talking physics, laws of nature.

Those who do a thorough analysis may come to the conclusion that high
living standards (including high quality health care) for the average
American is a missed opportunity. No matter what the voters say today, no
matter what laws are passed, it's simply too late to start building all the
clinics and hospitals those boomers would need, let alone their progeny.

Americans are aging and didn't save for old age. They squandered their
treasure on elective wars etc., then polluted their skies, water and food
to where illnesses were endemic, diabetes on the rise. There was just no
way, by 2012, to change the trends, no matter who became president, no
matter what Congress chose. You have to remember the laws of physics.
Prisons can't be turned into hospitals with the wave of a magic wand.

If the USA had wanted to have been like Sweden, it wouldn't have invaded
Vietnam and Cambodia, which is when Swedes told the Americans they were
like Nazis and ambassadors were withdrawn (since put back). Had the
boomers wanted a pleasant retirement and good health care, the investments
were needed then, as befitting a Great Society.

After so many roads not taken, it's just not possible to repair the damage
and many boomers will die at a younger age than they would have, and in
general just live more miserably. There's no way to vote themselves out of
their fate. They would have needed to be smarter long ago, like Sweden
was. Instead, they behaved like losers and now will reap what they've sewn.

> My promoting that people should vote and vote most progressive is
> pathetic simply because you think that it will never happen? Yes? Then

I'm thinking DC's laws don't trump the laws of physics. You can't just
wave a magic wand to make more doctors. Dollar bills are not magic wands
either. Vote all you like, make all the laws you like, if you still eat
like a pig (not you personally) and smoke like a chimney (not you
personally), you'll be dead before 60 (not you personally) and no amount
of "voting" is likely to change that.

As a nation, you're feeble, dim-witted, violent and cruel. What makes you
think you can just "snap out of it"? Pulling some voting lever? And even
if you do snap out of it, what makes you think it's not too late?

> how is your arguing for your type of curriculum and view of
> mathematics any different? Do you actually think that it is any more
> likely that the USA will adopt your very different type of curriculum
> than people here will vote for enough progressives enough times to
> result in a more progressive set of laws? With respect to your
> ridicule and your use of "pathetic" here: Fair is fair.

I think in niches, new curricula do gain a foothold. It's not all or
nothing. It's actually within the military itself that a lot of this
understanding has grown. The geodesic dome was a pet project of both
Marines and NORAD types (the radomes along the DEW line). Fuller was a
Navy guy and a lot of his friends and associates were DoD and/or Russian
spies or whatever. Khrushchev was effusive about the geodesic dome in
Kabul. Princeton philosophy already does Wittgenstein (no, I don't buy the
Cornish thesis he was KGB (cite 'The Jew of Linz' e.g. Wikipedia)).

The open source movement is big and making deeper inroads into education
all the time. Oregon is cross-fertilizing with Asia. Singapore Math might
have more about tetrahedrons soon. The simplex has a brighter future in
some maths than others. Chemistry and crystallography already have some
awareness of these alternative treatments of the CCP / FCC. I bet a lot of
what I'm into is already being taught at West Point. I should ask around
more maybe. More about the network MathFuture (Google Group). Space to add
a link:


> > where intelligent policies prevail. Such
> > civilizations require a level of socialization that Americans just

> haven't
> > demonstrated at any point in their history. Vote all you want, campaign
> all
> > you want, but when the average social IQ is what it is... you go with the
> > army you've got.
> >

> Are you saying that social IQ level is made evident by whether and how
> one votes - vote for a progressive, the social IQ is high, vote for a
> conservative, the social IQ is low? You have to be saying this since
> the only way to obtain the laws of progressive Norway is to have
> enough people vote and vote progressive as possible over enough
> election cycles, as I said above.

Message was edited by: kirby urner