Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lables - What's in a Name?

Every debate seems to boil down to the label of the debaters. Whether real or perceived, the labels get in the way of agreement. What label I feel best applies to me is not the label most often applied to me. It really confuses the issue.

Personally, I feel I am a realist. Most often I am considered conservative, republican or sometimes libertarian. Independent was once my preferred label, but H. Ross Perot, was not someone I wished to be associated with. Nothing person, I just don't get into the paranoia scene.

Politically, I tend to vote for gridlock. With no mandate, politicians generally can do less damage. I did not vote for Obama because the junior senator from the great state of Illinois did not impress me. Illinois, like Louisiana, doesn't inspire political integrity in my thinking. People with limited political clout are generally beholding to people with political clout should they win office. So who pulls Obama's strings is my question, not his race, education or religion. Since he has similar experience as Sarah Palin, there was no good choice this last election.

Presidents though get both more credit and blame than they deserve. This country has survived more than one president that discovered the Peter principal while in office and will undoubtedly survive more. Occasionally, circumstances converge and the US does incredibly wonderful or stupid things. Currently, climate change, energy resources and economic reality are converging to force action that will fall into one of those categories.

When that happens, labels should be more clearly defined or stupidity will win the day. Environmentalists, conservationists, naturalists and pragmatists all have common goals, but different approaches to reaching those goals. If they join forces under one label, realist, they can effect positive change. Environmentalists generally despise conservationists that include hunters. Hunters though have put their money where their mouth is and helped preserve and rebuild natural habitat for the game animals they pursue. Environmentalists have used passive and not so passive resistance to obtain their goals without realizing their work only opened other equally objectionable options for their cause. They are often passionate people driven by their hearts instead of their minds. The Penn and Teller Di-hydrogen monoxide skit clearly shows that heart is no replacement for rational thought.

Any group can cite cases of another group's futility as long as they can keep the blinders on to avoid seeing their own limitations. Realists have to remove those blinders and honestly look at all the facts not just the comfortable ones. Perhaps our political society needs a twelve step program to overcome their addiction to self? I know that my country will never obtain political perfection, but can strive for political progress.

Universal health care is a wonderful goal. It can be obtained by expanding sliding scale health programs like the rural and community health networks. These health networks combine public, corporate and private support with reduced user fees, to provide reasonable quality health care. Expanding and improving an existing system is much more cost effective that attempting wholesale change of existing systems. That is realism.

Energy independence can also be obtain by expanding on existing systems with improvements in efficiency and blending improved technologies in as they prove their worth. Radical wholesale change is ineffective and costly. That is realism.

Perhaps twelve step program to help restore their realism based on the twelve steps for Climaholics?

Climaholics Anonymous Twelve Steps to Recovery

1. We admitted we were powerless over the climate change debate—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Statistical Method greater than own could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Statistics as we understood Them.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our hypotheses.

5. Admitted to Statistics, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our misunderstandings.

6. Were entirely ready to have Statistics remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Statistics to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed with abuse of Statistics, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure their or other's scientific credibility.

10. Continued to take personal Statistical inventory and when we were spurious promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through blogs and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Statistics as we understood Them, blogging only for knowledge of Their will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a Statistical awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Climaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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