Friday, October 19, 2012

Why bother?

One of the reasons I can't believe in heaven is that sounds excruciatingly boring. Peace, love, and happiness forever sounds like a good idea; but no problems... ever? Forever? For ever-ever? What could possibly be the point of existing at all?

Why get out of bed on any given morning if not to continue the march toward that unreachable horizon in the distance? How can we do anything good, unless something bad will happen if we don't act? How can there be heroes when all the villains have been vanquished?

The concept of an ultimate "good" that must overcome "evil" is a construct of Western theology, particularly Christianity and Islam. Most other theologies view the natural and supernatural worlds as inhabited by forces of creation and destruction, where the ideal state is one where these forces balance one another, rather than one needing to overcome the other. Creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and one cannot exist without the other.

The point is that whether one is religious or not, Western ideas about good and evil pervade our expectations about how the world should work. These ideas can become counterproductive when the odds of changing society for the better seem insurmountable because the belief that good must vanquish evil sets the ground for an "all or nothing" attitude that is not only unrealistic, but distorts the reality of the world in which we live.

In particular, I am addressing the good-natured and relatively well-informed people who say things like, "everything is so messed up that it's pointless to try to do anything about it." These educated but exasperated do-nothings are far worse than those low-information, anti-intellectual rubes who consistently vote against their own best interests, because at least the rubes are trying.

So please accept that no matter how hard you work, the world will never be perfect. For every good thing you do, someone else will do something bad. But as long as you do something, we will all move forward, imperfectly, together. And no matter how bad the world seems, it is better than it has ever been. Information travels faster than it ever has, more people are educated, more women and children have protected legal rights, more gay people are accepted for who they are, the list goes on and on.

There will always be more work to be done in our endeavor to repair the world.

Now stop whining and let's get busy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The math has already been solved, but the class is staring out the window.

 How is nobody seeing this?

Romney says that all of his tax cuts will be "budget neutral" because he will balance the tax cuts by closing deductions and loopholes.

So if, when people sit down to do their taxes, whatever they save in tax cuts, they will pay back by claiming fewer deductions, and it all equals out to the same amount they were paying before... what exactly has been accomplished? How does this solve anything?

If your premise is that cutting taxes will enable "job creators" to "create jobs," how could you encourage job growth if the "job creators" are still paying the same amount in taxes?

And from the government side, how do tax cuts that are "budget neutral" solve anything??

Everyone keeps focusing on the fact that Romney and Ryan are refusing to provide details about their tax plan, when they have already provided the only detail that matters:

 tax cuts  getting rid of loopholes and deductions  $0

They already did the math, and it equals NOTHING!

Am I Alice?

Is this Wonderland?

Can someone pass the crazy juice because I'm tired of being sane. I hate math!