Entries in the ‘Politics’ Category:

So You Occupied Wall Street? Now What?

Wall Street is occupied!

Okay. Now what?

As far as I can tell, this protest crystallized around anger directed at the people who got away with stealing billions from the rest of us. Lamenting the past is not the organizing principle for a political movement. This is a candlelight vigil for our economy.

What do we want?

If you think that getting mad as hell is all it takes to effect change, you need to go back and finish watching Network. Anger isn’t enough. We saw the same thing during the Mastercard hack in Dec. 2010. What did that achieve? Nothing. They had no demands and weren’t asking the public to help. If you don’t have a clear goal you’re not a protester, you’re a vandal. A protest that can effect change needs to have a stated, achievable goal, and a clear call to action.

A clear goal gives a protest a finish line, and it makes the opposition responsible for the costs. The message of a protest shouldn’t be, “We’re going to destroy your business,” but rather, “You can stop this by making a simple change.” A protest without a goal is just a public party, and the opposition has no choice but to wait it out.

At least they’re doing something?

Sure, maybe it’s not well organized, but at least they’re not just sitting on their butts doing nothing, right? Really? That’s the rock the vote argument, that every eligible person should vote regardless of how well they understand the issues. Just be heard; it doesn’t matter what you say.

This protest is going to be completely ineffective. This isn’t elementary school, there are no points for participation. This is going to demoralize people that might have participated in an effective civil action in the future. Worthless protests are a pressure release valve to prevent effective civil disobedience.

Don’t just do anything. Save your energy until you have a clear goal, and a real action that will put pressure on your opposition. Without those things you aren’t holding a protest. You’re just throwing a party.

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Apocalypse

Why do people speak of the apocalypse as a discrete, identifiable event? We will not stare in horror as the sky splits open, pouring hordes upon us. Do you think the Romans or the Chinese recognized the beginning of the end of their empire? History suggests that they didn’t even recognize the middle of the end. Look around.

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The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over

I totally agree with this Wired article. All of the valid arguments by music pirates have been satisfied by the music industry.  There’s no excuse anymore. If you insist on pirating music, it’s because you want to take things you didn’t pay for, commonly called stealing.

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I’m a goddam 1972 Republican

I like universal health care not for any moral reason but because it encourages job mobility, enterpreneurship, takes the burden off our manufacturing industries, and leads to cheaper health care costs. I like to spend money on education because it makes our workers competitive in the international market. [...]

I’m a goddam 1972 Republican.

Jon Rogers really nails how I feel about politics these days. I usually describe myself as a neo-prudentist, but “goddam 1972 Republican” is a bit more accessible.

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The Shame Of Conservative Press

At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct [...] for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear[ing] one’s opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information.

Yglesias

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