Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dubya or Dontya ?

This is one of my rarer posts on politics and presents some of my ideas about things that make the world go 'round: Dubya or Dontya ?

(Note: Dubya is the way the middle W in George W. Bush's name is pronounced in some parts of the USA and it has become a nickname of sorts for the President. Dontya (or dontcha) is a short-form writing of "don't you"). So, Dubya or Dontya, "do you or don't you ..." [fill in the blank]?

A friend of mine wrote the following:

"So, what do you think about a president who doesn't believe in evolution? Or, global warming. Or, women's rights. Or, stem cell research."

Here is what I wrote (with slight amendments):

GEORGE W. BUSH

We have to separate the man from the office. Many people do not like George W. Bush at all as a person, but we should not focus on whether we like his personality, which is a personal thing, but rather on the policies and actions of his administration. To like a product, we do not need to like the product's maker, and vice versa.

Globally, I think we greatly overestimate the importance of the US President in the great scope of things. Dubya has inherited his father's business, as it were. This happens all the time in the business world.

I myself find Dubya amusing, somewhat hapless intellectually, but strong in his core of decisionmaking, which a President needs to be.

This decisionmaking is one of the primary responsibilities of a President of the United States. He MUST decide, or, as fromer President Harry S. Truman had written on a plaque on his desk: "The buck stops here". The President can not "pass the buck" to someone else. He must act and he is held responsible for what he does.

It is one thing to be a pundit but it is another thing to actually carry and have to exercise responsibility.

To judge any person accurately in his position, we should honestly ask ourselves: What would we do if WE carried the actual responsibility? If we did so honestly, we would find that we would in fact often act differently than what we profess. Indeed, people often say one thing but do another. It is the latter that counts.

AMERICA

In addition, rather than to concentrate solely on the President and his office, we should come to terms with the realization that George W. Bush symbolizes a great portion of America generally. Millions of Americans put Dubya where he is. So, it is not Bush that is the problem, if a problem exists, it is the America who put him in his office that is the problem, if a problem exists. Bush is not at fault for that, no more than he is for the vagaries of nature such as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and led to other unnecessary difficulties there, in part because of long-term and short-term failings by thousands of other Americans.

It is, in any case, quite wrong, stupid and foolish on the part of many commentators to constantly see George W. Bush as the scapegoat for things they dislike about current events. That merely shows a superficiality of analysis which prefers to deal in personalities rather than getting down to the brass tacks of causality for the world's existing problems.

The fact is, America is the world's most powerful nation and it exercises its power to protect itself, which is to be expected. Some like this exercise of power and some do not, but no one can deny that George W. Bush is acting in what he views to be America's best interests. All the rest is a difference of opinion on how to do it.

EVOLUTION and CREATIONISM

Bush's views on evolution have little effect in a country where the number of dogmatic creationists is steadily increasing. In my view, the proof that men evolved from the apes is found in many of mankind's adamant stand that they do not. Frankly, the "intelligent design" of God would have created a smarter creature than what we see on Earth currently. Most men still have one leg in their former chimpanzee mentality. On the other hand, if we view time as endless in infinity, then our being here is nothing more than the snap of the fingers - i.e. in this sense, the creationists are not wrong. Whether we "evolved" or "were created" is simply a matter of your time reference, nothing more. On a time spectrum of trillions of years and beyond, man's presence is not even a second of time by comparison.

GLOBAL WARMING

Global warming is not high on my anti-Bush priority list - execept as explained below - because George W. alone can do little about the fact that we have 6 billion people on this planet and steadily increasing.

Instead of rewarding underdeveloped countries with money for stupidities I would reduce all US foreign aid to the provision of birth control devices and anti-baby pills. Go after the cause of the problem.

In this connection, the emotional issue of abortion in the USA is absurd when one sees the inhabitants of the mass of underdeveloped nations increasing their populations dramatically. The world is becoming a dangerous playground for overpopulated elements whose sheer mass presence is the major problem of global warming (and other dire problems). Imagine the pollution and warming when every human being (and 10 billion inhabitants is not that far off) has an automobile and is defecating his wastes into the rivers and oceans. Appalling.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Women control 70% of the assets in the Western world - mostly through inheritance, because they also live on average 7 years longer than men do (those at least are the statistics here in Europe). When the women go on the warpath about women's rights, is it really justified by such major parameters as above? Do men have more or fewer actual rights than the ladies? Why do men not live as long as women? Is it because a man's life has more stress? Is that a right?

If women want to be chairpersons of Hewlett-Packard - great - more power to them. For that, I hope then to have more time to be on the golf course. As for the controversial abortion issue and the right of women to their own bodies - now really, how many people are we talking about here? The solution is - if some are aborting more, we others should reproduce more. Such a simple remedy. Raise up a contradictory movement, as it were. The possibilities are immense.

STEM CELL RESEARCH and MEDICAL CLONING

I can share no real understanding of why stem cell research or medical cloning are so emotionally controversial. Here is what I read at the government NIH website:

"The use of embryonic stem cells is controversial. The controversy is based on the belief by opponents that a fertilized egg is fundamentally a human being with rights and interests that need to be protected. Those who oppose stem cell research do not want fetuses and fertilized eggs used for research purposes.

Supporters of stem cell research argue that the fertilized eggs are donated with consent from each couple and would be discarded anyway. Therefore, there is no potential for those fertilized eggs to become human beings. Fertilized eggs are not (at this time) being created specifically for stem cell research.

As with any moral and ethical issue, the controversy surrounding stem cell research will likely continue for quite some time. Supporters believe that an aggressive federal program is needed before the potential of stem cell research can be realized. At this time, federal funding is limited to stem cell lines that already exist. The funding does not support further destruction of fertilized eggs. This is based on the idea that the "life and death" decision on the existing stem cell lines has already been made. Thus, a compromise has been made that supports medical research and respects the fundamental moral issues associated with the potential for life."


What does Dubya have to do with any of this? Veritably nothing. This is merely the progress of science and the inevitable controversy about that progress and the possibiities that it opens. Stem cell research is e.g. allowed in the United Kingdom but there are legitimate legal issues which need to be managed, so that there is always a middle road to be found down the road.

See generally ISSCR
Europe
European Union

Modern genetics will lead to many new things that are different than what happened in previous eras and which frighten the uninformed masses. That is to be expected. It is also to be expected that there will be opposition and need for regulation.

DUBYA or DONTYA

I judge Dubya and the Bush administration by things that affect me directly - Don't You?- and those are the issues of security and the economy.

I am a staunch Bush supporter on foreign policy. This is a tough world out there and you have to get rid of the crazies and all who support them. You do not wait for rogue states to start selling nuclear weapons to the world.

On domestic policy, I am anti-Bush because he made absolutely needless tax cuts for the rich which have brought nothing for the nation's economy. The rich put that money - originally a plus in the treasury under President Clinton - back into the treasury as loans (federal securities) for which the rest of the country now has to pay taxes to pick up the interest payments. This was a stupid redistribution of monies which the middle class has to bear so that the rich have more money.

Many other so-called issues of our time are tangential issues which have little or no impact on my life - or yours.
.

The Importance of Evidence

One area in which the legal community is lax is in inculcating a proper appreciation of EVIDENCE in the other arts and sciences.

Roger Schank of Carnegie-Mellon University writes the following, inter alia, at Edge 168 regarding the teaching of evolution or intelligent design in the schools.

"Here is what we should teach our children: how to think; how to look at evidence and determine reasonable conclusions that can be derived from the evidence; how to know what constitutes evidence; how to interpret evidence.

Stop telling children facts. Do that in church or wherever religious indoctrination takes place. School should not be about indoctrination but reasoned thought. Teach children to come to their own conclusions. Stop confusing religion with thought."

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