Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Obama Visits the Chamber of Commerce: Joke Night?

I realize this is a couple days late to be super-timely, but it still needs to be commented on, in my opinion...

So Obama paid a visit to the US Chamber of Commerce, to give a rosy speech about being pro-business. Wait, what? Obama's about as pro-business as I am a bleeding-heart liberal; it would be like me giving a speech about the value of public funding for NPR. I mean, I get the reasoning, from a political perspective: people are sorta figuring out that all the wealth redistribution in the world doesn't help people when there aren't any jobs because the socialist regime has obliterated industry, so perhaps it's a good idea to at least give lip-service to the engine which generated virtually all the prosperity the Democrats are now dismantling. Seriously, though, when you're so far removed from what you're saying that it comes off as comedy night, you might want to rethink the strategy.

Let's just look at a few highlights. For example, Obama said:
I understand the challenges you face. I understand you are under incredible pressure to cut costs and keep your margins up. I understand the significance of your obligations to your shareholders and the pressures that are created by quarterly reports. I get it.

Now if that isn't comedy, I don't know what [it] is. It's certainly not at all accurate: Obama never ran a business, never met a business he didn't want to plunder, and never met a budget he couldn't exceed by the entire wealth of smaller nations. I give Obama credit for some intelligence, but this statement is pretty absurd; it's probably meant for humor, then.

Maybe that's just a line for comedic relief, then. A bit before, he said:
As a government, we will help lay the foundation for you to grow and innovate and succeed. [...] And we’ll work to knock down barriers that make it harder for you to compete, from the tax code to the regulatory system.

Again, must be humor, cause it sure as hell ain't even on the same planet as fact. Since when have the Democrats, ever, been about less regulation and less taxation? I mean, they nominally are trying to do "good" things for the country, and they may mean well, but their policies never involve less government or less intrusion into people's lives or businesses. He actually said this with a straight face?

I could go on... there's parts about regulation making things cheaper, there's a section about Obamacare saving businesses money (which is absurd; if it really does that, why is everyone "on the take" with the administration getting waivers?), some drivel about businesses having moral responsibilities to the American people (I guess this is a nod to unions, but not sure), and lots more garbage. If I were in the audience, I would have been snickering during the speech; the whole thing was just utterly absurd, like some inverted-world view, massaged to be rousing or something. It's hard to tell how it went over for the American people (ie: are they dumb enough to believe that the disingenuous lip-service being paid to capitalism is anything more than a transparent sham), but here's hoping they are not as stupid as Obama apparently thinks they are.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thought Experiment in Population Engineering

So this is an interesting idea I've been pondering, which I figured I'd share; hopefully it's at least thought-provoking, if not amusing.

Consider this: what if there was a cheap, readily-available (as in globally) "contraceptive" pill that men could take which would deterministically set the gender of any children they would father while on said medication? For the sake of argument, we'll assume that you could get either type: male or female children. What would the effects on populations and political dynamics be, both short and long term?

For example, in areas where population is limited (either by law or by resources), and males are given better opportunity and/or status in the society, you could assume that most people would choose to have exclusively male children (especially if it would be the father who was making the choice, presumably at least sometimes without consent of the mother). Over a generation or so, this could shift the population balance significantly, which could lead to undesirable effects (eg: large populations of males without families historically are more violent). Over several generations, though, this could serve as both a population control, and a mechanism for social change, as social planners tried to make more a balanced population more appealing to the people.

In areas of gender equality, and/or where population growth is desired, you might see the opposite effect. Governments could easily encourage more females to be born through simple incentive programs, once it was easy to predetermine gender for children. Of course, this might challenge the traditional family structure within a few generations, though, as that grows out of an average gender balance, and isn't necessarily optimal in a population where gender distribution is skewed by incentives. Policy makers would have to carefully consider intentionally tipping the balance too far, for fear of unintended consequences.

In a couple generations, you might also see some interesting cross-population effects. For example, there might be more racial and area cross-breeding, if there are populations with skewed gender distributions in both directions, as people people looked outside their owns groups/areas for mates. There could also arise some power struggles and negotiations stemming from gender inequalities, and the perceived need to preserve populations (eg: it would be very difficult to preserve the strength, at least in terms of population, of a country who had 90%+ males, without drastic measures). It would have the potential to be the most significant force in gender rights equalization the world had ever seen.

Anyway, it's a thought; I'm curious what other people think.