Thursday, November 11, 2010

Facebook Wall Posts, Part IV

Here are the latest posts that I've made to my Facebook Wall. Some excellent links for the studious in this series.


The Transformation of the Right-Wing From Small-Government Hawks to Big Government Spenders

Wow. This one blew me away. Yes, it's rather long, but for anyone interested in our left-right political paradigm, I encourage you to read it. It's jam-packed with the kind of history from which sense of our own world can more easily be made. Author Murray Rothbard wrote this in 1968. In this article, he discusses the rise of a new brand of right-winger, which he labels "conservative". He explains that the term "conservative" had previously been used as a perjorative, and that small-government right-wingers like himself would have never associated with this idea. To Rothbard, "conservatives" are all for big governments and big monetary interventions. He describes this shift away from small-government, limited intervention libertarianism (which went hand in hand with isolationism) towards interventionism for right-wing causes as a result of American imperial ambitions and specifically fighting communism during the Cold War. Some questions that occurred to me, if the Cold War is over, why does the right-wing continue to demand intervention (and I suspect that the answer has to do with having found new enemies in the War on Terror - but that's only part of the answer - a better answer would be because the U.S. has become dependent on imperialism for economic growth). In today's political environment, I often have a hard time remembering that there was a time in the United States when right-wingers believed in smaller government and smaller government spending. Today, although "conservatives" like to preach about the need for smaller government, they've done everything that they can to increase the size of government and massively raise government spending, often by using deficit financing. As a result, we have ballooning national debts. Our spending has been financed on the backs of the next generation, and that's just not right, particularly since the benefit which the next generation will derive from our spending decisions has become questionable. Rothbard reminds us that things didn't have to be this way for right-wingers. He also offers an interesting take on "socialism" as being much more centric than many of us think of it as being. If you have the time, give this link a go.


Intervening in Systems - Finding the Right Places for Change

This is quite a lengthy article, but I thought that it was worth sharing. The author outlines 9 different areas in systems where intervention can achieve change. She refers to these areas as "leverage points". What I like about this article is that she explains some really technical ideas about how systems operate in a way that made sense to me. Her use of examples was particularly helpful. Also, she prioritizes the "leverage points" and comes to some interesting conclusions about where real efforts should be focused for more significant change. In her analysis, intervening on the "numbers" is probably the least significant point to foment change. "Numbers" includes monetary inputs. The biggest bang for your buck is achieved by shifting the paradigm in which a system operates. While certainly not easy to do, that's where the most benefit is going to be had; and sometimes, paradigmn shifts can occur a lot more quickly than we think possible. Check this post out if you have some time, and maybe you'll have your own paradigm shifted, and it won't cost you much.


War Veterans as Anti-Tax Political Props

A great post from Ottawa-Vanier nominated candidate for the Green Party of Ontario (and Facebook friend-of-mine), Dave Bagler. Dave is absolutely right that the Ontario NDP continues to engage in the politics of cynicism by using war veterans as a prop for their anti-HST stance. In this specific case, the provincial NDP appears to be calling for a narrow policy proposal to remove HST on poppies. Our war veterans aren't political props, to be trotted out at November 11th. Their sacrifice to this nation of ours is significant to the point that it can't be understated. By thrusting forward those who fought for our nation as a prop in the NDP's ongoing battle against the HST, Andrea Horwath and the provincial NDP cynically want us to equate the sacrifices our veterans made for Canada with a tax grab. The NDP seem to be willing to stoop to the lowest of levels in their quest for votes. Do check out Dave Bagler's blog, as he says all of this so much more eloquently than I do.


The Triangle Girl Retold

Congratulations to local film maker Taryn Green for claiming first prize in the Filmpossible contest, where entrants brought "disability to visibility" through film. A vigorous social media effort was used to promote Green's wonderful and personal production, "The Triangle Girl Retold". Way to go, Taryn, for your and bold film-making. You continue to do the Sudbury community proud.


Anonymous said...

The Rothbard article was very good. Your statement "...a better answer would be because the U.S. has become dependent on imperialism for economic growth." put me in mind of Thomas Paine writing about England during the American Revolution. I also liked the systems analysis article. "Missing feedback is a common cause of system malfunction." So our government's new stand on the census will accomplish what? There's too much good stuff in this article to quote it all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve!
I just found this shout out now, but thank you so much for your support for The Triangle girl Retold and the contest as a whole!