Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Two Party System

The most commonly made argument against the two party system is that the parties are not representative of the people's interests.  I think this is largely nonsense.  What is true is that the national platforms have a higher variance from regional interests.  I doubt that changes much nationally in the end.  Presently the parties are as weak as they've been in a generation.  This has been owed somewhat to the progressive reforms that weakened the parties.  Oddly enough, the worker was better off with two strong parties, because labor made the parties serve their interests of they delivered votes elsewhere.  That is not the case today.  Today, neither party works in the interests of workers.

Monday, August 20, 2012


In my life, I have almost always been willing to allow suffering for myself.  That has been inclusive of suffering for people better off than me.  The day that started ending was when I noticed that my suffering did not just fall upon me, but it fell upon my children.  It is one thing to suffer for your ideal.  It is another thing to have those who depend upon you suffer for your ideal.  This comes to mind reading this thread.  The absolute fear of bringing another child into this world to join in suffering is quite visible in some of the comments.  Of course, the vast, vast majority of people using birth control (be it NFP otherwise) are doing so for economic reasons.  Of that group, a large number are well off or at least moderately well off.  However, there are more people for whom bringing a child into this world would mean asking him to suffer.  These are people like myself who look almost idyllically at the people able to support large families.  I had never built my value system around the acquisition of material goods.  Were it not for kids, I would likely be content with a certain amount of poverty.  I am not content to allow them to suffer for my ideals, and if the church wishes to be insistent on the matter than she needs to make provision.  Asking the weakest of her followers to suffer for her ideals is simply cruel.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paul Ryan

Since the guy is from my home state, I feel almost compelled to comment.  Meh.  He was elected in an open race.  He lives in a district neighboring three TV markets with voters fairly distributed throughout the district.  This means opposition candidates tend to be known in one market but not all three.  The district covers around a quarter of each television market, and that makes TV advertising very difficult and more expensive.  He will tickle the ears of the Milwaukee talkers, but he won't do so near to the degree that Scott Walker does.  Demographics and redistricting made it a fairly easy district for him.  This is why for example I have difficulty seeing how people impute charisma to him.  I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence of him ever persuading anyone.  Republicans haven't valued an ability to woe independents since at least Bush the Elder, so they are likely being idiosyncratic in their definition of charismatic.  I think his selection was more about rallying the troops, and I would imagine the troops will be satisfied with the pick.

People will try to play his district as liberal, but Mark Neumann preceded him.  Neumann is considered the most conservative candidate in the WI Senate race.  He has lost statewide office bids several times.  Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moral Theology

Having been involved in Catholic moral debate for half a decade, I've come to a few conclusions.
1.  Some acts by their very nature are wrong.
2.  Applying the butterfly effect to choices is a piss poor way to do theology.
3.  Anything beyond 1st order cooperation is likely crap.

One of the things I like about Catholic morality is that it tries to truly evaluate the exercise of agency.  It does not tend to look at 2nd order effects unless the actor has agency over those second order effects.  These tend to be safeties against demagogues, but demagogues have a tendency to go through stop signs.