Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Thanks to the F-word blog, I've been nominated as The Support Bro. Considering the others nominated, I am really quite honoured.

Special thanks to Godamnitkitty of Hope and Onions for nominating me.

I won't beg people to go vote for me...either you will or you won't. Just, thanks again.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Body, One Person, One Count

The Conservatives are attempting deception. They are attempting to introduce via the back door a bill to grant a fetus the rights of a person. They are taking the first steps to allow the state to control your body.

This is not just about a woman's right to choose. If the so-cons and their Conservative Party of Canada allies open the door to placing the "life" of a fetus above the right of a woman to control her bodily integrity, they are setting a dangerous precedent. They can then decide anyone's life is more important than your bodily integrity and your life. The implications of this are far more horrible and horrendous than abortions - it means that your or I, men or women, could become unwilling organ donors or medical guinea pigs, so long as "the right to life" of another (more worthy) person is at stake.

This must be fought in no uncertain terms.

My friends at Birth Pangs want you to write to Stephane Dion to tell him to whip his caucus to defeat this bill on March 5. If you are so inclined please join this campaign and the blogburst starting on February 25th.

I will do that, but I will also send the message loud and clear to these people:

The gloves are off.

Bad enough that they want to punish a woman for daring to have sex, any attempt to remove the total right to personal bodily integrity in any circumstance will be fought. If this bill somehow passes into law, it will be ignored. Any other law resulting from it will be ignored.

You can try and pass all of the laws you want, but they will be ignored. You cannot control another person, you do not own anyone else. You cannot rule us.

There are thousands, if not millions, of people who will not stand by and be subjected to your pompous, moralizing, holier-than-thou authoritarianism.

I, personally, will ensure that all peaceful means of resistance to this are used - protest, tax revolts, any form of civil disobedience.

I would like to propose to all those that support security of the person and a woman's right to choose vow, as I am today, that if this bill passes on March 5th, that we stop paying taxes. If they won't listen to reason, they must be deprived of the ability to work.

This must be stopped at all costs.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Evolution and Economics

A few weeks ago, I posted the following on my other blog, theConverted:


Dr. Michael Shermer, of the Skeptics Society, has a fascinating article at Scientific American entitled 'Evonomics'. He postulates that evolution and economics are both part and parcel of the same phenomenon - complex adaptive systems.
In biological evolution, nature selects from the variation produced by random genetic mutations and the mixing of parental genes. Out of that process of cumulative selection emerges complexity and diversity. In economic evolution, our material economy proceeds through the production and selection of numerous permutations of countless products.

Quoting both Mises ("Socialism") and Basitat, Shermer shows that top-down government "design" of the economy is a ludicrous as "design" in evolution.
As with living organisms and ecosystems, the economy looks designed—so just as humans naturally deduce the existence of a top-down intelligent designer, humans also (understandably) infer that a top-down government designer is needed in nearly every aspect of the economy. But just as living organisms are shaped from the bottom up by natural selection, the economy is molded from the bottom up by the invisible hand. [emphasis mine]

He still thinks (sadly) some interference is necessary to ensure "free and fair trade", but he is, at least headed in the right direction.

But what this really points to is yet another example of hypocrisy that seems to plague both the 'left' and the 'right', both so-called liberals and conservatives. Each has their own cognitive dissonance here. The conservative right, staunchly defends the idea (for the most part) that the economy is molded "from the bottom up by the invisible hand" of the market, while denying the identical process that occurs in biology. Of course, the liberal left seems to have the opposite problem - while rightly defending the process of evolution and natural selection, they fail to see this exact same process in the field of economics and claim that the government is needed to manage the market.

One cannot support true free market economics and deny evolution nor can one deny the power of the true free market while vehemently supporting evolution. Interference in the market causes unexpected distortions and unintended consequences just as interfering with evolution does.


Since then, Dr. Shermer has appeared on Skepticality and on ReasonTV, explaining in greater detail his thesis outlined above.

In that time I have also bought and read the book The Mind of the Market. It is, of course, brilliant. Dr. Shermer also takes his thesis one step further, in explaining how a free market has an evolutionary basis, how a truly free market and truly free trade are the best ways to foster both peace and human happiness. He touches on the evolutionary basis of morality, as well as good and evil. In his chapter on it and through ongoing discussion, Dr. Shermer points to the evolution-driven biological basis for "folk economics" - why people want the egalitarian, fairness and cooperative model of society as well as the accumulation and consumer based market society; why they hate the rich but also strive to be them. And in dispelling the myth that evolution is about "survival of the fittest" and "red in tooth and claw", he not only demonstrates that cooperation and altruism are the dominant, most effective strategy for the survival of one's genes, but that this is not incompatible with a free market.

He does not, thankfully, fall into the "vulgar libertarian mode". He does not become an apologist for corporate greed. His chapter entitled "Don't be evil" dissects all that was wrong with Enron (no transperancy, destruction of team work, micromanagement, divide and conquer mentality - sound familiar CPC supporters?) and all that is right with Google (the opposite of everything that is wrong with Enron). He rightly identifies the kind of KBR-Haliburton-Enron kind of capitalism as properly corporatism and mercantilism, not true free market capitalism that Adam Smith envisioned.

All in all, he makes an excellent arguement in favour of actual freed markets and trade, based on evolution-driven human nature and behaviour. The science is solid, and Dr. Shermer provides copious endnotes to primary sources, so you can check it out for yourself.

So here is the challenge, to both those on the left and the right. Read the article, listen to the podcast, watch the video and read the book. Discuss the ideas, but keep an open mind and try to reconcile how you can believe in a bottom-up, emergent system in one area, but not in another, nearly identical area.

Consider new approaches and different solutions with these ideas in mind.

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