Friday, January 19, 2018

Fwd: New Democrat party seal

Star Wars BEFORE Feminism


"You talk in a manner that exudes confidence, so it would be easy to be sucked into the idea that everything you say is correct and infalible. 

Often you make interesting comments, so I want to share those with friends, but lately I found that I can't because of racist statements.  Let's be clear on this, claiming that Whites have on average higher IQs than Blacks is a racist statement.  I have seen actual hate groups claim the same thing.  You state that there is scientific validity to this, but so did the Nazis in what Winston Churchill called "Perverted Science."

Scores on IQ tests can be affected by a large number of variables, which really makes the racial assertion unprovable.  Such statements are dangerous.  They create bias in people who might otherwise have none.  People are people, and we should not be trying to draw lines between people that will only divide us and create conflict.  All persons should be treated on the basis of their individual merits, and drawing any kind of distinction between race will cause people to make premature assumptions about other people. 

In a hundred years the social and economic conditions will have changed so radically, along with demographic shifts, that I doubt that you could make the same argument then.

Even if there is a sound scientific argument for genetic racial differences in IQ, it is better to leave such arguments alone.  There is very little constructive that can come from it, which only serves to divide our society and create racial tension.  In your pursuit of the truth, I think that you have fallen to the dark side.  I beg of you to drop this narrative and realize that it serves a greater good to not stir the pot of racism. 

What I expected from this video is to get an analysis of Haiti's complex political and economic history, but you ignore all this and give us a simplistic answer about IQ differences.    There really are environmental, economic and political factors that have affected Haiti's development, so the analogy to a failed theory of disease transmission is a weak one."


The Last Jedi is SJW Crap According to Ben Shapiro

The term alt-right has taken on a different meaning than it originally had, because now it usually references the more extreme and often racist nut cases.  However, I think that the extreme alt right is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not TLJ had some Social Justice Warrior messages, because extreme alt right are easy straw men to knock down.  Of course The Last Jedi  has some Social Justice Warrior messages, as my non-extremist friends keep reminding me as to why they don't like the movie or are at least bothered by it.

I think that Social Justice Warrior message in the Last Jedi is pretty obvious, and to say that it doesn't have it is to deny reality.  For me it is only a minor distraction.  Many movies have political messages in them, sometimes overt, and I don't let this get in the way.   I found The Last Jedi thoroughly entertaining and emotionally moving.  I especially like the way the movie defied all audience expectations.

There is, of course, a political divide, between those who see SJW messages as normal, and those on the other side who feel like they are being lectured to.  I certainly did, but I didn't care that much.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fwd: Core Values

FYI, this is an email I wrote to someone I know.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Coffey <>
Date: Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 5:15 PM
Subject: Core Values


There are a great many varied positions that people hold, but all those positions should be traceable to some sort of belief that is in effect the cause of all causes.  I have a friend in Salt Lake City, who around 2001 was trying to pin me down on what my core values were, because I was refusing to take absolute positions.  I told him that I didn't believe in absolutes, but judged individual issues on their merits.  However, he pressed me further saying that even if so, there must be some value or values that I hold dear in order to make those judgements?  I responded that I wanted to do the most good, while doing the least amount of harm.

When I question people about their core values, I almost always get the negative instead of the positive.  People are more likely to tell you what they are against instead of what they are for, and therefore it seems to me that people get excited about politics because they are against something.  For example, truly happy people have little need for politics.  When it comes to being against something, I think that there is the concept of "the oppressor" where people blame some specific thing for the misery in the world or their personal misery.  The oppressor for Republicans and Libertarians is government, and I'm pretty sure that the oppressor for the left is the wealthy.  This kind of thing gets people quite agitated about politics, but in reality there is very little that politics can do to improve a person's life, because people improve their life through personal responsibility, good judgement, hard work and perseverance.  For this reason, politics can be a waste of time, because it is unlikely that public policy will change one iota because of an individual's efforts.

It is my observation that the further people are on the political left, the more likely they are to are to tell you what they are against instead of what they are for.  This is because true socialism is untenable to the majority of the Americans, so those on the extreme left tend to hide what they really believe in, and instead choose to attack enemies or bad things that are easier targets.  I don't think that Bernie Sanders is electable as President in the United States because he is pretty much honest about what he believes in.  However, someone like Barack Obama, who was the considered the most liberal person in the United States Senate, could get elected because he spoke in more general and less specific terms.

People who mostly talk about what they are against tend to confuse the political argument, because it is less clear what they stand for.

When it comes to my political positions, I hold two core values which I will elaborate on, one of which is generally Republican, and the other is generally Libertarian.

I take it as a given that as the amount of government increases, the level of economic growth declines.  Even the most casual of observation shows that places like Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, China and even India have suffered because of their socialist policies.  The places with the least amount of government, like Lichtenstein, Hong Kong, and Luxembourg, have prospered, sometimes even more than the United States.  Even though I take this principle as a given that should require very little proof, I have seen studies that put all the countries in the world on a graph, and there is a pretty clear inverse and almost linear relationship between prosperity and the amount of government.  Logic gives further support to this position, because we can see the effects of government.  It becomes pretty clear that excessive government burdens the economy, and wastes resources, both capital and labor.  Bigger governments tend to be more corrupt and more easily manipulated, causing further waste.

So the economy works best when people are free to pursue their goals with minimal government interference.  Freedom works.

However, this assertion is usually met with arguments about the Scandinavian countries, where people claim that these countries prove that Socialism can work.  I find this interesting, because the leader of one of the countries denied that they were a Socialist country, but instead claimed that they were a free market economy.  I think that the argument that the Scandinavian countries are proof that socialism can work is flawed for many reasons:  Most of their prosperity came before they adopted socialist policies, they still try to maintain a healthy free market, and when their economy stagnated, they had to lower their tax rates to give it a boost.  In fact, at least one country for awhile had a lower top tax rate than the United States.

My favorite Milton Friedman quote is:   "The enduring lesson of the 20th century is that socialism is a failure, and free markets are a success. But the politicians keep advocating just a little more socialism."  Governments Keep Turning to Socialism, Even Though It Always Fails.

The non-aggression principle, which I think is sometimes referred to as The Libertarian Principle, says that people have the right to do whatever they want so long as they don't interfere with the same right of others.  There is an expression that says, "My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins."  I agree with this in principle, but there are practical considerations where I might differ.  Pure Libertarians see all taxes as theft, and almost all regulation as an infringement on people's freedom.  Most government actions use theft, force, or the threat of force to achieve its aims, so these government actions are a form of tyranny. 

I think that if you take this principle to its logical extreme then you can't have any government at all, and a small percentage of Libertarians are anarchists who see Libertarianism as a path to anarchy.  However, I think that anarchy is completely unworkable.  Although some people might think that Rights are self evident, I think that there could be widespread disagreement over what is a right and what is not.  You need government to define what the rules are to prevent people from aggressing against each other.  Property can only be defined in a legal context, otherwise you could have two or more people laying claim to the same property without a clear and just resolution.  In anarchy, not everybody is going to agree to the same rules.  Finally, it should be self evident that we need government to protect us from foreign enemies.  Without government, we would be taken over by people who are far less considerate about our well being.

I am so very far from pure Libertarianism, which I also think is not practical.  I think that we need some minimal regulations to prevent people from harming each other, just like we need traffic signals to prevent people from harming each other.  I see examples around me of extreme poverty, and therefore conclude that we need some social programs, at least for the moment.  However, I think that in an ideal world we could phase out social programs as the free market increased prosperity.  

It seems to me that the left never wants social programs to end, nor decrease, but only to increase them, which raises the question in my mind of how much is enough?  In an ideal world you would need less social programs over time.  If you take the position that you always need more social programs, then isn't that admitting some kind of failure, because the social programs aren't solving the problem of poverty, but possibly making the problem worse?


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Re: Last Jedi political messaging

On Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 11:12 AM, utahtrout wrote:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi' leans into political fray

But the latest movie, "The Last Jedi," appears to lean into the political fray, from its egalitarian message to a more specific critique of callous plutocrats.

More pointedly, the mission undertaken by Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) leads them to a planet where the ultra-rich congregate at what amounts to an intergalactic casino. Moreover, it's noted that most of those one-percenters earned their money from war profiteering -- selling weapons to the First Order and Rebels alike -- while subjugating and exploiting those around them.

The pair's escape also weaves in an animal-rights theme, as the two rebels liberate a creature used for a kind of horseracing entertainment. The beast eventually wanders off free, regaining its natural state.

There's obvious irony in a money-making enterprise like "Star Wars" -- fattening the coffers of the Disney empire -- decrying capitalism run amok. Yet even if that's a minor, peripheral element in a fantasy set in a long-ago, far-away galaxy, rather than being reluctantly drawn into such debates, "The Last Jedi" signals its willingness to at least be part of the conversation by addressing issues in the here and now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My comment on "Why I Was Wrong About Nationalism".

In response to 

I wrote this in the comments section:

"​In my previous comment I said that the video was really interesting but could give the wrong impression.  However, as much as I want to assume that Molyneux has good motives, I think that his stance on race and IQ is counter productive.  It is not just that this is a taboo subject, but it has great potential to do harm.  Even if it is true, there is no benefit to repeatedly pointing this out and it gives fuel to racists and justifies the idea that we can treat people differently based on race.  People should be treated as individuals based on their individual merits and race should be a non consideration.  Pointing out differences in race creates prejudices in otherwise well meaning people who had none.

There are a huge number of factors that could affect scores on IQ tests.  I don't think that I need to list them.  As a result, the premise that intelligence varies by race is essentially unprovable.  Over the next hundred years we will see populations shift and changes in demographics and economics, and therefor I suspect that a hundred years from now we will see dramatically different results on these kinds of tests.  If correct, it makes race based comparisons rather meaningless.​"


Doug Jones Beats Roy Moore In Alabama Senate Election

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I occasionally listen to old episodes of Greg Garrison, who has retired.

I especially liked this episode.

Fwd: Fact checking

Far more troubling was the Washington Post's fact check of Vice
President Mike Pence's claim that "There are more Americans working
today than ever before in American history." Now, a fact check of that
statement means you check whether it's true that more Americans work
today than ever before. A reasonable person would suspect it has a
high chance of being true if for no other reason than there are more
Americans living today than ever before.

In fact, it is factually correct to say that more Americans are
working now than ever before. The Washington Post admits this,
showcases the numbers (124 million, up from 65 million in 1968), and
says Pence is "technically correct." So they give him, quite
amazingly, three Pinocchios, their little metric that summarizes their
analysis of the truthfulness of the statement. Then they admit they
wanted to give him four Pinocchios but were constrained by the fact
that what he said was true. I'm not joking.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Steve Kusaba
November 25 at 10:21pm ·

One year ago today, Fidel Castro actually became a good communist.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Shooting of Michael Brown

On July 14, 2015, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber responded to defense motions by dismissing four of the seven counts of the lawsuit and declining to dismiss two other counts.[249][250] On June 20, 2017, Webber approved a settlement between Brown's parents and the city of Ferguson. Terms of the agreement, including the settlement amount, were sealed from the public.[251][252] A Ferguson city attorney revealed the city's insurance company paid $1.5 million.[253]


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fwd: Immigration russian roulette

Copy of Facebook comment.

Seems to me that the discussion is a bit one sided without overtly stating the solution. I assume that people are advocating getting rid of all guns and the 2nd amendment. Otherwise, why have this discussion? However, such people would deny me the the right to defend myself.

I admit that Australia has an amazingly low murder rate, but the United States is below the global average. Country to country comparisons are not always valuable, as we are dealing with different cultures. I think that it is naive to assume that making guns illegal is going to help things. Also, the correlation between guns and murders is hard to pin down. The US murder rate went down as the number of guns more than doubled. Conservatives claim more guns means less crime.

I think that the real problem is a decline in morality. Gun violence is the symptom of a declining society as opposed to being a symptom of the availability of guns. And guess who I blame for the declining society?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fwd: UK no surgery for you

No surgery for smokers or the obese: Policy in UK stirs debate

For an indefinite amount of time, it plans to ban access to routine, or non-urgent, surgery under the National Health Service until patients "improve their health," the policy states, claiming that "exceptional clinical circumstances (will) be taken into account on a case-by-case basis."

The decision comes from the clinical commissioning group (known as a CCG) for the county of Hertfordshire, which has population of more than 1.1. million.

The target for smokers is eight weeks or more without a cigarette -- with a breath test to prove it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Re: This Is How The Chinese See America

The link no longer works.  Here is another one ...

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Labor and Work

"The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor---the just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all---gives hope to all, and energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), pp. 478-479. 

"No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 479. 

"Labor is the true standard of value." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (February 15, 1861), p. 212. 

"The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly supplied. There is no dispute upon this point." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 477. 

"I am always for the man who wishes to work." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Recommendation For Unidentified Man" (August 15, 1864), p. 495. 

"If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive---all would have perished by want of subsistence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 415. 

"Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio" (September 17, 1859), p. 459. 

"Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter to George D. Ramsay" (October 17, 1861), p. 556. 

"Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions" (April 6, 1858), p. 437. 

"Property is the fruit of is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Reply to New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association" (March 21, 1864), pp. 259-260. 

"Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 475. 

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861. 

"Upon this subject, the habits of our whole species fall into three great classes---useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious; and to it all the products of labour rightfully belong; but the two latter, while they exist, are heavy pensioners upon the first, robbing it of a large portion of it's just rights. The only remedy for this is to, as far as possible, drive useless labour and idleness out of existence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"Work, work, work, is the main thing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter To John M. Brockman" (September 25, 1860), p. 121. 

"And I am glad to know that there is a system of labor -> where the laborer can strike if he wants to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Hartford, Connecticut" (March 5, 1860), p. 7. 

"If you intend to go to work there is no better place than right where you are; if you do not intend to go to work, you can not get along anywhere." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Letter To John D. Johnston" (November 4, 1851), p. 111. 

"I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at New Haven, Connecticut" (March 6, 1860), p. 24. 

"...half finished work generally proves to be labor lost." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Communication to the People of Sangamon County" (March 9, 1832), p. 5. 

"And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"...the working men are the basis of all governments, for the plain reason that they are the most numerous..." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech to Germans at Cincinnati, Ohio" (February 12, 1861), p. 202.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


​Copy of a comment I made on Facebook​:

With all due respect, I don't understand your absolute hatred of Trump. Not even close. I have mixed feelings about Trump as a person, although I feel somewhat favorable about him, but I voted for his agenda, not his personality. I actually think that Trump is trying to do the right thing, as he sees it, which overlaps some, but not all, of my views.

I think that this is barking up the wrong tree. You're not getting rid of Trump, because Trump did not collude with the Russians, and there is no evidence he ever did, and even if you could prove that he did, it is not illegal. However, if you did get rid of Trump, then you are not accomplishing anything, because you are going to have Mike Pence as president. If you could get rid of Mike Pence, which would make me sad because I think Pence is truly a great guy, then you would have Paul Ryan as president. By some miracle if you got rid of Paul Ryan then you would have Orrin Hatch as president, which I only mention because for me that would be the least desirable outcome.

BTW, Pence and I graduated from the same high school. I could be almost as happy with Pence as President, but I think that Trump will actually accomplish more.

Best wishes,

John Coffey