Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things that are true, part I

A list of things that I believe we can all accept as true.  The implications of these truths often leads me to my political positions, but apparently that's just me.  I'm not sure why that is.

  1. Pipelines leak.  Really, what more is there here to say?  There's a lot of reasons why pipelines leak: from the general decline in quality control in the Chinese-produced steel used for most pipelines, through the hubris of pipeline designers and the greed of pipeline company management more concerned about bottom lines than wildlife habitat and drinkable water, all the way to the Godel Incompleteness Theorem.  We could come up with many many reasons why pipelines leak, but I think we're all in agreement that they do.
  2. The same people who think the US government can default on its debt without consequences are the same people who think the Confederate army included willing black soldiers fighting for slavery and that the Civil War was more about states rights than slavery; that the world would be a safer place if everyone had a concealed carry permit; that a large portion of the budget of the US government is spent on foreign aid; that the theory of evolution is a lie spread by Satan; global warming is a conspiracy by leftist climate scientists to raise taxes.  This set of shared beliefs is an anthropological fact.  We can do sociology all we want and survey people and try to understand the fact that the various Venn circles describing this belief are so tightly correlated, but that misses the point.  There is a tribe of people that believes all of these propositions.  Some tribes worship Sirius as their original home; some tribes believe God is an old man who slept with his daughter and her children were bison and human beings; and some tribes believe the Confederate flag is a symbol of freedom.
  3. One of the most dangerous places to be in North America is in a school zone outside an elementary school five minutes before the morning bell rings.  Pretty much everyone not in a minivan or an SUV can be crushed to death in minutes by someone who won't even realize they're there, and who is likely responding to work email anyway.  Its not as dangerous as East Oakland or certain neighborhoods in Chicago, but people are still killed in school zones daily.
More as they occur to me.

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