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Michael Bloomberg Defends Science

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the science-apparently-needs-defending dept.

387

blonde rser writes "This weeks Scientific American Podcast plays excerpts from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's commencement address at John Hopkins University (text and video can be found online). Once he gets past the standard pomp and circumstance he makes a strong, pro-science speech. It is impressive how he very directly demonizes those that would politicize stem cell research, global warming, Terry Schaivo, and evolution." From the speech: "Hopkins' motto is 'Veritas vos liberabit' - 'the truth shall set you free' - not that 'you shall be free to set the truth!'" Stirring stuff.

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387 comments

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465565)

s first post

It's good and all (0)

feyhunde (700477) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465576)

But why can't we have a difference of opinion on a complex matter? Terri Shivao is not like the rest. She was a woman in a questionable state. Not a theory that met a wide burden of proof.

Oh well, ignore me. I'm drunk.

Re:It's good and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465681)

There was nothing questionable about her state. Her brain had liquified, there was no way for her to recover.

Um, What? (4, Insightful)

philgross (23409) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465696)

Dude, Terry Schiavo is not a terribly complex issue, and there was nothing "questionable" about her state. As was clearly documented at the time, her brain was gone [amptoons.com]. Tragic, but true. Those desperately trying to pretend that she had some higher-order function left were denying science, medicine, and facts. The craven politicians trying to get mileage out of the tragedy were disgusting, even by Washington D.C. standards, with actual-doctor Bill Frist the most egregious and hypocritical [washingtonpost.com].

Re:Um, What? (3, Insightful)

wrf3 (314267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465795)

Ok, I'll bite. Yes, she was brain dead. Yes, she wasn't going to recover.

Yet why should she be killed when there were people who were willing to take care of her? This has nothing to do with science, since science cannot answer ethical questions. It had to do with law (who controls another human being since there were no written instructions from her). It had to do with whether we are the kind of people who will dispose of the inconvenient, whether we will choose death over life. It wasn't about Teri, since she couldn't possibly care. It was about us.

Personally, I think we failed miserably.

Re:Um, What? (3, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465911)

Yet why should she be killed when there were people who were willing to take care of her?
Were they willing to finance her care completely out of their own pockets? If so, I agree with you. Otherwise, resources are finite and precious, and there is no sense wasting the state's resources even more than they are currently being wasted.

Re:Um, What? (1)

Kattana (635282) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466001)

And to tie this into the other issues, ignoring the cost in money - what about the energy required for the life support, should fossil fuels be burned indefinetly, adding to global warming to produce the energy to keep a mere piece of flesh alive.
Resources are finite and precious, and waste is another enourmous and still growing problem.

Re:Um, What? (4, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465939)

It's really a matter of law. Mrs. Schiavo was married, and the laws state, if I'm not misinformed, (IANAL) a husband has the right to decide on life support. Can we just let ANYONE come along and say they'll take care of her?

Hypothetical situation: I'm married (Crazy enough right there), and my wife is also on life support. I'm in pain just seeing her in such a state, and would rather see her die than suffer in such a way for so long. However, it turns out Bill Gates it's actually my 5th cousin, and he walks in and says he'll pay for the support forever.

Should he have the right to do that? I don't think so. It's not really an ethical issue, because opinions in this case could vary so much. What it comes down to is should he have the legal right to do that?

Re:Um, What? (1)

TheZax (641389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466016)

Yet why should she be killed when there were people who were willing to take care of her?


I'll bite too. Because that was her wish? At least as far as the courts could determine, so that's what they had to go with...

This was a lose/lose situation no matter what.

Re:It's good and all (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465748)

Because of something called facts. Facts say Terri Schavo was not going to recover. Facts say she gave orders to have her taken off life support in such a state. I like to base my opinon on facts, but you might digress.

Re:It's good and all (3, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465765)

Come on! You know that facts have a strong liberal bias!

Re:It's good and all (1, Interesting)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465936)

The fact that many contemporary liberals have an affinity for incessantly regurgitating slogans and "jokes" (like the one above, by John Stewart, I believe) is one fact which definitely does not have a strong liberal bias. Since your assertion claims that all facts "have a strong liberal bias" (which I define as presenting liberals and positions held by liberals in a positive light), we encounter a contradiction; therefore, your assertion is incorrect. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Re:It's good and all (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465946)

Actually, it was a joke from Steven Colbert's speech at the White House's Press Dinner of some kind a few weeks ago. And as such, I'm guessing he was just joking.

Re:It's good and all (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465995)

Actually, it was a joke from Steven Colbert's speech at the White House's Press Dinner of some kind a few weeks ago.
I thought I saw John Stewart use it on his show a while back. I could be mistaken though (I did use the term "I believe" to indicate my less than full confidence in my assertion). Perhaps I confused the two as Colbert used to be on Stewart's show.

And as such, I'm guessing he was just joking.
I acknowledged that it was supposed to be a joke in my original post. :)

Re:It's good and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465767)

Oh well, ignore me. I'm drunk.


Ok, but next time, put this line at the beginning so we can save some time.

This man is right (2, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465579)

I wholeheartedly agree. It is unacceptable that stem cell research is being outlawed pretty much everywhere. Laws shoudl be made about what is allowed to be done with stem cell research, for instance that you cant' clone whole humans, that seems nasty, but things like organs taht match the one that needs them perfectly should be allowed. I for one would like to have my heart replaced by what is practically my own heart once this one becomes too weak and/or sick.

With stem cell research there is no waiting for organs, no rejection, everything is just perfect. But nooooooo, that would be too wrong to have, hell I can't even think who would be at loss if this were true.

Re:This man is right (2, Insightful)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465601)

Who would be at loss? Just use your imagination! For once - would you agree to move your retirement age if you start replacing your organs with new one? Would you agree that everyone should be able to do that or only people with money? Since we are dreaming do you really want to see talking (and walking) heads of 200 year old people around? I dunno - maybe they'll have something nice to say or teach but I doubt. Reminds me of some Simpsons episodes....

Anyway - these matters are complex and neither you and me know more than other people. Just notice that even such "harmless" decisions as "1 child per family" program in China have some not-quite-expected consequences where there many, many more boys being born than girls. They are heading to a big social crisis in 15-20 years this way (and they know it). Expect arrival of single horny chinese young men hunting for your daughters wherever you live.

Re:This man is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465692)

I'm not sure how impressed my daugher will be with, um, Mr. Wang.

Re:This man is right (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465701)

Just notice that even such "harmless" decisions as "1 child per family" program in China have some not-quite-expected consequences where there many, many more boys being born than girls. They are heading to a big social crisis in 15-20 years this way (and they know it). Expect arrival of single horny chinese young men hunting for your daughters wherever you live.

Not only horny - but economically disenfranchised. "1 Family 1 Child" means that for every 2 retired people there will only be 1 working person. The US has concerns about their social security pyramid scheme collapsing because american families have something like 1.8 kids. China's got it much worse with around 1.05 kids. I would be leaving the country if I were forced into that kind of scheme too - which only makes it worse for the ones who don't leave.

Re:This man is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465726)

If a society is ever going to handle shrinking population numbers gracefully, it's during boom times. When the older generation had only half of what their kids have and earn, then it's easier for the younger generation to sustain their parents way of life even if their parents outnumber them.

Re:This man is right (4, Insightful)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465756)

Just notice that even such "harmless" decisions as "1 child per family" program in China have some not-quite-expected consequences where there many, many more boys being born than girls.

I think you mean: many more baby girls being murdered than boys.

Using the wrong terms. Please get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465841)

Just notice that even such "harmless" decisions as "1 child per family" program in China have some not-quite-expected consequences where there many, many more boys being born than girls.
I think you mean: many more baby girls being murdered than boys.
Umm. This is slashdot. We don't think of it as murdering baby girls. At best this is a simple termination of an unwanted fetus. At worst it is a simple postpartum abortion (i.e. termination of the fetus a few weeks after birth)... And of course if the baby girls are going to be killed anyway it clearly makes sense to get federal funds to make use of those organs, hair, teeth, etc. And another thing, why has the US government outlawed masturbation. They haven't? Oh, I beg to differ. I am pretty sure I can't get federal funding to spank the monkey while surfing the web...Well, maybe in some special conditions.

Re:This man is right (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465812)

That's a valuable point, 300 year old people would be kind of a weird thing to have walig about. Perhaps organ replacing should be limited to diseases and aging shoudl be let alone to do it's thing.

It's only logical though that sooner or later that would get abused...

Re:This man is right (1)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465915)

But we can't replace brains, and we can't cure cancer. Even stem cell brain cell regeneration would replace useful neuronal connections with random ones - i.e. not the same person (possibly not even able to d oanything usful). This gives a more likely maximum age of someone to be around 100-120 depending on when the stroke out. Until the brain is gone though, people can enjoy manual labour with those replacement hearts, lungs and kidneys until their 90s!

Re:This man is right (2, Interesting)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465889)

Just notice that even such "harmless" decisions as "1 child per family" program in China have some not-quite-expected consequences where there many, many more boys being born than girls.
There was nothing unexpected about that. Any moron could have figured out what was going to happen, and I'm sure the people who designed and implemented the policy were fully aware of it. The imbalance is not as large as you probably believe though (especially as the one child policy is enforced selectively (mostly in the cities) and not everyone is willing to murder their children).

They are heading to a big social crisis in 15-20 years this way (and they know it). Expect arrival of single horny chinese young men hunting for your daughters wherever you live.
If only there was something a government like China's could do with a surplus of young men... like send them off to die in some war to expand the borders of the Empire...

Re:This man is right (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465636)

Stem cell research is not being outlawed "everywhere." Many in America oppose federal funding on the subject, but afaik, you are free to slaughter the innocent little potential babies any time you like so that Michael J Fox can stay in the limelight- as long as you use private money. Talk to Bill G.

Re:This man is right (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465986)

Embryos aren't the only source of stem cells.

But you knew that, right?

Murder (-1, Troll)

sveinungkv (793083) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465659)

Mutch of the so called stem cell research done today is is plain old murder. To get those cells they kill someone. That is why is should be outlawed. If you can get your stemcells a peacefull way (like some researchers are doing), I don't mind it. If you kill a fellow human beeing to get them (born or unborn), it should be criminal.

Re:Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465732)

Shut the Fuck Up, Jebus-fellater.

That's not quite right. (3, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465709)

"It is unacceptable that stem cell research is being outlawed pretty much everywhere"
It's mainly just been outlawed in the US, and specifically in projects that take funding from your government (as I understand it).


It's a quite bizarre situation. If stem cell research had been banned outright, then it would make more sense as at least it could be looked at as an ethical decision. This ban on funding is an entirely political point - the US science system has been hobbled entirely to make a political point.
Still - when your scientists are phoned and asked which party they vote for, before they get their money (and nobody seems to care)
*shrugs*
You reap what you sow.

free market economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465755)

let those who will profit from it pay for the research. If no one is investing in it it's because they don't feel it is a worthwhile investment. Its not the government's place to fund research so that private companies can profit.

Re:free market economy (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465992)

Your arguement is a complete red herring. The government sponsors research. Saying that when it makes exclusions it's ok because they never should have funded research in the first place is fallacious at best.

Re:This man is right (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465759)

Laws shoudl be made about what is allowed to be done with stem cell research, for instance that you cant' clone whole humans, that seems nasty,

WTF? What do you base this opinion on? Movies? "That seems nasty"?

Re:This man is right (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465770)

Heh, yes you're right, that oppinion isn't based on pretty much anything but my personal view that cloning just doesn't quite seem right.

Re:This man is right (1, Interesting)

dalutong (260603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465966)

I see there are already people criticising you. I will not be another one. I will just speak in philosophical terms.

In history human beings have been provided their social and moral guidelines from elsewhere. This included from their government, religious institution, or simply from the environment in which they lived. (After all, an agrarian society can only have so many types of social systems.) As technology has empowered us over the past few decades, we have had the opportunity to shun many of the external, meaning those which had to be adopted, sources of social and moral guidelines. But we haven't taken it upon ourselves to replace the guidelines developed over the ages by philosopher kings and religious leaders with a similarly developed set of our own creation.

This is dangerous when we start to have technologies like stem cell research. Making laws restricting what we can do with stem cells only goes so far. If we don't mature enough as humanity, every wild and repugnant use for stem cells will be found. It's the culture of self-interest and convenience. With as many lazy people as there are today, you don't think that there is going to be a very large market for constant replacement parts (meaning not just when we've had an accident or disease or something, but just because we're too lazy to stop eating french fries)?

This isn't just for stem cells, it's for almost all technologies. In the past, governments were able to control technology. It is becoming less and less true. Instructions on how to build a lot of dangerous things are online, and will always be online (or available universally in some other way.) The only way for us to have any sort of ethical future is for us to start promoting education and this kind of self-determined philosophizing.

An example I like to use is Star Trek (at least TNG.) The ferengi loved the holodeck because they could enjoy endless sexual escapades. That's where we're headed -- to giving up everything that makes us human and just doing the simplistic, animalistic, convenient thing all the time. And the only way I can see to not going down that path is something like the Star Trek way -- where humanity recognizes where that will lead us and each person chooses to instead not go the way of the ferengi.

Re:This man is right (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465972)

It is unacceptable that stem cell research is being outlawed pretty much everywhere.
Stem cell researched is not "being outlawed pretty much everywhere." In the US, there is a ban on federally funding stem cell research (which means the federal government can't spend its tax "revenue" on stem cell research. Individual states, rich people, and venture capitalists are free to fund as much stem cell research as they want.

Laws shoudl be made about what is allowed to be done with stem cell research, for instance that you cant' clone whole humans, that seems nasty
Why? What right do you have to prevent private citizens from playing around with clumps of cells. You are no less authoritarian than those you claim to despise. The government has no right dictating to scientists what avenues of research they can or cannot pursue. I don't see how attempting to produce a full clone is any more morally questionable than people with hereditary diseases procreating (and the government doesn't do anything about that). In the worst case scenario, you just end up with a "broken" human being. There are plenty of those walking around at the moment, and the world has not collapsed yet.

Puzzling. (5, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465598)

While I applaud Mr. Bloombergs speech to me he represents a rather puzzling person. Why is this guy a repulican. Not just him but also people like arnold schwarzenegger, Andrew Sullivan etc. I mean if you are not against gay marriage, if you don't think pre-emptive war is a good idea, if you are pro life then why are you are republican. Before anybody says anything about fiscal responsibility or smaller government I will ask you to go look up the track record of republican presidents regarding those items.

I am especially puzzled about Andrew Sullivan. This guy is gay, the republican party tried to pass a platform saying that homosexuality was a disease!. They are trying their best to deny him the right to marry, to serve his govt, live wherever he chooses etc and yet he is still a republican. Can anything be more important to you then having the same rights as everybody else in the country?

Weird.

Re:Puzzling. (2, Insightful)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465619)

well, he may be liberal on some fronts like gun control and science. but bloomberg is very much about control and telling people what's good for them. from banning smoking indoors to this cell phone ban in schools. he's the decider. that's the hallmark of a good republican. he knows what's best for you and will bully his way. here's a pretty funny take: http://www.newyorkmetro.com/news/intelligencer/170 76/index.html [newyorkmetro.com]

Re:Puzzling. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465685)

but bloomberg is very much about control and telling people what's good for them


Interesting that you associate this with Republicans. From a Western European standpoint I very much associate this with social-democrat/socialist parties/rule. And my impressions lately is that the similarities between them and current "big government" Republicans are growing and sometimes seems bigger than the differences on specific issues.

If it matters I define myself as liberal, both politically and moral, and since this means different things to different people this definition [wikipedia.org] was the closest I could find quickly on Wikipedia). I include it because I have this impression that quite a lot of people leans in this direction, but very few political parties for some reason..)

Re:Puzzling. (2, Interesting)

Omkar (618823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465623)

If he's the same sort of Republican I am, he's a Reagan conservative/classical liberal who's disgusted by what the Republican party has become. Remember Goldwater and Reagan? The Republicans were once associated with sunbelt conservatism, not the southern-fried kind.

So why haven't I jumped ship? In a way, I have, but to cynicism, not the Democrats. I once asked Richard Epstein where classical liberals and Reagan conservatives could turn to defend our rights. His response, though obvious, sums things up nicely: "There's nowhere to go. The Republicans pay lip service, and the Democrats have sold you out."

Re:Puzzling. (3, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465863)

I remember Reagan. He spent the economy into insane debt that took till clinton to come out of. He instituted zero tolerance of drug laws so that having a seed meant you ended up in jail. What's worse I remember how people were having their houses confiscated because their renters smoked dope. Reagan started the war on drugs. I also remember him funding death squads in central america with arms sales to iran. I remember him falling asleep in front of the pope. I remember him confusing real life with movies. I remember nancy whispering his lines to him. I remember Lee Atwater who I believed was an actual demon roaming the earth eating souls as he went along.

Yes I remember Reagan. Bush reminds me a lot of him. I am sure he would take that as a compliment.

Re:Puzzling. (4, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465634)

Denial is a powerful force. In the 1940s and '50s communism was a fashionable political stance in Europe and Stalin was hailed as a hero. When under Chrustjev accounts of the crimes commited during the Stalin era were published, it took many intelligent people years or even decades to accept that their political stance supported a murderous totalitarian regime.

It will take traditional conservatives at least as long to realize that they are supporting a criminal regime.

Re:Puzzling. (2, Interesting)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465646)

Possibly because communism is a political concept that has very little to do with totalitarianism which can be allied to any economic philosophy.

Re:Puzzling. (4, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465689)

your comment shows that some people, like you , are still in denial and think that the problem lies with the people implementing the system and not with the system.

Communism has been tried in many different countries all over the world, and it has always resulted in totalitarianism. Things didn't go wrong because Stalin was a particularly evil man, but because it is the natural conclusion of the system. If you or I try to implement the system, we too will be capable of atrocities in the name of the common good.

But me saying that will not sway your opinion, which more or less is the point I was making in the first place.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465786)

I'm not in denial I'm merely pointing out that totalitarianism and communism are two separate things. Up until the last 250 years or so just about everywhere was a totalitarian dictatorship, it's the nature of some humans to want control over others, and not a flaw in one system over another. Russia was a dictatorship before communism and although nominally democratic now Putin is still a lot more authoritarian than any of the western leaders. I personally think that pure communism can't work but then I also think pure capitalism can't work either.

Re:Puzzling. (3, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465878)

Up until the last 250 years or so just about everywhere was a totalitarian dictatorship

Do you even know what totalitarian means? Please read this [wikipedia.org]. Until the 20th century, most states lacked both the resources and the desire to "regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior." Statist communism, on the other hand, required by definition that "nearly every aspect of public and private behavior" is regulated to ensure an equal outcome for all.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465879)

The flaw I see in the system is that it doesn't take into account this aspect of human nature, apart from that, I agree fully with your post. Every ideology when raised to the status of dogma is a recipe for disaster.

Re:Puzzling. (2, Insightful)

dalutong (260603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465931)

I am big on the-institutional-infrastructure-determines-the-fu ture-of-the-system school of thought. That is why our system of winner-take-all elections will necessarily require that we are a predominantly two party democratic system (talking about America here.) I think that government ownership of all industry, etc, without simple (Paine-like) accountability inevitably leads to corruption and to some form of abuse/oppression.

But that doesn't mean that all of communisms manifestations are doomed. Socialism, which has been exceptionally popular aruond the world, has been one implementation of communist ideas that has been very successful. But they have only been successful because they have had reasonably accountable governments and institutionalized transparency.

Also, communism has failed as much for historical reasons as for any others, just as democracy has. Countries are only ready for certain types of government when their populations are ready for those types of government too. Democracy (at least as we think of it) isn't going to work in a feudal state where there is no private class of politically ambitious people. I'd say that communist-like governments are only possible when the same conditions that make democracy possible are there and the people demand it. So the transition is really more totalitarianism->democracy->communism. If you don't have the economic/population/etc circumstances in line, any government change will return to totalitarianism. Look at the world's democracies over history -- most have become dictatorships.

But that isn't necessarily bad. Look at China. I'd argue that the guo ming dang (which, remember, were "democratic" dictators in Taiwan after their defeat until 1988) would have served the Chinese people VERY poorly. They were the aristocrats with no concern for anyone but themselves. (Note: this isn't as true for Sun YatSen, but it was true for Chaing KaiShek.) Mao made some terrible decisions, but he also made some fabulous ones: he unbound women's feet, he unified the dozens and dozens of dialects to strengthen the concept of China being one country, and he ruled with the interest of keeping the country together as paramount (just as Lincoln did -- he believed there was no point following the letter of constitutional law if that would be like signing a suicide pact.)

But China isn't an example to follow. It was one place where just the right people were in charge at just the right time, and they weren't there because of the way the institution was set up. But they are opening up, which demonstrates that it is only possible when the population is ready. There are ways to facilitate this readiness, but there is no point trying to advocate democracy when it isn't there.

Sorry for the poor writing. I am sick with slashdotanitis and went straight from bed to my computer and to typing this comment.

Re:Puzzling. (2, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465934)

Communism has been tried in many different countries all over the world, and it has always resulted in totalitarianism.

The same could be said for capitalism. And communism hasn't been tried in 'many countries the world over'. There was a failed startup in Russia. It was remarkably successful while it lasted. There is some interesting stuff happening in South America, and it is interesting to note that Emperor Dubya considers Chavez a 'terrorist' and an 'enemy of the free world'.

The arguement that communism has been tried 'the world over' is growing very tired. Capitalism has been tried the world over, and despite morons like you who consider it a blazing success, it is in fact a pathetic disaster, and a display of all of the worst aspects of humanity ... in particular greed. A large majority of the world considers capitalism and US imperialism as their enemy. The fact that a nation of sickly patriotic Yanks disagree doesn't change the 'facts on the ground'. For most people, those facts are living in obsolute poverty and under an oppressive regime that the US supports because it's in their 'economic interests'.

Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15466036)

Capitalism is predicated on greed;
Socialism is predicated on envy.

(Choose your sin. I just happen to prefer greed.
Without accountability, either system screws the people.)

Re:Puzzling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465937)

Communism has to the best of my knowledge never been tried anywhere. Socialism on the other side, has been tried by some totalitarian regimes, which in most cases have been forced upon the people by either another state or a revolution, led by those who would later become the totalitarian leaders. Wake me up when communism is implemented somewhere by way of a proper democratic election, i'd really like to see if that deteriorates into a totalitarian regime.

Re:Puzzling. (3, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465808)

Possibly because communism is a political concept that has very little to do with totalitarianism which can be allied to any economic philosophy.

Communism requires totalitarian control of the economy (and a big, powerful government to do it). Once you go down that path, well, we all know where it seems to end up... (historically speaking).

P.S. If anyone wants to reply with how the big, totalitarian government is only a transitory requirement which can be dismanteled once the communist utopia has been established, well, we all know how historically acurate that theory has proven itself to be...

Re:Puzzling. (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465949)

Communism requires totalitarian control of the economy

That's exactly what capitalism does - hands control of the economy to a totalitarian regime. Communism is a response to this, and puts the economy back under democratic control, where it belongs.

(and a big, powerful government to do it)

You mean like the US government? Your criticisms of communism apply just as well to your favourite 'leaders of the free world'.

What you are missing is that in a democracy, the people actually decide how the resources are used. This requires removing capitalist control of the means of production and placing that control back into the hands of the people. Exactly how that is done should of course be left up to the people. You say that coure only outcome of an attempt at such a reorganisation is a totalitarian regime. I call bullshit! You can't possibly say that this is the only outcome. You need to put your brain into gear before engaging in discussions.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465647)

I'm not happy with everything the current administration does, but comparing Bush to Stalin is outrageous and deeply insulting to the victims of Stalinism.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465667)

First off, my grandfather and several of my uncles have spent time in Siberia, so I'm not underestimating the extent of the crimes committed by Stalin. He was second only to Hitler in cruelty in the 20th century.

But I'm talking about human nature, and I'm just taking an extreme example to illustrate my point.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

Fafner (516622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465783)

How do you rank the extend of evilness? Was Hitler more evil because the jew-extermination was part of an ideology? I mean plenty of ethnic minorities were persecuted in the Soviet simply because they were perceived to be a threat?

Based on numbers of people killed under the different dictatorships in the world, Nazi Germany ranks no more than 3rd after Mao's China and Stalin's Soviet.

In my opinion it makes very little sense to rank human cruelty.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465858)

Was Hitler more evil because the jew-extermination was part of an ideology?

Stalin was quite the Jew hater and murderer himself. See this [wikipedia.org], this [wikipedia.org], this [wikipedia.org], and this [wikipedia.org]. If Stalin didn't murder as many Jews as Hitler, it was only because Stalin died earlier than he planned.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465861)

You're absolutely right. It was a figure of speech, a silly one at that, I'll try to choose my words even more carefully in future.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465789)

I'm not happy with everything the current administration does, but comparing Bush to Stalin is outrageous and deeply insulting to the victims of Stalinism.

It's also lame. I've seen propositions for a Bush corollary to Godwin's law. (Though there should have been one for Clinton too.)

Re:Puzzling. (4, Interesting)

blonde rser (253047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465657)

I think the thing that you are missing is the Republican theory of economics. No, I'm not referring to fiscal conservatism or even tax cuts for the public. I'm referring to the fact that one of the major distinctions between democrats and republicans is their support for large corporations. Democrats (as a terrible over generalization) tend to see corporations as these large entities with lots of money and no mouths to feed, that are oppressing those that are working for them. Where as Republicans (similar terrible generalization) tend to see large corporations as the number one employer of Americans, and representing a huge amount of American wealth. Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg seem to fall into being this sort of republican.

As for Sullivan, I think comments like those made in your second paragraph is precisely what pushed him towards Republicans. I tend to think he's the sort of guy who rails against people who say "well you're gay so you have to be liberal (or at least anti-republican)." I like to think of myself as a pretty cool headed guy but I think I would get pretty ticked if someone suggested how I was born absolutely determined what side of a debate I was always on. In a sense you are absolutely correct when you say "Can anything be more important to you then having the same rights as everybody else in the country?" Isn't he just declaring his right to determine his own political perspective and not having it dictated to him by his sexuality?

Re:Puzzling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465712)

Read his wikipedia entry. He was a Democrat until the mayoral election, when he switched so he didn't have to deal with tough primaries.

Not that puzzling (2, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465722)

The US is a very conservative country - and there is genuinely very little to separate the Democrats and Republicans ideologically.
Both parties are broad churches containing members of differing views on pretty much all of the 'issues'
The only persons of interest are those at the extremes - you can probably tell the differece between a right wing republican and a left wing democrat - but between the two it gets a little fuzzy.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465737)

While I applaud Mr. Bloombergs speech to me he represents a rather puzzling person. Why is this guy a repulican. Not just him but also people like arnold schwarzenegger, Andrew Sullivan etc. I mean if you are not against gay marriage, if you don't think pre-emptive war is a good idea, if you are pro life then why are you are republican. Before anybody says anything about fiscal responsibility or smaller government I will ask you to go look up the track record of republican presidents regarding those items.

I am especially puzzled about Andrew Sullivan. This guy is gay, the republican party tried to pass a platform saying that homosexuality was a disease!. They are trying their best to deny him the right to marry, to serve his govt, live wherever he chooses etc and yet he is still a republican. Can anything be more important to you then having the same rights as everybody else in the country?

A person who regularly votes Republican, told me that people who are actually more active in the party are often of extreem (and sometimes cooky) type, in particular this happens when Presidential candidates are decided on.

So instead of people like Bloomberg or Guiliamo, we get Bush.

Re:Puzzling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465744)

I think you meant "pro choice" as opposed to "pro life".

Re:Puzzling. (1)

Mignon (34109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465761)

Why is [Bloomberg] a republican?

Can't speak for the other ones, but in Bloomberg's case, one of the reasons was simple - the Republican primary was easier to win than the Democratic one, which also damaged his eventual rival, Mark Green. So this put him in the "main event" in much better shape than his opponent who had been through the NYC Democratic meat grinder.

There was probably a fair amount of state and national Republican support as he was following Giuliani, a Republican. Also the governor and of course the President are Republicans. I think at the time both House and Senate had Republican majorities too. NYC administrations have a history of being at odds with both the state (which is mainly Republican) and the Federal governments, I guess mainly over funding, so any state/national support would have suggested Bloomberg could bring in the dollars.

Re:Puzzling. (5, Informative)

unamiccia (641291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465792)

Six years ago, Bloomberg was a bored billionaire who wanted to run for mayor. The race for the Democratic nomination was crowded with experienced candidates and the Republican race wasn't. Though Bloomberg had identified as a Democrat during most of his career, he switched parties to run for the Republican nomination.

The combination of a brutal Democratic primary, 9/11, and Bloomberg's amazing spending (he self-financed his campaign) got him elected in 2001. That year he only spent $70 per vote received -- that increased to $100 per vote when he ran for reelection last year. His was the most expensive non-presidential campaign in U.S. (therefore world) history.

I'm not sure what Bloomberg wants to do when he leaves office in 2009, but he sure as hell doesn't want to hang out with Republicans. He's been distancing himself ever since he was reelected.

Re:Puzzling. (1, Troll)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465872)

Why is this guy a repulican[?]

Because in the US, politics are inherited. Here's how it works:

The dominant Republican gene (though it's name has changed over the years) pushes the carrier to use fear, hatred, "patriotism", and idols (including religious, political, and American Idols) to further their agenda, and propogate those who carry the Republican gene.

Occasionally, two Republicans who both carry the recessive democratic allele will breed, and a political albino will be created.

Scientists have been tracking Ross Perot for many years, trying to identify the source of the mysterious Fringe gene.

This is why Bloomberg, a republican, is so supportive of Science: he wants Science (which he uses rhetorically as an "idol", see above) to learn more about his political opponents, and design them intelligently out of the political ecosystem.

- RG>

Re:Puzzling. (1)

dalutong (260603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465877)

Mr. Bloomberg isn't a republican. He switched to the republican party right before running for mayor in New York.

He WAS a Democrat. (1)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465902)

Why is this guy a repulican.

Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]
...Bloomberg, a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor as a member of the Republican Party, reportedly to avoid the crowded field in the Democratic primary.

That he's a Republican In Name Only makes complete sense. I laud him for this since there simply needs to be more Republicans who speak up for science, intellectual thinking and reason.

Re:Puzzling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465918)

Why is this guy a repulican.

Infiltration. It is the only way to defeat them. Attack from within.

Join the winning team, then proceed with your own agenda, it is the only sucessful modern political strategy.

Re:Puzzling. (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465964)

Bloomberg is a republican if I've ever heard of one. He's disgustingly rich. Some people will accuse me of having tall popply syndrome, and I accuse them of being morons. There comes a point where you have to say "Perhaps some of your wealth could be put to better use by other people who desperately need some wealth of their own".

Bloomberg was most recently in the news ( that I noticed anyway, here in Australia ) when the New York transport workers' union was out on strike for a day. Bloomberg was, of course, absolutely furious, and was cursing at the 'greedy' workers ( kettle black ? ) who were 'thugs' and 'terrorists' for daring to ask for a pay rise that would still keep their income at about 0.1% of his income.

As for his objections to stuff like pre-emptive invasions, I would say that he would change his tune somewhat if he were running the country instead of just New York.

Rest assured, Bloomberg is a republican to the bone.

And I just got crucified (-1, Troll)

thealsir (927362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465635)

on this very site for suggesting that there are people who ARE seeking to end stem cell research. Oddly enough, this very site. Let's see if that same dusche mods me troll again.

Yep, always happens. (2)

thealsir (927362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465653)

Anyway, Bloomberg is in an odd position - supporting science and yet also supporting this administration. It's not like Bush and company are well known for thier support/funding of scientists...

Re:Yep, always happens. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465666)

Depending on the definition of "science", one could argue that Bush does promote some science---the science of making things go boom.

Machievalli (3, Interesting)

midnighttoadstool (703941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465641)

If politics is purely a question of the study of and the wielding of power then Bloomberg may be right and we should all be reading Machievalli's "The Prince" instead of debating the human, moral and ethical dimensions of scientific possibilities.

Its peculiar that Bloomburg should be calling for these matters (stem cell etc) not to be politicised since he, as a politician, has got to be aware that everything has a political dimension somewhere along the line, even if indirectly, which is why politics is so very important and not to be trivialised or dismissed.

Politics at its height is concerned with these profound questions; not just lowely administrative questions of how the rubbish/garbage is to be collected, and the roads maintained.

Machievalli? Machiavelli. (1)

Paolone (939023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465687)

It's good form, when advising a book, to spell its author name right.
Beside that, I can't see the point between "Il Principe" and this discussion.

Re:Machievalli? Machiavelli. (1)

midnighttoadstool (703941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466034)

Thank you for the polite correction.

"The Prince" is about power. Politics is about government. If we depoliticise then all we are talking about is power, not government, and so Bloomburg is recommending Machiavelli.

It's not peculiar at all. (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465730)

He doesn't think stem cell research funding should be denied - yet belongs to a party where the majority of members (and their voters) think it should be.
Whilst it's a political issue - he's got to either help withold the funding (something he doesn't believe is right), or piss off his voters (which he really doesn't want to do).
If it stops becoming a political issue, then the funding decision isn't his to make and if voters demands he withold it, he can just say it's not his problem.

Pot vs. Kettle (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465693)

We disseminate the truth, our opposition politicizes science.

Neither party is willing to let a few inconvenient facts stand in the way of their political agenda.

Re:Pot vs. Kettle (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466038)

We disseminate the truth, our opposition politicizes science.

"We" as in "fellow scientists".

Neither party is willing to let a few inconvenient facts stand in the way of their political agenda.

"Neither party" as in "politics from an outside view".

He was giving the speech as neither a Democrat nor Republican but instead as Mayor and fellow graduate with a scientific background.

For information (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465752)

This motto is from the Bible: John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Re:For information (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465766)

If only my Significant Others could take that passage to heart. I told them about Kinsey, and they said it was wrong because it went against the Bible.

Re:For information (2, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465775)

Well, I used to argue a lot with a Christian friend about morality, science, sex, etc... We used to stall. But recently I have read the Bible. This book is just great! whatever your opinion on any issue, you will find a reference backing you!

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/ [skepticsan...dbible.com] is a good tool too.

No moral considerations either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465757)

Not to politicize, does that mean that you must not have any moral considerations about, for example, stem cell research either?

stem cell research (-1, Troll)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465768)

If you don't think stem cell research should be tightly controlled,
then I should be allowed to set up a human corpse rendering plant.
Prostitution should be totally legal and I look forward to owning (hopefully not being owned) slaves.
These are all markets in human flesh.

Bloomberg, do you think an eighty year old rich guy or somone with a degenerative disease has a right to have their life extended at the cost of a new and potentially more fit life? That's what free trade in fetuses can garner, and it's counter-evolutionary.

if ( democrat == republican ) money++

Re:stem cell research (4, Interesting)

blonde rser (253047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465818)

The funny thing is that stem cell research isn't tightly controlled. In fact I'm not sure there are any real limiting restrictions at the moment. There is certainly a ban on federal funding of most stem cell research (a ban to which Bloomberg is referring). However, if some old rich white guy wants to drop a few billion on stem cell research in the hopes of extending his own life, he is completely allowed to do that. And I don't think their is much of a political movement trying to deter him from doing so either.

you insens1tive clod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465788)

the 8eaper BSD's

Terry pratchett got it right.. (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465874)

When he wrote "The truth shall make ye fret". May have just been a typo in a newspaper but perhaps he was onto something...

Motto (2, Insightful)

Wizdumb (846957) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465893)

"Facts shall set you free" would seem more appropriate when talking about science, but what the hey.

I don't know.. (4, Interesting)

CheechWizz (886957) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465978)

Maybe it's just me but I find it very scary that somebody holds a 'pro-science' speech and gets commended for it, the fact science has to be defended in this day and age is bad enough already, that there are so few people with cloud doing it that we can find the time to cheer about individual cases of it happening is even scarier.

Yay hypocrites! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15466014)

I like how he talks about the importance of rigorous scientific investigation, and then comes out in support of gun control against overwhelming amounts of data to the contrary. "Political science" indeed.

Err, that's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15466032)

... not John Hopkins University, it's Johns Hopkins University
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