Doomsday 2012

By Phil Plait | November 6, 2008 4:31 pm

Y’know, the other day I was thinking about this very topic, got a chuckle, and forgot about it. This is why I can’t succeed as an internet meme; I don’t act on the billion dumb ideas I have every day.

The Mayans were right!

Ah, schadenfreude. is there nothing you can’t do?

P.S. FWIW, I agree with Wil (NSFW langauge there). But I also understand that the people who had (had! Woohoo!) their jack-booted heels on the throat of science, liberty, and the Constitution, will never tire, and neither should we. So there is room, I think, for a little poking of fun.

Hat tip to BABloggee Collin McMillen. Image from Pundit Kitchen.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Politics
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Comments (106)

  1. I think some news commentator mentioned a possible Palin 2012 run as early as Tuesday night, and a few of us in the room made the Mayan comment and had a good chuckle, too.

    Those with teh quik Photoshop skillz win…

  2. TomInAK

    Guess I’ll grin ‘n bear it. Obama won, and you’re entitled to your moment of schadenfreude & celebration. Hell, if things had gone the other way I’d be doing the same.

    Someday in the not-too-distant future, though, the obamalust will be sated, the (figurative) booze & hormones will wear off, and certain segments of society will wake up, roll 0ver, and silently scream to themselves “I JUMPED IN THE SACK WITH WHAT??!!”

    It’ll be entertaining.

  3. It’s worth noting that Bobby Jindahl, the Creationist-in-chief of doomed Louisiana is in Iowa ( in winter) trying on his presidential aspirations as one of the “new leaders” of the pious Republicans. He and Creationism Barbie will make an interesting pair in 2012. Maybe the rapture will take them both before they poison the minds of our children….

    Science/Truth 2012!

    KP

  4. tacitus

    Tom — you can wait, but the odds are you will be disappointed in the end. Whether or not Obama will be a great president remains to be seen — such judgments often depend as much on circumstances as they do on the person who is president.

    But even those who are ultimately disappointed by Obama still have to think back to the choice the Republicans had on offer — someone who picked a woman who couldn’t even pass a third grade geography test, someone who preferred to be ruled by the gut rather than the head (Colbert would be a fan, I guess) and someone who, all his career preferred to buck the system rather than be part of it (fine as senator, but as president, who is, by definition, the system?) If, heaven forbid McCain falls seriously ill anytime in the next four to eight years, a collective sigh of relief will be heard throughout the nation as they consider how close Palin came to being in the White House in 2008.

    So I very much doubt there will be mass buyer’s remorse. I believe the odds are already better than 50-50 that we will see a two-term Obama presidency, and those odds only go up if Sarah Palin throws her Neiman Marcus hat into the ring.

  5. amphiox

    The election of President Palin in 2012 will convince the Milky Way’s resident Class III civilization that there is not, after all, any sentient life in the Sol System, and the Orion Spur will be rezoned for industrial development.

    And that, my friends, is how the world will end.

  6. tacitus

    I believe Jindal will be making his first trip to Iowa in the next few weeks. The next presidential primary campaign season (for the Republicans anyway) is already beginning. Jindal would be a major step up from Palin, and would be much more of a threat to Obama in 2012, but I suspect that in the end he will bide his time until 2016 — he’s only 37, so he’s got plenty of time, and I doubt he will risk going up against an incumbent Democrat unless the playing field is extremely favorable to Republicans (and that depends on Obama).

    Don’t get me wrong, as an atheist, Jindal’s conservative Christianity is as much as an anathema as Palin’s. I just see him as a much more serious candidate from the Republican POV than Palin.

  7. tacitus

    The election of President Palin in 2012 will convince the Milky Way’s resident Class III civilization that there is not, after all, any sentient life in the Sol System, and the Orion Spur will be rezoned for industrial development.

    I guess you could take the more hopeful view — that the ETIs who have been observing us from a distance decide that a Palin 2012 win is cause enough for them to finally intervene and welcome us to the rest of the galaxy in order to *prevent* our otherwise promising world from coming to an end. If that was the case, then I might just put up with a Palin victory, but it still would be a close run thing!

  8. Yeah, I had the immediate idea, too.

    So I went out and registered “ApocElection.com” and will just sit on it for two years until the meme starts to have legs 😉

  9. # amphiox Says:
    The election of President Palin in 2012 will convince the Milky Way’s resident Class III civilization that there is not, after all, any sentient life in the Sol System, and the Orion Spur will be rezoned for industrial development.
    And that, my friends, is how the world will end.

    SPOILER!

    Isn’t that the plot for the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still?

    J/P=?

  10. Phil B.

    And once again, they learn nothing.

  11. Quiet Desperation

    Meh… Palin is so last week. Let’s be mature and move on.

  12. I have some hopes that maybe this recent defeat will send a message to the Republican party and they’ll realizae that “hey, maybe we shouldn’t be so damn obnoxious, try to go back to our values and work on appealing to those people not already in our base!” If they became the party of personal and fiscal responsibility, and keeping the government the hell out of our lives, I could even see voting for them. Also, I’d like a million dollars and a pony that farts rainbows.

    If Palin is the new face of the G.O.P. then I weep for the future. I don’t know if she is stupid, insane, or blinded by a small-minded ideology, but whichever it is she scares the hell out of me. Seriously, Palin in 2012? Yikes.

  13. Kevin

    @amphiox

    Bring on the Vogon Construction Fleet!

    (At least they will know Africa is a continent)

  14. amphiox

    #tacitus:

    It would be nice.

    But wishing for some nice, smarter, older, wiser ETI to come and save us from ourselves isn’t really that much different from wishing for the second coming.

    Realistically, though, how likely is that? Would we go out of our way to save some nearby anthill?

    (Though, granted, the ants are doing pretty well for themselves as a whole, and probably wouldn’t want our “help.”)

  15. fos

    I think they missed it by four years. :(

  16. amphiox said “Would we go out of our way to save some nearby anthill?”

    I dropped an echidna on an anthill when I was a kid once. It sank down through the hill like a submarine crash diving. Dirt flying everywhere.

    BTW, an echidna is an Australian spiny anteater. A member of the monotreme family like the platypus…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echidna

  17. chief

    Now THAT made my day!

  18. msmith40

    The idea of Jindal as GOP Presidential nominee is being contested on he conservative blogs….and this is why:
    http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2008/06/11/jindals_exorcism/

    Ditto Mike Huckabee…..and here’s why:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-BFEhkIujA

    If he doesn’t know whether the Earth was created in 6 days 6,000 years ago….I say “Thanks for stopping by….”

  19. @Tom in AK,
    I’d rather jump into bed with someone who can trace his ancestry to Africa, than someone that doesn’t:
    A) Know Africa is a continent, not a country;
    B) Cannot find Africa on a map

  20. Sky

    To the Bad Asronomer

    Hey when are you going to debunk the 2012 junk like you promised? Right now the only skeptical examination of it is that Ian Hill article at Universe Today. More scientists need to write about 2012 because it is becoming a very popular idea.

  21. Troy

    So I guess in the year 2525, we won’t be alive…
    Too funny. Hopefully future candidates will realize the gravity of their choice for the V.P. spot a bit more carefully.

    At any rate instead of a bridge to nowhere we need a Berring Strait bridge (Megaengineering at its finest as the span would be on the order of 50 miles). Alaska would be the new crossroads of the world.

  22. Dave Hall

    Tom in Alaska:“I JUMPED IN THE SACK WITH WHAT??!!”

    I believe McCain has already said it.

  23. IBY

    Ok, we are definitely doomed. Run off to the anti Palin shelter, people!

  24. amphiox

    Do we really need to debunk 2012? Jan 1, 2013 is less than 5 years away.

  25. Damien

    Phil,

    What I’m about to say may upset you, but I wouldn’t mind Sarah Palin as president. I mean you could do worse couldn’t you. Its not like you’d be electing someone to the white house who’s former pastor was and is a hate filled maniac and who was friends with a terrorists.

  26. Damien, true, but GW and Dick and Rummy (he’s already gone) finish up in January so we don’t care anymore.

  27. Zar

    Damien,

    Sara Palin got a blessing from a preacher who carried out a literal witch-hunt. I am serious. Also, her husband was involved with the Alaska separatist movement. Doesn’t that count as un-American behavior?

    Bill Ayers is just a washed-up 60s radical whom Obama barely knew. Anyone involved in politics in Chicago had some contact with the guy. That’s it. End of story.

    Wright is nowhere near as bad as the Christian Right. The latter cheerfully look forward to seeing atheists, gays, Jews and uppity women suffer in agony during the Rapture.

    The McCain campaign made a big deal about these things because they knew they had nothing positive to offer. I am proud of my country for seeing through the bitter bunkum, ignored their prejudices, ignored their fears, and voted with their hearts and minds.

    I can see that you dislike Obama (though for false reasons). Please tell me: what does Palin have to offer? What makes her good? What positive qualities does she have? It does not surprise me that you didn’t mention any in your post.

  28. Zar

    Has anyone checked out Palinaspresident.com lately? They have updated it. It made me smile.

  29. Damien

    I think there is something wrong with this site. I keep trying to leave a comment and it won’t let me. It won’t show up, but says I already posted it.

  30. Damien

    shane,

    No. How could you possibly think that I’m talking about Bush?
    I’m talking about the man who got elected. Obama’s former pastor Wright was a black racist, and his friend Bill Ayers bombed the pentagon.
    Oh and by the way there are other reasons I really don’t like him.

  31. Damien

    Zar

    “Bill Ayers is just a washed-up 60s radical whom Obama barely knew. Anyone involved in politics in Chicago had some contact with the guy. That’s it. End of story.”

    Wrong! There relationship was far more extensive than Obama lets on. Beyond that Bill Ayers was a terrorist who committed terrorist attacks. You need to look into it. I’d post the link to the website showing all this, but for some reason the site wouldn’t let me.

  32. José

    @Damien
    No. How could you possibly think that I’m talking about Bush?

    We get it; you hate Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Lay off them for a while. They did there best.

  33. Autumn

    Damien, the Weather Underground targeted military and paramilitary institutions. They were not, by definition, terrorists.
    I’m not saying they were noble or correct in their reasoning, but terrorism means attacking “soft” targets, according to the US State Department.

  34. Damien

    José,

    I was a Bush supporter. I don’t hate bush. I don’t like Obama, but I don’t hate him either. He’s my president now, weather I like it or not.

  35. Damien

    Autumn,

    “Damien, the Weather Underground targeted military and paramilitary institutions. They were not, by definition, terrorists.”

    Wrong, they were still terrorists. If they were a Neo Nazi organization and they only targeted they same institutions would you say they were not a terrorist organization?

  36. Onimushax

    Well the mayans were right about one thing, they atleast predicted the day the the antichrist would be elected WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PALIN 012 YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY

  37. tacitus

    But wishing for some nice, smarter, older, wiser ETI to come and save us from ourselves isn’t really that much different from wishing for the second coming.

    Well, there’s a difference between hoping that such a thing is possible and believing that it will happen some day. I don’t know if an older, wiser ETI is out there watching us right now — the odds are against it, unless they are really, really good at concealing themselves, but it is one of the possible reasons why there has been no sign of an ETI out there so far (the Star Trek prime directive). I’m certainly not betting on it but if it did happen then I think it would be a wonderful day for humanity — not quite “the second coming” I grant, but it would be very exciting.

    Realistically, though, how likely is that? Would we go out of our way to save some nearby anthill?

    There is a world of difference between saving the home of a non-sentient species and saving human beings from themselves. An ETI stepping in could at least develop a relationship with us, debate the meaning of existence, compare and contrast cultures, learn from each other’s histories, and so on. For all our flaws, don’t sell us short!

  38. José

    @Damien
    I was a Bush supporter. I don’t hate bush. I don’t like Obama, but I don’t hate him either?

    I know. You made silly alarmist statements, and I was just messing with you. The issues you’ve raised were thrust into the mainstream first by the Hillary Clinton crowd, and then kept alive by the McCain crowd in a disingenuous attempt to scare people away from Obama. Neither actually ever believed them. If McCain really believed he had just lost to a racist anti-American, do you really think he would have made such a gracious concession speech? Could Hillary ultimately have ended up supporting Obama? I would hope not.

  39. José

    @Damien
    And if you want to post a link, just put it in the “website” box. Your name will then link to it.

  40. tacitus

    Ayers is water under the bridge — he’s not going to play any part in the administration and neither is Wright. In fact, if you look at the last couple of days’ coverage from all but the most rancid of right-wing nutjobs, it’s almost all been universally about whether Obama can prevent the Congressional Leaders from being “too radical” and that includes the pundits on Fox News I heard today!

    The Republican establishment doesn’t believe (and probably never believed) that Obama is some leftist radical who is about to unleash a torrent of socialism upon the country, they just hoped the great unwashed — i.e. the voters — would buy into it so they could defeat him on election night.

    Obama will now be judged on his record as president, not his past associations (real or imagined). That’s as it should be.

    BTW: I listened to a whole half-hour of right-wing conservative Christian leaders on James Dobson’s radio show just last Friday all praying to God that he will not condemn America even though there all these “wicked things” like homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion going on in the country. Not quite as incendiary as the way Wright put it, but they were saying exactly the same thing about America not deserving God’s grace for their sins as he was. And lets not forget the religious right’s primary debate (which McCain ducked for good reason) that started with the song “Why should God Bless America?” which cataloged all the reasons why he shouldn’t.

    So Wright’s “God D*** America” sermon was nothing that millions of religious conservatives hadn’t heard before many times — it’s just that they had never heard it from a scary liberal black preacher before.

  41. ND

    TomInAK,

    Good, cause the last 8 years in bed with Bush has not been very entertaining at all! Unless you watch the Daily Show.

  42. Damien

    José,
    tacitus,

    I never said Obama was a racist or hated America. I just question his judgment. However he has done some things that make me wonder how much he really likes America.

  43. ND

    Damien,

    This link’s for you,

    http://www.prwatch.org/node/7124

    and this http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/05/john-mccain-rod-parsley-pastor-problem.html

    and this http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4905624&page=1

    Apparently McCain had sought the endorsement of his nutjob pastor. Maybe this is why McCain made a decision not to bring up Wright against Obama.

  44. Damien

    Sorry, I posted the wrong link last time. My Mistake. Here’s the link critical of Obama and Ayers.

    ibloga.blogspot.com/2008/10/bill-ayers-was-radical-loon-when-obama.html

    Put this in your browser it won’t let me post it for some reason.

  45. José

    @Damien
    I never said Obama was a racist or hated America.

    Yes, and both McCain and Palin have both associated with people that have backgrounds as shady or shadier than Obama, so if your not extrapolating that Obama harbors those feelings, your point is meaningless.

  46. Damien

    José,

    My point is not meaningless, and give me an example of a McCain/Palin associate who is as shady or shadier than a terrorist. Can you do that?

  47. José

    @Damien
    give me an example of a McCain/Palin associate who is as shady or shadier than a terrorist.

    OK, McCain has supported a man who headed a company that set up sham offshore headquarters in the Cayman Islands in order to circumvent laws which forbid doing business with countries like Iran and Libya. Pumping billions of dollars into places like these seem to be a lot worse than anything William Ayers has done. I can think of many more dirty things, but I only need 1 to meet your criteria. Why don’t you scream about things like this? Are you un-American?

  48. tacitus

    Don’t forget Charlie Black — McCain’s chief campaign adviser and lobbyist-extraordinaire for brutal dictators and mass murderers the world over, including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, a dictator in the Congo (Zaire) and a warlord who killed hundreds of women and children in Angola. Not only did Black associate these people — some of the worst scum of the 20th century (people that make Ayers look like Mary Poppins by comparison) — he was their paid shill in Washington lobbying the American government on behalf of this thugs.

    But I guess when there’s money to be made, that makes it all okay…

  49. Tim G

    Don’t worry folks. Should Palin get elected, operation Comic Relief would be engaged. Tina Fey would covertly replace her while Palin would be dropped off in Siberia with a hunting rifle. Palin will survive on caribou meat and furs and take comfort from being within walking distance from her house.

  50. Jamie

    The thought of Palin becoming president really scares me; I just hope she stops receiving attention and fades back into obscurity.

  51. Jonathon

    I was enjoying the site and getting a lot out of the science info. I’m not a creationist, but I am a Christian and a conservative……and I’m realizing that maybe I’m not so welcome here after all.

    There is a disturbing tendency in the skeptical movement to regard people who are believers or conservatives as hicks and idiots. It’s costing you allies. Ridiculing someone seldom changes their minds.

  52. (bad) Jim Sweeney

    On January 20, 2009, America will become a socialist paradise. Folks like X and Y willl be rounded up and shot or sent to re-education camps or regendered or, more likely, there will be deliberate, incremental change.Instead of things getting gradually worse they may go back to getting gradually better. The nation is a very large ship with a rather small rudder, and it takes a while for course changes to take effect, for good or ill.

    Whether you’re motivated by hope or hate, we all need what any doctor most requires: patience.

  53. Boy, I’m glad this is an astronomy blog and not a political blog…
    Time to reconisider my subscription feeds again.

  54. Pat

    …and some still haven’t figured out that right-wing radical news is not the only news source. I am actually, personally, hoping the Fairness Doctrine gets reinstated: that will provide for less of a refuge for radical hatemongering to masquerade as “news.” Spout opinion all you like, sure – you just can’t call it “news,” or misname it “fair and balanced” when it is nothing of the sort.

    I have to inform my father of actual news once in a while – he only listens to Rush Limbaugh, so occasionally I have to disabuse him of some truly fantastic notions. To his credit, he at least respects me enough to look some of this stuff up after our discussions. I imagine it’s only gotten worse now that he’s in Fairbanks and more frequently out of touch.

  55. Krist

    TACITUS–Whether or not Obama will be a great president remains to be seen — such judgments often depend as much on circumstances as they do on the person who is president.

    HAHA love how Obama trolls are setting their standards low for Obama. This is the complete opposite of what we heard in the primaries. The Obama campaign are such hypocrites and liars. The audacity of low expectations.
    hum what other president lowered expectations when he got into office and had a cult of personality???
    oh yeah BUSH!

  56. José

    @Krist
    It’s not Obama supporters that have set the bar low. That would be Bush. If Obama manages to keep us out of unnecessary, wasteful wars, he will be a huge improvement. Anything else is a bonus.

  57. I’m just waiting to see if all the right-wing people who, for the past eight years, have always screamed:

    “How dare you criticize a wartime president!?! That’s un-American! Dissent during times like this is treason!”

    I wonder if all those people who stuck up for Bush using this defense are also going to stick up for Obama? (Since he’s obviously going to still be a “wartime president” for quite some time.)

    Something tells me that they’re not, and are going to be as hypocritical as they can be. I’m going to make sure and bring this point up every single time I hear someone criticize Obama, and hell — I wasn’t even an Obama supporter. I just hate hypocrisy.

  58. Damien

    José

    “McCain has supported a man who headed a company that set up sham offshore headquarters in the Cayman Islands in order to circumvent laws which forbid doing business with countries like Iran and Libya. Pumping billions of dollars into places like these seem to be a lot worse than anything William Ayers has done. I can think of many more dirty things, but I only need 1 to meet your criteria. Why don’t you scream about things like this? Are you un-American?”

    That is still far better than a terrorist, whose actions could have resulted in the deaths of innocent people.

  59. José

    That is still far better than a terrorist, whose actions could have resulted in the deaths of innocent people.

    So you think an association with someone who was a domestic terrorist 40 years ago that wasn’t responsible for any deaths is worse than someone who’s violated US law to make a buck knowing that his dealings would fund many more terrorists that are a real threat today? And that’s just touching the surface. If you’ve fully thought this through and come to this conclusion, then I think you are un-American.

  60. Todd W.

    @Damien and José

    To quote Monty Python, “This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.”

  61. José

    @Todd W.
    What makes you think I’m not happy?

  62. Todd W.

    @José

    Was just being silly to try to lighten the atmosphere a bit. The quote popped into my head and I just had to say it. :)

  63. José

    My son is 2 and he loves the Holy Grail. I fell asleep watching it once and woke up to him laughing hysterically at the rabbit biting the guys head off. He made me rewind it for him several times. I think I’m a bad parent.

  64. Gary Ansorge

    Foreign Terrorists vs home grown revolutionaries, which is worse?

    The Weathermen knew quite well that blowing up innocent non-combatants was counter productive from a PR standpoint but they were adamant about letting the power brokers in this nation understand in no uncertain terms that there were people very dissatisfied with their rule, as in, “We don’t like the way you’re running things, so we’re gonna blow up your businesses,,,”

    Foreign Terrorists: as in Ossama Bin(son of) Laden. What did he hope to accomplish? Destroying property was not the point. His objective was to really piss off Americans, so that we would be suspicious of Arabs(Saudi Arabia specifically) and Muslims(in general). By doing this he attained part of his objective and that was to drive a wedge between the USA and our support of the Sauds in Arabia(his principal objective), while our very vocal distrust of Muslims drove young dissidents into Ossamas revolutionary arms.
    Thus, he had good reason to kill people while the Weathermen had equally good reason to NOT kill people.

    There is a world of difference between destroying inert property to make a political point and destroying people to really piss people off and frighten them.

    The latter is the only approach that can reasonably be called terrorism.

    GAry 7

  65. tacitus

    HAHA love how Obama trolls are setting their standards low for Obama. This is the complete opposite of what we heard in the primaries. The Obama campaign are such hypocrites and liars. The audacity of low expectations.

    LOL — I don’t think there’s much doubting who’s doing the trolling around here. And if you don’t know who that is, just look in a mirror.

  66. @RapidEye…
    Check the top line of the blog… It will explain that there are Sciience, politics and religion posts here amongst other stuff

  67. Damien

    Gary Ansorge,

    Even if the weather underground was in someways better than Al Quada, they were still a terrorist organization. Destroying someone else’s property is still a crime. What do you think vandalism is. Plus even if Bill Ayers has not killed anyone, his action could have.

  68. Michael Parmeley

    I really can’t believe you think the democrats are better on “liberty, and the Constitution” than the Republicans. (I will give you science, although I think the Democrats could still do better there too). The Democrats are neither worse nor better than Republicans on “liberty, and the Constitution”. Both parties propose legislation that overstep their Constitutional bounds during every Conressional session. The Democrats do it for economic issues, the Republicans do it for social issues. Either way they both do it.

    For a party that truthfully supports both liberty and the Constitution you need to look at the Libertarian party.

    It really flabbergasts me that people say Obama is for liberty and the Constitution when he uses phrases such as “we need to spread the wealth”. Umm, no we don’t. All we have to do is make sure everyone has the same opportunity to acquire wealth. If a person gets unlucky and can’t acquire it for whatever reason the Government does not owe them any handouts. Private charity organizations do a much better job in those circumstances.

  69. José

    @Damien
    The point isn’t how good or bad William Ayers is. It’s that you’re attacking Obama for his associates, while you give McCain, who has much closer ties to people who have done far worse, a free pass.

  70. Autumn

    Damien et al.,
    If neo Nazis targeted military institutions they would not be commiting “terrorist” acts. They would be commiting criminal acts against federal “hard”, or military, targets. The US Department of State considers terrorist acts to be those taken against “soft”, or civilian, targets.
    Ayers was a criminal, and the Weather Underground, as far as an admittedly cursory search has informed me, was a criminal orginization, but it was not one that engaged in “terrorist” activities.
    The casual use of the term “terrorist” has resulted in such unbelievable agitprop tactics as American national news outlets describing members of the Iraqi Army as “terrorists” for engaging US Military forces.

    Saying “criminal” is still pejorative, and has the added benefit of accuracy, thus making your argument seem less like a frightened polemic, and more like a reason to fear Obama’s lack of judgement.

  71. Gary Ansorge

    Damien: Coulda, woulda, shoulda,,,Three words with much more fury than sense.

    Yes, destroying property is a crime, defined as secular laws. If THAT makes someone a terrorist, then I guess Jesus was a terrorist because he destroyed the money changers property at the Temple,,,

    A terrorist is someone who induces fear, anger and outright TERROR in the populace. As far as I can recall, the strongest emotion engendered by the Whethermen was righteous indignation. It’s a far cry from “OMG. My parents, siblings, offspring, friends are senselessly DEAD.” to “UGH! Those damned Whethermen. Now I’m gonna have to fill out a bunch of insurance claims.”

    Michael Parmeley:”“we need to spread the wealth”. Umm, no we don’t. All we have to do is make sure everyone has the same opportunity to acquire wealth.”

    In a top down hierarchy, wealth will migrate to those most able to use the rules of their particular society. Change the rules and you often change the winners, which is one reason the most wealthy 2% try as hard as they can to ensure the rules that made them rich,,,don’t change. We call that conservatism.
    In a tribal, communalist society(read as extended family) everyone gets to partake of the largess, even though, as we all know, some members of the family are totally inept.
    The communalist society served us well for about a million years. Hierarchical societies have only been around about 10,000 years and have a LOOOONG way to go before they can even begin to provide for every member of society in a fair and loving way.

    Oh, do I hear someone saying “But I don’t care about the dimwits,,,”?
    The person who cleans your toilet is just as deserving of respect and love as the wealthiest or most intelligent and if, by the rules of acquisition in your particular culture, they are unable to live on their earnings, then out of love for our conjugal humanity, WE must provide for their basic needs.

    It’s the only fair thing to do.

    GAry 7

  72. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it: I will respond to the libertarian…

    Michael Parmeley: “we need to spread the wealth”. Umm, no we don’t. All we have to do is make sure everyone has the same opportunity to acquire wealth.”

    What do you think taxes are for? Right now bridges are crumbling all over America, and they don’t get repaired by themselves. Try to run a successful economy without an infrastructure, libertarian or otherwise. It won’t work. My point: taxes are a form of spreading the wealth, even a flat tax. The country moves forward because of well-allocated tax money.

  73. Michael Parmeley

    @Gary Ansorge
    We are obviously on totally different ends of the political spectrum (at least on economic issues, don’t know your views on social issues) I am not sure we even have enough common ground to reach a compromise. I think it would be an enjoyable conversation over a beer though.

    To respond to your last point:

    “The person who cleans your toilet is just as deserving of respect and love as the wealthiest or most intelligent and if, by the rules of acquisition in your particular culture, they are unable to live on their earnings, then out of love for our conjugal humanity, WE must provide for their basic needs.”

    I don’t believe “WE” should provide for their basic needs via legislation. Private charity can help them (via contributions voluntarily given by compassionate people). Government just needs to make sure they have equal protection under the law thereby giving them the opportunity to go from toliet cleaner to something that pays higher wages. There is nothing more fair than this.

    Furthermore, although your belief that “WE must provide for their basic needs” is certainly your opinion and I can respect that being made as a straight faced argument my question is where do you see in the Constitution that the government has been granted power to forcefully take money from me and given to the toilet cleaner? Sure there is an amendement that gives Congress the right to collect an income tax but I highly doubt the intention of that amendement was for everyone to throw all their money in a big pot and the divide it equally.

  74. Michael Parmeley

    @Pieter
    “What do you think taxes are for? Right now bridges are crumbling all over America, and they don’t get repaired by themselves. Try to run a successful economy without an infrastructure, libertarian or otherwise. It won’t work. My point: taxes are a form of spreading the wealth, even a flat tax. The country moves forward because of well-allocated tax money.”

    Obviously there is a need for taxes for things like roads, national defense, and other infrastructure. However, collecting taxes for these things is a far cry from funding programs that are blatant transfer of wealth from people that have it from people that don’t. (Also, when I say wealth I don’t mean it in terms of what some people would think of as a “rich” person. Just mean it as a term for money in general)

  75. Todd W.

    @Michael Parmeley

    Who said anything about dividing the money in the pot equally? I doubt anyone here is arguing that we ensure that every person has the exact same income regardless of their job. At best, the argument is that the government should ensure that every citizen has the means to meet at least their basic needs to secure the well-being of society at large.

  76. Gary Ansorge

    Michael: The US constitution is a legal structure designed to maintain competition between differential power groups, which is why we have a trinary governmental organization,ie, legislative, judicial, executive. A best two out of three wins scenario.
    The constitution is predicated on a hierarchical social structure but that very STRUCTURE is the cause of ALL social inequity. Socialism is a recognition of that inherent inequity and an attempt to incorporate a fairness doctrine into the top down hierarchy. It sorta works,,,,sorta,,,

    Acceptance of charity is an admission of failure (because of our capitalistic indoctrination) and few humans are able to accept that. It’s not a feel good thing to have someone saying “Here’s some food, cash, etc, because you’re an incompetent twit, unable to care for yourself,,,”. Shame, shame, shame,,,
    Granted, the charities don’t ACTUALLY say that, but the feeling is there. It’s part and parcel of our cultural indoctrination. “Failure is all YOUR fault, doofus,,,”

    “Government just needs to make sure they have equal protection under the law thereby giving them the opportunity to go from toliet cleaner to something that pays higher wages.”

    ,,,and what if toilet cleaner is the best they can be? We have a very nice lady that does the toilets here at Red Top Mt. State PArk. She does such a great job, one could nearly eat off the floors however, her intellectual capacity is quite limited. Why should she be poverty stricken, barely able to feed, cloth, house herself thru no fault of her own, when she works her buns off doing what you or I would find stifling?

    I’ve know people who found it quite easy to make loads of money,,,all of them were sociopaths, to one degree or another. That doesn’t mean they were law breakers. Just that they had no inhibitions to taking advantage of others. Their philosophy(such as it was) was literally “Let the buyer beware, and if they can’t, s%$*w them.”

    One has to have some insensitivity to other peoples inadequacies in order to make gobs of money, other wise we’d just end up giving it all away and would never get rich. That’s the rules of this capitalistic game, hang on to YOUR money, invest it in some kind of capital generating engine and hold on tight. Ignore those hungry people. You can give to your favorite charity later, when you’re rich,,,that’s the game,,,
    ,,,which is one reason I’m not rich,,,

    GAry 7

  77. Gary Ansorge

    PS, Michael:
    I’m not particularly fond of beer, but I really do like good Bud,,,snark,,,

    GAry 7

  78. Damien

    Gary Ansorge,

    Even if Bill Ayers never killed anyone his violent actions put innocent lives in danger. End of story.

  79. Gary Ansorge

    Damien: Every time I get in my car, someone is put at risk. Does that make me a terrorist?
    (note: This is not meant to imply that I am any worse a driver than any one else. It’s just the odds.)

    Property is not irreplaceable. People are. Revolutions rarely accomplish their stated goals, usually replacing one despot with another just as bad. Ayers finally figured that out and became a community organizer, a much more judicious use of his time and talent. His actions prior to that were the act of a (disgruntled) revolutionary, NOT a terrorist. Had they been otherwise, he’d still be in jail.

    Period!

    Gary 7

  80. Damien

    Gary Ansorge,

    Bill Ayers was a terrorist who committed acts of violence. What he did was not the same as you getting into car and driving to work. And no, he was not a disgruntled revolutionary, he was a terrorist, who try to overthrow a legitimately elected government. If he had committed the same acts, but was say anti gay rights, anti abortion or anti secularism would you not call him a terrorist? Yes you most certainly would call him a terrorist. Ayers was just a politically correct leftist terrorist. He was no more a revolutionary, than the Vietcong were freedom fighters or North Korea is a people’s republic. He had been even more violent he might still be in jail, but some murders get way to little time in prison.

  81. Gary Ansorge

    Damien: If he had committed the same acts, but was say anti gay rights, anti abortion or anti secularism would you not call him a terrorist? Yes you most certainly would call him a terrorist.

    No! I most certainly would NOT call him a terrorist. Destruction of property is NOT a terrorist act. It’s a criminal act. Had he ever destroyed PEOPLE, then THAT would qualify as terrorism and I will thank you to refrain from saying what I would call someone. Quit trying to put words in my mouth.

    Well, that was entertaining but now I have to get ready for work. Y’All have fun while I’m gone.

    Peace,

    Gary 7

  82. Damien

    Gary Ansorge,

    Animal rights and environmental activist who burn down people’s homes are terrorists, even if they don’t end up taking people’s lives. Bill Ayers was a terrorist.

  83. tacitus

    Honestly, the Ayers was/was not a terrorist bores me. Can’t we just all agree that Ayers did illegal acts which, but for some prosecutorial irregularities, he would have served time in jail for. There are dozens if not hundreds of “former terrorists” walking the streets of Northern Ireland who did much worse than Ayers ever did — some of whom are now in government.

    Ayers is an irrelevance. Obama will be the president and he will be judged on his actions as president. Time to move on.

  84. Grump

    Could someone please show me Obama’s signed Weatherman Underground membership card? No? Oh, that’s right, his age was in single digits during the WU glory days.

    The Right Wing Trolls have slyly changed the topic (something they’ve become really good at since Nixon) so that now, if they can “prove” that Ayers was indeed a terrorist, then clearly Obama is bad for America. Spot the hole in that argument.

    I just can’t believe you conservative Americans. I’m trying to think of reasons why you still believe in the Republicans:
    1) Are you all blinded by religious zealotry?
    2) Or are you naive, stupid and ignorant enough to think that Obama really is a socialist?
    3) Are you rich people who are terrified that you’ll be taxed into poverty (or at least a slightly lesser degree of richness)?
    4) Are you delusional middle-class bozos who dream of one day being rich yourselves, and thus are afraid of the taxes you’ll pay then.
    5) Maybe you’re just bigots, who think that’s it’s really fun to attack gays, Mexicans, Muslims, “liberals”, “intellectuals” and anybody else who isn’t a small-town hick?
    6) Maybe you’re traditional conservatives, who believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility so fervently, that you can’t see that the Republicans have offered nothing of the sort for decades.
    7) Perhaps you’re the anti-Americans who want the American Constitution to be used as Bush’s toilet paper.
    8) Maybe you’re bed-wetters, so terrified of brown men that you go through several changes of underwear a day, and you’re willing to give anything to the draft-dodging Son-of-a-Bush so that he can pretend to protect you by invading random unrelated countries.
    9) Perhaps you believe that Bush&Co were completely right to steal an entire country just to guarantee a continued supply of cheap gas (in which case, just how much did it cost you to refill your Hummer last time?)

    Finally, maybe you’re just a bunch of psychopaths who enjoy seeing literally millions of human beings suffer everything from torture to exile to mass-death.

    I can think of many reasons (besides just being a troll) why someone would support the Republicans, but none of them are noble or intelligent.

    Now let me Godwin myself: The difference between modern Republicans and the “Good Germans” of the 1930’s is only quantitative, not qualitative.

    You make me sick to my stomach.

  85. David D.

    Hey BA–

    Thanks for letting commenters like Grump hang around. Calling people psychopaths, bed wetters, Nazis– a real class act . . .

  86. Grump

    Care to actually argue with me? Debate my points? Because, unlike some people, I intersperse my personal attacks with actual arguments.

    Feel free to tell me why you follow a bunch of politicos that have proven over and over and over again that they don’t give a damn about anybody but themselves, and simply manipulate scared, bigoted, religious zealots into handing them power (as well as the keys to the treasury.)

    Tell me why you support a party so ruthless as to destroy an entire country, and so unconcerned that they didn’t even plan to restore it after they did so.

    Let me know how you can rationalise voting for people who want to turn fellow Americans into an underclass, just because their sexual preferences differ from the norm.

    Go ahead, I dare ya.

    And I didn’t call anyone a Nazi. There was a big difference between the ordinary folk of Germany at that time, and the actual members of the Nazi party. But I guess you didn’t actually know/care what I was talking about.

    “Class act”? McCain’s concession speech was the first bit of class that any national Republican politician or water-carrier has shown in eight years.

  87. David D.

    Sorry–can’t and won’t even try to argue with someone so emotional.

    You actually made some points? Lots of name-calling (okay–you didn’t say Nazi) for sure, but I didn’t actually see any actual arguments.

    Go chill, dude–it’s a new day in America.

    :)

  88. Grump

    I agree – between your lack of reading skills (there were arguments there, darn it!) and my violent and emotional over-reaction to certain topics, there really isn’t any room for a fruitful debate, only more shouting and acrimony.

    And thus, I concede the argument, and once again remove BA from my bookmarks. I love the site, but some of the people around here (not you, DD – to tell the truth, you did show much more class than I) bring out the worst in me. It’ll be better for everyone if I just go have a cold shower, and go kill something. (Virtually, of course.)

  89. Damien

    Gump,

    I’m a Republican and you seem to be bigoted against my party.

    1) Are you all blinded by religious zealotry?

    No, I’m not and most Republicans are not religious fanatics, in fact some are atheists or at least agnostics.

    2) Or are you naive, stupid and ignorant enough to think that Obama really is a socialist?

    Obama is a socialist, and he is certainly more of a socialist than McCain. He supports redistributing the wealth.

    3) Are you rich people who are terrified that you’ll be taxed into poverty (or at least a slightly lesser degree of richness)?

    I’m not a rich person, but I’m afraid of paying higher taxes. I have a limit money supply as it is.

    4) Are you delusional middle-class bozos who dream of one day being rich yourselves, and thus are afraid of the taxes you’ll pay then.

    Being middle class and dreaming of becoming rich one day is not delusional. Its hard to achieve, but it can be done. Oprah Winfrey grew up poor, but now she’s one of the wealthiest women in the country who gives away automobiles. Plus it was even harder on her, since she’s black and grew up the pre-civil rights area segregated south.

    5) Maybe you’re just bigots, who think that’s it’s really fun to attack gays, Mexicans, Muslims, “liberals”, “intellectuals” and anybody else who isn’t a small-town hick?

    I don’t like attack gays, or Mexicans, but I do like to attack liberals. Opposing illegal immigration is not racist or anti Mexican, I oppose white as well as minority illegal immigration. I think that everyone who comes here, should do it legally, regardless or race.

    As for Islam, it is not the “Religion of Peace,” many people think it is, but even if it was, how is it bigotry to criticize a religion? Islam is a religion, not a race. It is a belief system and all belief systems are open to criticism, from Objectivism, to Communism to Scientology. People criticize Christianity all the time, and are not accused of bigotry by many of the same people who condemn those Critical of Islam.

    6) Maybe you’re traditional conservatives, who believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility so fervently, that you can’t see that the Republicans have offered nothing of the sort for decades.

    I do believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility. The Republican party is not perfect, but I think it does a better job than the democrats.

    7) Perhaps you’re the anti-Americans who want the American Constitution to be used as Bush’s toilet paper.

    No I’m really big on the Constitution. I’m an American and I see the Constitution as the greatest document ever written. One of the reasons I opposed Obama (and still do) is that I’m afraid that he will appoint justices who care more about “social justice” than the Constitution of my country.

  90. Colin

    @Damien

    I think you will find that Bush was willing to ignore the constitution on a regular basis.

  91. Colin

    Government for the people by the people actually implies social justice!

  92. Damien

    Colin,

    No president has ever been perfect, but many of the things that Bush did that people say violated the constitution, really did not. Beyond that, government by the people does not imply social justice. Social justice is a delusion.

  93. David D.

    @colin

    I think you will find that Bush was willing to ignore the constitution on a regular basis.

    Facts and specifics, please. And please make sure that they are actually examples of “shredding the constitution,” not just the type of executive actions that ALL presidents engage in.

  94. Colin

    Take the blinkers off and examine the past 8 years of the Untied Statutes of a America and if social justice is a delusion, why bother mentioning it.

  95. Damien

    Colin,

    I bother mentioning social justice, because people violate other people’s rights in the name of social justice. Oh and by the way, you still haven’t given us anything specific as to how Bush shred the constitution.

  96. Damien

    Violating other peoples rights in the name of social justice.
    Sounds like the Patriot Act. Illegal imprisonment and torture or wire tapping citizens phones.
    Don’t forget that the constitution
    “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

  97. Jonathon

    Wow, after seeing what is allowed on this blog….I think I’m done here.
    Goodbye Phil and BA….and I certainly won’t be buying Discover anymore.

  98. Al

    It seems that there are two Sarah Palins.

    One is a smart and popular Governor of an important state, who took on corrupt officials of her own party and prevailed; who within 18 months of taking office negotiated a $40 bn. pipeline deal that was languishing for many years; and why, by the way, is not a creationists (that’s been debunked.)

    And the other Sarah is a dumb caricature that exists only inside certain small minds.

    Guys, you mistook pre-election propaganda for truth. Wake up and get out of your echo chamber, or you’ll get blindsided by realyy.

  99. Damien

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Violating other peoples rights in the name of social justice.
    Sounds like the Patriot Act. Illegal imprisonment and torture or wire tapping citizens phones.
    Don’t forget that the constitution
    “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Wait a minute, I didn’t say that? Who is low down and dirty enough to pretend to be me, and say something I would never say? That’s the last time I’m posting anything here. Phil you need some better security measures. People shouldn’t be able to post something pretending they are another blogger.

  100. Ed

    Running a city and running a state, turns out, is less valuable experience than getting a bunch of unemployed drug addicts to petition the government for welfare (see “community organizer”.) Slick-talking and mass marketing… the pied piper trick worked folks! You’ve got your messiah, now, he’ll apply the aforementioned skills once again to deliver his socialist agenda by using the IRS to steal your wealth and give it to people who would rather whine for a handout instead of work.

  101. Jeremy

    I would find this joke insanely funny if not for the fact that Gavin Newsom is running for pres in the same year…

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