We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Over the years I noticed that rescuing friends from serial disasters of their own creation didn't encourage them to make smarter decisions. If anything, my interventions skewed the risk/reward calculation we use to select the best course from a range of alternatives. By stepping in and helping each time friends chose poorly, I made it harder for them to learn from their mistakes. They continued to do predictably self destructive things and then look for someone more responsible to bail them out.
Over time I realized I couldn't keep substituting my judgment for theirs. The natural world punishes bad decisions. This natural feedback mechanism helps us distinguish what works from what doesn't. But I was subverting the learning process; unintentionally rewarding bad decisions and encouraging more of the same. With the best of intentions, I had produced the worst of results.
And so I became a conservative. I embraced the idea that people make the most efficient and productive choices when they base their decisions on the way the world does work, not the way they wish it would work. I came to believe subjectivity, empathy, and tribalism make extremely poor foundations for building a society or governing one's personal conduct because they elevate subjective feelings over objective experience and morality. I learned to separate my personal feelings and loyalty from notions of right and wrong, responsible and irresponsible. I learned that even though I often chafed at them, rules are not always bad.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: $2.5 billion spent on “alternative medicine,” no cures. “Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do.” How did this happen?
he center was handed a flawed mission, many scientists say.
Congress created it after several powerful members claimed health benefits from their own use of alternative medicine and persuaded others that this enormously popular field needed more study. The new center was given $50 million in 1999 (its budget was $122 million last year) and ordered to research unconventional therapies and nostrums that Americans were using to see which ones had merit.
That is opposite how other National Institutes of Health agencies work, where scientific evidence or at least plausibility is required to justify studies, and treatments go into wide use after there is evidence they work - not before.
I can’t wait until Congress is in charge of all health care. Who knows better what’s good for you than “several powerful members” of Congress . . . .