Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Priorities

(A melting-ice-sheets comment I'd posted at Brad DeLong's blog last year; I keep going back to it.)
Priorities.

How do you set them?
Which issues do you let slide, in order to work on the really important stuff?
And what if the really important stuff isn't workable?
  • Global warming
  • Peak oil
  • Vote fraud software
  • Slouching toward theocracy
  • Consistent corruption at top levels of govt
  • Corruption at newspapers; the payola punditocracy
  • Conserving nature
  • Equal rights
  • Bird flu/personal preparedness/public health
  • Improving the lot of those less fortunate
  • Social security
  • Terrorism (incl. nukes and bioterrorism)
  • Reaching talk-radio listeners who're plugging their ears eyes closed saying la-la-la-la-la
  • Acquiring leaders who demonstrate genuine leadership
  • Exposing "leaders" who don't

no answers here; just curious about what one should do, when the whole edifice is breaking apart.

for a noncontroversial example - if the carrying capacity, post-peak, is 1.5 billion less than now, where should "research to extend lifespan" fit into the priority scheme?

A good discussion; this reply in particular made sense to me:
Paul Ehrlich, who['s] been thinking about this stuff longer than many of us have been alive, has very much switched to the answer that the problems that have to be solved are changing the US political leadership and culture...
His conclusion, after trying to solve these problems for at least 40 yrs is that without putting the political/cultural management in place, nothing will happen, and that with proper political/cultural management in place the science and engineering can happen pretty fast.

3 comments:

Michael R. Kesti said...

I strongly agree with Paul Ehrlich's conclusion. None of the problems facing America and Americans are going to be solvable without first wresting control of our nation's governments from the hands of "special interests", especially at the federal and state levels.

I believe that one way to make this happen is to do all one can to eliminate the politicians who align themselves with the major parties, Republican and Democratic alike. Even good politicians (if any!) are required to toe these parties' lines in order to rise within their ranks.

The solution, in my opinion, requires Americans to muster the courage to reject politics-as-usual.

Anna Haynes said...

Michael, I agree with you completely, in theory.

I'm just not sure what path would work, to get there. And given that we can thank the third-party voters of 2000 for much of the mess we're in now...

Ideally we'd implement instant-runoff voting, so a third-party vote wouldn't be 'wasted'. But until we've got that, I suspect morphing a party from within is more likely to succeed.

And if the kleptotheocrats could do this, why can't a movement of dedicated and honorable people do likewise?

but i tell you, it's one thing to realize how badly it needs to be done, and it's another to realize how ill-suited I am to doing it. Rambo/Machiavelli I'm not.

SkiTheStars said...

As I posted in my blog, a debate between Rush Limbah and Bill Mahre is long overdue. 35 issues, posted in advance, by each one, and questions at random from the public, about those topics. They own their own topics and answer the questions, and the other then also asks questions, without making statements.