Wednesday, June 08, 2005

And Now a Step to the Ri-ii-iiight ....

We have an odd little audience here, politics-wise. I'm a liberal, but based mainly on libertarian principles, so my writing tends to drag in a fair bit of moderate righties. I Miss Republicans got heavy, and complimentary, coverage in a bunch of conservative blogs.

I do my best to be play nice with these folk. There's a strict no-flame war rule in the comments. Make your argument with facts (or overwhelming style, that counts too) or move on. Had a lovely chat with some of them over the activist judges post, and school prayer. I don't agree with them, but I get the point. For example, I get if the reason you're anti-choice is because you don't like abortion. However, I have a hard time with the pick-and-choose style pro-life argument. We have an infant mortality rate higher than Cuba's, and abstinence programs just don't work. How many abortions are you willing to endure because you hate the word "condom"? I disagree with you on the "morning after" pill -- which is not an "abortion" pill, by the way, but science has never been anyone's strong suit -- but theoretically understand your objection to it. However, you can't then turn around and support pharmacists denying women access to birth control pills.

Again, I'm annoying, dismissive, overly judgemental and sarcastic -- but at least my positions are internally consistent.

Anyway, there's a fellow over across the aisle I've been digging lately. He's a bit stunned at where his party's gone since the Schiavo mess. He has a truly rare streak of intellectual honesty. And yet I still disagree with him probably %50 of the time, which is the sign to me that it's someone I should keep reading.

Added next week to the sidebar (when my deadline's over) is John Cole.


Michael Alan Nelson said...

Take 50 bonus XP for the RHPS hat tip.

Orac said...

Even better, John Cole routinely rips "intelligent design" creationists, thus proving that not all conservatives drink the ID Kool Aid.

bendavid said...

Wrong place to put this, but a lot of people are watching Global Frequency RIGHT NOW...

Rogers said...

shit. bittorent?

Rogers said...

drop me a line.

Doctor Memory said...

Grumble grumble grumble. I realize this is completely beside the actual point of your post, and it's something of an annoying knee-jerk issue with me, but... the reason the USA appears to have a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba is that Cuba's reported infant mortality rates are made up, much like their literacy, employment and happiness-with-the-government rates. They are made up because if you report the wrong thing, they shoot you. The yearly harvest is always a bumper crop, industrial output is always up 30%, and the most recent five-year plan is always a smashing success: that's how things work in communist countries.

"I'm surprised I have to explain these things."

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to start a Flame war - but I can't find the info to hand to prove this.

However I'm sure i read somewhere that Cuba has the highest number of Doctors to head of population in the world. Indeed I'm sure I've read this plenty of times in different places.

Perhaps that's why they have such a low infant mortality rate?

And don't folks from the US fly to Cuba to take advantage of cheap operations as well? Again pointing to the quality and cost of the Cuban health service.

Rogers said...

Okay, let's drop Cuba, even though your arguments based on old stereotypes of Communism, and ignores the existence of dozens of independent health monitoring organizations around the world with access to data from thousands of sources, people who's JOB it is to filter out the bullshit from the truth. Actual physical humans who go to hospitals and dig through actual paper death certificates.

According to the CDC, which I think we'll all agree is a pretty spiffy source, the United States was ranked 28th in infant mortality in 1998. Current estimates, depending if you go by the 2002-2003 State Department numbers, or the latest 2005 CIA estimates, currently put us in the low forties -- not great, and at the bottom of the Western industrialized nations*

Straw man dispensed with, numbers found, the original point -- pro-lifers are pretty damn picky about their priorities in which lives they actually workd to save -- stands.

(*and still, for bonus points, according to all sources just behind Cuba).

Greg said...

I like Cole too. It's fascinating to read someone from the other side of the aisle who is absolutely stunned about what's going on. He doesn't pull punches.

Doctor Memory said...

Roger: like I said, the Cuba thing is something of a knee-jerk issue with me. I absolutely don't dispute that the USA's infant mortality rates are shameful. And just so we're clear about where my personal political sympathies lie: I think that single-payer health insurance would be a dandy way to fix the problem here.

That said... "old stereotypes of communism?" Please. Roger, it's currently 2005, nearly a decade after the fall of the Warsaw Pact, and we've had plenty of time to go through the document archives left behind by the Soviets and their allies: turns out that not only were most of those stereotypes true, they were largely understating the case.

Recommended reading: this, and while you're at it, this and this for starters.

Doctor Memory said...

(er, for values of "nearly" that are in fact "greater than." coffee first, posting second. sigh.)

Rogers said...

Not to be a dick, because we're plainly on the same political side here, but by "old stereotypes of communism" I wasn't defending communism. You see, I have a knee-jerk reaction when people automatically dismiss facts they don't like as propoganda. Precisely because, as you've so ably pointed out in your post, actual propoganda was used to effectively.

I should have said "old stereotypes of how communist countries could effectively obscure the truth in the modern world and the gullibility of other nations to accept these things as truth."

Of course the Cuban government lies. But your reasons for dismissing the stat were based on the idea that professional science humans weren't somehow smart enough to figure this out and compensate accordingly by basing their numbers on other sources. You immediately dismissed the stat because you deemed it a product of propoganda, rather than first critically examining the stat's source. The same type of thinking leads us to accept bad numbers from governmental forms we trust also without critical thinking. Like, for example, "Saddam has WMD's."

I'm fully aware that Communist governments lied their asses off (and the one or two remaining vestiges still do. Oh, and so does ours, but with a smidgeon more elegance) I just don't dismiss the odd positive number coming out of the place out of hand because of history.

Anonymous said...

Infant Mortality:

Seems that the US has a low infant mortality rate because it takes into consideration infants that are born under 1000g. Most other countries don't. Which gives the US a higher infant mortality rate than other countries.

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