Small Government Book Fan Club discussion

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message 1: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments For some time, I worked in an engineering department where one of my occasional jobs was to update the MSDS folders whenever we got in some new material.
We always referred to those things as 'MSDS sheets'. Since MSDS stood for 'Material Safety Data Sheet' our terminology was perhaps a trifle redundant. These sheets were required to be made available to plant personnel so that they could familiarize themselves with the possible hazards of the materials they were working with. It didn't matter that only about 20 of the things listed in the ever-expanding folders were actually used in the plant. We had to make EVERY sheet available. As an aside, many of the plant personnel spoke Spanish, had only a limited grasp of English, and probably couldn't make any sense of the sheets anyway. It was required, under pain of fines, so we did as was required.
The number of sheets never decreased. About once a month we had to add more to the binders, or add more binders. I once joked that whoever was writing these things up appeared to be determined to list every known substance, natural or man-made.
Then, one day, I was presented with an MSDS sheet for SAND. It stated that sand was generally inert, non-toxic and harmless, but you should take care not to get any in your eyes.


message 2: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Sounds about right... I wonder what the ratio of lawyers to engineers is at a typical plant nowadays. No wonder everything gets made in China. By the way, I am amazed at the number of engineers/scientists who are proponents of big government. These are supposed to be people who understand how things work in real life, so you'd think they would be more oriented towards practical solutions that work (free markets) as opposed to theoretical ones that fail over and over again (over-regulation, redistribution etc.)


message 3: by Willard (new)

Willard Brickey | 19 comments You may have noticed that bags of peanuts sometimes have the warning that they contain peanuts (due to peanut allergies).
Amusing or sickening?


message 4: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Yep, I have a mixed nuts can on the table right now and in addition to listing all the nuts on the "main" label, it lists them all again in the "allergy information section." Just like milk and sour cream now say they contain milk. One has to wonder of the results of making everything so idiot-proof that people no longer expect to use their brains and common sense. It's a direct line from there to over-reliance on government to "protect" us from everything, with all the consequences of that.


message 5: by Willard (new)

Willard Brickey | 19 comments I think one reason scientists and engineers are so often advocates of big government is that government is the biggest single source of funding for scientific grants and research. What beneficiary of that money would not tend to see the source as benevolent?


message 6: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I can see that for people doing basic research (although Dr. Stadler in Atlas Shrugged is a great cautionary tale). But people who actually build physical things should be of a different mentality. Then again "social engineering" came from engineers who thought they could apply rules of mechanics to human society.


message 7: by Willard (new)

Willard Brickey | 19 comments I think another possible reason is that science and engineering are such demanding fields-in both time and intellectual energy-that its practitioners sometimes neglect other intellectual areas and just accept the status quo. I'm not defending that, but I think it happens. Einstein, for instance, had some really boneheaded political ideas, though I think he got a little less naive as he participated in the political process.


message 8: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Well, that could explain the current state of the world. All that technology, but societies are falling apart because the really smart people removed themselves from the political process and left it to the boneheads.


message 9: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Scientists may gravitate towards government grants, but not so much engineers. I have no idea who wrote up the MSDS sheets. The original idea was laudable: Make sure that people knew if they were dealing with dangerous substances, and give them information as to what to do in the event of an accident. But someone higher up in the MSDS food chain apparently found that writing up those sheets was like eating potato chips: You just couldn't stop. No doubt there were people who sat around wondering what new substance they could write up, because that was their job. Hence the mission creep, and the MSDS sheet on sand. I can understand someone not knowing what to do with a methyl-ethyl-ketone spill, but how dull would that person have to be not to know you shouldn't get sand in your eyes unless the government told him so?


message 10: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Dumb enough to call 911 when McDonalds messed up their order?


message 11: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments You get more of what you encourage, and less of what you discourage. For a long time, an entrenched elite has encouraged people to be stupid and dependent.


message 12: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Novak (eddien) | 123 comments Mod
I took an engineering entrepreneurship class about two years ago and was disappointed by all the left wing engineers. My professor was great though. He destroyed their ideas.


message 13: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Interesting. so far as I know, the principles of engineering are like the laws of physics: Politics just don't enter into it.


message 14: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 11, 2011 05:54PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments The problem is more that scientists and engineers of any stripe must come out of the (so called) education system. It's now an indoctrination system as much as anything. I mean how many people assume things like "global warming" are true because they've been told there is a "consensus" among scientists. It's as if changing the consensus will change the facts (which some seem to believe as we were supposed to be headed for an ice age a few years back.)


message 15: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments I'm reminded of the old depleted-ozone scare from last century. I had a discussion with a young woman who professed to be very concerned about it. I asked her what ozone was, and she responded with a shrug and the comment that it was some sort of chemical. I explained that in this case, ozone was a triatomic oxygen molecule, poisonous and unstable. The energy input of the sun caused it to form in the upper atmosphere from the oxygen there. Take away the energy, and the ozone quickly broke back down into diatomic oxygen molecules. Given that energy was needed for ozone to form, it only made sense that there would be less of it at the poles, which were frozen precisely because they received less solar energy overall. But there was a 'consensus' back then that the ozone holes had to be the fault of humankind. Like so many other 'the-world-is-threatened' scenarios, however, this one passed out of fashion, like the Strontium-90 worries of the 1950s.


message 16: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 11, 2011 08:10PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I was (before tendon damage) a commercial refrigeration tech... I had to get a federal license to work on any refrigeration or AC equipment. (I had almost 20 years experience but I still had to pass a test proving I knew things like...when the Toronto Accords were signed. Good thing I learned that otherwise how would I ever have done another repair?) You see as you mention it was decided (worldwide) that chlorofluorocarbons were destroying the ozone in the upper atmosphere. I could never understand that. They're heavier than air????

But by the time I'd become disabled almost all the older refrigerants were gone or would be in a couple of years.

The new ones didn't work as well, were more expensive and the first ones were prone to producing acid and destroying equipment.

I assume they've got those little bugs worked out since.


message 17: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments They're way heavier than air. The idea that they were getting into the upper atmosphere struck me as going to the bottom of the ocean, emptying out a bag of lead shot, and watching it float up to the surface.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments That's sort of what I thought about it... but then I just worked with the stuff, what did I know.


message 19: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Ah, but you weren't an accredited 'expert', merely a 'rude mechanic'. You didn't have the proper credentials from the proper college or even the correct mind set as our betters do.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I suppose...but I wasn't a mechanic, I was a technician. We (we technicians that is) made sure of that. What's the difference? About $5 an hour...


message 21: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Terminology is unimportant. Mechanic or technician, you worked with your hands, which forever puts you in a lower caste than the enlightened elite who use only the power of their minds.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments Rrrrrriiigggghhhhttttt..... That's what they kept trying to tell me, between asking why their designs didn't work and then demanding I make them work.

Funny.


message 23: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments it's reminiscent of the ancient Greek attitude that rated the labors of those who worked with their hands far, far below that of the philosophers. This is probably one reason that the ancient Greeks never developed steam power, although they had the materials and knowledge to do so.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I wonder who raised the Philosophers food??????

Actually, I have a "minor" in history and almost went into teaching, but I had a family and they were funny about things like rent, groceries, utilities...clothes, that stuff. So I used the technology degree.

Now I think I might have done more good as a conservative history instructor.


message 25: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
LOL you probably would have been fired after a couple of weeks for trying to teach actual history.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments True. I often had words with the Phds who tried to indoctrinate me.

See, I could read....


message 27: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I think this qualifies as mission creep...
http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/hol...


message 28: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Yeah, that's right up there with European bureaucrats decreeing that you can't claim that water takes care of dehydration. I think at this point we've gone a bit beyond mission creep and into the ratchet effect.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I'd say Fantasy Land, except that sounds too benign.

I just saw where President Obama "forbade" the importation of around a million AMERICAN M1s and M1 carbines (WWII vintage) back from Europe... Is it just me or dose that sound unconstitutional?

Just wondering.


message 30: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments What we're seeing these days is the effect of Chicago-style corruption and machine politics on a national scale. 'Constitutional' means absolutely nothing to some people. When asked if Obamacare was constitutional, the first woman speaker of the House just stared and asked: "Are you serious?" The rule of law means nothing to them either, and as long as they have their grubby, grasping hands on the levers of power the corruption and graft will continue.


message 31: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
You guys just have a "Constitution fetish."

The sad thing is that we can't even trust the courts to defend the Constitution anymore, or if they do, for the ruling class to actually follow the court decisions instead of getting around them administratively.


message 32: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
And people are still complaining that the baddies in Atlas Shrugged are "unrealistic."


message 33: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Constitution fetish? The Constitution is the bedrock upon which the republic was founded. Okay, it's buried under decades of accumulated slime and tarnished by similar decades of neglect or derision, but if we ever have to go back to Square One, the Constitution is that Square One. And, if we are ever to return to a nation of laws instead of a nation of regulations, we have to start there.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I believe Masha's tongue was firmly planted in cheek there.

I do remember one congress person giving a blank look when asked about Constitutional limits and saying Congress could do "pretty much anything it pleased". The people being elected and too many f the people electing them are clueless.


message 35: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "I believe Masha's tongue was firmly planted in cheek there.

I do remember one congress person giving a blank look when asked about Constitutional limits and saying Congress could do "pretty much ..."


Actually I was quoting someone directly. I believe in was Chris Matthews, but I could be wrong. He was referring to the Republican House members reading the Constitution on the floor after the 2010 election.


message 36: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 28, 2011 08:41PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments Ahh.

I can't remember which Representative it was I quoting...I just recall the reaction.


message 37: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments Well, I'm in favor of voting all of them out, just to be sure.


message 38: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 28, 2011 08:45PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments Opps...any one notice I typed "the Representative I was quoted"....

And I tend to agree with S.J. on that.


message 39: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments The plain fact is that while most of us were busy living our lives and paying our taxes, corrupt politicians, lawyers, activists and opportunists gradually took over the Federal government, looted the Treasury, and bribed, by one means or another, enough voters to keep themselves in power. We were a long time getting into this mess. Getting out of it will require a sustained effort. And none of those thieving creatures is likely to go quietly.


message 40: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Nov 28, 2011 09:34PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments That tends to be the problem, "sustained effort". Conservatives by nature tend to be people who go to work, build buildings, start businesses and so on, they "build bridges you can drive across" to quote Tom Clancy from an interview I heard. We tend to want to get things done and go back to work. Thus you get the Reagan administration followed by progressively more liberal presidents till we get the present one. Or you get a conservative executive branch but the legislature ends up being full of left wing tax and spenders.

In Democracy in America de Tocqueville said: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

We may be there....

It seems that every time a little headway is made the "conservative" or Constitutional among us then goes home and back to work, but the left is always there. They are the ones who are gifted at "incrementalism". They don't go home, they don't "go to work" Among the left is where we find the professional politician, the professional academic, the community organizer. They will take the set back and just start again, gaining a little each time so that each conservative resurgence gains less and less.

You can't reestablish morals, incrementally. It doesn't work.

Do I sound gloomy? Sorry. No we don't give up, but what we really need is for the people of this country to WAKE UP.

Oh well. Rant over.


message 41: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Tea Party movement does give me hope because it IS composed of people who would normally just "go to work," and yet they manage to sustain a movement. Also the work of Andrew Breitbart is crucial in re-taking the culture. The biggest problem with conservatives is ceding the culture for the last 50 years or so. You rebuild culture and morality will take care of itself.


message 42: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Dec 03, 2011 08:33PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I hope to, but look around. The Tea Party has more or less submerged again. These people have gone back to doing what needs to be done. Still, they are listening. I'm watching the beginnings of the primaries and not real encouraged.

It seems like each election (since Reagan who was a clear choice) the conservative candidates split the vote, the media picks a "moderate republican" (read liberal) and we end up with a democrat light. The government keeps growing.

Had the last election gone the other way we would still have grown the government significantly, just not jumped quite as quickly from a four trillion dollar debt ($4,000,000,000,000) to fourteen trillion dollar debt ($14,000,000,000,000).

So who can we back now?


message 43: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I don't buy into the narrative that the Tea Party has lost its fire all of a sudden. Why would it? I've been going to meetings regularly and people are WIRED. Even with friendly reps coming to the meetings, there's a lot of passion in holding their feet to the fire. People are also beginning to understand that local politics matters because a) it influences culture because these reps are our neighbors and b) some of them will emerge and move on to the state or national stage. I know the Republican establishment sucks, but it's up to rank and file to hold their feet to the fire. Someone like Romney is a chameleon, he will respond to whomever applies more pressure, and it's our job to make sure (assuming he wins) that pressure from the people is stronger than from the media. McCain was ALWAYS a lib, consistently, (and George W. was also liberal on some issues) so that's different.

Who do we back? Breitbart and James O'Keefe. They ar emore important long term than any politician. I'll post more on that later.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments I don't hold things against Bush...but TARP said it all I suppose. There's not a presidential front runner that I'm excited about...

I live in hope.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 467 comments An example of one of the problems in the country. I reviewed a book by Simon Green called The Man with the Golden Torc. It's UF and not bad...actually pretty good. I gave it a 4 and said in the review I wish I could have given it 3.5 as it wasn't quite as good as some I've given 4 but better than most I've given 3s. I've got a member who can't let it go. He wants me to give a "thumbs up or thumbs down" on every book, essentially a 5 or 1 on every book. He continues to insist I should "tell him whether to read the book". I have tried to explain to him that I've told him what I think and why, now he needs to make his own decision. He just doesn't get it.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

People today are so used to being told what to do, they can't think for themselves...or at least don't want to.


message 46: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Lewis (sjlewis) | 263 comments I wouldn't generalize it to the extent that 'people' want to be told what to do. In my experience, many who demand that someone else tell them what to do are looking to avoid personal responsibility by having someone to lay the blame on if things go awry. We have always had such types, and we probably always will.


message 47: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I read that whole discussion. It boggles my mind that the guy would expect someone who knows NOTHING about him (or the one with 40% compatibility test) tell him whether or not to read the book. Yes, it is a measure of an intellectual laziness IMO and yes, even though there have always been people content to let others decide things for them, it's much more prevalent now.

Also, I find that this particular poster, instead of viewing GR reviews for what they are (expressions of our opinion on various works), expects them instead to be tools to help him manage his reading time. I think it's more a symptom of a shortened attention span- "I don't want to know the details, just tell me yes or no"- than anything else.


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