Monday, November 22, 2010

House is burning down

Doctor Gregory House is a super genius who always knows what's in the patients best interest. On the latest episode, House has to hire a new addition to his team. It must be a woman because... Anyway, they hire a woman who's also a super genius except, unlike House, has a conscience.

The story continues with House's henchmen breaking and entering in order to figure out the secrets the patient won't reveal. It's ok because "everybody lies" and it's for the patients own good. The new goody two shoes doctor (a med student actually) refuses to break the law and with that act is cast by House as a moral midget, not suitable to her gigantic brain.

The moral dilemma continues throughout the episode and comes to a boil when the two super geniuses argue over whether the patient should be informed of his two treatment options. Treatment 1, the inferior treatment and treatment 2, the "right" treatment.

House doesn't want to present treatment option number 1, because A. It's not as effective, and B. the patient is stupid and will choose it (which the patient promptly does). House is interested in saving lives, not letting idiotic patients (read: not super geniuses) decide their own fate.

In the end, all is well because the conscientious super genius is able to reason with the patient that House is right and convinces him to choose the "right" treatment. Hooray to super geniuses, what would us ordinary folks do without them?

House is a TV show, but it unintentionally reveals the left wing view of the world of its writers. It's a view which flips morality upside down and debates the immorality of "incorrect" decisions. In this world, the sin is not in doing harm, but not doing good. Doctor House is the manifestation of the Lefts technical bureaucrats who know what's good for you. On the show, and in life, we ignore it because medicine is far out of our realm of expertise. But the premise holds for everything There is a right answer out there and the experts know it. It is foolish and wrong to reject it. The repugnance of this view is that imposing your genius on an unwilling person is not deemed morally wrong, only questionable.

Perhaps super geniuses will lead our lives better than we would. Perhaps they will make no mistakes, it's assumed they would make less than us. Nonetheless, why ought it be up to someone else to make my life mistake free? Choice only matters when you can choose the "wrong" thing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Incentives Matter

If you believe as I do that people respond to incentives, then here's an interesting thought experiment. Imagine a world where the poor pay zero taxes. In such a world, would government be more or less likely to create jobs for poor people? I'd say they'd be less likely because what the government really cares about are revenues, and if more people working doesn't generate any additional revenue, then why would government care if they worked or not?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Year of the shark

I remember a few years back the national news in a tizzy about shark attacks. Every week another victim was shark meat and there were no safe harbors anywhere. Turns out that that year, there were about the same number of shark attacks as any other year, and the hullabaloo was self inflicted.

Seems every year, heck, every month a new biggest thing is born. This year, it's the Tea Parties. While the Tea Parties are significant, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The economy sucks, democrats have progressed to being visibly nuts, and Obama-We're-the-ones-we've-been-waiting-for-mania has gone away. Tea Party or no Tea Party, the democrats were going to get crushed.

The Tea Party is not symbolic of liberal woes, but of conservative ones. The tea party is first and foremost a conservative movement, a movement resurrected from the ashes of actual fiscal conservatism. The Tea Party arose to send a message to the Republican party: stick to your principles. We'll see what lasting effect the Tea Parties have in a year...if any of us remember.