Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Professor George Lakoff revisited

In an earlier post, I visited some of the theories espoused in articles by Professor George Lakoff, under the assumption that I had disproved the foundation for his beliefs, I had moved on to other things that interested me. It seems I was wrong, because a comment from a reader brings us back, and the response could be short, and to Conservatives, prove the point, instead I am going to go long, and demonstrate to those with an open mind.

I find it laughable that you compare adequate healthcare, or shelter, or opportunity to work comparable to a certificate for a race. To use a more concrete example, give a homeless person a place to stay, think they'd "throw it away" because they didn't earn it?Of course many successful people didn't cheat, but again it's laughable to think they earned what they did without the help of our country's infrastructure: the banking system, the roads, the environmental policies that kept him or her from dying from lead paint or dioxin, the internet. These were all provided by the government and paid for by taxes. Shouldn't the rich pay for what they used to make their money?And it is laughable that you think providing people with the basic human necessities is somehow immoral.

Give a homeless shelter, and see if they throw it away. On another Blog, I advised a liberal pundit not to prove the point he is arguing against, to this reader, I offer the same advice.

The Homeless do throw the shelters away. The only time that Homeless shelters are full, with emergency shelters opening, is when it's extremely cold, or the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) are upon us. Otherwise, they operate at about half capacity. Call your local shelter, ask if they have space available, then ask how much space. You will see that they do have space available, and we are left with one of two logical explanations. Either the Homeless cease to be homeless until the next cold snap, or Holiday, or they refrain from going to the shelters until they have a pressing need.

This brings us to the discussion of Value, and our reader is using the Marxist theory that all work is of equal value. Marx argued that value of an item could be determined by the time of labor that went into the creation of the item, and that a true value could be attached. If all people are equal, then their value must be equal to society, and thus, their contribution is equal.

This idea of equality of value is demonstrably false. Perform this test at home if you like, it was first suggested by Robert Heinlein, and I will take his example, because it is easy for our friends on the left to understand, well we hope.

Take two people and give both of them the ingredients needed to make Apple Pie. One is a Master Chef, the other is a cook of mediocre ability. One will make a confection that is worth much more than the sum of the parts. One may make a dish that is edible.

Value is relative, there is nothing universal in regards to value. The Master chef combines the ingredients using all his education, skill, experience, and his inate aptitude being part of the mix as well, and brings forth a dish of indescribable flavor.

Anyone can read and follow directions, what sets the skills of the Master Chef apart from the mediocre cook in our example? A touch of genius certainly, and a touch of inspiration. A dish of food is so often of greater value than the sum of it's parts, or the time to create them.

As a personal aside, I love Pizza, as many Americans do certainly. My personal favorite is Papa Johns Pizza, but there is no Papa Johns in my town. I pass two Domino's between my home and work, yet never stop at one. I don't like Dominos as much as I do Papa Johns, and while this certainly isn't intended to speak ill of Domino's, certainly you are welcome to which ever YOU like, and enjoy with my blessings. I don't like Domino's and when I had gotten it in the past, was always left wanting at the end of the meal. In short, I wanted the Papa Johns. I do occasionally go for a Papa Johns pizza, the closest store being located 40 minutes driving time from my home, and it being worth it on occasion to me.

Value is determined by what you have done for it, and what you must do for it. If you feel a Mercedes is the only choice you are willing to make, then it's worth the expense for the car in your opinion, and thus has value for you. The same goes for anything we have in life, is it worth the trouble we must endure to get it.

In the comment that started this, the question was posed and answered, would a homeless person reject shelter. The answer as demonstrated was YES. Even free shelter was too expensive for the homeless people in our, and most probably your town, unless the need for it increased, by cold weather, or the desirability of an exceptionally good meal, Holidays.

Because some won't rejoin society, either through choice, or by fate, should we demolish society in favor of those few? By fate I mean those who are psychologically unable to endure even a modicum of responsibility. Should we round up these people and force them to take the shelter offered? Do we hold people at gun point to insure they take the shelter offered them?

Value is relative, in anyway you choose to look at the issue. While a half empty homeless shelter is of little value to the average homeless person in the summer, it is indescribable valuable on a cold winters night. Just as the value of the dessert from the Master Chef is greater than the apple pie from our mediocre cook.

Take a look around you my Liberal Friends, don't assume that your ideals are just better, demonstrate them with logic and with common sense. Challenge your own beliefs and look to prove them or disprove them with logic and common sense.

Take any Liberal position, and it demonstrably flawed as a policy decision. That is why the Liberals are less palatable than the Conservatives, the principals they espouse are demonstrably flawed.

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