Fear, death, and politics

MrSheepish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
137
So much of modern politics is driven by fear of death, but we seem to have no idea what is actually likely to kill us, and a distorted view of what needs to be done to protect people. Some of our fears really baffle me, and I feel that they cause significant harm to our nation. Anyone disagree, or have suggestions about what can be done about it? Here are three examples:

-The death of a few thousand civilians on 9/11, while a tragedy, is less than the number of people killed from cigarettes in four days. Yet this event has reshaped our nation and we have spent trillions of $ in war, espionage, and security measures in response to it.

-In terms of energy production, we are so scared of radiation that we would rather burn dirty coal than build nuclear plants. Even ignoring the significant dangers from global warming, the crap that is spewed into the air from coal can cause cancer, and kills people. In contrast, many studies have failed to find evidence of deaths being caused by radiation in nuclear plants. But we regulate the safety of nuclear plants far more tightly, and have denied all permits for new ones to be constructed for decades.

-Finally, our space program is paralyzed by an irrational fear of death. Instead of dreaming big, taking risks, and reaching for the stars as our nation once did, we are now so terrified of losing any people that NASA wastes enormous amounts of money and time it can't afford trying to eliminate every possible problem before committing to anything. Yes, astronauts put themselves in grave danger when they agree to go aboard the shuttles. This is one of the most dangerous things a person can do, and no amount of safety work will change that. But they all want to take this risk, so let them do it. NASA's big plan is to go to Mars. But we will never accomplish this unless we are willing to lose people. The only suggestion I have ever heard that makes the trip sound like it might be affordable is to ditch the bulky radiation shielding, vehicles, fuel, and food for a return voyage and send the astronauts on a one-way trip. Plenty of people would jump without hesitation at the chance to live their dreams in this way even if they knew they would die at the end. Why can't we let them if that's the only way the trip would ever happen?

Why should some lives (those of terrorist victims, radiation victims, and astronauts) be so much more sacred than those of the vastly more numerous victims of less sexy threats that we chose to distort our policies like this?
 
Werbung:

Little-Acorn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
2,444
Location
San Diego, CA
-The death of a few thousand civilians on 9/11, while a tragedy, is less than the number of people killed from cigarettes in four days.

Approx. 3,000 people died from the 9/11 attacks. You say that more people than that, die "from cigarettes" every four days?

That would make more than 273,000 people dying every year "from cigarettes".

Can you back up this astounding claim?

You knew, didn't you, that 300,000 Americans died in ALL FIVE YEARS of World War II, right?

And you know that, when your 90-year-old grandmother dies in your home from heart failure, if anyone in the house is a smoker, the records note down that "secondhand smoke was present", and eventually this becomes a "death from cigarettes"... even when no attempt is made to find if the secondhand smoke had anything to do with her death? (BTW, did the secondhand smoke have anything to do with the fact that she lived far longer than the average female?)

I always love it when people start throwing around fabricated statistics and pretend they have an argument.
 

MrSheepish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
137
Approx. 3,000 people died from the 9/11 attacks. You say that more people than that, die "from cigarettes" every four days?

That would make more than 273,000 people dying every year "from cigarettes".

Can you back up this astounding claim?

See here, for example. About 500,000 people die every year in the USA from "tobacco". I didn't look up the cigarette number specifically, but I used the number "4" because I was sure that would not be an underestimation based on the numbers I had heard.

And you know that, when your 90-year-old grandmother dies in your home from heart failure, if anyone in the house is a smoker, the records note down that "secondhand smoke was present"

I haven't looked into the details of how this number was determined. I was merely assuming it wasn't a complete lie or distortion as it would be in this case. But even if it is, so what? My argument still stands. In that case replace "The death of a few thousand civilians on 9/11, while a tragedy, is less than the number of people killed from cigarettes in four days" with "The death of a few thousand civilians on 9/11, while a tragedy, is less than the number of people killed from auto accidents in a single month". The comparison isn't what is important. My point is that 3000 is a very small number.

I always love it when people start throwing around fabricated statistics and pretend they have an argument.

And I love it when people focus on an irrelevant detail in an argument, and claim it is fabricated without having any idea whether their claim is true.
 

Little-Acorn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
2,444
Location
San Diego, CA
See here, for example. About 500,000 people die every year in the USA from "tobacco". I didn't look up the cigarette number specifically,
And so you left yourself wide open to misinterpretation, falsehood, and the irrelevance that results from using massaged "statistics".

Next time, look it up. People won't bother reading the rest of your post if you come out with a flagrant fib, whether you intended to or not.
 

MrSheepish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
137
Ok, now that you've actually read my post (I hope), and have seen that the smoking statistic is both a) irrelevant to my argument, and b) is probably correct in any case, do you have any comments on something meaningful?
 

ASPCA4EVER

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,555
Location
Land of the JAYHAWKS-ROCK CHOCK Jayhawk, KU
Ok, now that you've actually read my post (I hope), and have seen that the smoking statistic is both a) irrelevant to my argument, and b) is probably correct in any case, do you have any comments on something meaningful?
Just IGNORE the 'LITTLE ACORN'; he has no wish for factual information and ignores the adults that have tried to redirect him...HELL-BELLS even when his signature has taken a direct hit for being soooo wrong>

Originally Posted by mogur One of the biggest hoaxes is your signature line, Little-Acorn.

Thomas Jefferson never said, "That government is best which governs least", much less that he included "because its people discipline themselves".

And Thomas Paine also didn't say it, as many claim. However, it is true that Thoreau did mention the first part, but he merely was quoting from The United States Magazine and Democratic Review.

Nice try, though. :rolleyes:

BTW, interesting reading and I'm often worried that SOME around here seem to be able to be so easily distracted by minusha that they {either by choice or lack the ability to FOCUS} just let the content blow right over their head ;)
 

Mr. Shaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
7,829
So much of modern politics is driven by fear of death, but we seem to have no idea what is actually likely to kill us, and a distorted view of what needs to be done to protect people. Some of our fears really baffle me, and I feel that they cause significant harm to our nation.
I'm thinkin'...most Republicans' fear-of-Death (i.e. Deathers) is more self-centered. They so dread Death that they'll cave to whoever guarantees them Eternal Life...and, no one's better at that, than Madison Avenue, The RNC & the Republicans' favorite-clerics (whether locally, or on T.V.).

The fact that most o' the Eternal-Life-pitchmen are profit-driven, is of no consequence, to Deathers, as....they're so-often guaranteed a Free Pass (thru The Pearly Gates), as-long-as they ask no questions, they'll tolerate the Death of anyone-else, as-long-as they get their Free Pass.​

-The death of a few thousand civilians on 9/11, while a tragedy, is less than the number of people killed from cigarettes in four days. Yet this event has reshaped our nation and we have spent trillions of $ in war, espionage, and security measures in response to it.
The Logical Person would wonder why the World's center-of-business was hit.

The Informed Person would (simply) point to History.

The Deathers have been convinced we've been attacked by Evil.​

-In terms of energy production, we are so scared of radiation that we would rather burn dirty coal than build nuclear plants. Even ignoring the significant dangers from global warming, the crap that is spewed into the air from coal can cause cancer, and kills people. In contrast, many studies have failed to find evidence of deaths being caused by radiation in nuclear plants. But we regulate the safety of nuclear plants far more tightly, and have denied all permits for new ones to be constructed for decades.
The Logical Person would ask...Why hasn't anyone guaranteed us there'll never be any negative-consequences to the (obviously) ever-building amount of deadly-waste?

The Informed Person would ask...When have profit-driven interests ever cared about long-term consequences?

The Deathers would simply ask...I still get my Free Pass, as-long-as I don't question profit-driven interests....RIGHT?
 

MrSheepish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
137
I'm thinkin'...most Republicans' fear-of-Death (i.e. Deathers) is more self-centered. They so dread Death that they'll cave to whoever guarantees them Eternal Life...and, no one's better at that, than Madison Avenue, The RNC & the Republicans' favorite-clerics (whether locally, or on T.V.).


It seems to me that the vast majority of people in both political parties, regardless of religion, have a badly distorted view of what is really dangerous and what needs to be dealt with to make us safer..

The Logical Person would wonder why the World's center-of-business was hit.

The Informed Person would (simply) point to History.

The Deathers have been convinced we've been attacked by Evil.​

I think the logical person would also conclude that regardless of the cause, we have seriously overreacted to the attack. There is virtually zero chance that any of us will every die in a terrorist attack even if more 9/11s happen. There is virtually zero chance that the terrorists will ever overthrow one of our institutions or occupy any of our lands. So why have we thrown so much of our national resources into combating them?

The Logical Person would ask...Why hasn't anyone guaranteed us there'll never be any negative-consequences to the (obviously) ever-building amount of deadly-waste?

The Informed Person would ask...When have profit-driven interests ever cared about long-term consequences?

The Deathers would simply ask...I still get my Free Pass, as-long-as I don't question profit-driven interests....RIGHT?

I think the logical person would conclude that the small amounts of radioactive waste that are generated by our plants could safely be stored in a number of well-insulated small underground areas where it wouldn't hurt anything. In contrast, the non-radioactive waste from coal power plants is pumped directly into the atmosphere where it warms the planet and where people breathe it, and some of them get sick or die. Our reaction is very much illogical.

Maybe we just need to put more effort into educating people about probability/statistics (so that they can understand just how unlikely some of these dangers are), and science (so that they aren't terrified by words like "radiation" and "nuclear").​
 

Mr. Shaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
7,829
It seems to me that the vast majority of people in both political parties, regardless of religion, have a badly distorted view of what is really dangerous and what needs to be dealt with to make us safer..
So....you're not talking-about Death, in-general?​

MrSheepish said:
So much of modern politics is driven by fear of death...
 

Mr. Shaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
7,829
It seems to me that the vast majority of people in both political parties, regardless of religion, have a badly distorted view of what is really dangerous and what needs to be dealt with to make us safer..



I think the logical person would also conclude that regardless of the cause, we have seriously overreacted to the attack. There is virtually zero chance that any of us will every die in a terrorist attack even if more 9/11s happen. There is virtually zero chance that the terrorists will ever overthrow one of our institutions or occupy any of our lands. So why have we thrown so much of our national resources into combating them?



I think the logical person would conclude that the small amounts of radioactive waste that are generated by our plants could safely be stored in a number of well-insulated small underground areas where it wouldn't hurt anything. In contrast, the non-radioactive waste from coal power plants is pumped directly into the atmosphere where it warms the planet and where people breathe it, and some of them get sick or die. Our reaction is very much illogical.

Maybe we just need to put more effort into educating people about probability/statistics (so that they can understand just how unlikely some of these dangers are), and science (so that they aren't terrified by words like "radiation" and "nuclear").

O.K., I thought you were more-concerned about (actually) avoiding such issues, in the future.

You seem (to me) to be more concerned with assuring everyone we can (quite simply) better-learn to live with all o' these issues.

I'd assumed your agenda was more-in-line with problem-solving.

My mistake.​
 

MrSheepish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
137
Sorry if I wasn't clear, I would like to problem-solve, but my point is that these are the wrong issues to be solving. The point I am trying to make is that we should understand what the real threats are. Instead, as a society we have a knee jerk reaction to respond to "sexy" threats like terrorism and radiation. We spend a huge amount of effort and resources on fighting terrorism, but terrorism has never posed even a minor threat to the average American's life. We squander our best source of clean power because we are terrified of radiation, even when the evidence is quite clear that this is much safer than the more common forms of power that we rely on.

There are very large threats out there that we can deal with much more cheaply. Cancer, heart disease, smoking, and traffic accidents are all large causes of death that could be greatly reduced with a much smaller investment than we have been pouring into the war on terror. Traffic accidents, in particular, are bound to get much worse in the future as our roads and bridges continue to crumble while we neglect the maintenance that needs to be done. Other, much cheaper and more effective ways to save American lives include hiring more police officers to reduce the number of murders, and vaccinating more people against diseases and the flu. I don't normally like to say things like this, but either I'm being stupid and there's something obvious I'm missing, or our society is collectively being *really stupid* about its priorities, but it seems so ingrained and widespread that I don't see how anything can be done about it.
 
Werbung:

Mr. Shaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
7,829
Sorry if I wasn't clear, I would like to problem-solve, but my point is that these are the wrong issues to be solving.
Understood.​

There are very large threats out there that we can deal with much more cheaply. Cancer, heart disease, smoking, and traffic accidents are all large causes of death that could be greatly reduced with a much smaller investment than we have been pouring into the war on terror.
Tell ya' what....if you can squeeze a few o' those funds outta a man-o'-God, I'll kick-in a few, myself.

Don't get too-discouraged. You sound like someone who's got a good 30-40 years o' discouragement, ahead of you, before you go "postal".

Consider this...if you can't show a $ERIOU$ PROFIT-MARGIN available, in your efforts, no one's gonna give you the time o' day.​
 
Top