Standards are the Raw Materials of Virtue: He Who Controls the Standards, Controls Behavior

Standards are the Raw Materials of Virtue: He Who Controls the Standards, Controls Behavior In one sense, virtue is how a society controls and manages behavior. Some systems and societies use virtue to produce beneficent outcomes, while others use virtue, at least as the societal standards define it, to produce power and control. Religions historically …

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Standards, Cultural Relativism, and Broken Windows

Standards, Cultural Relativism, and Broken Windows This blog builds on the prior blogs Virtue: religion and philosophy, what does the founders’ vision embrace? and Virtue and Pandora’s Box: Effective Policy. Pandora’s Box discussed the damage some Victorian virtue policies wrought, but said the social justice movement’s “cure” may be worse than the disease it sought …

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Real Reform, Part 3: The Bureaucratic Cat Burglar

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Real Reform, Part 3: The Bureaucratic Cat Burglar Greenman HouseThe cat burglar creeps quietly into his target after doing extensive surveillance and steals the planned target. If the burglar does the job well, there is no evidence of a theft and it may not be detected for weeks or even months, depending on the target. …

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Real Reform, Part 2: The Allosaurus in the Room

Real Reform, Part 2: The Allosaurus in the Room Source: mrwynd from Denver, USA/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0 “Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.” ― Frank Herbert This post picks up from Real Reform, Part1: Introduction. It addresses the Allosaurus in the room: Congress. The Allosaurus was a highly successful carnivore …

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Real Reform, Part 1: Introduction

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Real Reform, Part 1 Introduction In A New Contract With America, I included a bullet point about qualifications for congressional committee and subcommittee chairs: “Enact congressional policies to require minimum qualifications for committee and subcommittee chairperson positions. These qualifications will be like qualifications required for similar positions in the private sector or the executive branch. …

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Deterrence and the Interagency Process, Part 2: Interagency

Deterrence and the Interagency Process, Part 2: Interagency “The evolution of the interagency process parallels Americas [sic] purposeful adaptation to changing global realities of the last five decades. But it is not an orderly evolution because of serious structural and cultural impediments, such as discontinuities from one administration to another and poor institutional memory.” Gabriel …

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Deterrence and the Interagency Process, Part 1: Deterrence

Deterrence and the Interagency Process, Part 1: Deterrence I came across an interesting article on LinkedIn on deterrence and how the military should be in control of it. I started a comment and midway through; I opened another browser tab to a quick search. When I got back to LinkedIn, my comments and the original …

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Ethics, Morality, and Virtue: Relative vs. Absolute Meaning

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Ethics, Morality, and Virtue: Relative vs. Absolute Meaning Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4 “Then the queen began to lament and to weep, …

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Defending the Republic, Scenario 3: Takeover

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Defending the Republic, Scenario 3: Takeover This is the third and most dangerous scenario introduced in Part 1 of Defending the Republic. While it may directly manifest from the triggers discussed below, most likely it will flow from scenario 2: Policy Domination stimulated by the trigger(s). If scenario 3 happens and is successful, the US …

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Is Social Justice the Liberal Equivalent of Rent-Seeking Behavior?

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The term rent-seeking is a derogatory term that implies companies and people seek to take more than they earn. It hearkens to some Marxist ideology as well. But, especially when combined with regulatory capture and bureaucratic corruption, is a valid concept. But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot and people and …

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Measurement and Observation Alters the System: What Does this Mean for Social Science Research?

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Measurement and Observation Alters the System: What Does this Mean for Social Science Research? When we read research papers or even the published results of surveys, we need to critically examine the samples, sample sizes, and statistical techniques used. We also need to understand the author/organization to understand what biases and motivations may influence the …

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Why do we act in other than our self-interest? Is the rational actor/choice theory valid?

Why do we act in other than our self-interest? Is the rational actor/choice theory valid? Over a few blog entries (see the Defending the Republic series), I have wondered why people who do not seem to benefit from social justice efforts support and endorse them. Why would a white male push an agenda designed to …

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Defending the Republic, Policy Domination

Defending the Republic: Scenario 2 Policy Domination   Defending the Republic, Part 1: Introduction provided a general introduction and an initial listing and description of the scenarios. The second part looked at the three variants of the Regulatory Capture scenario. Both asked why corporations are enacting social justice programs. The two blogs suggested that at …

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Defending the Republic: Scenario 1 Regulatory Capture

Defending the Republic: Scenario 1 Regulatory Capture In Defending the Republic, Part 1: Introduction, I listed three potential threat scenarios. The first, regulatory capture is playing out now. While it seems to be the least threatening scenario, that may be a bit of an illusion. The regulatory capture scenario has 3 sub-scenarios, depending on the …

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The Tragedy of the Commons, Part 3: Wicked Logic

The Tragedy of the Commons: Wicked Logic   In The Tragedy of the Commons: Rational Actors, I discussed linear vs. spiral logic. I suggested that western logic tended to be more linear and Islamic and other cultures, perhaps more spiral. But that is a generalization based on today’s conditions. In the past, western logic tended …

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The Tragedy of the Commons: The Rational Actor

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The Tragedy of the Commons: Rational Actor This is a follow on to Tragedy of the Commons: The Political Commons. It specifically looks at the rationality implied in Ostrom’s 8 points and the Rational Actor/Choice, Game, and Agency theories. What happens if the rational hypothesis fails or is different across cultures or relevant ranges? I …

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Tragedy of the Commons: The Political Commons

The Tragedy of the Commons: The Political Commons I first came across the problem (tragedy) of the commons in a political science course in grad school. We read a remarkable work by Elinor Ostrom about the problem. Her work both resonated with me and left me looking for more. I thought the problem was bigger …

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Defending the Republic, Part 1

Defending The Republic, Part 1: Scenarios Over the last year, I’ve been thinking, researching, and writing (Corporatism Part 1, Part 2; Thoughts on Ukraine, Part 7: The Joint Corporatist Scenario, among others) a lot about corporatism. I’ve been searching for a reason why corporations are doing what they are doing with social justice agendas. Why …

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