Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Letter To Obama

Billy Beck submits a letter to Obama.  It begins this way.

Mr. Obama

I write to you now in a truly bi-partisan spirit; my greatest hope in being understood as an American, without party interest.

You see, my first political value is freedom...

Billy’s letter is submitted through the “proper” channels.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/14 at 07:44 PM
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The Unyielding Minority

The question as to how freedom, liberty and free market enterprise can be restored to America is often on my mind.  Though I see many individuals mouthing platitudes to freedom, liberty and free market enterprise, often in the next breath these same individuals advocate this or that government intervention in support of some particular social engineering project which, without government force, would not, and could not, be accomplished.

In the past I’ve noted that massive, passive civil disobedience could be the answer to restoring freedom, liberty and free market enterprise in America, but this idea never seems to reach the critical stage of massive.  I have also pointed out in these pages that the real American revolution is not a taking up of arms, though that may one day once again be required, but rather the realm of ideas.

Do my ideas and thinking regarding restoring freedom, liberty and free market enterprise in America put me in the minority?  Undoubtedly so, and this can be discouraging, but a new study of network theory offers a bit of encouragement.

In a piece from The Atlantic titled From Sushi to Tunisia: A Guide to Swaying Majority Opinion we read the following regarding the effects the minority can have on the majority.

How do you topple a tyrant or popularize a foreign cuisine? According to a recent study in the journal Physical Review E, mobilizing an unyielding minority of 10 percent may be enough.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Network Science and Technology Center created and analyzed various models of networks where a minority strived to overtake the majority’s opinion. They found that three conditions are key: a majority that is flexible with their views, a minority that is intractable, and a critical threshold wherein about a tenth of the population advocate the minority opinion. They also saw that the time it takes to reach social consensus drops dramatically as the minority grows past this tipping point, a phenomenon they observed in the growth of anti-government sentiment in Tunisia and Egypt…

Andrea Baronchelli, a complex-systems scientist in Barcelona’s Universitat Polit`ecnica de Catalunya, agrees. “It’s important to point out the minimal ingredients that may originate a given phenomenon, with no pretension to claim that this is necessarily how things go,” he says. “This suggests that the minority should convince new people to join them before worrying about convincing the whole world. Once they reach the critical size, the [network] dynamics will do the rest.” He also notes that the study’s demonstration of “the old saying that in a negotiation process the less reasonable will eventually prevail” at the societal level is particularly brilliant.

Are you part of the unyielding minority?

Link to piece in The Atlantic via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/14 at 09:19 AM
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Is Drudge Feeding Anti-Semitic Idiocy?

Matt Drudge links to a Washington Post article titled Republican wins Democratic New York House seat with a headline placed front and center on his site, in bright red letters, which reads,


I don’t know about you, but I think Drudge’s headline is tasteless and feeds anti-semitic idiocy.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/14 at 08:09 AM
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