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Comment Re:Bush-era? (Score 4, Insightful) 167

All new levels? It's a well known fact that the NSA used to collect all international telegraph traffic from the major telecoms for decades after WWII under the argument of national security, and killed all inquiries into the fact using that argument. And let's not forget that the FBI was run by Hoover, who wasn't exactly the most circumspect person when it came to individual liberties. I really don't think that Bush was any more secret than most of the administrations of the 20th century up until the Church committee. The only real difference is the amount of information that's available to the general public.

Comment Deregulation is a strawman (Score 1) 292

I keep hearing about the evils of deregulation. The thing was that there were a *lot* of financial regulations passed after 1929, and not all of them were good - not by a long shot. A lot of those regulations (NRA, for instance) were dismantled *during* FDR's time. Others were dismantled following WWII.

Fast forward ahead to the 1990s. Regulations regarding the merger of banks were relaxed, allowing for the very large banks such as Bank of America to form. But new, tougher enforcement and interpretation of existing regulation (namely the Community Reinvestment Act) encouraged bad lending practices. In this case the problem was overregulation.

Additionally, the most devestating argument that deregulation wasn't the problem is SOX - Sarbanes-Oxley. After the fall of Enron, extremely tough reporting laws were passed (compliance was frequently cited as costing several percentage points of the gross income of corporations). They'd been in force for about five years before the market meltdown. If they weren't strong enough regulation, then the problem isn't simply "deregulation".

Comment Re:Yay! (Score 1) 523

While Strauss was influential on the neo-conservative movement, linking the concept of the "noble lie" inherently to neo-conservatism is a bit disingenuous. After all, the idea was central to Georges Sorel (who predates Strauss by quite a bit) and his "energizing myth" of the worker's strike as well. The workers-movement is not exactly at the center of neo-conservatism.

What you're talking about isn't "directly out of the playbook" of "neoconservatives" any less than it's out of the playbook of "liberals". It was a smart man deciding to manipulate people because he thinks it's for their own good. That kind of thinking isn't inherent to any side of the political spectrum - it's just hubris - a concept the predates left and right by a good margin.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 508

But the atomic bomb was a scientific inquiry none the less. The point wasn't to equate that with stem-cell research but to illustrate the fact that there can be legitimate ethical dilemmas raised by scientific research. We could use GM crops or cloning as an example if you'd like.

To you, an embryo might be a microscopic group of cells that in no way can be considered "human", at which point the destruction of embryos in the process of research carries no ethical dilemmas, but the pro-life side sees it differently. At that point, you have a legitimate ethical problem with the destruction of embryos, especially if it appears there are alternatives available. You might disagree with their basic assumption about the nature of human life, but the ethical argument made based upon that starting point is no more anti-science than those who opposed the scientific development of nuclear weapons crops for ethical reasons.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 508

I think you're being a bit unfairly dismissive of the pro-life side (and most pro-lifers I know of do have objections to fertility methods that result in destruction of embryos). Science may want to know things, but most people accept that there are ethical limits on where science should go and how it gets there. Rejecting, out of hand, the ethical concerns of the pro-life movement as "want[ing] to stay ignorant" also condemns those scientists who had moral objections to the development of the atom bomb as wishing for ignorance. I might disagree with them, but that doesn't mean that I consider them luddites.

Comment Why? (Score 5, Insightful) 508

Given the deep moral objection a significant part of the community has to the use of embryonic stem cells, and given that it looks like there have been large advances in the use of adult and other stem cells, why lift the funding ban? I mean, all other things being equal, wouldn't it be better to not wander into a moral gray area?

As I understand it, one of the major points of the ban was to discourage the field from becoming reliant on stem cells that required further destruction of embryos. I might be wrong, but from my understanding great leaps have been doing just that - that adult and other non-destructive forms of stem cell research have been fruitful. If that's the case, I don't understand the point of lifting the ban other than for purely political purposes.

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