Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Sorry to skip over a topic, but I watched both Obama's speech and the GOP response by Governor Jindal of Louisiana tonight and something Jindal said really got to me.

"[The recent stimulus package] includes... $140 million for something called volcano monitoring. Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is..."

By making this statement in this way Gov. Jindal was WRONG. Appealing to the ignorance of the audience on an issue despite bolstering a modicum support from many is completely unacceptable and all to frequently done in politics (or should I say rabble-rousing).

It seems to me that when discussing almost any issue N one could make a statement of the following form:

Our opponents support N, whatever that is...

appealing to the audiences ignorance on the subject and somehow implying if N was important the audience would know about N and therefor since the audience (and presumably the speaker) don't know about N then N is not important.

This line of thinking is ridiculous. The average person, one of the many laypersons that makes up the majority of people in this country, is ignorant of many key issues at the forefront of scientific discovery today but that in no way makes these issues somehow less important. For example when addressing an average American crowd one could easily make the statement "the National Institute of Health has been wasting money on studies of something called angiogenesis, whatever that is. What the NIH should be spending its money on is..."

Now to those who are not in the medical profession (or perhaps cancer survivors) angiogenesis may sound like gibberish and as a result to these average Americans it may seem like a waste of money. Here I can't help but imagine a good 'ole boy standing around with a beer stating to a budy "I ain't never heard of no angiogenesis. What 'n the Hell's it gonna do for me" (Sorry to all the good 'ole boys out there. Many of you are my friends and I've had the opportunity to share a beer with many more, no offense meant, cheers). Angiogenesis is in fact a fundamental step in the transition of tumors from a dormant state to a malignant state and is important despite the fact that the average American has never heard the word.

Now the blame here lies in only one place and it is not on the average American. I don't expect every one of you, of us, to go out and learn everything about every subject. This is why we specialize. No person can be expected to be an expert in everything. The problem begins and ends with the politician the takes advantage of this requisite ignorance by appealing to it inappropriately.

Let me end this rant by stating that in this blog I hope to stay as bipartisan as possible and attack faulty reasoning and logic whether coming from a liberal or conservative, republican or democrat. So please don't let my response here be seen as for or against the stimulus package or for or against Gov. Jindal. I am not an economist and do not know what the eventual result of the stimulus package will be. As mentioned above I am not a vulcanologist and don't know about the need of further study in the field. I am an intelligent educated person and I will not sit quietly while statements like this go by unnoticed.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention that Jindal is the governor of a state that was decimated by a natural disaster and now he's complaining about the government spending money to monitor and predict natural disaster with the intention of saving lives and american infrastructure. Ridiculous.