The Science is Settled (for real this time)

This is not a gun post.  It is a political post.  Since I am only a guest here, if Miguel wants to take it down I will not be offended.  This opinion is entirely my own and is something that I have wanted to share for a while.  In preparing posts for this blog, I have to slough through a lot of idiocy at places like Salon and Vox to bring you nuggets worth posting about.  It is much like having to go through sewage to find peanuts.  Then I sat down to watch the Democratic Primary Debate on DVR.  I not sure that these people know which country they want to run for president in.  Listening to their plans on guns and economics, they want to be the supreme leaders of Swedestralia.

I’d like to retort to them and Vox and everybody else on that side of the aisle, why they are wrong, WITH SCIENCE.  I’m not an economist.  I’m a scientist, degreed and all.

The second law of thermodynamics states nicely defined this way: “it simply says that if you have a system that is isolated, any natural process in that system progresses in the direction of increasing disorder, or entropy, of the system.

This often gets shortened to “everything tends towards disorder.”  This is not correct.  The best way I have found to sum up the 2nd LoT is “if you don’t continue to put energy into a system, it will eventually fall apart.”

You see this in everything.  It takes energy in the form of heat to take iron oxide and turn it into iron, then more heat to turn it into steel.  It takes mechanical energy to roll that steel into girders and then more heat to weld it together.  When you are done expending all that energy, you made a bridge, and object that exists to fight gravity.  But there is still more energy that has to go into it in maintenance and galvanic protection, because nature is constantly attacking the steel.  If you didn’t continue to add energy into the system, the bridge would corrode back into iron oxide and fall down and go back to the lowest energy state from whence it came.  The 2nd LoT applies to life as well.  If you didn’t consume chemical energy and resperate oxygen, you to would go back to your lowest energy state – dead and rotted away.

The ulitmate point is that the 2nd LoT applies to civilization as well.  Each and every one of us.  We either put in energy to maintain civilization or civilization crumbles.  Electrical energy is measured in Watts, mechanical energy in Joules.  Societal energy is measured in money.  Electrical energy is transferred by electrons through wires.  Societal energy is transferred by dollars through free exchange.  For the most part, the more you contribute in terms of energy to maintaining society, the more money you make.  I mean make.  Just as the biggest generator produces the most power, so do the hardest workers produce the most money.

This assumes that you live in a society with economic freedom.

If you don’t, the 2nd LoT still applies.  The leaders take the money and keep if for themselves.  The hard working stop working.  Society collapses, see the USSR, Venezuela, etc.  You can’t cheat the 2nd LoT.  You can’t steal energy from the Carnot Cycle, perpetual motion is impossible.

Every bit of social welfare, the free stuff that the Democratic primary candidates wanted to promise away is an attempt to cheat the 2nd LoT.  An an conditioner doesn’t make air colder.  It only moves the heat of the air from inside the house to outside.  Free government stuff doesn’t create money, it only moves it from one place to another.  And just like the AC, there is inefficiently in the system.

Now I am not a heartless person.  I have compassion.  I also don’t want to live in a society where the poor starve to death and die in the street.  I accept a certain amount of social welfare to help those in need.  But what we are taking about here is a system that shifts the majority of people to the low curve of the Carnot Cycle, where the majority of people are on the energy consuming side than the energy producing side.    It is not sustainable.  You can speechify about all your highfalutin education on Keynesian economics but YOU CAN’T CHEAT THE 2ND LoT.  If you take half my energy to build up someone else, that is less energy I have to maintain my life, and consequently I will crumble.

I think Robert A. Heinlein put it best:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.'”

A sacrificial anode an an active metal that is coupled to a less active metal and allowed to corrode to prevent the less active metal from corroding.  I WILL NOT BE THE SACRIFICIAL ANODE YOU PROMISE TO THE LESS ACTIVE TO GET THEM TO VOTE FOR YOU.

 

9 Replies to “The Science is Settled (for real this time)”

  1. Being a senior engineering student, this post almost brought a tear to my eye.
    It doesn’t seem that the left gives a rat’s rear end about Science™ unless it is used to push their own agenda.




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  2. And let’s take a look at the example always thrown in our face in regards to a supposedly successful political perpetual motion machine- Europe.

    Europe seems to be the exception to the rule that Socialism turns nations into totalitarian hellholes. The big reason they can give out lots and lots of generous social program goodies because the USA covers what would be their biggest expenses- national defense.

    However, this will eventually change. The US is less and less interested in being the world policeman, and may leave Europe to look after it’s own defense needs. Russia is turning back into a serious threat.

    And the friction in the EU’s happy socialistic system is increasing. First, you have the member nations happy to take and spend all they can get, without really putting anything back in, as exemplified by the Greek crisis. Second, you’ve got the current Syrian refugee crisis. At best this will soak up a lot of capital until they can get settled into their host nations. More likely you’ll have a group that will continue to live on the dole, and mutual, simmering resentment.




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    1. If I understand the demographic trends with Europe and the birth rate less than 2.0 it won’t matter in a couple of generations. France will no longer be populated by a lot of French people. Rather, it will be populated by immigrants and the French will be a small minority in a country on an economic tailspin into oblivion.

      The surest sign of a failed society is an inability to at least keep up a replacement rate of new citizens.

      For our own example of energy being required to maintain a system, look at Social Security. The only reason Social Security was even barely feasible upon its inception was that there was something like 20:1 workers for retirees and people died in their sixties. Now, people often live into their eighties and the ratio of workers to retirees is something like 3:1, which is not sustainable.

      I’m worried that we will start looking at the geriatric community like they did in the Sci-Fi movie Logan’s Run and exterminate anyone over 40 (or so). The youth of America are being saddled with a debt that is insurmountable and much of it is in due to entitlements for the elderly. Scary!




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      1. France has had a falling birthrate since the Napoleonic wars- one of the things that led to tension pre WWI was the extension of the French Army’s length of conscription from two years to three due to a declining birthrate.
        However, with the current immigration, yeah, you’re likely to see the French people replaced as time goes on.




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  3. JKB:
    I loved the Heinlein quote. He knew from experience, having immersed himself in politics in 1930’s California, as a liberal. Age and experience changed his political views to a far more pragmatic approach. I suppose one could say that today’s liberal philosophy is a mixture of childish naivete with a supercilious and particularly nasty form of “true believer” mentality. And they would be marginalized were it not for the support of the like-minded press and wealthy billionaires wracked with guilt. This is what we are up against, and we need to convince left-leaning adherents of scientific skepticism to be skeptical of the lure of the left. It would be a tremendous help if the opposition would stop wasting political capital on “moral” issues and stick to exposing the flawed thinking of the left — for example, the stupidity of gun control.




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  4. I’m sick and tired of hearing how if you don’t support the policies of the left, it means you don’t care about poor people. Wrong. I care enough about poor people that I don’t want to entrust the government with their care. They spent a billion dollars this last election cycle to keep their guy in the White House, with one of the war cries being over the plight of the poor. Do you think the poor could have used some of that billion dollars? And once in power, a polititan spends most of their energy fighting against people who don’t agree with them- not actual doing what they promised to do. It’s the nature of politics, and why government is inherently inefficient. Saying helping the poor shouldn’t be the role of government doesn’t mean you don’t care about the poor.




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    1. Certainly not the role of the Federal Government.

      Push welfare back down to the States and let them deal with it how they see fit. How any state other than mine deals with it I care little (unless they have similar circumstances and have better performance however I choose to measure ‘performance’).




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      1. I say leave it to churches and charities entirely. There are lots and lots of people who are willing to help those less fortunate, and not just on the left. If you empower them with lower tax rates, it might be really surprising what good can be done. The main advantage is that more energy can go to actually helping the poor, instead of fighting with people who don’t want to help.




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