Create a Fiendish Terrorist Plot and Win a Prize

The plot: terror. The prize: an autographed book, and a call to Hollywood. I’m serious. But not about the actuality of the plot. The point is to show the silliness of our response to terrorism has been at points. We are repeatedly caught treating the symptoms of terrorist attacks, and not the causes. We spend our national security money on random, fantastic scenarios which are infinite in number, and not on actual security.

So have a go. Here’s some inspiration: fantastic ideas, more mundane but plausible, and of course Sam’s page on how to destroy the earth for those with more grandiose dreams.

My favorites so far follow.

April 4th, 2006 | Current, Security, Unbelievable | 1 comment

The Flat Tax: the Poor and the Lucky

In reading a Times article on Estonia’s economic policy, I was unexpectedly met with an incisive evaluation of an internal debate that has been raging recently.

It’s obviously not right for there to be an equality gap between social groups such that lives in the poor group are cut short due to a lack of resources easily accessible (even taken for granted) to all other social groups. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year exemplifies this. In sum, “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer” disappoints as a viable development for our society.

To digress, perhaps that last statement was what Kanye West was attempting to put onto point with his pithy outburst regarding Katrina last year.

To continue, however, there’s an equally strong intuition that people should be free to use their abilities to gain position and power, especially in a society where everybody else is working towards the same goal. I should be free to pursue my dream of financial independence; I should be free to pursue the American dream of lifting yourself up by the bootstraps out of poverty and into affluence the likes of which your ancestors never dreamed.

To distill those last two paragraphs, there seems to be a conflict between the imperative to help the poor and society’s innate desire to grow in prosperity.

“Everybody dreams about a society with no inequality,” Prime Minister Ansip said. “But the best policy is to have a strongly growing economy. With more prosperity we can increase social benefits.”

Reinstating a progressive tax, he said, would pay for education and for more aid to families and the elderly. With Estonia facing a national election in March 2007, Mr. Savisaar is expected to make that a political issue.

“What are the best societies to live in?’” asked Mr. Savisaar’s top adviser, Heido Vitsur. “The best societies in the world to live in are the Nordic societies. We have to move in that direction.”

Mr. Ansip is all for catching up with Finland and Sweden. But he says Estonia should not do it by abandoning a policy that he says helped propel the country this far. “I don’t think it’s the right thing for every country in the world,” he said. “But it really suits Estonia.”

Want measured political discourse that engages in substantial issues with a broad perspective?

Estonia – a world superlative!

Discover Estonia and you will see it is phenomenal. Like Alice in her Wonderland, you will find there is even more to see in Estonia than you have dreamed about. The dream world becomes real and the reality is unbelievable.

It takes no effort to grasp that rapid changes are taking place around you. Change means development, fulfillment, a process of improving. Estonia’s technological sector is thriving while the past – our history and nature – has been perfectly preserved. From untouched nature to post-modern city culture, you can experience solitude and the forces of masses. Big business and handicrafts passed from generation to generation stand hand by hand. Everything fits snugly together. Estonia – positively transforming. Welcome to Estonia.

March 16th, 2006 | Current, Flat, Rhetoric | 2 comments