Smart Links 22 April 2012

Commentary on the Scream, moral basis of our political choices, why sitting kills you, trapped in an Orwellian-Kafkaesque reality, and where will Wildrose lead Canada.

What was the scream saying?

Financial Times -- So, what does ‘The Scream’ mean?
Tipped to reach a record price at auction next month, Edvard Munch’s painting is one of the world’s most recognisable and disturbing images.

Quote worth noting.

“The Scream’ for me shows the horrifying moment when man realises his impact on nature and the irreversible changes that he has initiated, making the planet increasingly uninhabitable.”

Why liberals and conservatives are different. Thanks to Patricia of Victoria.

TED -- Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives 
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center, and together not in opposition they create a balanced society.


The 5 Moral Pillars
1. Prevention of harm and desire to care
2. Fairness and reciprocity
3. In group loyalty
4. Authority/respect
5. Purity/sanctity (in terms of your body)

Move or die.

The Atlantic -- Confirmed: He Who Sits the Most Dies the Soonest
Another study shows that sitting is really, really, really bad for your health. Please, just get a standup desk!

Ai Weiwei’s Chinese insanity.

Economist -- Orwell, Kafka and Ai Weiwei
EARLIER this month, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei decided to mark the anniversary of the day in April 2011 when he was detained by police, taken to a secret location, held in solitary confinement for 81 days and interrogated, he reckons, about fifty times.


Economist -- Never again?
The gross abuses of human rights in North Korea shame the whole world.

Will the tail wag the dog? Ironic that a province that is a creature of the federal government may reshape Canada.

Globe and Mail -- An Alberta shakeup would be felt across the country
Four different parties have governed Alberta since it joined Canada as a province in 1905. The Wildrose Party has a shot at becoming the fifth on Monday.

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.