Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hanging up the Hat - For A While

I'm effectively retiring this blog, for now. I may post more in the future, but it probably won't be often. Between the time I spend on other blogs (like this one and this one), the med school interview process, and new work responsibilities, I just can't keep expending the same amount of effort on it. If you're coming across this blog from a search page or another blog's list, I invite you to read through my previous posts (which I tried to make relevant beyond the news of that day) or any of the excellent blogs in my list to the right. The next step, if I was really serious about growing my readership, would have been to promote my blog through media appearances and advertising.

Why did I start this blog? One day on the way to work I reflected that the world is actually in decent shape - and I still say that despite the recession we're in. Democracy, human rights are improving, and global violence is decreasing. I have no doubt that the pothole the global economy has hit will turn out to be exactly that, in the long term. Almost all of us have it much better than our grandparents, and most trends are positive ones. We are witnessing genuine progress.

That's all the more reason to pay attention to anything that could derail the process. There are three gigantic threats that could blow everything off the rails in the twenty-first century, and I wanted to do my 0.000000001% to create awareness in the people who should be aware and who can do something about it - Americans conservatives.

1. China.

I'm afraid conservatives are asleep at the wheel on this one. A country that makes a mockery of freedom of information and democracy is trouncing us in the economic game, and there are four of them for every one of us. I'm not even advocating for a very specific set of engagement objectives, but rather that Americans wake up, especially those that purport to be super-patriots. A head on military confrontation would be stupid, but ignoring the awakened dragon is just as bad. Even Napoleon saw this coming; we can't say we didn't know. Imagine Kruschev's USSR, with the economy of 1985 Japan. The Cold War was a warm-up, and the world's developing countries are wondering whether it's the American or the Chinese model they should be emulating.

2. Resources - Fuel resources present a triple threat to economic health, national security, and environmental damage.

In the American conservative mind, somehow getting America's economy and armed forces off an addiction to Middle Eastern oil has become associated with people hugging trees. Awareness of resource strategies, and the economic and physical effects of its consumption, is critical to our future. This strange resistance to a resource policy, particularly from the right, has to end.

3. Open societies and free markets are good, and ideological and religious fundamentalism are bad - especially when they creep into governments.

To this end, I've tried to drag the GOP out of the clutches of the Religious Right, where it has been withering recently. To survive the GOP needs a twenty-first century renaissance, and if that's not obvious now, it never will be. The real GOP, and not the flag-huggers that have infiltrated it, is uniquely positioned in one of the world's freest countries, founded on the ability of free minds and free markets to make the world better. Economic growth in this century will come from keeping our university system the top in the world, attracting talent from everywhere else, and turning cutting-edge research into wealth. If we forget that, we're sunk.

Given my profession (clinical research, and now entering med school) one of my special areas of concern is health care, and fortunately Obama's pick for Surgeon General (CNN's Sanjay Gupta) is not a disaster. Perhaps the University of Chicago Hospital influenced the thinking of former administrator Michelle Obama's thinking in this regard?

The GOP has a responsibility to Americans to return to its core values of individual responsibility and free markets, and stop distracting the electorate with Terry Schiavo stunts. I hope my 0.0000001% helps.

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