Reforming Democracy

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:25 am

I am pragmatic, in case none of you have realized that. That doesn't mean I'm a pragmatist, however. (Any more than wanting to see everyone able to get preventive medicine makes me a socialist, but that isn't why I've rejoined the fray.)

I would like to know what specific privileges you and ucci don't have now that you would have given a totally conservative atmosphere in a totally free-market society--particularly with globalization.

I would like to know what specific choices you'd have that you don't have now; how your resources would change; how your futures would perhaps be different.

Please take the time to do this. It would help my understanding of your positions tremendously.

Thanks for your time.

Liz :)
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:38 am

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:A hard thing to understand, is that, lowering taxes often increases tax income. This is what happened to Reagan in the 80's. He lowered taxes and increased tax income...


Reagan cut taxes, yes (which also increased the deficit) - but that is not how he increased revenue - he did THAT by broadening the base and eliminating loopholes and deductions - something Republicans nowadays are adamantly opposed to doing.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:18 pm

gib wrote:post deleted
I'm going to have to ask for proof. :lol:
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:21 am

gib wrote:Ucci, from here on in, please do not consider me a liberal. I do not fit into your narrowly defined pigeonhole. That being said, I do not want to be thrown into the conservative pot either. Seems I have so much more to learn about this mess known as the conservative vs. liberal debate for me to even begin understanding where I stand. It was a mistake for me to even suggest I had left-leaning sentiments (though it couldn't be helped at the time) and I should have stood on my neutral/centered ground that I original took all along.


I get the feeling you aren't a liberal or conservative, that's fine. I don't remember where I implied that's what you are, but it's not the impression I have. I think you've been influenced by a lot of common bits of leftist propaganda and are comfortable making arguments that leftist make, maybe because you haven't heard alternatives or didn't realize the source of those arguments. But the fact that you're not in either camp is pretty plain to me, I think I've commented on that several times- I've accused you of trying to hard to stay in the middle, not of being a leftist, as I recall.

Uccisore wrote:Ucci, this was your distinction. You said that capitalism with a limited safety net was acceptable and didn't count as the kind of Robin-Hood-like socialism that the liberals you hate want to establish. What I'm saying is that when you hear a Canadian talking about the "socialism" of his country, he's usually talking about just that.


Well, ok then. Socialism is an actual thing- the word means something. If you guys are using it to mean taxation for social services, then...good for you I guess! But socialism hasn't triumphed in Canada just because Canadians refer to unemployment tax or whatever as socialism.


If you have a way for us, or Americans, to maintain that safety net without taxation (which the poor are required to pay just as much as the rich), let me hear it. I don't know anyone here in Canada who wants to put a cap on how much wealth the rich can amass (for an example of how else we can do it)--that has never been a part of our system and no one's trying to make it so. If there happens to be a few Canadian liberals/socialist who like that the rich are being taxed (despite that the poor are also), it certainly isn't because of them that it is so (and they don't represent what most Canadians see in the kind of socialism, if that's the appropriate word, we have here).


Right, which I why I believe I said I didn't think socialism was any more popular in your country than it is in mine- which is to say, not very popular.

Uccisore wrote:Then I don't get what a "liberal" is to you.


I don't see why my point confused you. But I think it's a pretty important point. You said liberals don't view CEO's and politicians as moral exemplars. I think that's plainly false as I can think of examples of both that the left idolizes. Why would a group that holds egalitarianism as the highest virtue idolize Steve Jobs and the Kennedys? For the same reason this group that holds tolerance and diversity in such esteem insists on ideological purity on campus and the newsroom.

Is a liberal just a Marxist/socialist? In that case, definitely don't call me a liberal. This is particularly confusing because there are so many other values and ideologies that seem to come along with liberalism (or liberals) that don't hinge on Marxism: gay marriage rights, women's rights, anti-discrimination in the work place, anti-gun laws, etc.


Well, it shouldn't be confusing because most of what you just cited stem from Marxism, and the leaders of those movements were Marxists! Gay marriage and women's rights got their start as an attempt to undermine the traditional family as a source of moral authority, and of Christianity as the cultural hegemony of the west. Feminism and queer theory have at their absolute center the idea that a traditional family is a patriarchal institution getting in the way of a socialist utopia. Why? Because the people don't embrace socialism when they value their lives in ways that go beyond their material worth. That's Gramsci. I may as well environmentalism- a very important way for the state to regulate what private citizens can do with the means of production, which they are still grudgingly allowed to control. You didn't bring it up, but abortion was promoted by leftists eugenicists looking for a way to reduce the poor, non-white population. Yes, Planned Parenthood started as a socialist racial hygeine organization. Now, that's NOT to say that everybody who supports one of these ideas is a Marxist, that is clearly false. However, they are ideas that are absolutely crucial for their to be a socialist state, they are ideas coming from the left, and socialism is a leftist ideology. Consider Planned Parenthood again- I certainly don't think that most or even many people in that organization are specifically trying to use abortion to control the black population and to improve the IQ of the U.S. through eugenics. But it still works successfully to that end even if they don't consciously intend it because the people who got that movement started were aiming for that target.
Now, the exception would be anti-gun laws. Marx was in favor of an armed populace, and so was Lenin. But they were still living in the times when they thought they people were just waiting to rise up if only they were sufficiently empowered, and they saw gun ownership as a means to that end. You need to wait a little later until Socialism had fused with fascism to really see why gun control makes sense for the left, but I certainly agree that there's no reason a Marxist has to be anti-gun.

If you're going to take an idea like gay marriage rights and link that with Marxism, you're going to have to jump through quite a few hoops to convince me the link is valid.


One hoop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_ ... _socialism
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby kowalskil » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:15 am

Kriswest wrote:The USA has not been a Democracy since senate and congress has been put in power. It is a Republic. Democracy is a word used to pacify.
Democracy died here a very long time ago. Only local governing bodies might be Democratic.


I like the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBIXmXJwIuk

very much. It is worth sharing this link with others.

Ludwik

P.S. Yes I know that some countries, such as the USSR, were socialist by name only. The so-called "proletarian dictatorship" was not socialism.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia). A am also the author of a book entitled “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”
http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html
It is a testimony based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:07 am

Eric,

I'm going to do things in reverse and respond to your last paragraph first:

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:That is not what makes me angry, I am not angry. I am frustrated. More with myself than anyone else. I am failing to explain this stuff, as shown by my having to make the same points over and over. To you, to Liz. I don't expect to convince UPF, but you two seem reasonable. I take that as meaning I don't understand it well enough. Which as much time as I've spent on this, is frustrating...

This is why I've posted the video's, to let someone else "talk" instead.


In that case, I really appreciate your patience with me... and do realize I'm being stubborn... on purpose.

Think of it this way: imagine you decide to visit the Middle East in order to understand what underlies the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. You're completely clueless as to anything that's going on between them, only that you know they're steeped into violent conflict. So you first encounter a couple of Israelis. You get pretty much all your information from them. No Palestinian ever interjects to give you a sense that you're getting at least balanced information. So the Israelis tell you about how justified they are and how evil and maniacal the Palestinians are. Now, for all you know, they could be right--and in principle maybe even completely objective and unbiased... but you'd have to be a fool to believe that. So you take what they say with a grain of salt... more than that, you actively challenge what they tell you, you question them, you even get a little indignant with them upon the impression that they might be expecting you to take every word they say at face value. But how else can you do it? How else can you learn the real nature of the conflict than by resisting as much as you can being ensnared by the same prejudices, preconceptions, hatred and bigotry as the group(s) from which you are getting your information.

So I'm being stubborn... on purpose. And I sincerely do apologize (though I'm not going to stop) if that frustrates your efforts. I don't want you to stop trying, however, and as a token of my gratitude for your efforts, I'll say in all honesty that I really do admire both your expertise in the subject and your philanthropy (your volunteer work with the elderly... not to mention your hard work ethic which I gathered from your story about being a poor student trying to raise a daughter).

gib wrote:It just feels like it works.
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:You do see the problem with this, right?


I see a few problems with it--one of which I expressed when I said:

gib wrote:But just to be fair, you did make me think, Eric. Life is pretty comfortable for most Canadians living in this socialist oriented country of ours, but when you brought up the problems surrounding minimum wage, it made me think: maybe it's comfortable for me and my friends--I don't know anyone who's unemployed--but if you're right that unemployment goes up significantly with minimum wage, maybe it isn't so comfortable for everyone but I can't feel it in my cushy high paid computer programmer position.


The thing is, Eric, I'm always going to trust my personal hands-on experiences before anything else. I will not let someone else--even Google hits--tell me the truth is something other than my experiences. You might think of this attitude as similar to the scientist's attitude with respect to confirming evidence: no evidence really "confirms" a hypothesis, it can only falsify it; but you can have supporting evidence--evidence that makes it seem all the more likely that a hypothesis is true. What we have in the case of my experience of living within a socialist system is a lack of supporting evidence for your claim that socialism makes life suck--it doesn't falsify it, obviously, as my quote above will testify, but if you tell me that socialism degrades the quality of life to the point of making it intolerable, then when I check my evidence (the quality of my life), I have to return to you and say "sorry, not supported".

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Many roads, more so every year in Colorado, follow this exact policy. But, the public roads suck, more of the money goes to bureaucracy than to building and maintaining the roads....


See, again, this just does not concur with my experience. Our roads are fine--they're always being maintained. Who knows, maybe if I took a road trip down through the States (which I have), I'd be blown away by the quality of your roads and could never go back, but to me, that would be like a billionaire pointing to a millionaire saying "you're poor".

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:The difference between roads and medicine is huge, and we need the innovation in medicine more than we need it in roads. Because, peoples lives and lifestyle are so dependent on it. A bad road sucks, but far less die.


Hmm, so you're taking my argument and flipping it on its head. You're saying that it's because medicine is such a basic necessity that we should never take it out of the private sector, rather than because it's such a basic necessity, we should put it in the hands of the government so that everyone is guaranteed to get it.

Still, I fail to see why you say these things are necessary and therefore we get the government to oversee them--it almost sounds like you're now turning that around and saying either a) they're not really that necessary after all which is why it's OK to let the government oversee them, or b) they are necessary and therefore we need to take them out of the government's hands (I do recall you saying that we do need the government to fund education).

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Only a fool rely's on the law enforcement for protection. That is what guns are for.. (I am also very pro gun.) <-- Never saw that coming :lol: Law enforcement can show up after, to take the bad guys to jail, but not much more. Ever been robbed? Yes

And, yes, private security companies are far better at their job than local law enforcement, and they get paid a lot more, because they are better.

So, in our current reality, the poor are worse off because they have to rely on basic protection than the rich.


Here's what I understand: the poor are worse off compared to the rich. And if there weren't any private security companies, we'd all be worse off, having to depend on shitty law enforcement service.

Here's what I don't understand: why, in a socialist system, would you ever be worse off than having no service at all. Go back to medical care. You make health care public, it becomes universal, so everyone gets equal attention. The attention isn't as good as it would be if it were privatized. But how does it ever come about that it's worse than no medical care at all. How could it be that, for example, you go in for a routine hernia operation, and the surgeon is so shitty, he cuts off your penis by mistake (bearing in mind my experience with medical care here--and I've had my fair share--has never been remotely that bad).... I watched the video you sent me on Mike Rowe, btw.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:There is a reason that when rich people in other countries, including Canada, get sick they come to the US.


Yes, I know. If I were but a poor millionaire and I saw an opportunity to become a billionaire, I'd take it for sure.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:But we could lower our standards so that everyone can suffer equally.


See my questions above.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:You must prove that in your system people fair better than if they seek their own medical care. By transferring medical care into the hands of government, you are not making everyone better, you are transferring the power from those with money to those with connections in that government. Much like a cow, connections are far harder to divide and spend in different places.


I'm not saying everyone fairs better with socialism, I'm saying that no one gets left out in the cold--it's a trade off: you sacrifice quality for universality (and much lower cost)--it's a question of compassion for the poor and needy, a question of morality. Now you seem to be suggesting that the actual results are worse than nothing at all, so I'll bite my tongue on this point until I get an answer from you to my questions above.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Yet it happens every day.


To what degree? Are you saying the charitable aid that springs up is of greater quantity and quality than what you'd get in a socialist system? And keep in mind, please, that I'm primarily concerned with medical care here--I think that's vitally important to a society--are you saying doctors, surgeons, and very highly specialized medical professionals are going to do the kind of work on people in need that they ordinarily do while on the payroll?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:This one is that people give to religions more than any other place.


I'm not sure what this one proves. It states that 73% of Americans give to religious organizations. It means that Americans are a very charitable lot--particularly towards religion. But is this figure supposed to decrease the more socialized a society? And it only states that these donations go towards religious organizations--how much of that ends up reaching the people liberals are most concerned with--the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the disabled, etc.?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics/


Again, not sure what this proves, except that Americans give a lot (a hell of lot). But are you saying this will go away with socialism?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Should I go on?


No, just an explanation of what the above are supposed to prove would be fine.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:
gib wrote:I think health is too.


But we are not giving health, health is something that has more to do with individual lifestyles, family history and luck.


Fine, bad wording. I'm saying that avoiding sickness and death is a basic necessity (and by sickness, I don't mean chicken pox--I'm talking about serious illnesses like cancer or diabetes). Sure, not all of us will succumb to a major illness like these in our lifetime but many of us will (and many of us are unfortunately born into a life-long sickness of one kind or another). I don't think we as a society can turn out backs on these people (but that's just me).

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:That means you missed the more important next paragraph:

WHO researchers divided aspects of health care into subjective categories and tailored the definitions to suit their political aims. They allowed fundamental flaws in methodology, large margins of error in data, and overt bias in data analysis, and then offered conclusions despite enormous gaps in the data they did have. The flaws in the report’s approach, flaws that thoroughly undermine the legitimacy of the WHO rankings, have been repeatedly exposed in peer-reviewed literature by academic experts who have examined the study in detail. Their analysis made clear that the study’s failings were plain from the outset and remain patently obvious today; but they went unnoticed, unmentioned, and unexamined by many because World Health Report 2000 was so politically useful. This object lesson in the ideological misuse of politicized statistics should serve as a cautionary tale for all policymakers and all lay people who are inclined to accept on faith the results reported in studies by prestigious international bodies.


It's not only that it is wrong, it is that it was intentionally set up wrong.


Actually, I read part way into that.

I get frustrated, Eric, when I read shit like this. It's not just because obviously somebody lied to me, but I feel almost as though my intelligence is being insulted. This guy, Scott W. Atlas, tells me that one of the worlds more trusted and prestigious scientific authorities on health and medicine is lying to me. But if the WHO cannot be trusted, why should I trust Atlas? Who is this Atlas? He's some nobody I've never heard of before. Why does he think he's earned my trust when the WHO shouldn't have? So he puts me into this sticky position in which I know somebody's lying to me, I just don't know who (that's who, not WHO ;)). But I'm supposed to just take Atlas's word for it--it's the WHO who's lying to me, not him.

This is like the common criticism against religion that says if every religion around the world is telling you "I'm right, everyone else is wrong," how are you supposed to decide? And then, to add insult to injury, they each tell you "If you don't believe me, you're going to hell"... as if they've given me some conclusive reason why I should believe them that none of the others have.

You know as well as I that this is a very controversial subject, and everybody wants to fudge the data in their favor--there's so much corruption you can't come across a source of pure, untainted, unadulterated information--everyone's had their dirty hands in it--the information pool is contaminated! I get very irritated when people expect me to just "know" that their source hasn't been contaminated (not that I'm literally irritated at you, Eric, but this is the reason I stopped reading--when I get to the point when I have to interpret what I'm reading with two mutually exclusive visors--one saying it's a lie, the other saying it's the truth--I feel I'm wasting my time at best, being insulted at worst).

What do you do in situations like this, Eric? You seem like a pretty intelligent guy, so I'll assume your method isn't just that if it's from a conservative source, it's good, or that if it confirm what you already believe, then it's good. You must have a better method than that. Ucci suggested something: if the original reports suggest one thing, and all reactionaries try to explain it away as opposed to actually falsifying it, then it's a good bet that the original data were at least scrupulously collected (I say scrupulously collected, not correct, as the reactionaries might still be right).

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I'm going to have to ask for proof. :lol:


Well, Ucci's the mod here, you might ask him if he has access to any record of the original post. It's no big secret though, I just meant to PM UGF and accidentally posted it on the main forum.

Now Ucci...

Uccisore wrote:I get the feeling you aren't a liberal or conservative, that's fine. I don't remember where I implied that's what you are, but it's not the impression I have.


Good... and it wasn't you who implied it, it was me who said it:

gib wrote:
Uccisore wrote:No, I didn't. You have to understand I've dealt with people saying the things you are saying in all sincerity for well over a decade, and you and I haven't discussed politics before to my knowledge. I have no idea what you actually think about anything, and what's merely for the sake of argument.


Well, then perhaps it's time I came clean. Like I said above, I'm mildly left leaning...


Uccisore wrote:Well, ok then. Socialism is an actual thing- the word means something. If you guys are using it to mean taxation for social services, then...good for you I guess! But socialism hasn't triumphed in Canada just because Canadians refer to unemployment tax or whatever as socialism.


God, I hope not. And yes, I do get the impression that Americans kind of equate socialism with communism or Marxism (is socialism just watered down Marxism to you?). I'm not sure what the history of socialism is in Canada, or what the designers of the system had in mind at each step along the way (believe it or not, I know way more about American politics and history than I do that of my own country, and I know very little of American politics and history... sad, I know :confusion-shrug:), but if I were to venture a guess, it would be that what the "socialists" had in mind when they implemented the safety nets that we now have was just to have the safety net (I doubt they were Marxists or were aiming for communism, but based on your last post, I'm now second guessing that). But as this would look very much like Marx-style socialism to Americans (and other countries), we were christened "socialist" by those Americans (and other countries). Knowing Canadians, we just accepted the label and decided to be proud of it (hey, it distinguished us from Americans), and so you will find many Canadians boasting about their "socialism" (though obviously not all Canadians) without fully realizing that, to Americans, that means something quite different.

You have to keep in mind something I said in an earlier post:

gib wrote:In other words, whereas America had to fight for their freedom, the Canadian experience was more like a smooth and peaceful transition into a similar state of freedom--not unlike the British people themselves--that is, the manner by which they maintain a house of representatives and a legislative body to balance out the power of the monarchy. British history features at least a thousand years of the people and their government learning how to get along together; not that it isn't a bumpy ride--it is rife with tyrants--but the British did eventually manage to sort out the mess. Canadian history can be seen as a seamless transition of that same process, the same hashing out and negotiating, with the American Revolution and eventually Canadian confederacy in 1867 (when we were officially recognized as a sovereign nation as opposed to a colony) being the pivotal landmarks in our history when we could say that workable deals between the people and the government had been made.

What does this history lesson have to do with liberalism and conservatism? It is that, for Canadians, liberal approaches and conservative approaches were always intermixed, there was never a "purely" liberal way of doing things or a "purely" conservative way of doing things; that the government would have a hand in this or that sector of the economy or this or that social issue was always taken for granted as they way things work; it's the nature of negotiation and making deals with the government. And of course, that comes with the other side of the coin--too much interferences, or the government interfering in ways disagreeable to the people, was always seen as a bad way to run a country, and the government understood this from the very beginning....


What this entails is that we're a very accepting people, and we don't react to changes with hostility or rebellious attitudes quite as much as Americans. We kind of just "roll with things". So if socialism ends up becoming part of our system, we look at its positive aspects and try to put our efforts into maximizing that. To most Canadians, we see the safety net as the positive side to socialism, and if you've been following along with Eric and I, you'd know that we haven't experienced too many of the negatives to feel any impetus to change that (though, like I said, you and Eric have been prompting me to doubt that).

Every heard of Sam Roberts?



Uccisore wrote:I don't see why my point confused you. But I think it's a pretty important point. You said liberals don't view CEO's and politicians as moral exemplars. I think that's plainly false as I can think of examples of both that the left idolizes. Why would a group that holds egalitarianism as the highest virtue idolize Steve Jobs and the Kennedys? For the same reason this group that holds tolerance and diversity in such esteem insists on ideological purity on campus and the newsroom.


... beeecause they're hypocrites? :confusion-shrug:

I was responding to this:

Uccisore wrote:The primary outrage that socialism seeks to fix is NOT that the poor have little, it's that the rich have a lot. If socialists were concerned with what the poor have, then they would be evaluating things in terms of quality of life, not dollars and cents, and they'd have no choice but to admit that in the United States, there is basically no problem left for them to fix, and that capitalism with a mild social safety net was sufficient.


This lead me to believe that the main issue that socialists have is with the rich... which I would think means they don't like the rich and powerful... which means they don't see them as moral exemplars.

Uccisore wrote:Well, it shouldn't be confusing because most of what you just cited stem from Marxism, and the leaders of those movements were Marxists! Gay marriage and women's rights got their start as an attempt to undermine the traditional family as a source of moral authority, and of Christianity as the cultural hegemony of the west. Feminism and queer theory have at their absolute center the idea that a traditional family is a patriarchal institution getting in the way of a socialist utopia. Why? Because the people don't embrace socialism when they value their lives in ways that go beyond their material worth. That's Gramsci. I may as well environmentalism- a very important way for the state to regulate what private citizens can do with the means of production, which they are still grudgingly allowed to control. You didn't bring it up, but abortion was promoted by leftists eugenicists looking for a way to reduce the poor, non-white population. <-- Is that where the racism you were talking about come in? Yes, Planned Parenthood started as a socialist racial hygeine organization. Now, that's NOT to say that everybody who supports one of these ideas is a Marxist, that is clearly false. However, they are ideas that are absolutely crucial for their to be a socialist state, they are ideas coming from the left, and socialism is a leftist ideology. Consider Planned Parenthood again- I certainly don't think that most or even many people in that organization are specifically trying to use abortion to control the black population and to improve the IQ of the U.S. through eugenics. But it still works successfully to that end even if they don't consciously intend it because the people who got that movement started were aiming for that target.
Now, the exception would be anti-gun laws. Marx was in favor of an armed populace, and so was Lenin. But they were still living in the times when they thought they people were just waiting to rise up if only they were sufficiently empowered, and they saw gun ownership as a means to that end. You need to wait a little later until Socialism had fused with fascism to really see why gun control makes sense for the left, but I certainly agree that there's no reason a Marxist has to be anti-gun.

...

One hoop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_ ... _socialism


Wow, one hoop is all it took. :D

So the take home message I'm getting from all this is that by "Marxism", you're not just talking about Carl Marx's ideas but the cumulative body of theory that he and his successors have left us with (I didn't know about Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon, for example). You seem to be saying that the "liberals" you're really focused on are 1) religiously liberal (almost in the sense that they've been indoctrinated into the "Borg"), in which case even if a young and unseasoned liberal believed in this or that left-wing idea but not others, he would soon be brainwashed to believe in pretty much the whole of the leftist doctrine insofar as he frequented and became a member of certain left-wing groups, and 2) followers of a very specific strain of ideology, whether they realize it or not, that stems from Marx and his successors. This puts a very different, and important, spin on where you're coming from, Ucci.

Can we make a distinction here? When we talk about the kinds of liberals just described, can we agree to call them "religious" liberals? Because there is another liberal I have in mind: me! :D Or at least, what I thought I was before disavowed that label. You see, the thing is, I'll bet there's tons of self-proclaimed liberals out there, probably some of which you've encountered but were too quick to throw into the box of religious liberals, who don't realize they're supposed to be Marxists, or moral relativists, or eugenicists--self-proclaimed liberals who just aren't into the thick of it enough to have been brainwashed to this extent. And this need not be newbies either... it could be long-time dabblers: liberalists who have only ever just stuck their feet in the water without realizing there was a whale named Marx who was ready to swallow them whole should they ever venture deeper in. They'll tell you they're "liberals" without realizing how you'll interpret that.

We should go back to your claims about liberals in the media and education: are you saying the liberals in journalism and in universities and in Hollywood are religious liberals? Because if you are, you're going to need waaaay more evidence than just what they registered as when applying for voting rights God knows how many years ago.

And what about the king of the liberals himself: are you saying Obama is a Marxist who wants to rule over a communist America like Mao Zedong? <-- That's a pretty extraordinary claim.

Having said all that, what you said gives me some insight into what the exact impact of Marx's philosophy was on the West. Tell me if you agree with me. Before Marx, the fact that one was a part of the "working poor" was seen as just his lot in life--he just accepted it--but after Marx, he saw himself as part of an oppressed class--an underdog, a victim--and it was the higher classes who were responsible for this oppression. This gave him the sense that this was social or political injustice--that is, he didn't have to just accept it. And from Marx's followers, you get the idea that this applies not only to the working poor, but to any group who's rights or privileges are inferior to those of other groups--so blacks, women, homosexuals, the disabled, the elderly, etc. Without Marx, in other words, these groups would just remain silent, accepting their position in society, but because of Marx, they feel they have a right to protest.

Finally, I think I'm beginning understanding your concern as a conservative--tell me if I have this right: you call them "progressives" for a reason; they claim they are simply in favor of making progress, of making the world a better place. This, one could say, is almost necessary as change is the only constant in this world (which I agree with, btw), and so we cannot remain static, not for very long; we must change in order to adapt to the times. But conservatives see it differently, don't they. They don't see this movement as simply adapting to the times, they see it as a slow and surreptitious move towards a communist state. I got this partially from your last post (when you described the left as perpetually wanting change every ten years), and partially this post (in the way you described the left's movement as serving the original Marxist vision). Is this right?

And finally (really finally this time :D), I feel it's time for another coming clean. Even though I've disavowed the "liberal" label, I feel I should say that my moral position is still very much in line with the moderate liberals (not the religious liberals--this is me disavowing the extremists in my camp ;)). What I mean by this is that, morally speaking, I think racism is wrong, as is sexism, homophobia (sorry for the term), standing by while the homeless freeze to death in the winter, or go hungry, or get deathly sick, thinking my nationality is any better than other nationalities, discrimination in the work place, etc. This is not a philosophical position (in the sense that I'm prepared to debate it philosophically, although I can but that's for another thread which I'm not interested in pursuing), and it's not a political position (in the sense that I'm prepared to act upon it in a political atmosphere), but just what my conscience tells me I cannot accept. If Marxism is wrong--which I think, on the whole, it is--I don't think there isn't at least a sliver of a legacy it has left behind, a way in which it has influenced the West in a positive way. If there is any good that has come out of this clash between conservatives and liberals, it is that there now appears to be a common agreed upon morality: a prejudice based on one's conditions of birth--race, sex, sexual orientation, or class--is not sufficient grounds to discriminate morally (I take this from Uccisore's stating that these prejudices--racism, sexism, etc.--are very rare among conservatives).

kowalskil,

I will respond to you tomorrow.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:39 pm

kowalskil wrote:P.S. Yes I know that some countries, such as the USSR, were socialist by name only. The so-called "proletarian dictatorship" was not socialism.


Oh? What's the difference in your mind?

kowalskil wrote:Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)


Are you really the Ludwik Kowalski?
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:07 pm

gib wrote:God, I hope not. And yes, I do get the impression that Americans kind of equate socialism with communism or Marxism (is socialism just watered down Marxism to you?).


Usually when you have a school of thought named after a guy, it's a subset of some wider school of thought. That's the case here, but it gets confused when the school of thought named after the guy is actually the progenitor of the wider school. It's an insider/outsider thing. Communism, socialism, and Marxism share enough things in common that one can reject them all for the same reasons, but sure they have differences too, especially to somebody who accepts some version of it as true and is trying to define his place within it. Another thing that complicates is that Marxism has a horrible track record when implemented, so there's a strong urge to call future attempts by other things, or to say past attempts didn't really count.
As far as what people have in mind when they implement particular policies- you really do have to know the individuals involved to know for sure. But I will say this- Marxists and Communists are playing the long game. That's written right into their foundational documents, that it's about incremental changes designed to force certain outcome, change perceptions, and prepare people for a different way of thinking on a basic level. Not everybody pushing for a mild progressive reform is a socialist, but every socialist is going to advance his agenda through mild progressive reforms.



What this entails is that we're a very accepting people, and we don't react to changes with hostility or rebellious attitudes quite as much as Americans. We kind of just "roll with things". So if socialism ends up becoming part of our system, we look at its positive aspects and try to put our efforts into maximizing that. To most Canadians, we see the safety net as the positive side to socialism, and if you've been following along with Eric and I, you'd know that we haven't experienced too many of the negatives to feel any impetus to change that (though, like I said, you and Eric have been prompting me to doubt that).


Yeah, I don't know much about Canadian politics, but that all sounds about right.

Uccisore wrote:I don't see why my point confused you. But I think it's a pretty important point. You said liberals don't view CEO's and politicians as moral exemplars. I think that's plainly false as I can think of examples of both that the left idolizes. Why would a group that holds egalitarianism as the highest virtue idolize Steve Jobs and the Kennedys? For the same reason this group that holds tolerance and diversity in such esteem insists on ideological purity on campus and the newsroom.


... beeecause they're hypocrites? :confusion-shrug:


Some. I think it's more because the positions they advocate in the here and now isn't really representative of their end game, and so conflicting with those doesn't conflict with their real principles. Like I said, a socialist is playing a long game. They want the State to be the sole owner of the means of production, and for all moral authority and loyalty to be divested from natural or traditional organizations like the family or the Church, and brought to the state. A CEO or a politician can serve that end as well as anybody, even if in the end, they want a world where there is no CEO and the politicians serve a completely different role.
Let me give you an example: Leftists complain about the gender wage gap in the U.S. There isn't actually a gender wage gap in the U.S., and it is very very easy to confirm this, such that many of the leftists complaining about it know it isn't real. The only possible explanation is that by complaining about the gender wage gap, the socialist is trying to accomplish something OTHER than closing a gender wage gap that they know isn't real. By creating the popular perception that there IS such a gap, they accomplish some other thing, some X. So, if some leftist doing what I describe here pays his women employees less than his men despite complaining about the wage gap, he isn't REALLY being a hypocrite- you have to look at X in order to know if his actions conflict with his values.

Uccisore wrote:This lead me to believe that the main issue that socialists have is with the rich... which I would think means they don't like the rich and powerful... which means they don't see them as moral exemplars.


That makes perfect sense. And yet, we know they have plenty of rich moral exemplars just the same.

<-- Is that where the racism you were talking about come in?


Yeah, part of it. Another part of it would be black nationalist groups and the Hispanic nationalist groups keeps the southern border weak.


Wow, one hoop is all it took. :D

So the take home message I'm getting from all this is that by "Marxism", you're not just talking about Carl Marx's ideas but the cumulative body of theory that he and his successors have left us with (I didn't know about Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon, for example).


Yeah. Marx got the ball rolling, ideas diverged from his enough that they needed a new catch-all term, that catch-all term is socialism. There are socialists that disagree with Marx about a lot of things- like market socialists, for example. Most of the distinctions matter more to Eric than they do to me, because they are economic distinctions. I'm primarily critical of cultural marxism, and socialists are all stripes are much more similar than they are different through that lens.

You seem to be saying that the "liberals" you're really focused on are 1) religiously liberal (almost in the sense that they've been indoctrinated into the "Borg"), in which case even if a young and unseasoned liberal believed in this or that left-wing idea but not others, he would soon be brainwashed to believe in pretty much the whole of the leftist doctrine insofar as he frequented and became a member of certain left-wing groups, and 2) followers of a very specific strain of ideology, whether they realize it or not, that stems from Marx and his successors. This puts a very different, and important, spin on where you're coming from, Ucci.


I think there could be leftists out there in some other part of the world that are doing very little that I would disagree with, especially depending on the kind of society they are trying to reform. Socialism in western civilization though, I think is caustic. As far as what liberals I am focused on, as far as I can tell there are three classes: The basically uneducated who hear what other leftists say, and say 'me too'. Halfway-academics who defend (perhaps just portions of) the liberal party line without really understanding the big picture it forms or the intended end results. Lastly, you have your leftist true academics, who really have the power and influence to shape what the other two classes believe. They are the ones who's political actions don't tend to resemble their ultimate goals, like in the gender-gap example I gave. Because of the internet, the second group and third group are blurred- you can have some guy on YouTube that influences millions while really being a halfway-academic in terms of his knowledge base and motivations. Those are the people who are most likely to be what you described- defending gay rights just for the sake of gay rights, &c. If they aren't conscious, though, of how every issue on the left ties in to every other issue, then sure, they are likely to be pulled in to being a leftist about everything.
Conservatism has this same sort of structural make up, by the way, except that as far as I can tell, the true academics are more above board with their ultimate goals (since their ultimate goals usually involve maintaining a present state that you can't really hide), and there's more diversity among conservative academics: there is a strong reactionary aspect, so you get a lot of difference in what is being reacted to or why. Conservatives don't have a utopia we are working towards, so there's much less pressure on us all to be on the same page about everything.

Can we make a distinction here? When we talk about the kinds of liberals just described, can we agree to call them "religious" liberals? Because there is another liberal I have in mind: me! :D Or at least, what I thought I was before disavowed that label. You see, the thing is, I'll bet there's tons of self-proclaimed liberals out there, probably some of which you've encountered but were too quick to throw into the box of religious liberals, who don't realize they're supposed to be Marxists, or moral relativists, or eugenicists--self-proclaimed liberals who just aren't into the thick of it enough to have been brainwashed to this extent.


Ya, the middle academics would be most of these. You get a lot of conversations with people who are in favor of this-or-that liberal policy because it just seems to be the morally right thing to do, regardless of other considerations. Some of these will agree with conservatives about some stuff, disagree about others. Ironically, you also get a lot of "Conservatives are the world kind of evil scum" out of this group, because they see their pet issue as a moral imperative, and are unaware (and unwilling to find out) about the deeper reasons why anyone would be opposed to it.

We should go back to your claims about liberals in the media and education: are you saying the liberals in journalism and in universities and in Hollywood are religious liberals? Because if you are, you're going to need waaaay more evidence than just what they registered as when applying for voting rights God knows how many years ago.


I don't actually know. I just know that if you make a list of leftist causes and a list of conservative causes, journalists and academics will support the leftist causes far more often than the general population, and will work to exclude those who don't from participating. I speculate that journalists are basically intellectual victims of college professors, believing and doing as they do because they were at no point taught that there was any other respectable way to be.

And what about the king of the liberals himself: are you saying Obama is a Marxist who wants to rule over a communist America like Mao Zedong? <-- That's a pretty extraordinary claim.


He's doing plenty of things to enable hardcore Marxists to rule over a communist America, and he was educated by, and associated with people who fit the profile you describe above. I don't know much of a dupe he is versus a player. I know that his foreign policy shifted to become a whole lot more like Bush's the moment he was elected (at least for a few years), so it appears that having to lead instead of just talk changed him.


Before Marx, the fact that one was a part of the "working poor" was seen as just his lot in life--he just accepted it--


Not only accepted it, but was FAR less likely to define themselves in terms of it. A person was Irish, a Catholic, a Mason, and a father all before they were poor, and could have pride and satisfaction in their lives due to each of those things, despite being poor. The evolution of Marxism is what it is primarily because of this- the revolution never happened because poor people weren't as upset about their lot in life as Marx thought they needed to be. To a Marxist, having pride in anything that makes it easier to deal with being poor is a false consciousness, and a person needs to be cured of it. Leftist gender, sexual and racial politics should be understood in terms of that- and that's not a conspiracy theory, it is central to socialism that politics be understood in terms of such things.

And from Marx's followers, you get the idea that this applies not only to the working poor, but to any group who's rights or privileges are inferior to those of other groups--so blacks, women, homosexuals, the disabled, the elderly, etc. Without Marx, in other words, these groups would just remain silent, accepting their position in society, but because of Marx, they feel they have a right to protest.


More or less. Just keep in mind that to the Marxist, the economic class is the only one that actually matters. The other categories are just ways of setting people against each other to promote general upheaval.

Finally, I think I'm beginning understanding your concern as a conservative--tell me if I have this right: you call them "progressives" for a reason; they claim they are simply in favor of making progress, of making the world a better place.


I call them progressives because it's the only thing you can call them right now that they won't take as a slur. Nothing more to it than that. In a few years, I'm sure they will consider 'progressive' to be hate speech, and we'll have to call them something else. Leftist, liberal, socialist, Marxist- all these terms are considered rude.

This, one could say, is almost necessary as change is the only constant in this world (which I agree with, btw), and so we cannot remain static, not for very long; we must change in order to adapt to the times. But conservatives see it differently, don't they. They don't see this movement as simply adapting to the times, they see it as a slow and surreptitious move towards a communist state.


Communism isn't the only enemy of conservatism, it's just the most threatening one these days. What the conservative is objecting to at root is the idea that a particular intellectual or tight group of intellectuals can come up with a better way for society to operate than the people will come up with for themselves if you leave them alone to do it. I don't think there is such a thing as 'adapting to the times' in the broad sense. Take gay rights. Absolutely nothing changed in the 1980's to adjust the moral status of homosexuality from what it had always been. Sex didn't change, the population boom was not a crisis, religion didn't go away. There was NOTHING to adapt to. About the only new thing I can think of in the 80's related to sexual ethics is AIDS and that sure as shit doesn't make a case for gay rights. We didn't change to adapt to the times- players changed the times because they had an agenda that demanded it, and then the rest of us were expected to adapt. Saying "oh well, shit happens, things change" when in fact you have a very discrete group of individuals who made them that way makes no sense to me.
Insofar as what you described is real, conservatives have no problem with it. If the times REALLY DO change- if there's a drought or an alien invasion or a plague or some new threat from abroad, then sometimes you have to change to adapt to it. So for example, immigration. We used to have millions of square miles of fertile, uninhabited land in the U.S., and now we don't. But academics don't get 'force of nature' status such that the rest of us have to go along to get along with whatever social experiment they are enamoured with.

And finally (really finally this time :D), I feel it's time for another coming clean. Even though I've disavowed the "liberal" label, I feel I should say that my moral position is still very much in line with the moderate liberals (not the religious liberals--this is me disavowing the extremists in my camp ;)). What I mean by this is that, morally speaking, I think racism is wrong, as is sexism, homophobia (sorry for the term), standing by while the homeless freeze to death in the winter, or go hungry, or get deathly sick, thinking my nationality is any better than other nationalities, discrimination in the work place, etc.


Conservatives don't disagree with most of that, they disagree with the idea that the State is in a better position to address these things than individuals are.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:01 pm

Ucci,

In regards to the full academic who understands Marxist theory inside and out, would you say they are the master-minds behind the Democratic party? In other words, would you say the Democrats are the party of the far left (those who understand and fully believe in Marxism) or would you say they represent the moderate left (believing in some socialist principles but not others). This is important because you described Obama as either a dupe or a player. By "player" I understand you to mean a Marxist. But I wonder if you mean "player" in the sense that he's playing the system, even the Marxists, in his own personal game. Not that he's really secretly a conservative, but that he's a moderate liberal--someone who thinks some socialist principles are right but not others--and uses some of the more hardcore Marxists to gain power (in that the Marxists are the main source of intellectual support for the Democrats).

I think something like this could even be true of the full academics. Being versed in socialist and Marxist theory means you'd know it inside-out, but that doesn't mean you'd agree with everything it says. However, I would think that being experienced in a particular philosophy will, over time, have the effect on one of making certain aspects of it seem plausible or good while not necessarily others. I mean even if you start out being a devote conservative, if you study Marxist or socialist theory long enough, there'll probably come a point when you give in to the evidence or reasoning of the theory and say "ok, maybe that aspect of it ain't so bad." So even these scholars of Marxism might eventually become moderate leftists but not necessarily so overtaken by their knowledge of the theory to become completely aligned with it. However, I gathered from what you said that you've had first-hand contact with some of these types--which is why you say they almost consistently uphold some kind of moral relativism or amoralism (is that aspect of it a formal part of the Marxist doctrine, maybe from one of Marx's successors, or is this something the religious liberals come up with on their own?)--so you would know; in your encounters, have you been able to tell a difference between hardcore Marxists and those who, though they know a lot about Marxism, are able to maintain a moderate position?

I guess another way of asking what I'm asking is: is it possible to be an extreme moderate? That is, to believe in some left-wing ideas but not others and stick to your guns against the forces that would pull you in one direction or the other. Or to know your shit inside and out, but still recognize that some left-wing ideas are good ones but not others. Is it possible to stick to this position so tenaciously that one could conceivable carry it with him into the Presidency?

I have a feeling that's Barack Obama for you. If you want to know the truth, my personal feel is that, as the first black president, he felt that he had to leave something for the black community sometime during his presidency, and coming from a black community himself, he understood the struggles of poor black families especially when it came to doctor's bills. So he created Obamacare so that the black community could say that having the first president who represented their people was not in vein.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Moreno » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:23 am

gib wrote:I guess another way of asking what I'm asking is: is it possible to be an extreme moderate?

Moderates are often seen as in the middle. The middle might be extreme. WE can look at the past and see that many moderate positions would now be considered extreme. Unless extreme is simply defined as 'far away from the current norms'.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:07 pm

Well, it shouldn't be confusing because most of what you just cited stem from Marxism, and the leaders of those movements were Marxists! Gay marriage and women's rights got their start as an attempt to undermine the traditional family as a source of moral authority, and of Christianity as the cultural hegemony of the west. Feminism and queer theory have at their absolute center the idea that a traditional family is a patriarchal institution getting in the way of a socialist utopia. Why? Because the people don't embrace socialism when they value their lives in ways that go beyond their material worth. That's Gramsci. I may as well environmentalism- a very important way for the state to regulate what private citizens can do with the means of production, which they are still grudgingly allowed to control. You didn't bring it up, but abortion was promoted by leftists eugenicists looking for a way to reduce the poor, non-white population. <-- Is that where the racism you were talking about come in? Yes, Planned Parenthood started as a socialist racial hygeine organization. Now, that's NOT to say that everybody who supports one of these ideas is a Marxist, that is clearly false. However, they are ideas that are absolutely crucial for their to be a socialist state, they are ideas coming from the left, and socialism is a leftist ideology. Consider Planned Parenthood again- I certainly don't think that most or even many people in that organization are specifically trying to use abortion to control the black population and to improve the IQ of the U.S. through eugenics. But it still works successfully to that end even if they don't consciously intend it because the people who got that movement started were aiming for that target.
Now, the exception would be anti-gun laws. Marx was in favor of an armed populace, and so was Lenin. But they were still living in the times when they thought they people were just waiting to rise up if only they were sufficiently empowered, and they saw gun ownership as a means to that end. You need to wait a little later until Socialism had fused with fascism to really see why gun control makes sense for the left, but I certainly agree that there's no reason a Marxist has to be anti-gun.


You are a dangerous person, ucci, because you are so mistaken. But when you publish what I've underlined in your quote to gib, you become a very dangerous person, indeed. Margaret Sanger was not a Marxist; she was not a eugenicist; and the organization she started, now called Planned Parenthood was not started as a "socialist racial hygiene organization." Margaret Sanger was a nurse working in the poor areas of NYC at a time when it was against Federal Law to even mention the word 'contraception' in public or to distribute "obscene" literature or implements through the mail. (Comstock Act of 1873) Margaret was one of eleven children--out of her mother's 18 pregnancies. Her mother died at a fairly young age. Sanger, as a nurse, was often called on to care for women suffering from botched abortions, either 'back street' or self-induced. She saw a lot of women die, as a result. She started to teach women how their bodies functioned and how they got pregnant and her audiences grew to include 'upper-class' women. She taught women that they had the right, if not the imperative, to deny their husbands 'marital right' because it so often resulted in an unwanted pregnancy, or death.

It's hard to picture what life was like for women in the first couple of decades in the 1900s. Not even doctors were allowed to discuss birth control, a phrase Sanger coined, with their female patients--it was obscene. Women didn't know how their bodies worked; they were embarrassed to talk about 'anything like that.' They had no way to protect themselves, which led to abortions (which have been around since time began, it seems); in China, it led to infanticide, which still goes on to this day. (The Rivers Run Black, Elizabeth C. Economy, 2004) I'm sure a lot of other countries are also guilty. Oh, btw, the book is about pollution in Chinese rivers; a part of that pollution is the corpses of female new borns, some still wearing their hospital 'bracelets.'

What you say causes the 'break-up of the family' isn't abortion, birth control, feminism, or a lack of a strong religious background. In my mind, a part of it is and economy that forces women to work outside the home and a part of it is unwanted pregnancies. But they're only parts of a very interwoven, complex, whole.

My apologies, dear sir. I thought my rant was over when I pm'd gib earlier, but I guess it wasn't. Please, please, I've asked you this repeatedly, tell us where you get your 'information!' You don't need to cite anything other than direct quotes, I know, but tell us, if you can, how you arrived at your conclusions. At least, qualify what you say. When you make statements such as the one above--that are clearly erroneous and can be shown to be so--tell us, please, how you, as an intelligent person who, I hope, is able to think, came to your ideas.

Thank you,

Liz
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:43 pm

lizbethrose wrote:I am pragmatic, in case none of you have realized that.
I believe you believe you are. That you believe you only care about what works, that you want to do the best for others... And so is does every liberal ever. Stating this line is a liberal cliche, so much so, that it is one discussed in Tyranny of Cliches. You stating things like this is one of many reasons I, and Ucci, call you a liberal. By saying it, everything you want suddenly is not political, in your view, but just the right, pragmatic, thing to do. Note, this is also why progressives call themselves progressive, because being against them is being against progress. (Progressive did come out of Pragmatism, so that makes sense.)

Democrats and Republicans are not quite the same, though only because, they are actual political parties instead of political movement.

My response is, I don't care if you are pragmatic, I don't like the policies you have stated and will actively work against them... Now what?

lizbethrose wrote:That doesn't mean I'm a pragmatist, however. (Any more than wanting to see everyone able to get preventive medicine makes me a socialist, but that isn't why I've rejoined the fray.)
The reason the pragmatists took on the name, pragmatist is because they look at themselves as pragmatists. But also, so that, disagree with them is being against pragmatism... (Parks & Recreation has a great bit on this about a cult calling themselves the rationalists, because then, disagreeing with them is disagreeing with being rational...)

lizbethrose wrote:I would like to know what specific privileges you and ucci don't have now that you would have given a totally conservative atmosphere in a totally free-market society--particularly with globalization.
Freedom to buy guns, without needing to pass a background check. Freedom to spend money on health insurance as I see fit, rather than being restricted to what the government sees fit. Freedom to not pay exorbitant taxes, that are used for policies I don't agree with. I could go on..

But, the problem is stated in your wording, "specific privileges." The government does not grant privileges, we grant the government privileges, it owes us fealty, not the other way around.

lizbethrose wrote:I would like to know what specific choices you'd have that you don't have now; how your resources would change; how your futures would perhaps be different.
Resources are taken, which is change. I don't have the choice to start a business without filling out a bunch of paper work and seeking permission first... There are more, but again, this is a reversal in understanding. See above. Though, I don't care much about "how (my) future (c)ould be different" I care about dealing with what is... I'm pragmatic that way. ;-)

lizbethrose wrote:Please take the time to do this. It would help my understanding of your positions tremendously.
I hope it did.

lizbethrose wrote:Thanks for your time.

Liz :)


Side note, all the things Ucci posted on Margaret Sanger, I've heard as well. More, I've heard what you've posted, and that it is the cleaned up, PC version of her life. A fiction created by Planned Parenthood... She has writings that expose who she is...
Last edited by Eric_The_Pipe on Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his ‘basic rights’” – An old saying rewritten by a follower of Thomas Sowell

"It's true that the bastards would win. But we shouldn't shut down a system just because the bastards win. A good system should be like a hamster wheel for bastards hooked up an electric generator. A well designed system is not one that prevents bastards from winning, but one that generates a lot of positive externalities from bastards trying to beat each other. And that's exactly what markets do. Markets entice bastards, they reward bastards, and the bastards love them, but as they operate they generate a lot of good that inadvertently benefits everyone else." - Carleas

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:25 pm

gib wrote:Eric,

I'm going to do things in reverse and respond to your last paragraph first:

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:That is not what makes me angry, I am not angry. I am frustrated. More with myself than anyone else. I am failing to explain this stuff, as shown by my having to make the same points over and over. To you, to Liz. I don't expect to convince UPF, but you two seem reasonable. I take that as meaning I don't understand it well enough. Which as much time as I've spent on this, is frustrating...

This is why I've posted the video's, to let someone else "talk" instead.


In that case, I really appreciate your patience with me... and do realize I'm being stubborn... on purpose.

Think of it this way: imagine you decide to visit the Middle East in order to understand what underlies the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. You're completely clueless as to anything that's going on between them, only that you know they're steeped into violent conflict. So you first encounter a couple of Israelis. You get pretty much all your information from them. No Palestinian ever interjects to give you a sense that you're getting at least balanced information. So the Israelis tell you about how justified they are and how evil and maniacal the Palestinians are. Now, for all you know, they could be right--and in principle maybe even completely objective and unbiased... but you'd have to be a fool to believe that. So you take what they say with a grain of salt... more than that, you actively challenge what they tell you, you question them, you even get a little indignant with them upon the impression that they might be expecting you to take every word they say at face value. But how else can you do it? How else can you learn the real nature of the conflict than by resisting as much as you can being ensnared by the same prejudices, preconceptions, hatred and bigotry as the group(s) from which you are getting your information.

So I'm being stubborn... on purpose. And I sincerely do apologize (though I'm not going to stop) if that frustrates your efforts. I don't want you to stop trying, however, and as a token of my gratitude for your efforts, I'll say in all honesty that I really do admire both your expertise in the subject and your philanthropy (your volunteer work with the elderly... not to mention your hard work ethic which I gathered from your story about being a poor student trying to raise a daughter).
I'm not sure I'd call it expertise, more just an unhealthy obsession with wanting to understand (and be right.) But thank you.

gib wrote:The thing is, Eric, I'm always going to trust my personal hands-on experiences before anything else. I will not let someone else--even Google hits--tell me the truth is something other than my experiences. You might think of this attitude as similar to the scientist's attitude with respect to confirming evidence: no evidence really "confirms" a hypothesis, it can only falsify it; but you can have supporting evidence--evidence that makes it seem all the more likely that a hypothesis is true. What we have in the case of my experience of living within a socialist system is a lack of supporting evidence for your claim that socialism makes life suck--it doesn't falsify it, obviously, as my quote above will testify, but if you tell me that socialism degrades the quality of life to the point of making it intolerable, then when I check my evidence (the quality of my life), I have to return to you and say "sorry, not supported".
It doesn't degrade all the time, which is part of the problem, it just limits growth. It is an attempt to stop the ups and downs of the market so they work in a predictable manner, as a result there is no dynamic entropy to help create. The soviet union failed because it could not keep up with the US, I imagine, if they had no one they were competing against, it might still exist. Socialism is putting walls around your space so no outsiders can get in...

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Many roads, more so every year in Colorado, follow this exact policy. But, the public roads suck, more of the money goes to bureaucracy than to building and maintaining the roads....
See, again, this just does not concur with my experience. Our roads are fine--they're always being maintained. Who knows, maybe if I took a road trip down through the States (which I have), I'd be blown away by the quality of your roads and could never go back, but to me, that would be like a billionaire pointing to a millionaire saying "you're poor".
To be fair, the area's with less state money involved are often just dirt roads... It's a scottish thing.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:The difference between roads and medicine is huge, and we need the innovation in medicine more than we need it in roads. Because, peoples lives and lifestyle are so dependent on it. A bad road sucks, but far less die.
Hmm, so you're taking my argument and flipping it on its head. You're saying that it's because medicine is such a basic necessity that we should never take it out of the private sector, rather than because it's such a basic necessity, we should put it in the hands of the government so that everyone is guaranteed to get it.

Still, I fail to see why you say these things are necessary and therefore we get the government to oversee them--it almost sounds like you're now turning that around and saying either a) they're not really that necessary after all which is why it's OK to let the government oversee them, or b) they are necessary and therefore we need to take them out of the government's hands (I do recall you saying that we do need the government to fund education).
I talked to a guy working on his phd in economics this weekend (it was the most interesting conversation I had all weekend, and it ended with both of us throwing our hands up at the lack of people that want to talk about economics). He pointed out something, fashion, as in the clothes and such, is one of the most innovative fields out there, changing every year. People bring in new ideas every chance they get and it is a billion dollar industry, with houses that go back thousands of years. It is also a completely unprotected field (unlike medicine). So, we might see even more innovation in the medical industry, using that as an example, if we removed all traces of protection from it... Fashion also has a large amount of failures year to year, as an aspect of chasing down every "new" idea, so we might also see a lot more death...

I am saying that we must rely on government for the things government can do, without fucking up too badly. If we relying on them for anything that they can really screw up, people are much worse off. Roads are not exactly rocket science (which by the way is almost exclusively private market now), yet they still consistently have trouble with the application... Are these the people you want to be in charge of your health? Think of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, on birth control. It took, probably, millions of dollars for it to reach the Court in the first place, that is not including all of the people that were put on hold while waiting for a ruling, just to find out, that the employer doesn't have to pay for it... But, the same people that want it, can instead pay for it themselves. We spend millions, for something that less than 10 years ago, is exactly what was happening anyway... And every time someone has a problem, we must go through that process, while hoping it's not a serious issue and someone dies, so that the government can be in charge. It is inefficient at best.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Only a fool relies on the law enforcement for protection. That is what guns are for.. (I am also very pro gun.) <-- Never saw that coming :lol: Law enforcement can show up after, to take the bad guys to jail, but not much more. Ever been robbed? Yes

And, yes, private security companies are far better at their job than local law enforcement, and they get paid a lot more, because they are better.

So, in our current reality, the poor are worse off because they have to rely on basic protection than the rich.
Here's what I understand: the poor are worse off compared to the rich. And if there weren't any private security companies, we'd all be worse off, having to depend on shitty law enforcement service.

Here's what I don't understand: why, in a socialist system, would you ever be worse off than having no service at all. Go back to medical care. You make health care public, it becomes universal, so everyone gets equal attention. The attention isn't as good as it would be if it were privatized. But how does it ever come about that it's worse than no medical care at all. How could it be that, for example, you go in for a routine hernia operation, and the surgeon is so shitty, he cuts off your penis by mistake (bearing in mind my experience with medical care here--and I've had my fair share--has never been remotely that bad)....
Medical care is different than health insurance. Not having government supplied medical care is, also, not the same as not having medical care... Someone wanting government medical care must prove that it is better than non government supplied medical care. That is what I ask for, because you are starting with, "socialism is better, Eric, you must prove it is not." And you have not made your case. That you now have socialized medical care, does not mean that it is some sort of right, that it was predestined or that it is incontrovertibly better. Only that, it is something you have grown to take for granted... Like a slave and slavery... (Does that sound too crazy an analogy?)

gib wrote:I watched the video you sent me on Mike Rowe, btw.
He is amazing. I love the video because it emphasizes so many aspects of being wrong by relying on third party "experts" vs the people on the ground having to actually deal with what is going on... I love his humility... I follow him on facebook, and it is equally amazing.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:There is a reason that when rich people in other countries, including Canada, get sick they come to the US.
Yes, I know. If I were but a poor millionaire and I saw an opportunity to become a billionaire, I'd take it for sure.
*snort* I would base it on what I had to do, looking at the value exchange...

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:But we could lower our standards so that everyone can suffer equally.
See my questions above.
It is hard to know what is going to raise the standard of living. But, it is the best way to raise how "badly" even the poor people live. It cannot be done by forcing a set level as a "living wage" because that wage does not guarantee anything about how that wage is spent. It is why I call the living wage a arbitrary number, it is based on preconceived notions that have little to do with reality. We cannot save everyone, but we can make it easier for as many people as possible to live well. Having a living wage does not create this, instead it brings up the costs to exist.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:You must prove that in your system people fare better than if they seek their own medical care. By transferring medical care into the hands of government, you are not making everyone better, you are transferring the power from those with money to those with connections in that government. Much like a cow, connections are far harder to divide and spend in different places.
I'm not saying everyone fairs better with socialism, I'm saying that no one gets left out in the cold--it's a trade off: you sacrifice quality for universality (and much lower cost)--it's a question of compassion for the poor and needy, a question of morality. Now you seem to be suggesting that the actual results are worse than nothing at all, so I'll bite my tongue on this point until I get an answer from you to my questions above.
Be glad your Canadian then, because they often reap the positive results of the US facing the cold.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Yet it happens every day.


To what degree? Are you saying the charitable aid that springs up is of greater quantity and quality than what you'd get in a socialist system? And keep in mind, please, that I'm primarily concerned with medical care here--I think that's vitally important to a society--are you saying doctors, surgeons, and very highly specialized medical professionals are going to do the kind of work on people in need that they ordinarily do while on the payroll?
Yes, doctors give time all the time. Volunteering in the US is borderline required socially, especially for Conservatives (who do look down on you if you do not, you either need help, or you are giving help)...

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:This one is that people give to religions more than any other place.
I'm not sure what this one proves. It states that 73% of Americans give to religious organizations. It means that Americans are a very charitable lot--particularly towards religion. But is this figure supposed to decrease the more socialized a society? And it only states that these donations go towards religious organizations--how much of that ends up reaching the people liberals are most concerned with--the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the disabled, etc.?
I was only proving that people give to charity... That is all you asked for.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics/


Again, not sure what this proves, except that Americans give a lot (a hell of lot). But are you saying this will go away with socialism?
It is significantly reduced in socialism. Because it is "taken care of by the government." And because everyone gets "their share" and no more is allowed. (This is more prevalent in Communism, but it still happens to a degree in socialism. People can only give so much, because the government does not allow them to have more.)

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Should I go on?
No, just an explanation of what the above are supposed to prove would be fine.
Ask for more if it does not make sense.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:
gib wrote:I think health is too.
But we are not giving health, health is something that has more to do with individual lifestyles, family history and luck.
Fine, bad wording. I'm saying that avoiding sickness and death is a basic necessity (and by sickness, I don't mean chicken pox--I'm talking about serious illnesses like cancer or diabetes). Sure, not all of us will succumb to a major illness like these in our lifetime but many of us will (and many of us are unfortunately born into a life-long sickness of one kind or another). I don't think we as a society can turn out backs on these people (but that's just me).
Best place to get seriously sick, is in the US, we have way better survival rates than any other country. WAY better than Canada. Canada is great for small sicknesses though.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:That means you missed the more important next paragraph:

WHO researchers divided aspects of health care into subjective categories and tailored the definitions to suit their political aims. They allowed fundamental flaws in methodology, large margins of error in data, and overt bias in data analysis, and then offered conclusions despite enormous gaps in the data they did have. The flaws in the report’s approach, flaws that thoroughly undermine the legitimacy of the WHO rankings, have been repeatedly exposed in peer-reviewed literature by academic experts who have examined the study in detail. Their analysis made clear that the study’s failings were plain from the outset and remain patently obvious today; but they went unnoticed, unmentioned, and unexamined by many because World Health Report 2000 was so politically useful. This object lesson in the ideological misuse of politicized statistics should serve as a cautionary tale for all policymakers and all lay people who are inclined to accept on faith the results reported in studies by prestigious international bodies.


It's not only that it is wrong, it is that it was intentionally set up wrong.


Actually, I read part way into that.

I get frustrated, Eric, when I read shit like this. It's not just because obviously somebody lied to me, but I feel almost as though my intelligence is being insulted. This guy, Scott W. Atlas, tells me that one of the worlds more trusted and prestigious scientific authorities on health and medicine is lying to me. But if the WHO cannot be trusted, why should I trust Atlas? Who is this Atlas? He's some nobody I've never heard of before. Why does he think he's earned my trust when the WHO shouldn't have? So he puts me into this sticky position in which I know somebody's lying to me, I just don't know who (that's who, not WHO ;)). But I'm supposed to just take Atlas's word for it--it's the WHO who's lying to me, not him.
Your intelligence is being insulted, they are trying to make a "fast one" relying on their supposed authority, sadly, much like newspapers, the authority was gained in a time when they were not run by liberals, and now the liberals have kicked out any dissenters and are ruining the built up authority.

Atlas is reporting most on the peer reviews that tear it apart as a bad study. He has references...

gib wrote:This is like the common criticism against religion that says if every religion around the world is telling you "I'm right, everyone else is wrong," how are you supposed to decide? And then, to add insult to injury, they each tell you "If you don't believe me, you're going to hell"... as if they've given me some conclusive reason why I should believe them that none of the others have.
I do agree. Liberals have turned politics into a religion... One of the things I like most about the few Conservatives I know, they have a religion already and don't need another one.

gib wrote:You know as well as I that this is a very controversial subject, and everybody wants to fudge the data in their favor--there's so much corruption you can't come across a source of pure, untainted, unadulterated information--everyone's had their dirty hands in it--the information pool is contaminated! I get very irritated when people expect me to just "know" that their source hasn't been contaminated (not that I'm literally irritated at you, Eric, but this is the reason I stopped reading--when I get to the point when I have to interpret what I'm reading with two mutually exclusive visors--one saying it's a lie, the other saying it's the truth--I feel I'm wasting my time at best, being insulted at worst).
The problem in this case is that they set it up to collect the data they wanted. I want to know how the study was run as much as the results, and don't usually accept something until I know.

gib wrote:What do you do in situations like this, Eric? You seem like a pretty intelligent guy, so I'll assume your method isn't just that if it's from a conservative source, it's good, or that if it confirm what you already believe, then it's good. You must have a better method than that. Ucci suggested something: if the original reports suggest one thing, and all reactionaries try to explain it away as opposed to actually falsifying it, then it's a good bet that the original data were at least scrupulously collected (I say scrupulously collected, not correct, as the reactionaries might still be right).
Find out how the data was collected. If it is a questionare, find out the questions... It is really weird the way a question can be asked that fucks up the data... For example: Which person do you wish to vote for, the horrible Mr. X, or the fantastic Miss Y...

That is obviously a absurd extreme take, but I swear, it comes damn close...

Then you must understand what is the sample, a data collection on the internet via a survey, is a great example of something with a bias. It is bias against people that don't use the internet, it is also bias against people unwilling to take surveys on the internet. So, the sample is very much, people willing to take surveys on the internet... Which says some things about the people, such as, a more extrovert personality, wealth enough to have internet and a computer casually (which is more and more people, thanks to innovation), and possibly, board... Cuz why else, except money, would someone take a survey?

So in conclusion, Boobies are great. Everyone loves them (even gay guys. Yes, I've asked.)
“Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his ‘basic rights’” – An old saying rewritten by a follower of Thomas Sowell

"It's true that the bastards would win. But we shouldn't shut down a system just because the bastards win. A good system should be like a hamster wheel for bastards hooked up an electric generator. A well designed system is not one that prevents bastards from winning, but one that generates a lot of positive externalities from bastards trying to beat each other. And that's exactly what markets do. Markets entice bastards, they reward bastards, and the bastards love them, but as they operate they generate a lot of good that inadvertently benefits everyone else." - Carleas

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:33 pm

I have a couple thoughts on re-reading this, while replying to gib:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:That is not what makes me angry, I am not angry. I am frustrated. More with myself than anyone else. I am failing to explain this stuff, as shown by my having to make the same points over and over. To you, to Liz. I don't expect to convince UPF, but you two seem reasonable. I take that as meaning I don't understand it well enough. Which as much time as I've spent on this, is frustrating...

This is why I've posted the video's, to let someone else "talk" instead.
I would like to apologize to you UPF. This could be taken as me saying you are not reasonable.. in a not thoughtful or not intelligent sort of way... Because it is basically what it says.

This was not my intent. I enjoy talking to you and do not want to discourage you from responding to anything I say. I meant it as, I do not think we will agree, regardless of how much we argue. It was the wrong word and I am sorry for that.

I am sorry that I called you unreasonable, even if only indirectly. It was not meant as a backhanded insult.

I will try to not do this, though I can only try in this instance, English is no love of mine and I often fuck up the stupid hogpog of a language.
“Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his ‘basic rights’” – An old saying rewritten by a follower of Thomas Sowell

"It's true that the bastards would win. But we shouldn't shut down a system just because the bastards win. A good system should be like a hamster wheel for bastards hooked up an electric generator. A well designed system is not one that prevents bastards from winning, but one that generates a lot of positive externalities from bastards trying to beat each other. And that's exactly what markets do. Markets entice bastards, they reward bastards, and the bastards love them, but as they operate they generate a lot of good that inadvertently benefits everyone else." - Carleas

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby uglypeoplefucking » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:42 pm

i appreciate the post Eric. Though we clearly disagree on much, you are just as clearly a good dude. Thank you.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:35 pm

Well, as usual, I can't keep up with this thread. Let me at least post half of my reply.

First, to Moreno...

Moreno wrote:Moderates are often seen as in the middle. The middle might be extreme. WE can look at the past and see that many moderate positions would now be considered extreme. Unless extreme is simply defined as 'far away from the current norms'.


I think that last line hits closer to home. Another way of wording the concept is "zealous moderate"--someone who really, really, really believes in some aspects of either the right or left but thinks that going to either extreme is absolutely the worst thing you could do.

If we could graph right-wing stances and left-wing stances on the horizontal axis, and let's call it "political prowess" on the vertical axis, I predict the curve would be an m shape with smooth curves like a sine wave. That is, neither of the extremes would be very good at climbing to the top of the political echelon (such as becoming president) but neither would someone squarely in the middle. The extremes might be too "crazy" to function properly in such an important and high-stress position (although "crazy" is probably a terrible word to use but I think it gets the gist across). But someone in the exact middle would probably be too un-opinionated or too unfamiliar with the subject to know what to do if put in such a position. So the (highly intelligent and skillful) moderates are the one's most likely to become our political leaders (though they depend highly on the influence of the extremes in order to get there).

Now Margaret Sanger...

Here's what the wikipedia article on Margaret Sanger has to say:

wikipedia wrote:In 1911, after a fire destroyed their home in Hastings-on-Hudson, the Sangers abandoned the suburbs for a new life in New York City. Margaret Sanger worked as a visiting nurse in the slums of the East Side, while her husband worked as an architect and a painter. Already imbued with William Sanger's leftist politics, Margaret Sanger also threw herself into the radical politics and modernist values of pre-World War I Greenwich Village bohemia, where she joined the Women's Committee of the New York Socialist party. She took part in the labor actions of the Industrial Workers of the World, including the notable 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike and the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike and she became involved with local intellectuals, artists, socialists, and social activists including John Reed, Upton Sinclair, Mabel Dodge, and Emma Goldman.


wikipedia wrote:In 1937, Sanger became chairman of the newly formed Birth Control Council of America, and attempted to resolve the schism between the ABCL and the BCCRB. Her efforts were successful, and the two organizations merged in 1939 as the Birth Control Federation of America. Although Sanger continued in the role of president, she no longer wielded the same power as she had in the early years of the movement, and in 1942, more conservative forces within the organization changed the name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a name Sanger objected to because she considered it too euphemistic.


wikipedia wrote:As part of her efforts to promote birth control, Sanger found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to "assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit." Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit. Sanger's eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods and full family planning autonomy for the able-minded, and compulsory segregation or sterilization for the profoundly retarded. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the "undeniably feeble-minded" from procreating. Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.

In contrast with eugenicist William Robinson, who advocated euthanasia for the unfit, Sanger wrote, "we [do not] believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding." Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.

Sanger also supported restrictive immigration policies. In "A Plan for Peace", a 1932 essay, she proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those "whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race," and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities.


wikipedia wrote:Sanger's family planning advocacy always focused on contraception, rather than abortion. It was not until the mid-1960s, after Sanger's death, that the reproductive rights movement expanded its scope to include abortion rights as well as contraception. Sanger was opposed to abortions, both because they were dangerous for the mother in the early 20th century and because she believed that life should not be terminated after conception. In her book Woman and the New Race, she wrote: "while there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization."

Historian Rodger Streitmatter concluded that Sanger's opposition to abortion stemmed from concerns for the dangers to the mother, rather than moral concerns. However, in her 1938 autobiography, Sanger noted that her opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: "[In 1916] we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun." And in her book Family Limitation, Sanger wrote that "no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions."


These were the snippets I found most relevant. So essentially, Sanger was actively involved in leftist politics, and she did espouse eugenics policies, but other than that, everything Liz said was true. Ucci was right also when he said "You didn't bring it up, but abortion was promoted by leftists eugenicists looking for a way to reduce the poor, non-white population. Yes, Planned Parenthood started as a socialist racial hygeine organization," but the article clearly states that Sanger's birth control was peddled as a safer, more ethical, alternative to abortions.

A brief comment on guns...

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Freedom to buy guns, without needing to pass a background check.


This part alarms me. I realize you were just answering Liz's question. And it is an accurate answer (indeed, freedom to buy guns without needing a pass or a background check would be a privilege one could enjoy given "a totally conservative atmosphere in a totally free-market society"--but you do realize, don't you, that you'd essentially be allowing any mentally unstable psychopath free access to guns whenever he wanted, right?

Now, I anticipate your response to this would probably be something along the lines of "hey, I don't mind the gun retailers demanding a pass or background check, and in a virtuous conservative market, such retailers would be responsible and therefore would demand it, so long as it's not the government making them demand it." But here's where I have to re-emphasize a point I made a long time ago in this thread:

gib wrote:In discussion like this, it is important to watch out for what might happen in principle, and what actually will happen in practice. It's easy to think of some catastrophic scenario that might follow some plan of attack, but to know whether or not that plan will actually work, it is far better to look at real-world examples--either currently going on somewhere in the world, or during some period in history. There was much fear, for example, leading up to the Civil Right Act that allowing black people the same rights and privileges as white people would tear the fabric of American life as we knew it back then. People imagined, for example, black men raping women as they went on dates, or white children getting sick from the germs and diseases that black children would supposedly infest the school water fountains with... well, maybe (theoretically, possibly in principle). But this is not how things turned out. Yet, at the time, there was no way to prove it conclusively. Sometimes--and this is my point--we just have to let a certain course of action pan out, and only after observing the results do we know what actually works and what doesn't.

Of course, I'm not saying we ought to do this with any proposal put on the table. But I am saying that we can often, if we stop and think about it for a second, recognize a clear difference between whether some catastrophic, but hypothetical, consequence of some proposed action is likely to happen in practice, or whether it is highly unlikely but has been brought up only to point out certain logically possible ramifications. As philosophers, we like to think about the logically possible ramifications a lot... but when it comes to discussing practical solutions to real life problems, we sometimes have to switch gears and think about what's actually likely to happen in the real world.


Now, I'd like to reiterate this point (addressing everyone here, not just Eric) but at the opposite extreme--that is, having a lot of faith in what you think should happen (rationally, logically) according to your philosophical model, and what will happen if put into effect. It may feel to us as though what we argue for in these debates is well grounded and thoroughly reasoned out, but we each ought to ask ourselves: why are we arguing thus? Is it because we really think it's true, or is it because we want to win the argument? If it happens that the latter is more true than the former, it means we aren't taking the issue as seriously as perhaps we ought to. Now this is fine when it comes to most armchair philosophical discussions, but when the stakes are human lives and human welfare, you'd better make damn sure you're right before you put the argument forward.

Not that any of you are going to take these arguments and go into politics with them (I don't think), or put them into practice in any other way, but we should remember how easy it can be to bring one's self to believe that "everything will turn out fine, as long as things work out according to how I theorize it will". What if you're wrong? What if removing the requirement for a background check or a pass only results in more lives being lost in heinous crimes. Do not count these losses in numbers. Each one is a human life, not a statistic. It can give you all the comfort in the world "proving" to your adversary that the rational justifications behind your position are air-tight and that you've blown them out of the water with your sharp cogent reasoning, but don't mistake that good feeling with knowing that you're right.

And again, I don't think Eric was necessary making an argument for unrestricted gun purchasing--he was just answering Liz's question (correctly)--but it does alarm me not to know whether conservatives or liberals make this distinction in their minds--the distinction between taking the matter seriously and arguing just to win a debate.

Eric, I'll respond to your latest post at another time.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:49 am

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Freedom to buy guns, without needing to pass a background check.
This part alarms me. I realize you were just answering Liz's question. And it is an accurate answer (indeed, freedom to buy guns without needing a pass or a background check would be a privilege one could enjoy given "a totally conservative atmosphere in a totally free-market society"--but you do realize, don't you, that you'd essentially be allowing any mentally unstable psychopath free access to guns whenever he wanted, right?

Now, I anticipate your response to this would probably be something along the lines of "hey, I don't mind the gun retailers demanding a pass or background check, and in a virtuous conservative market, such retailers would be responsible and therefore would demand it, so long as it's not the government making them demand it." But here's where I have to re-emphasize a point I made a long time ago in this thread:
And your attempt to anticipate would be wasted, I don't mind parts of the background check. I was just answering her question, and watching something on guns at the same time, so it was the first thing that popped into my head.

Also, I think what I've always thought, people that'll break the law and kill someone with a gun, isn't going to be too worried about breaking the law to get a gun, to go illegally kill someone... Making it more difficult to get gun, tends to only make it more difficult for people that are going to obey the law... The 5 day waiting period doesn't really bother me either... But, probably, I'd take it out of being a federal law and allow the states to decide on the laws within their own state... For the most part...
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:02 am

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:It doesn't degrade all the time, which is part of the problem, it just limits growth. It is an attempt to stop the ups and downs of the market so they work in a predictable manner, as a result there is no dynamic entropy to help create. The soviet union failed because it could not keep up with the US, I imagine, if they had no one they were competing against, it might still exist. Socialism is putting walls around your space so no outsiders can get in...


Okay, but that's a con for socialism, not a net balance. The confusion between the two is a common fallacy made by many--you can list out the pros and cons of a system (or a philosophy, or a methodology, or just about anything) but we sometimes identify certain cons and mistake them for conclusive evidence that the system (or philosophy, or methodology) is an all-out failure (<-- I'm calling this a "net balance"). Insulin is a life saving treatment for diabetes... but the needle can hurt a little, therefore insulin is bad. Insofar as you're pointing out a con of socialism, I agree with you, but I don't think that's sufficient for concluding that socialism is bad across the board (though it might be bad in 90% of its applications).

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:To be fair, the area's with less state money involved are often just dirt roads... It's a scottish thing.


You mean with more fed money?... and the Scots are to blame?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I talked to a guy working on his phd in economics this weekend (it was the most interesting conversation I had all weekend, and it ended with both of us throwing our hands up at the lack of people that want to talk about economics). He pointed out something, fashion, as in the clothes and such, is one of the most innovative fields out there, changing every year. People bring in new ideas every chance they get and it is a billion dollar industry, with houses that go back thousands of years. It is also a completely unprotected field (unlike medicine). So, we might see even more innovation in the medical industry, using that as an example, if we removed all traces of protection from it... Fashion also has a large amount of failures year to year, as an aspect of chasing down every "new" idea, so we might also see a lot more death...

And what are we to conclude?

I am saying that we must rely on government for the things government can do, without fucking up too badly. If we relying on them for anything that they can really screw up, people are much worse off. Roads are not exactly rocket science (which by the way is almost exclusively private market now), yet they still consistently have trouble with the application... Are these the people you want to be in charge of your health? Think of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, on birth control. It took, probably, millions of dollars for it to reach the Court in the first place, that is not including all of the people that were put on hold while waiting for a ruling, just to find out, that the employer doesn't have to pay for it... But, the same people that want it, can instead pay for it themselves. We spend millions, for something that less than 10 years ago, is exactly what was happening anyway... And every time someone has a problem, we must go through that process, while hoping it's not a serious issue and someone dies, so that the government can be in charge. It is inefficient at best.


I think the bold text is the right way to say what (I think) you're trying to say. It might need further refining, but I'd stick with that for now. This is basically the core of the conservative's philosophy if I'm not mistaken, correct? I think it's what you and Ucci were trying to get across earlier in this thread. You (or was it Ucci) said the Constitution was a kind of blue print of the government's function. So the kinds of social services that would be "necessary" for the government to do would be those it was charged with doing in the original draft (i.e. the Constitution).

Now, Liz tried starting with this premise in one of her arguments:

Lizbethrose wrote:So, one preliminary conclusion is we all want what is best. I asked myself if that had been put into words in the US, and of course, it had--in the Preamble to our constitution. We know that government is needed in a society as large as ours and we outlined what we wanted that government to do for us in the Preamble: To form a union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

We have our union of 50 states that started with 13. We're a democratic republic; our economic system is Capitalism. Our Courts, based on the rule of law and precedence, establish justice; we have police and fire departments to help with our tranquility; we have a huge military to defend us and, supposedly, keep our liberty secure. How do we promote the general welfare?


...to which you said "practice".

I can understand what you mean by that now: that individuals must take on the yoke of promoting the general welfare through charitable acts out of their own free choice.

But then it's not the government doing that, is it? I understand that you think this would be a good thing, but does it mean striking this clause from the preamble? And if so, why not every other clause in the Preamble? Establishing justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense... these are all things which, unless I'm misunderstanding, you say should be privatized. That doesn't sound like a return to the original draft.

I thought about his for a while and I thought of another sense in which we could say these original functions of government might be, at first, "necessary". Imagine you picked a country and, somehow, magically, you waved your magic wand to make the government disappear. What do you think would happen? Would a free market in which fair business practices took place, and people acted philanthropically towards the poor and needy, suddenly spring up? Or would it be more akin to anarchy and lawlessness, like we saw in Iraq when you guys took down the Bath Party? <-- The latter seems more realistic to me.

I'm just speculating here, but it seems reasonable to me to suppose that a nation that starts off in anarchy, with no law and order, eventually comes out of the chaos by way of war lords posing themselves in the place of dictator. We could even bring in Machiavelli here to remind us that it requires the strong arm of a brutal tyrant to maintain some semblance of law and order, and ultimately civility, but even Machiavelli understood this to be only a phase through which a society moves from anarchy toward republicanism.

So maybe the move into republicanism must be a smooth transition--not an over night flip--such that when it begins to emerge, and the people notice it, there must still be some remnants of the strong arm of the tyrant, some grip the government must impose on the system such that the burgeoning new republic doesn't errupt too quickly and thereby unravel itself into chaos and lawlessness.

So back 2 and a half centuries ago, when the founding fathers of your country decided to begin a new nation, fighting off the red coats, do you think they would be so daft as to start off the country with no government? With no law and order, without some arm reaching in to make sure anarchy and chaos wouldn't be how it made its sudden debut (and just as suddenly its denouement)?

Maybe that is the sense in which it was necessary--not in that this is the prima facia model for all republican governments to follow, but in that it is necessary as a transition phase into what you are envisioning as a totally free and unbridled market place. In plain English, it's necessary at first, but only in order to fade into oblivion as free market forces slowly merge into the fore*.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Medical care is different than health insurance. Not having government supplied medical care is, also, not the same as not having medical care... Someone wanting government medical care must prove that it is better than non government supplied medical care. That is what I ask for, because you are starting with, "socialism is better, Eric, you must prove it is not."


No, that is not what I'm starting with. I explained later that...

gib wrote:I'm not saying everyone fairs better with socialism, I'm saying that no one gets left out in the cold--it's a trade off: you sacrifice quality for universality (and much lower cost)...


What I'm really asking is: how do the worst off in a society become better by taking away socialism, and I mean for this to be taken as a question, not a statement, for which there is nothing for me to prove. By this point, however, I think I got your answer: the more you remove socialism from the market, the more individuals are able to give, on their own initiative, to the poor. <--Is that your answer?

gib wrote:That you now have socialized medical care, does not mean that it is some sort of right, that it was predestined or that it is incontrovertibly better. Only that, it is something you have grown to take for granted... Like a slave and slavery... (Does that sound too crazy an analogy?)


Yes, of course it does! :lol: I really don't feel like a slave. I think there's some forms of slavery you just don't grow accustomed to, and the socialism of Canada isn't one of them. Do I take it for granted? Of course! Is it slavery? No, that's a bad analogy. Again, at this point, I don't think you understood my position vis-a-vis my question above: how do the worst off in a society become better by taking away socialism?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:It is hard to know what is going to raise the standard of living. But, it is the best way to raise how "badly" even the poor people live.


Because the middle class will be more able to give to the poor. Is that right?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:We cannot save everyone, but we can make it easier for as many people as possible to live well.


Including as many of the poor that the socialists and liberals are (allegedly) concerned about, correct?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Be glad your Canadian then, because they often reap the positive results of the US facing the cold.


What do you mean by this? You mentioned earlier that because of the price-cap on Canadian drugs, the US is forced to put its own cap on its drugs, stifling innovation and creativity. I didn't understand this well enough, so I googled some stuff. I'm not very good at googling, but I found these two sites that *seem* to be saying the same thing:

http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/evidencene ... hives/7561
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/521378_3

Basically, the gist I got from these is that the price-cap on Canadian drugs means that it's cheaper for Americans to buy their drugs from Canada, which means that in order for American drug companies to compete, they too must lower their prices--essentially creating a "virtual" price-cap.

Is that right?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Yes, doctors give time all the time. Volunteering in the US is borderline required socially, especially for Conservatives (who do look down on you if you do not, you either need help, or you are giving help)...


Well, Eric, this is one of those moments when I'm happy to be wrong.

But let me dug a little deeper: is this social custom dependent on conservative attitudes? On Christianity? I'd like to think this humanitarian impulse comes out of human nature itself in the free market that you're envisioning. Do you think it does?

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I was only proving that people give to charity... That is all you asked for.

Actually, what I asked was:
If you want me to be convinced socialism is suppressing some immense wellspring of charitable efforts good Christians are just so eager to bestow onto the sick and the poor, the burden falls on you.
But you answered this below:

It is significantly reduced in socialism. Because it is "taken care of by the government." And because everyone gets "their share" and no more is allowed. (This is more prevalent in Communism, but it still happens to a degree in socialism. People can only give so much, because the government does not allow them to have more.)


The bold text was the insight I was waiting for.

So this is good. The picture your trying to paint for me is finally becoming clear. Let me see if I've got this right:

The trick to alleviating poverty and disease among the poor and needy, in a free market economy, is to allow the rich to get richer. By doing so, they bring the middle class up. When the middle class raises their standards of living (by becoming more wealthy), they have more money to give to the poor.

^^ Is this correct, Eric?

Now, at this point, I think I agree with a few of the reactionaries to the studies we went over a few posts ago. These guys here:

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik ... story.html
http://www.science20.com/adaptive_compl ... servatives

The first one in particular states: "The bottom line, according to the MIT study, was that 'liberals are no more or less generous than conservatives once we adjust for differences in church attendance and income.'"

This addresses my concern about how well a measure donations towards religious organizations is of meeting the needs of the poor and needy. It is, at best, an indirect measure, if a measure at all (i.e. if it actually gets to the poor and needy). On the other hand, it could count as an answer to my question above: is this display of humanitarian spirit dependent on conservatism and Christianity, or does it come out of something deep within human nature herself? If conservatives and liberals give equally, then maybe this is suggestive of the goodness of mankind overall (please don't attack this, Eric, it supports your more general position).

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:The problem in this case is that they set it up to collect the data they wanted. I want to know how the study was run as much as the results, and don't usually accept something until I know.


That's great! And I knew that! Of course I did. It was my own suggestion. I made it earlier in this thread! :lol:

gib wrote:In other words, if a study reports that it arrived at conclusion X, and it clearly lays out the method it used to get there, and you deem that method to be relatively robust in the sense that it significantly limits the influence of personal biases and agendas, then the only way you could maintain that the study is significantly untrustworthy is if you suspect they lied about the methodology they used or the results that it got, and that requires something more that mere bias or personal agenda. It requires conscious and very deliberate corruption.


Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Then you must understand what is the sample, a data collection on the internet via a survey, is a great example of something with a bias. It is bias against people that don't use the internet, it is also bias against people unwilling to take surveys on the internet. So, the sample is very much, people willing to take surveys on the internet... Which says some things about the people, such as, a more extrovert personality, wealth enough to have internet and a computer casually (which is more and more people, thanks to innovation), and possibly, board... Cuz why else, except money, would someone take a survey?


Thanks. That's a good suggestion as well.

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:So in conclusion, Boobies are great. Everyone loves them (even gay guys. Yes, I've asked.)


Consulting my own personal experiences, I concur. :D

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Also, I think what I've always thought, people that'll break the law and kill someone with a gun, isn't going to be too worried about breaking the law to get a gun, to go illegally kill someone... Making it more difficult to get gun, tends to only make it more difficult for people that are going to obey the law... The 5 day waiting period doesn't really bother me either... But, probably, I'd take it out of being a federal law and allow the states to decide on the laws within their own state... For the most part...


Okay, well, that gives me partial relief. It says that you understand the importance of taking baby steps. Overturning the order of things overnight can be a disaster no matter how good your intentions or how cock sure you are that you're right (I've always thought of it as amazing that you guys have 50 states with which to conduct social and political experiments--not that you'd use any state as a guinea pig, but it's like an observational science (as opposed to an experimental one), like astronomy: you just observe and wait for interesting things to happen--you in the States have got such an opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about the nature of politics and society).

I'm sorry if I offended by suggesting that you wouldn't care if the murder rate went up as a result of lifting all background checks and passes. I was only trying to point out what I thought was a very important mental exercise that we all ought to practice every now and then: distinguish between why you argue the points you argue--because you can vouch that you are right or just to win the argument. When people make claims and argue for positions that, if implemented, could risk human lives, I worry. It brings peace of mind to know when they are aware of that distinction and understand its importance.

* But if you accept this image, you would still have to reconcile the fact that this vision is not merely a returning to the original Constitution but a surpassing of it all together.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:16 am

lizbethrose wrote:You are a dangerous person, ucci, because you are so mistaken. But when you publish what I've underlined in your quote to gib, you become a very dangerous person, indeed. Margaret Sanger was not a Marxist; she was not a eugenicist; and the organization she started, now called Planned Parenthood was not started as a "socialist racial hygiene organization."


I'm not going to argue with you because there's no point. I know reality, you would too if you wanted to, and anybody who is reading this conversation can verify which one of us is telling the truth about Sanger for themselves with their internet connection. She was a racist and a eugenicist, and saw contraception as a vital key to promoting racial purity- along with the forced sterilization of those with low IQ.
About the only thing I got wrong about Sanger- and you're going to love the irony here- is that in fact she was pro life and thought it was immoral to end a pregnancy after conception. Planned Parenthood waited until immediately after her death to take the next step and actually start killing unwanted fetuses. So go ahead and defend that pro-life racist eugenicist all you want, but I don't know what it is you have in common with her that you think is worth defending.

My apologies, dear sir. I thought my rant was over when I pm'd gib earlier, but I guess it wasn't. Please, please, I've asked you this repeatedly, tell us where you get your 'information!' You don't need to cite anything other than direct quotes, I know, but tell us, if you can, how you arrived at your conclusions. At least, qualify what you say. When you make statements such as the one above--that are clearly erroneous and can be shown to be so--tell us, please, how you, as an intelligent person who, I hope, is able to think, came to your ideas.


I'm not getting in a quote war with you about common sense matters that you could verify for yourself in 30 seconds, that aren't even controversial. I've played this game before, and we both know you'll just reject any source that isn't lefty enough for you; that's how the game is played when you're on the wrong side of the argument. Anybody interested in Margaret Sanger is encouraged to study up on her independently of what I say, or what you say, and I think we both know the conclusion they will come to.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:42 am

gib wrote:Ucci,

In regards to the full academic who understands Marxist theory inside and out, would you say they are the master-minds behind the Democratic party?


If it works anything like conservatism re: republicans, no. Being a politician involves compromising ideals to get popular approval, so these types aren't going to be the political upper crust. They are going to be the academic upper crust. The Master-minds behind the Democratic party are those that have to decide how much Marxism to adopt, and how fast.

In other words, would you say the Democrats are the party of the far left (those who understand and fully believe in Marxism) or would you say they represent the moderate left (believing in some socialist principles but not others).


I would say that they have to behave in a moderate-left fashion in order to win elections, but that in reality they are a mix of all of the above.

This is important because you described Obama as either a dupe or a player. By "player" I understand you to mean a Marxist. But I wonder if you mean "player" in the sense that he's playing the system, even the Marxists, in his own personal game. Not that he's really secretly a conservative, but that he's a moderate liberal--someone who thinks some socialist principles are right but not others--and uses some of the more hardcore Marxists to gain power (in that the Marxists are the main source of intellectual support for the Democrats).


I don't know enough about the man to say. What I will speculate is that he's a far-left type who is shrewd enough about Marxism to know that you can't go too far down that path and get votes. Furthermore, he cares enough about the existence of the United States that when he came into power and actually became privy to the real state of world affairs, he was forced to change his outlook, or at least his practice. If you compare what he said as a Senator to what he's done as a President, he has become much more hawkish. So either a lot of what he said on the campaign trail was bullshit, or he learned something when he got in the Big Chair that made him re-assess.
My overall impression of him is that he's out of his element. He's good a speaking, good at campaigning, but doesn't really know what to do when his rhetorical points don't translate very well into practice. In other words, he's a leftist version of what I'd be like if I was a president.


I think something like this could even be true of the full academics. Being versed in socialist and Marxist theory means you'd know it inside-out, but that doesn't mean you'd agree with everything it says.


I'd be an example of that in theory, if I went on to grad school in Poli-Sci.

However, I would think that being experienced in a particular philosophy will, over time, have the effect on one of making certain aspects of it seem plausible or good while not necessarily others. I mean even if you start out being a devote conservative, if you study Marxist or socialist theory long enough, there'll probably come a point when you give in to the evidence or reasoning of the theory and say "ok, maybe that aspect of it ain't so bad."


Right. So in my experience, I agree with Marx's phrasing of problems to an extent; man's alienation from his labor really is a cause of a lot of suffering. I think his mistakes were twofold- insisting on a materialistic understanding of the human condition, and mimicking Feuerbach's approach to philosophy, which is basically to engage in speculative anthropology and call it philosophy.

So even these scholars of Marxism might eventually become moderate leftists but not necessarily so overtaken by their knowledge of the theory to become completely aligned with it.


Well, no. What we would expect is that these people would be experts in political theory and so would be as well versed in Marxism as they are in libertarianism, conservativism and so on. IN other words, learning about Marx wouldn't necessarily be pushing them to the left, because they'd also be learning the criticisms of and alternatives to Marx. Except, of course, we know that actually doesn't happen in our schools. Your country doesn't have freedom of speech and mine has complete political subversion of the academy, so yeah- people who learn Marx are likely to become Marxists because of the way it is being taught.

--so you would know; in your encounters, have you been able to tell a difference between hardcore Marxists and those who, though they know a lot about Marxism, are able to maintain a moderate position?


I don't like to resort to personal anecdote. I wasn't taught by any moderate Marxists from what I could tell, but I was taught by those that saw the value of having a moderate presentation. So, it was Marxists that were overt and honest about their attempts to make every student they taught a Marxist on one hand, and Marxists who believed in presenting the reasons they were a Marxist along side some criticisms and alternatives on the other.

I guess another way of asking what I'm asking is: is it possible to be an extreme moderate? That is, to believe in some left-wing ideas but not others and stick to your guns against the forces that would pull you in one direction or the other.


If the question is "Is it possible for a person to believe X", then the answer is "yes", for any X. That's been my experience anyway.

I have a feeling that's Barack Obama for you. If you want to know the truth, my personal feel is that, as the first black president, he felt that he had to leave something for the black community sometime during his presidency, and coming from a black community himself, he understood the struggles of poor black families especially when it came to doctor's bills. So he created Obamacare so that the black community could say that having the first president who represented their people was not in vein.


This would be another example of what I mean when I say racism is primarily a leftist phenomenon.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Uccisore wrote:So either a lot of what he said on the campaign trail was bullshit, or he learned something when he got in the Big Chair that made him re-assess.


Well, it's rare for a politician to learn anything, and they're always bullshitting, so we all know that answer to that.

Uccisore wrote:Your country doesn't have freedom of speech...


It doesn't?!?! Are you talking about limitations on hate speech?

Uccisore wrote:I don't like to resort to personal anecdote. I wasn't taught by any moderate Marxists from what I could tell, but I was taught by those that saw the value of having a moderate presentation. So, it was Marxists that were overt and honest about their attempts to make every student they taught a Marxist on one hand, and Marxists who believed in presenting the reasons they were a Marxist along side some criticisms and alternatives on the other.


Poor you. :lol:

Uccisore wrote:This would be another example of what I mean when I say racism is primarily a leftist phenomenon.


How do you mean? Because Obama was concerned only for the black community in America?
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:16 pm

gib wrote:Well, it's rare for a politician to learn anything, and they're always bullshitting, so we all know that answer to that.


I'm not so sure about that.

Uccisore wrote:It doesn't?!?! Are you talking about limitations on hate speech?


The last I heard, you can be brought before a human rights tribunal for referencing portions of the Bible that say things about homosexuality that aren't approved by the State, and I'm sure similar rules apply to ideas about race and gender. I know that a big part of the law that was resulting people being drug into court for twitter comments and such was recently overturned, so maybe I'm wrong now, you'll have to tell me.

This would be another example of the 1984-style leftist control over language that I'm talking about. The reality is that the expression of certain political opinions in Canada is (was?) criminalized. However, those opinions are called 'hate speech' instead of 'political opinions', so it doesn't seem like a big deal. The idea is that people have a harder time even conceptualizing that people who disagree with state-approved political views can be rational people.

Uccisore wrote:Poor you. :lol:


And that's why I don't bother with personal anecdotes.

Uccisore wrote:How do you mean? Because Obama was concerned only for the black community in America?


Well, yes. If he takes a political office with a primary goal of changing the country to benefit his race, he's a racist. Seems pretty straightforward to me.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:21 pm

Uccisore wrote:I'm not so sure about that.


I know, it was a bad joke.

Uccisore wrote:The last I heard, you can be brought before a human rights tribunal for referencing portions of the Bible that say things about homosexuality that aren't approved by the State, and I'm sure similar rules apply to ideas about race and gender. I know that a big part of the law that was resulting people being drug into court for twitter comments and such was recently overturned, so maybe I'm wrong now, you'll have to tell me.

This would be another example of the 1984-style leftist control over language that I'm talking about. The reality is that the expression of certain political opinions in Canada is (was?) criminalized. However, those opinions are called 'hate speech' instead of 'political opinions', so it doesn't seem like a big deal. The idea is that people have a harder time even conceptualizing that people who disagree with state-approved political views can be rational people.


It's quite possible. I'll have to do my research and get back to you (but don't hold your breath). One of these days long after I'm done with this thread, I'll have to find a Canadian politics thread and learn about my own government.

"Hate speech" is a term given to nefarious uses, however much it might have been intended for the right uses, as almost anything can be subsumed under the term given clever enough stringing together of connections to actual harm that some speech utterance might cause. I guess this would fall under Eric's "unenforceable laws" as it is patently difficult to identify what counts as hate speech and what doesn't (I mean, there are the obvious cases, but there are ambiguous cases, and even cases which normal rational people would think are obviously not hate speech but some malignants patch together an argument that makes it seem like hate speech).

But just FYI, if you tell a Canadian he has no free speech, he's probably going to laugh at you.

Uccisore wrote:Poor you. :lol:

And that's why I don't bother with personal anecdotes.


Again, bad joke.

Uccisore wrote:Well, yes. If takes a political office with a primary goal of changing the country to benefit his race, he's a racist. You used the term 'reverse racism' earlier. Are you used to thinking of racism as being something only white people can do?


No, I know racism is something anyone can be towards any other race (or even one's own). When I used "reverse racism", it was when I still had the image of the liberal as one who was against race discrimination (as opposed to the other strain of liberal whom you're connecting with Marxism and eugenics), so it was difficult for me to square the idea of a "racist liberal"--except in the sense of reverse racism which I can see many liberals being.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:37 pm

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:It doesn't degrade all the time, which is part of the problem, it just limits growth. It is an attempt to stop the ups and downs of the market so they work in a predictable manner, as a result there is no dynamic entropy to help create. The soviet union failed because it could not keep up with the US, I imagine, if they had no one they were competing against, it might still exist. Socialism is putting walls around your space so no outsiders can get in...


Okay, but that's a con for socialism, not a net balance. The confusion between the two is a common fallacy made by many--you can list out the pros and cons of a system (or a philosophy, or a methodology, or just about anything) but we sometimes identify certain cons and mistake them for conclusive evidence that the system (or philosophy, or methodology) is an all-out failure (<-- I'm calling this a "net balance"). Insulin is a life saving treatment for diabetes... but the needle can hurt a little, therefore insulin is bad. Insofar as you're pointing out a con of socialism, I agree with you, but I don't think that's sufficient for concluding that socialism is bad across the board (though it might be bad in 90% of its applications).
Yes, like buying a car, and being told, if it goes above 50 it explodes, is a Con... Cars only reach the point of efficiency when they go above 50. So, sure, I'll accept that it is a con, but then you have to explain why we need socialism, if the only thing it can do is not be efficient enough to help everyone...

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:To be fair, the area's with less state money involved are often just dirt roads... It's a scottish thing.
You mean with more fed money?...
Yes, that is what I meant, I was thinking state as another word for government.

gib wrote:and the Scots are to blame?
No, but sorta yes. One of the biggest reasons the North won in the Civil War was because of infrastructure. The North had nicely paved roads and railroads and all that junk. The South, being largely made up of northern scots moving to America to get away from the English government, didn't care for such things. There are writings of people noting that the scots would rather walk through the stream than build a bridge. It was also a problem in Scotland for years, until they started smartening up, possibly because the most grumpy and disagreeable moved to America, particularly the South... The North did not win because they had better people, or anything like that... The south sent their kids to military school all the time, and often kicked the shit out of the north, right until they started running out of things... The costs to move anything around was higher in the south, because of the lack of infrastructure... (This is one of many reasons, not the only reason.) (Another book worth looking at: Black Rednecks and White Liberals, by (THE MAN) Thomas Sowell)

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I talked to a guy working on his phd in economics this weekend (it was the most interesting conversation I had all weekend, and it ended with both of us throwing our hands up at the lack of people that want to talk about economics). He pointed out something, fashion, as in the clothes and such, is one of the most innovative fields out there, changing every year. People bring in new ideas every chance they get and it is a billion dollar industry, with houses that go back thousands of years. It is also a completely unprotected field (unlike medicine). So, we might see even more innovation in the medical industry, using that as an example, if we removed all traces of protection from it... Fashion also has a large amount of failures year to year, as an aspect of chasing down every "new" idea, so we might also see a lot more death...
gib wrote:And what are we to conclude?
He pointed it out because of an economic theory I presented. (Freedom of information vs protected innovation) In this case, I am presenting the idea that if we stop protecting the medical productions, even for the short time we do, we might see more innovation not less... It's a theory alone though, a mental exercise.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I am saying that we must rely on government for the things government can do, without fucking up too badly. If we relying on them for anything that they can really screw up, people are much worse off. Roads are not exactly rocket science (which by the way is almost exclusively private market now), yet they still consistently have trouble with the application... Are these the people you want to be in charge of your health? Think of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, on birth control. It took, probably, millions of dollars for it to reach the Court in the first place, that is not including all of the people that were put on hold while waiting for a ruling, just to find out, that the employer doesn't have to pay for it... But, the same people that want it, can instead pay for it themselves. We spend millions, for something that less than 10 years ago, is exactly what was happening anyway... And every time someone has a problem, we must go through that process, while hoping it's not a serious issue and someone dies, so that the government can be in charge. It is inefficient at best.
I think the bold text is the right way to say what (I think) you're trying to say. It might need further refining, but I'd stick with that for now. This is basically the core of the conservative's philosophy if I'm not mistaken, correct? I think it's what you and Ucci were trying to get across earlier in this thread. You (or was it Ucci) said the Constitution was a kind of blue print of the government's function. So the kinds of social services that would be "necessary" for the government to do would be those it was charged with doing in the original draft (i.e. the Constitution).
Sure.

gib wrote:Now, Liz tried starting with this premise in one of her arguments:

Lizbethrose wrote:So, one preliminary conclusion is we all want what is best. I asked myself if that had been put into words in the US, and of course, it had--in the Preamble to our constitution. We know that government is needed in a society as large as ours and we outlined what we wanted that government to do for us in the Preamble: To form a union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

We have our union of 50 states that started with 13. We're a democratic republic; our economic system is Capitalism. Our Courts, based on the rule of law and precedence, establish justice; we have police and fire departments to help with our tranquility; we have a huge military to defend us and, supposedly, keep our liberty secure. How do we promote the general welfare?


...to which you said "practice".

I can understand what you mean by that now: that individuals must take on the yoke of promoting the general welfare through charitable acts out of their own free choice.
Well, that and I'm a horrible smart ass.

gib wrote:But then it's not the government doing that, is it?
I'd prefer no.

gib wrote:I understand that you think this would be a good thing, but does it mean striking this clause from the preamble?
I would if I could... No, I really would. I think it is a rhetorical flourish added on because it sounds good. All of the preamble stuff is... These were not set down as laws, the were set down to start off a writing. The laws were set down after that, these are just the intentions meant by those laws.

gib wrote:And if so, why not every other clause in the Preamble?
Rhetorical flourish is not a justification to take away freedoms.

gib wrote: Establishing justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense... these are all things which, unless I'm misunderstanding, you say should be privatized. That doesn't sound like a return to the original draft.
No, I want the "common defense" provided for, it's called the judicial branch and the military, both outlined in the Constitution. Justice and domestic tranquility are also dealt with via the different branches of the government, as they are set out in the Constitution... Why do you think that all of them, except promoting the general welfare was not?

gib wrote:I thought about his for a while and I thought of another sense in which we could say these original functions of government might be, at first, "necessary". Imagine you picked a country and, somehow, magically, you waved your magic wand to make the government disappear. What do you think would happen? Would a free market in which fair business practices took place, and people acted philanthropically towards the poor and needy, suddenly spring up? Or would it be more akin to anarchy and lawlessness, like we saw in Iraq when you guys took down the Bath Party? <-- The latter seems more realistic to me.
It could be a lot of things, the individual society has a lot to do with what would happen... I also think that would be another thread. But my primary response is, I don't want the government all gone, I am not a Anarchist.

gib wrote:I'm just speculating here, but it seems reasonable to me to suppose that a nation that starts off in anarchy, with no law and order, eventually comes out of the chaos by way of war lords posing themselves in the place of dictator. We could even bring in Machiavelli here to remind us that it requires the strong arm of a brutal tyrant to maintain some semblance of law and order, and ultimately civility, but even Machiavelli understood this to be only a phase through which a society moves from anarchy toward republicanism.
This government was created out of that same anarchy. Humans build, they grow. There is no reason to believe that we'd turn into a mad max situation... I think that for the most part people would figure out, we don't really need the government, at least not in every aspect of our lives. And there is part of me that goes along with James at times, thinking, and this is what the government is truly afraid of people learning. But, that is hard to believe if you don't believe in conspiracies, which I don't...

gib wrote:So maybe the move into republicanism must be a smooth transition--not an over night flip--such that when it begins to emerge, and the people notice it, there must still be some remnants of the strong arm of the tyrant, some grip the government must impose on the system such that the burgeoning new republic doesn't errupt too quickly and thereby unravel itself into chaos and lawlessness.

So back 2 and a half centuries ago, when the founding fathers of your country decided to begin a new nation, fighting off the red coats, do you think they would be so daft as to start off the country with no government?
Nope, and that is why we had two, one to start with and fail, then the current one...

gib wrote:With no law and order, without some arm reaching in to make sure anarchy and chaos wouldn't be how it made its sudden debut (and just as suddenly its denouement)?

Maybe that is the sense in which it was necessary--not in that this is the prima facia model for all republican governments to follow, but in that it is necessary as a transition phase into what you are envisioning as a totally free and unbridled market place. In plain English, it's necessary at first, but only in order to fade into oblivion as free market forces slowly merge into the fore*.
Nothing is necessary, nothing is guaranteed, nothing is predestined. "We are never more than one generation away from tyranny."

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Medical care is different than health insurance. Not having government supplied medical care is, also, not the same as not having medical care... Someone wanting government medical care must prove that it is better than non government supplied medical care. That is what I ask for, because you are starting with, "socialism is better, Eric, you must prove it is not."
No, that is not what I'm starting with. I explained later that...

gib wrote:I'm not saying everyone fairs better with socialism, I'm saying that no one gets left out in the cold--it's a trade off: you sacrifice quality for universality (and much lower cost)...
Actually, it costs quite a bit more to everyone involved. Just not to everyone individually.

gib wrote:What I'm really asking is: how do the worst off in a society become better by taking away socialism, and I mean for this to be taken as a question, not a statement, for which there is nothing for me to prove. By this point, however, I think I got your answer: the more you remove socialism from the market, the more individuals are able to give, on their own initiative, to the poor. <--Is that your answer?
That is part. I think of it like a pie. (This pertains to the average standard of living too.) Progressives, and you with this question, worry about how much of a slice everyone gets. That one person may have a bigger slice than another. This is also why I call the poverty line arbitrary, it means what the political force behind it want it to mean. I don't care that one person has a bigger slice, I care about making the pie bigger. If we make the pie bigger, we make it so everyone has enough. Socialism and communism is attempting to distribute the pie evenly, not understanding that by doing so the pie stays the same size and everyone suffers.

gib wrote:
gib wrote:That you now have socialized medical care, does not mean that it is some sort of right, that it was predestined or that it is incontrovertibly better. Only that, it is something you have grown to take for granted... Like a slave and slavery... (Does that sound too crazy an analogy?)
Yes, of course it does! :lol: I really don't feel like a slave. I think there's some forms of slavery you just don't grow accustomed to, and the socialism of Canada isn't one of them. Do I take it for granted? Of course! Is it slavery? No, that's a bad analogy. Again, at this point, I don't think you understood my position vis-a-vis my question above: how do the worst off in a society become better by taking away socialism?
How do the worst off in a society become better by giving it to them? It may be possible to create a status, so that no one changes, but are they made better? Socialism is stagnation.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:It is hard to know what is going to raise the standard of living. But, it is the best way to raise how "badly" even the poor people live.
Because the middle class will be more able to give to the poor. Is that right?
And the rich, as they have more to give, generally... But what if instead we did our best to make everyone rich, then worry about the differences between one arbitrary group and another.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:We cannot save everyone, but we can make it easier for as many people as possible to live well.
Including as many of the poor that the socialists and liberals are (allegedly) concerned about, correct?
Sure.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Be glad your Canadian then, because they often reap the positive results of the US facing the cold.
What do you mean by this? You mentioned earlier that because of the price-cap on Canadian drugs, the US is forced to put its own cap on its drugs, stifling innovation and creativity. I didn't understand this well enough, so I googled some stuff. I'm not very good at googling, but I found these two sites that *seem* to be saying the same thing:

http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/evidencene ... hives/7561
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/521378_3

Basically, the gist I got from these is that the price-cap on Canadian drugs means that it's cheaper for Americans to buy their drugs from Canada, which means that in order for American drug companies to compete, they too must lower their prices--essentially creating a "virtual" price-cap.

Is that right?
I'll take that as your conclusion. But, repeatedly through history economists have shown that in an open market, entrepreneurs have no control over price. If Canada is forcing a price to be lower that the production cost, than what is not getting paid. And if money is being lost, what reason do people have to invest in the production of new medicines? Charity only goes so far, and wouldn't it be smarter to rely on peoples desire to make their lives better to help everyone else.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Yes, doctors give time all the time. Volunteering in the US is borderline required socially, especially for Conservatives (who do look down on you if you do not, you either need help, or you are giving help)...


Well, Eric, this is one of those moments when I'm happy to be wrong.
Go to a local Christian church, I don't know if you have a denomination, but even with none, most of them'll help you. And these are the same people that won't want Same-Sex marriage, because they think it is harmful to those involved. People care, people give what they can, even if sometimes its an opinion that you don't want.

gib wrote:But let me dug a little deeper: is this social custom dependent on conservative attitudes? On Christianity? I'd like to think this humanitarian impulse comes out of human nature itself in the free market that you're envisioning. Do you think it does?
I do. But People need to have enough that they feel safe to give. If you limit how much they have, they have less to give. Is it limited to conservative attitudes, no, I think the great majority of Liberals want to help people. Like, Liz, I think she is a good person, that really cares. I just don't think there is enough proof that socialism actually helps, that transferring the freedom of decisions to "specialists" and "experts" is going to make things better.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:I was only proving that people give to charity... That is all you asked for.
Actually, what I asked was:
If you want me to be convinced socialism is suppressing some immense wellspring of charitable efforts good Christians are just so eager to bestow onto the sick and the poor, the burden falls on you.
But you answered this below:

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:It is significantly reduced in socialism. Because it is "taken care of by the government." And because everyone gets "their share" and no more is allowed. (This is more prevalent in Communism, but it still happens to a degree in socialism. People can only give so much, because the government does not allow them to have more.)
YEAH! :lol:

gib wrote:The bold text was the insight I was waiting for.

So this is good. The picture your trying to paint for me is finally becoming clear. Let me see if I've got this right:

The trick to alleviating poverty and disease among the poor and needy, in a free market economy, is to allow the rich to get richer. By doing so, they bring the middle class up. When the middle class raises their standards of living (by becoming more wealthy), they have more money to give to the poor.

^^ Is this correct, Eric?
The rich getting richer is a externality. I don't care about it, though it happens when we try to get the poor less poor. If we let it go, stop fighting the "class struggle." We should be much better off.

gib wrote:Now, at this point, I think I agree with a few of the reactionaries to the studies we went over a few posts ago. These guys here:

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik ... story.html
http://www.science20.com/adaptive_compl ... servatives

The first one in particular states: "The bottom line, according to the MIT study, was that 'liberals are no more or less generous than conservatives once we adjust for differences in church attendance and income.'"

This addresses my concern about how well a measure donations towards religious organizations is of meeting the needs of the poor and needy. It is, at best, an indirect measure, if a measure at all (i.e. if it actually gets to the poor and needy). On the other hand, it could count as an answer to my question above: is this display of humanitarian spirit dependent on conservatism and Christianity, or does it come out of something deep within human nature herself? If conservatives and liberals give equally, then maybe this is suggestive of the goodness of mankind overall (please don't attack this, Eric, it supports your more general position).
It is all wrong. ;-) :lol:

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:The problem in this case is that they set it up to collect the data they wanted. I want to know how the study was run as much as the results, and don't usually accept something until I know.


That's great! And I knew that! Of course I did. It was my own suggestion. I made it earlier in this thread! :lol:

gib wrote:In other words, if a study reports that it arrived at conclusion X, and it clearly lays out the method it used to get there, and you deem that method to be relatively robust in the sense that it significantly limits the influence of personal biases and agendas, then the only way you could maintain that the study is significantly untrustworthy is if you suspect they lied about the methodology they used or the results that it got, and that requires something more that mere bias or personal agenda. It requires conscious and very deliberate corruption.


gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Then you must understand what is the sample, a data collection on the internet via a survey, is a great example of something with a bias. It is bias against people that don't use the internet, it is also bias against people unwilling to take surveys on the internet. So, the sample is very much, people willing to take surveys on the internet... Which says some things about the people, such as, a more extrovert personality, wealth enough to have internet and a computer casually (which is more and more people, thanks to innovation), and possibly, board... Cuz why else, except money, would someone take a survey?


Thanks. That's a good suggestion as well.
Sure. It never hurts to help.

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:So in conclusion, Boobies are great. Everyone loves them (even gay guys. Yes, I've asked.)


Consulting my own personal experiences, I concur. :D
The best response I got to the question of, "So, do you just not like a great set of tits?" was, "Naw, tits are great, I just like dick more."

gib wrote:
Eric_The_Pipe wrote:Also, I think what I've always thought, people that'll break the law and kill someone with a gun, isn't going to be too worried about breaking the law to get a gun, to go illegally kill someone... Making it more difficult to get gun, tends to only make it more difficult for people that are going to obey the law... The 5 day waiting period doesn't really bother me either... But, probably, I'd take it out of being a federal law and allow the states to decide on the laws within their own state... For the most part...


Okay, well, that gives me partial relief. It says that you understand the importance of taking baby steps. Overturning the order of things overnight can be a disaster no matter how good your intentions or how cock sure you are that you're right (I've always thought of it as amazing that you guys have 50 states with which to conduct social and political experiments--not that you'd use any state as a guinea pig, but it's like an observational science (as opposed to an experimental one), like astronomy: you just observe and wait for interesting things to happen--you in the States have got such an opportunity to learn a hell of a lot about the nature of politics and society).

I'm sorry if I offended by suggesting that you wouldn't care if the murder rate went up as a result of lifting all background checks and passes. I was only trying to point out what I thought was a very important mental exercise that we all ought to practice every now and then: distinguish between why you argue the points you argue--because you can vouch that you are right or just to win the argument. When people make claims and argue for positions that, if implemented, could risk human lives, I worry. It brings peace of mind to know when they are aware of that distinction and understand its importance.
I left it open on purpose to laugh at the response.

gib wrote:* But if you accept this image, you would still have to reconcile the fact that this vision is not merely a returning to the original Constitution but a surpassing of it all together.
I already acknowledge that, to a point. I find the lack of allowing everyone to vote, or slaves being 3/5th's a person to be a frustrating black eye, even while acknowledging the difference in time and society. I would make several changes, including removing any and all references to sex and skin color, and the possibility for slavery...
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:40 pm

gib wrote:No, I know racism is something anyone can be towards any other race (or even one's own). When I used "reverse racism", it was when I still had the image of the liberal as one who was against race discrimination (as opposed to the other strain of liberal whom you're connecting with Marxism and eugenics), so it was difficult for me to square the idea of a "racist liberal"--except in the sense of reverse racism which I can see many liberals being.
Reverse racism is where you're racist while walking backwards, right?
“Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his ‘basic rights’” – An old saying rewritten by a follower of Thomas Sowell

"It's true that the bastards would win. But we shouldn't shut down a system just because the bastards win. A good system should be like a hamster wheel for bastards hooked up an electric generator. A well designed system is not one that prevents bastards from winning, but one that generates a lot of positive externalities from bastards trying to beat each other. And that's exactly what markets do. Markets entice bastards, they reward bastards, and the bastards love them, but as they operate they generate a lot of good that inadvertently benefits everyone else." - Carleas

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