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Why Socialism? Him's soap box.
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Monkey Mcdermott



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A U.K. or Canada style health care system for one so that people in what middle class is left can stop fearing illness induced poverty. Removing the ceiling on the social security tax and implementing legislation that prevents congress from stealing money from the fund. Capital Gains being treated as normal income and taxed at the standard rate. A return to 50's 60's era rates for the upper tax rates with corresponding tax breaks for living wage american jobs created.


Lesseeee, the temptation for a national energy company mandated by law to only sell the resources it extracts in the U.S. is pretty tempting. An expression of american power against countries behaving as tax havens would probably be a more appropriate use of the "stick" aspect of governance.


I'd probably say shear the defense budget way down...we don't need a navy larger than the next 10 largest navies in the world. Use some of the money from that to governmentally fund research into more efficient forms of green energy since this is another thing "the market" hates to do, fund expensive research that might not have the ability to be monetized until decades later.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i really can't waste time listening to a half-hour cato video - what was that one about, anyway - Our Exploding Debt, and How it is Destroying America?

but really, Kenshiro was the one who brought the subject up, he should start by presenting his ideas.
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Kenshiro



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I try to focus not so much on specific policies, but rather on principles gleaned as much as possible from irrefutable observable truths. So I start with:

1. Human beings are imperfect. We can be heroic, and we can be inspiring, but in the end we are all flawed beings.

2. The power that government has is the power of Force - it is the ability to impose restrictions upon your actions - and everyone's actions - whether or not you want them and whether or not you agree with them.

3. Freedom is a good thing. It is a quality in life and in people that is worth striving for.

From those basic ideas, other assumptions follow, and we can observe some other basic truths:

4. Freedom is inherent in nature - we all carry within us the ability to make our own choices. Thus, governments cannot grant you liberty, because you already had it before the government came along. It pre-exists.

5. When governments choose to act, their primary method of action is to restrict liberty. In many ways, this is their ONLY source of action - they can't GIVE you freedom, because you are born free so by default all they can do is restrict your freedoms.

6. Governments cannot force action from someone. They can impose inaction, but no force in all the universe can take the ability to resist from our minds. Likewise, the only force that can drive people to achieve true excellence - the kind of excellence that ends up benefiting all of society in the long run - comes from within. People have to WANT it, and government cannot forcibly instill that kind of drive into a person. Thus government's options in the end boil down to two: persuade, and murder.

7. Governments, being made up of people, CANNOT foresee all of the consequences of their actions. There will always be unintended consequences from every government action, and sometimes the consequences might even accomplish the opposite of the intended goal.

8. Good public policy evaluation is not based upon the intentions of the policy-makers, but rather upon the incentives that it creates within the populace.

9. Once the government gets involved in an issue, it tends to stay involved in that issue. For better or worse, there's usually no turning back.

Now, when I take all of those things into account, I am often left with one conclusion:

As a general rule, government intervention - while it CAN be a good thing - should be treated like one would treat a firearm: if at all possible, avoid using it at all, and if you MUST use it, do so only as a last resort.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

even granting those assumptions (several of which i doubt), you don't seem to be actually disagreeing with anyone
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Him



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenshiro wrote:
I try to focus not so much on specific policies, but rather on principles gleaned as much as possible from irrefutable observable truths. So I start with:

1. Human beings are imperfect. We can be heroic, and we can be inspiring, but in the end we are all flawed beings.

2. The power that government has is the power of Force - it is the ability to impose restrictions upon your actions - and everyone's actions - whether or not you want them and whether or not you agree with them.

3. Freedom is a good thing. It is a quality in life and in people that is worth striving for.

From those basic ideas, other assumptions follow, and we can observe some other basic truths:

4. Freedom is inherent in nature - we all carry within us the ability to make our own choices. Thus, governments cannot grant you liberty, because you already had it before the government came along. It pre-exists.

5. When governments choose to act, their primary method of action is to restrict liberty. In many ways, this is their ONLY source of action - they can't GIVE you freedom, because you are born free so by default all they can do is restrict your freedoms.

6. Governments cannot force action from someone. They can impose inaction, but no force in all the universe can take the ability to resist from our minds. Likewise, the only force that can drive people to achieve true excellence - the kind of excellence that ends up benefiting all of society in the long run - comes from within. People have to WANT it, and government cannot forcibly instill that kind of drive into a person. Thus government's options in the end boil down to two: persuade, and murder.

7. Governments, being made up of people, CANNOT foresee all of the consequences of their actions. There will always be unintended consequences from every government action, and sometimes the consequences might even accomplish the opposite of the intended goal.

8. Good public policy evaluation is not based upon the intentions of the policy-makers, but rather upon the incentives that it creates within the populace.

9. Once the government gets involved in an issue, it tends to stay involved in that issue. For better or worse, there's usually no turning back.

Now, when I take all of those things into account, I am often left with one conclusion:

As a general rule, government intervention - while it CAN be a good thing - should be treated like one would treat a firearm: if at all possible, avoid using it at all, and if you MUST use it, do so only as a last resort.

All I see is a bunch of meaningless platitudes. Is the Cato Institute video more interesting?

The concept of freedom as a pre-existing thing in some kind of utopian nature though is problematic. The idea the "The Market" would in any way represent this natural condition is, to me, completely absurd. And from those ideas comes absurd conclusions like increasing the power and influence of corporations but claiming to increase freedom. I've seen those policies up close, and if you live in the U.S you probably have seen even more distinct examples, that this is simply not how things work. The deregualtion of the school and healthcare sector hasn't increased freedom for anyone. The fact that I can now chose from five for profit but mediocre healthcare centres where there previously was better functioning municipal ones does not increase my freedom in any way. Yet freemarket ideologues claim it should be. The fact that the budget of the public schools are now even more stretched, since unlike the private ones that keep going bankrupt they have a legal responsibility to provide education to everyone, does not increase anyone's freedom. The deregulation of energy market and the, predictable, creation of a de facto oligopoly and price hikes in the winter does not increase anyones freedom. The privatization of the drugcompany monopoly which has meant many smaller citys have now lost their drugstores because they made insufficent profit and price hikes across the board, does not increase anyones freedom. Yet these are the very thing the freedom loving free marketers have pushed for here in sweden. So perhaps the real question is, freedom for whom? Freedom for the big drugstore monopolies? Sure, but at the cost of the general population. The same goes for the rest of the neo-liberal fantasies.

In Hong Kong, the ideal country according to some free marketers, you can rent a handy cage to live in, for about as much as a regular apartment would cost. Unless you want to live in the real slum of course.
So...when you speak of freedom, what is it you mean?
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Arc Tempest



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenshiro wrote:
irrefutable observable truths.


Nothing you have posted is an irrefutable observable truth. I agree with some of it, but none of it qualifies in any way as an "irrefutable observable truth."

If you want to argue politics or economics in a meaningful way you need to argue specific policies, not spew out nebulous philosophical wankery.

Him wrote:
Is the Cato Institute video more interesting?


No.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus when I did try to discuss specific policies he complained saying he hoped those weren't the only thoughts it inspired, as though he was waiting for something more substantial... After saying he could think of nothing adequate to say about it himself. Then he gives us a bunch of mental masturbation.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for a philosophical discussion on the nature of government. I'll even quote Locke for you guys (who doesn't love a good Locke quote?). But posting a video that discusses a specific position on specific fiscal policies as a segue to a discussion of the overarching nature of government by consent is like being asked to read Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature and then to write a report about how you felt about the cover art.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1. Human beings are imperfect. We can be heroic, and we can be inspiring, but in the end we are all flawed beings.


The fuck does this have to do with the price of tea in china?

Quote:
2. The power that government has is the power of Force - it is the ability to impose restrictions upon your actions - and everyone's actions - whether or not you want them and whether or not you agree with them.


No shit sherlock.

Quote:
3. Freedom is a good thing. It is a quality in life and in people that is worth striving for


Freedom can be a good thing, it can also be used to hurt and exploit others. I suggest you look into the Reddit hooplah over Violentacerz. I also strongly suggest that if you howl about free speech here as regards a creep like that, the thin veneer of civility you're experiencing will probably evaporate like the morning dew.

Quote:
4. Freedom is inherent in nature - we all carry within us the ability to make our own choices. Thus, governments cannot grant you liberty, because you already had it before the government came along. It pre-exists.


If you exist within the sphere of influence of something that has the power to take away your liberty, you only have your liberty at that things discretion.

Quote:
5. When governments choose to act, their primary method of action is to restrict liberty. In many ways, this is their ONLY source of action - they can't GIVE you freedom, because you are born free so by default all they can do is restrict your freedoms.


Government exists to promote all us humans to get along. Government is basically a microcosm of the human experience, ugly and beautiful. Your born free by default claim runs up against my earlier point though. If you exist in the sphere of influence of something that has the power to take away your liberty, you only have said liberty at that things discretion.

Quote:
6. Governments cannot force action from someone. They can impose inaction, but no force in all the universe can take the ability to resist from our minds. Likewise, the only force that can drive people to achieve true excellence - the kind of excellence that ends up benefiting all of society in the long run - comes from within. People have to WANT it, and government cannot forcibly instill that kind of drive into a person. Thus government's options in the end boil down to two: persuade, and murder.


Sure they can. They can provide enough negative stimulus and cost to inaction to basically compel action on anyone within their sphere of influence. How that power and authority is used pretty much determines the good and evil of the thing.

Quote:
7. Governments, being made up of people, CANNOT foresee all of the consequences of their actions. There will always be unintended consequences from every government action, and sometimes the consequences might even accomplish the opposite of the intended goal.


No shit sherlock.

Quote:
8. Good public policy evaluation is not based upon the intentions of the policy-makers, but rather upon the incentives that it creates within the populace.


Hindsight is always 20/20 so what the fuck does this have to do with the price of tea in china?

Quote:
9. Once the government gets involved in an issue, it tends to stay involved in that issue. For better or worse, there's usually no turning back.


This is pretty laughable.

Quote:
Now, when I take all of those things into account, I am often left with one conclusion:


That's because you're either supremely arrogant, or a mental midget. Guess which one I'm betting on?

Quote:
As a general rule, government intervention - while it CAN be a good thing - should be treated like one would treat a firearm: if at all possible, avoid using it at all, and if you MUST use it, do so only as a last resort.


As a point of objective fact there are things Government is best suited to handle, via removal of the profit motive from the organization if not individuals within it, and a larger infrastructure than any independent company has at its disposal.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One word: education.

A national education system in the US would go a long, long way to improving things, in particular things like a nationally standardized curriculum.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, coming from Canada, I can say that I definitely don't mind healthcare - I've had too many accident-induced ER trips to say otherwise. Not having to worry about breaking the bank because you broke a bone is a nice thing.

And honestly I don't disagree with anything Monkey said; even the national energy company - we had one in BC, called BC Hydro (mostly dam-based water power) that was privatized, but IIRC it still offers pretty low prices for it's power. And like 83% of that is generated via hydroelectric, so it's good for the environment (the other 17% is generated via natural gas thermal plant).

But I mean, damn, the free market is not a giant evil Eldritch beast that is the sole cause of misery in the world. The free market has led to some pretty neat innovation in the past years, even the much hated industrial-military complex led to some decent improvements in life (DARPA, which led to the internet, and teflon, which was a spinoff from NASA research; even slinky's were originally meant to be used in naval instruments). The pharmaceuticals industry is a decent thing to look at as far as the market driving innovation; drug companies will fight tooth and nail to put out new drugs faster than the competition, or drugs that work better, or drugs that are safer. It comes at a cost, but then again the market works that way too - generic store brands undercut more expensive name brands for a lot of drugs.

As much as it pains me to say this, moving away from a completely capitalistic society is a good thing. Some things were just not meant to be run by private individuals, for private profit; at least not in today's economic climate and state of business. There's a reason why private firefighting brigades, and to some extent private investigators (Not the snoop type, think the paid protection and bounty hunter type, a la Pinkerton) are uncommon, if in existence at all today. As we carry on, I'm sure other business will become government business; free public healthcare is a step in that direction.

Just a random view of mine, as someone from what a lot of people seem to consider a more "liberal" country than the US (at least, that's what people from the US keep telling me!).

EDIT: Darq, government subsidized higher education would be amazing. It would increase the number of people who get degrees and choose to go onto higher education, and a better-educated populace is a happier populace, and a better-informed one at that.
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Mindslicer



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
A U.K. or Canada style health care system for one so that people in what middle class is left can stop fearing illness induced poverty. Removing the ceiling on the social security tax and implementing legislation that prevents congress from stealing money from the fund. Capital Gains being treated as normal income and taxed at the standard rate. A return to 50's 60's era rates for the upper tax rates with corresponding tax breaks for living wage american jobs created.


Lesseeee, the temptation for a national energy company mandated by law to only sell the resources it extracts in the U.S. is pretty tempting. An expression of american power against countries behaving as tax havens would probably be a more appropriate use of the "stick" aspect of governance.


I'd probably say shear the defense budget way down...we don't need a navy larger than the next 10 largest navies in the world. Use some of the money from that to governmentally fund research into more efficient forms of green energy since this is another thing "the market" hates to do, fund expensive research that might not have the ability to be monetized until decades later.


With the exception of cutting the defense budget way down... LOL
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
EDIT: Darq, government subsidized higher education would be amazing. It would increase the number of people who get degrees and choose to go onto higher education, and a better-educated populace is a happier populace, and a better-informed one at that.

Word. However, the shitty politicians who rely on lies, pandering, and other forms of douchebaggery do not want a smarter populace.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
A U.K. or Canada style health care system for one so that people in what middle class is left can stop fearing illness induced poverty. Removing the ceiling on the social security tax and implementing legislation that prevents congress from stealing money from the fund. Capital Gains being treated as normal income and taxed at the standard rate. A return to 50's 60's era rates for the upper tax rates with corresponding tax breaks for living wage american jobs created.


Lesseeee, the temptation for a national energy company mandated by law to only sell the resources it extracts in the U.S. is pretty tempting. An expression of american power against countries behaving as tax havens would probably be a more appropriate use of the "stick" aspect of governance.


I'd probably say shear the defense budget way down...we don't need a navy larger than the next 10 largest navies in the world. Use some of the money from that to governmentally fund research into more efficient forms of green energy since this is another thing "the market" hates to do, fund expensive research that might not have the ability to be monetized until decades later.


With the exception of cutting the defense budget way down... LOL


LOL all you want, at least i can point to periods of history where incredibly high taxes on corporations and the rich led to economic growth and the growth of the middle class. All this libertarian shit can manage is high minded rhetoric about "freedom", which amounts to the freedom of the wealthy and large business to run roughshod over the little people and the "freedom" of the little people to shut the fuck up and take it. I can also point to the fact that both canada and the UK spend less on health care and receive higher quality care on average than people in the U.S. using their systems.

What periods of history can you point to where libertarian ideals led to happiness and prosperity for the masses? Cause I can point to at least 2 where it led to wide unemployment and misery.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:


But I mean, damn, the free market is not a giant evil Eldritch beast that is the sole cause of misery in the world.


This is true, it's just what it becomes every time it fails to have the boot of the government or the people on its neck. However ...

Quote:
The free market has led to some pretty neat innovation in the past years, even the much hated industrial-military complex led to some decent improvements in life (DARPA, which led to the internet, and teflon, which was a spinoff from NASA research; even slinky's were originally meant to be used in naval instruments).


Pointing to things that the government paid for all the legwork on and then were exploited by the free market doesn't do anything to dispute my point that the free market is not all that great at true cutting edge scientific innovation, even if they might be better at making it practical for the average man.

Quote:
The pharmaceuticals industry is a decent thing to look at as far as the market driving innovation; drug companies will fight tooth and nail to put out new drugs faster than the competition, or drugs that work better, or drugs that are safer. It comes at a cost, but then again the market works that way too - generic store brands undercut more expensive name brands for a lot of drugs.


Yes but how much of pharmaceutical industry is aimed at penis pills and hair regrowth? Due to profit motive a great deal of energy is spent on ailments that are pretty trivial in comparison to the very real health issues facing modern society.

Moreover As of 2006 at least, the top 20 pharma companies pulled in 497 billion dollars in total revenue, of which only 70 billion was spent on research and development, and leaving them with a net income of 110 billion dollars. For perspective, the national cancer institute receives right around 5 billion dollars a year.
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Mindslicer



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
LOL all you want, at least i can point to periods of history where incredibly high taxes on corporations and the rich led to economic growth and the growth of the middle class.


Suuuuure you can. And I suspect you believe that the fact that the era of prosperity you cite was preceded by an era in which the government rationed fuel, instated price controls, fixed wages, discouraged people from travelling, and supplanted the production of most consumer goods to support a war effort had nothing to do with it. When these government-instated restrictions were lifted families were sitting on a huge pile of personal savings with comparatively little debt. Keynesians were expecting a second Great Depression (you know, the one wherein unemployment was still near 20% a full decade after the stock market crash despite all of FDR's grand meddling in the market?) to happen after WW2 because of all the troops returning home at once, and instead got proven wrong once again. But you go right ahead and think it was high taxes on the rich that led to prosperity.

Quote:
All this libertarian shit can manage is high minded rhetoric about "freedom", which amounts to the freedom of the wealthy and large business to run roughshod over the little people and the "freedom" of the little people to shut the fuck up and take it.


Not really. Your appeal to emotion is adorable however.

Quote:
I can also point to the fact that both canada and the UK spend less on health care and receive higher quality care on average than people in the U.S. using their systems.


When they're not restricting access to more and more types of procedures to save money, you mean. When the NHS tells sick people to shut the fuck up and take it, those people turn to the evil private market.

Quote:
What periods of history can you point to where libertarian ideals led to happiness and prosperity for the masses? Cause I can point to at least 2 where it led to wide unemployment and misery.


The Depression of 1920-21 was over in 18 months, and it was the worst financial calamity the country had experienced at the time. Somehow the decade of the 20s still wound up with a pretty cheerful nickname.
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