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Old 03-08-2012, 09:17 PM   #106
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Re: Mean Republicans

The defense of liberty and self reliance is always a harder case to make when debated against the utopian totalitarianism, especially when said totalitarianism is sparsely integrated via capitalism and individual exceptionalism.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #107
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Originally Posted by MrWookie View Post
It's sarcastic. Sklansky's premise is definitely begging the question, but even if we grant that it's true, that liberal policies lower the average, then liberals aim for policies that raise the medium and minimum standards of living, even if the top end is reduced to a limited degree, thereby lowering the average.

But look at the GOP rhetoric and actions w.r.t. "job creators." They were going to the mat regarding tax cuts on the richest Americans but completely unwilling to cut payroll taxes for a while. The former probably helps the average standard of living more than the latter by making rich people hugely better off, but it does nothing for the median.
I think you are missing the point on why they do that and why they make those arguments. I also think you are missing first level and second level thinking. Look at the people who support the "job creators" tax breaks. They honestly believe they will be better off because of it. I think some of it is more people view themselves as that upper end and not one of the "leaches" than reality has, and part of it is they think that what's good for business is good for them. I don't think their completely off base, as making investment conditions poor enough will make the poor/middle class worse off. They aren't concerned with "average" or "median". They care about themselves and at most people very similar to them. It's as simple as that. You are overcomplicating it and thinking like a liberal when trying to understand how a conservative thinks.

Opposing the payroll taxes is the more interesting and perplexing decision. But it's not terribly hard to understand how people can easily be convinced of why it benefits them to keep the taxes higher (even when it doesn't). The whole reason the GOP can get so much support is because it's able to paint a huge number of people as "leaches". People are convinced that these "leaches" aren't paying their "fair share" (and the rich people pay HUUUUGE taxes, so they already pay their fair share). I suspect a large number of people who claim to be leached from really are the leaches, with child tax credits, earned income tax, etc... and actually come out ahead in many cases. Or they pay an incredibly low tax rate, yet consider themselves part of the highly taxed.

I wish I could find the exact chart I'm thinking of (it had like 6 different values, and the amount for each group out of conservatives, libertarians, and liberals). I know for sure it was posted here as a dig at libertarians for being heartless and selfish, but it was a really interesting piece and really explains a lot. Including why libertarianism is more popular among privileged young white males.

The mistake you are making is a common one. Conservatives and liberals and even libertarians tend to not really understand what makes the other groups tick. Which is why their debates with each other are laughably bad and terrible at convincing people otherwise. I noticed this at another forum when they had a typical "Ayn Rand" libertarian type arguing with mostly liberals, and basically came across as a heartless bastard (screw the poor, they are leaches!). I think you can come away with a wide variety of political beliefs with different arguments (I think you can convince someone with liberal values that limited government would be best as an example, and that would be much different than how you convert a conservative).

Edit: Found the article, or at least one of them with what I was talking about:

http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/0...of-libertarian

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).


Quote:
“Libertarians share with liberals a distaste for the morality of Ingroup, Authority, and Purity characteristic of social conservatives, particularly those on the religious right,” notes the study. Libertarians scored slightly below conservatives on Harm and slightly above on Fairness. This suggests that libertarians “are therefore likely to be less responsive than liberals to moral appeals from groups who claim to be victimized, oppressed, or treated unfairly.”


Tons more good stuff here: http://www.yourmorals.org/blog/

This is the chart I think that was posted in another thread:

Last edited by TomCollins; 03-08-2012 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:30 PM   #108
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Its really really lol to think what hedge fund managers and film stars do isnt work. Like even if you dont really respect them as people in general you have to realise they get paid an absolute ****load because they do things the average person literally cant do.
Extremely debatable point, at least in the case of finance. Many of those in the finance industry make far above average - and they are not particularly intelligent. And while running a hedge fund arguably takes skill, much of what goes on in the financial industry is not at all difficult and does not require exceptional talent or intelligence (although it may be tedious, the hours might suck, etc.).

Many of the guys working on Wall Street are ex-jocks who toughed out a business degree at a City University etc and are now making FAR above average for not-very-difficult work. Yes you have the MIT quant geniuses etc. but the rank and file Wall Street worker has no special talents that deserves that level of compensation.

And since most funds underperform a hands-off index fund, I'd argue that most fund managers are grossly over-compensated as well. Why is someone getting paid a huge amount to do something worse than the index?
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:34 PM   #109
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
I see my OP quickly generated 95 replies. Which was the main reason I posted it. Which leads me to go completely off the subject to ask a question about internet ethics. Something I know little about. When I post a provacive opinion mainly because I think it will generate discussion people say I am "trolling" and imply that is a bad thing. But if the OP generates serious debate, why is it looked down upon?
The fact that the post generated a lot of replies isn't proof of much. I could start a thread espousing anti-Semitism and I'm sure it would generate 1000 replies.

I guess I had a negative reaction to the post because it really was a non-controversial comment (namely, that cognitive dissonance and rationalization are features of the human psyche) masquerading as a provocative question.

But whatever, I'm certainly guilty of that on occasion.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:40 PM   #110
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Re: Mean Republicans

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The only problem I have with this is that conservatives use the above fact to refute the liberals initial charge. As if the reason they want to maximize their self interest is for the good of everyone. Yeah sure. Sort of like the people here who play internet poker for a living and pretend they want it legalized because the government has no right to tell them what sites to visit. In both cases the people are just lucky that the arguments favor policies that are personally to their benefit. But suppose those arguments were proved to be probably wrong. What percent would change their stance?
I'm an anarchist, and as such, I am ACTUALLY against govt intervention for deontological ethical reasons. It's not purely because it benefits the "good of the collective" (the reason BTW that every atrocity in history has occured), or for my own self interests. It's because it's tyrannical to govern people who haven't harmed or defrauded anyone, and I'm generally against tyranny.

In other words, it's just wrong to interfere (in my opinion, according to my ethical understanding).

So again, I do want poker legalized for ethical reasons...not just for money. I mean, it is tyranny either way ethically. So you could be a utilitarian (the opposite of deontological; consequentialist) and still come to same exact conclusion. This is FAR more important to me than money. It's the same reason I want drugs and prostitution legal...and I don't profit from those things (currently anyways).

I don't think it's "lucky" that reality in economics favor our stances...in fact I hold these stances because of humanitarianism. I first came to these ethics (I used to be statist liberal) by economic education (starting with a 900 page book called Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith I read some years ago). After realizing that the economics of free markets were actually more humanitarian in outcome than my previously prefered anti-market ideals, I changed my ethics to fit reality. In this way I am somewhat consequentialist (and a bit of a "socialist" at heart). After discovering Kant and Tucker (among many others), I realized it went further than just markets, and all interventions in any aspect of life (that weren't geared around specifically punishing harm and fraud only) were tyrannical and therefore anti-humanitarian.

So it's less luck, and more the root cause of my transition to these beliefs.

As far as your question...I doubt most liberals, progressives (they aren't the same thing), or conservatives (paleo or neo) would change their ideology in the face of facts. These ideologies are mostly dogmatic and rather non-philosophical. They aren't tempered in reason and logic, but doctrine and dogma. So your answer is: not many.

In fact, many conservatives are rather cold hearted (as are many liberals and progressives, for different reasons on different issues). They come across as Social Darwinists, and they unwittingly follow the failing of 19th century classical liberalism; the economic fallacy that starving the poor limits population "markets" (and similar arguments). This aspect of 19th century classical liberalism and market ideology has since been disproven. There is absolutely no reason to be cold hearted Social Darwinists in order to be free market advocates (or advocates of consistent ethics for that matter). In this, many conservatives make me wish they were not my ally on these subjects...they come from a very bad motivation.

In my case, nothing is more important than the betterment of the human condition in a longterm and sustainable fashion...so if tomorrow magically the markets became anti-humanitarian, and anti-market beliefs became the best for liberty and humanitarian outcomes, I'd switch back to statist liberal ideals IMMEDIATELY. In that way, I never gave up on my "socialist" beliefs. I want humans to suffer less, and to gain happiness more. I think economics is important in this...but not in uniformity. I think voluntary associations are more important than the economics we choose to associate with, when striving to achieve the goal of human freedom, happiness (less pain), and higher standards of living. Individual utility may judge "wealth" to be more free time over more material wealth, and vice versa, given individual preferences.

I have no sacred cows in my ethics or philosophical tenants. Where reason and logic lead me, I go.

Good post, and good observation.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:01 PM   #111
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Poor people have the right on their side because other greedy b's have taken what they should have had.
This is called the finite pie fallacy in economics. There is no finite pie (no one is made poor by another being rich). The economic pie is expansive, not finite. When people get wealthy the pie expands, and although your percentage of the pie (at the bottom levels of the economy) may decrease, the overall wealth recieved increases.

For example, when the pie is (metaphor cometh) 10oz, and you recieve 1/3 of it, you have 3.3oz of wealth. When the pie expands to 16oz, and you get a lesser fraction of it like 1/4, you get more wealth...4oz.

In this fashion it's completely beneficial and sustainable for the top levels of the economy to recieve more percentagely of the total pie (and you to recieve less at the bottom), while simultaneously raising the standard of living for those at the very bottom of the economy.

In short, the percentage of the pie you receive is ERRONEOUS. All that matters is the total real compensation (wages plus benefits accounted for inflation). It has always increased (and still is), even as the percentage of the total has decreased. High inflation is more of a risk to this process than "greedy rich people". If inflation is higher than the raises in total real compensation, then standard of living raises are eclipsed by depreciated currency you're paid in.

Any interruption in this process (like redistribution of wealth) is a short term "feel good", but longterm unsustainable....and more importantly, a hinderance to increasing the standards of living at the bottom of the economy. Hence, anti-market ideology has anti-humanitarian consequences in the longterm.

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Old 03-08-2012, 11:29 PM   #112
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Re: Mean Republicans

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This is called the finite pie fallacy in economics. There is no finite pie (no one is made poor by another being rich).
I don't know how you create land or other finite resources. If 1% have 99% of the land and wealth then the 99% will be crowded together and poor.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #113
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Re: Mean Republicans

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I don't know how you create land or other finite resources. If 1% have 99% of the land and wealth then the 99% will be crowded together and poor.
Not really.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:39 AM   #114
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Re: Mean Republicans

It will keep them warm. Like penguins.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:45 AM   #115
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Not really.
Yes really. Resources are finite. And increasing the concentration of wealth towards the rich is not a driving factor in making everyone better off. Wealth was very much more concentrated in the hands of a few in medieval times but the serfs weren't living better relatively speaking.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:01 PM   #116
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Re: Mean Republicans

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I think you're missing my point here. "A-Rod", whoever that is, has exceptional talent. The guys who have the massively paid jobs at the top of corporations by and large do not. They got there because somebody has to get the job and they have the right background, politicked their way there etc etc. It's the same in the film industry. The film stars get their kids into it.
I understand your point, but disagree with it. I am saying that both the HF manager and (fill in a well respected athlete) work hard through training and studying their field to get where they are. They are the cream of the crop at their trade and since their field is so in demand they are paid handsomely for it.

You can say they luckboxed the job or whatever, but the fact remains (like you said) somebody has to get the job. They also posses a skill you don't understand or won't recognize and that is being a people person. This in part is what helped them politic their way into the job.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #117
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Originally Posted by revots33 View Post
Many of the guys working on Wall Street are ex-jocks who toughed out a business degree at a City University etc and are now making FAR above average for not-very-difficult work. Yes you have the MIT quant geniuses etc. but the rank and file Wall Street worker has no special talents that deserves that level of compensation.

And since most funds underperform a hands-off index fund, I'd argue that most fund managers are grossly over-compensated as well. Why is someone getting paid a huge amount to do something worse than the index?
If you don't think they deserve this compensation why do you think so many people who pays for their services think they do deserve that compensation? Is it possible that the majority of those who use their services know something you don't and that you could possibly be wrong?

"Why is someone getting paid a huge amount to do something worse than the index?" I assume you are considering how a manager often has a lower return in part due to lowering risk since you have such a strong opinion on if they are worth the money the earn.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #118
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Re: Mean Republicans

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Union members are NOT objectively in poverty by any stretch of the imagination.
But nonunion workers that perform the same tasks often are objectively in poverty. You're basically helping prove that unions are important for the working poor with your point.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:15 PM   #119
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Re: Mean Republicans

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I don't know how you create land or other finite resources. If 1% have 99% of the land and wealth then the 99% will be crowded together and poor.
Real estate stopped being limited in 4 BC when Jesus built his house, it was two stories. What finite resources are you referring to hear that a person has to have that?
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:18 PM   #120
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Re: Mean Republicans

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But nonunion workers that perform the same tasks often are objectively in poverty. You're basically helping prove that unions are important for the working poor with your point.
Unions drive up the prices of goods while filling up unemployment lines, but other than that I think they are good for a few people.
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