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Old 09-13-2008, 04:40 PM   #26
ackbleh
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Originally Posted by amplify View Post
Most of what passes for political discussion these days is merely partisan bickering. .
QFT. When people ask which candidate I like, I can't even begin to answer that question. Haven't LIKED a candidate in a really, really long time. How could anyone like a candidate -- they're just regurgitating what opinion polls tell them to say, and trying to score points on their opponent.

Then people talk about how you should watch the debates and see where people stand, how that's the intelligent way to vote. How stupid! The best debaters pride themselves on being able to 'win' the debate with either side of an argument. I'm not interested in choosing the president who can persuade the best. The 'post-debate' coverage talks about who won the debate, and it's all about who messed up their statistics or who 'caught' the other candidate or who looked nervous or whatever. Pfft.

Maybe some day we'll be able to actually discuss the policies and which ones actually make logical sense and are endorsed by neutral, qualified professionals/experts in that field, instead of voting for the salesman who can sell the most snake oil.

The poor quality of most political conversations reflects the poor quality of the candidates and coverage.
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Old 09-13-2008, 04:43 PM   #27
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re: POG Politics Thread

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The reason people dislike political discussion is that most of it is entirely partisan, along with being condescending and mean spirited.


McCain-Palin 2008

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Old 09-13-2008, 04:53 PM   #28
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re: POG Politics Thread

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The poor quality of most political conversations reflects the poor quality of the candidates and coverage.
And vice versa.

Remember what the actual job of a politician is. It's to raise money. That's it. Policy is not the job. Improving anything is not the job. Getting those $5000 individual donations is. Obama's success as a politician is to be the first mainstream candidate to get a million people to give him $100 in addition to all those large individual donors. And how do they get people to give them this money?

Lying. They figure out what you want, promise it to you and cash your check.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:16 PM   #29
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Then people talk about how you should watch the debates and see where people stand, how that's the intelligent way to vote. How stupid! The best debaters pride themselves on being able to 'win' the debate with either side of an argument. I'm not interested in choosing the president who can persuade the best. The 'post-debate' coverage talks about who won the debate, and it's all about who messed up their statistics or who 'caught' the other candidate or who looked nervous or whatever. Pfft.
well we managed to twice elect a guy who couldn't argue his way out of an unlocked room and look where that's gotten us
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:26 PM   #30
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re: POG Politics Thread

i dont have much to say about georgia/russia. I support Georgia in it from what i've read, but i know i am biased from the media on it
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:27 PM   #31
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re: POG Politics Thread

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well we managed to twice elect a guy who couldn't argue his way out of an unlocked room and look where that's gotten us
He was debating Al Gore who is terrifically unlikeable, stiff as a board and annoyingly pedantic and John Kerry who was doing all this "I voted for it before I voted against it" stuff which made it pretty easy on old W.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:38 PM   #32
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re: POG Politics Thread

People don't care who wins debates. The media cares, but they're not people (present company excluded for politeness).

The average person votes based on the most ridiculous of reasons, and typically it's the same reason every time. One person might vote based on a candidates (perceived) support or non-support of abortion. The next because they heard (once) that small government was better and this dude (seems) to support smaller government. And so on.

Amp:

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My fundamental belief is that this money belongs to the person who earned it and the state has stolen it from them at gunpoint.
I take this to mean you think government should have no taxation powers at all, which leads me to believe that you think there should not be government. Is that correct, or do you have a less absolute view that I'm missing?
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:46 PM   #33
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re: POG Politics Thread

Next up: POG AC thread ldo
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:47 PM   #34
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Re: POG Community Thread

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Facts are fungible.
not to be flippant or off topic, but that's a good word for the dictionary game.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:48 PM   #35
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re: POG Politics Thread

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Next up: POG AC thread ldo
I still need somebody to explain AC to me, with a focus on "how do things actually work, knowing the way people are"
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:58 PM   #36
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I still need somebody to explain AC to me, with a focus on "how do things actually work, knowing the way people are"
From what I've read in the politics forum (ph34r), it works by eliminating most government services except the police, the courts, and the military (and diplomacy?), and with this, the government can cut taxation to a bare minimum. All other services would be provided by capitalist market (schools, road-building, etc, etc).
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:58 PM   #37
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re: POG Politics Thread

Zurvan, that is an excellent question.

I don't think that there should not be government, people are free to have government if they wish it. I think there should be an absolute minimum of government, and that almost all of it should be local. Anything that can be handled in your home should be. This includes things like deciding to ingest drugs, have an abortion, marry who you wish, own substances and technologies, educate your children.

Anything that can not be handled in the home should be handled in the community. Minimal property taxes are a reasonable contribution to the maintenance of roads and so forth. In the rare occasion when something absolutely cannot be handled in the community, for instance, coordinating the construction of freeways between cities, it could be handled at the state level.

The Federal Government should be almost completely eradicated. All non-defensive military action should cease. Most Federal agencies such as the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Food & Drug, and so forth should be disbanded. The income tax should be repealed. The Federal Reserve System should be dismantled. All Federal social programs should cease. The Federal Government should exist only to coordinate defensive and constructive operations among the several states and promote trade and friendly relations with other nations.

Centralized government was what Jefferson had to fight against the Hamiltonians about during the drafting of the constitution. I think the Articles of Confederation is a superior document of freedom to the Constitution because it recognizes that local government is always superior.
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:14 PM   #38
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I still need somebody to explain AC to me, with a focus on "how do things actually work, knowing the way people are"
That's not really important. What is important is that we are free human beings on this earth and any attempt by another person or group to violate the sanctity of our freedom is morally wrong. ACists love to come up with a bunch of explanations about free market solutions to problems that are currently handled by government but those ideas are secondary. The main idea is that death is preferable to life in bondage. Free market solutions are preferable to governmental controls. How roads get built and garbage collected is wrong emphasis. Freedom is the ultimate condition to which mankind aspires. Constricting the freedom of another person is the worst action a human being can take.
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:15 PM   #39
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re: POG Politics Thread

imo
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:08 PM   #40
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re: POG Politics Thread

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That's not really important. What is important is that we are free human beings on this earth and any attempt by another person or group to violate the sanctity of our freedom is morally wrong. ACists love to come up with a bunch of explanations about free market solutions to problems that are currently handled by government but those ideas are secondary. The main idea is that death is preferable to life in bondage. Free market solutions are preferable to governmental controls. How roads get built and garbage collected is wrong emphasis. Freedom is the ultimate condition to which mankind aspires. Constricting the freedom of another person is the worst action a human being can take.
This is pretty terrible. Freedom is just some stupid buzz-word that sounds good. What the hell does it mean here? What do you mean when you say "freedom?"

I don't have complete freedom. A government can give it's civilians extra options, more benefits by building roads/building infrastructure, more "freedom" in any case with superior infrastructure. Without roads, one doesn't have the freedom to travel more than 10 miles. These things matter.

Freedom isn't a line. It is not a dichotomy. It's a spectrum from being a work ant to being God. And in that spectrum, depending on how you define it, freedom isn't the only thing that matters.
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:12 PM   #41
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I still need somebody to explain AC to me, with a focus on "how do things actually work, knowing the way people are"
AC is roughly as practical as full-blown communism, which is to say it is not practical whatsoever
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:52 PM   #42
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re: POG Politics Thread

LC,

I don't know what you are talking about. Freedom is the right to exist without interference. Either you are interfering with me or you aren't. If you cut off my right hand you can argue that you have given me extra options; I could attach a rake to it or a chainsaw. Government doesn't create anything, it just redistributes it after wasting a significant percentage. So it can never do anything but reduce the sum of the options of its subjects, increasing them for a few while restricting them for most.

Words mean specific things, they don't just mean anything depending on how you define them.

Last edited by amplify; 09-13-2008 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:19 PM   #43
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re: POG Politics Thread

I think the broader point is that it's not clear that successfulness of a society can be determined solely by maximizing a particular value, in this case "freedom". This is basically the same problem I have with praxeology as a basis for making political or economic decisions. I don't think the complexities of human interaction can be broken down in such a purely analytic way.

Which is not to say that I don't think certain rules of thumb have a rough truth to them -- that free markets are often preferable to government control, or that greater freedom of moral self-determinism is preferable to the alternative, for example -- but I do think that in solving real problems the strict application of such a general rule is unlikely to lead to a better outcome than other more pragmatic approaches.

BTW, I should probably know more about the Georgia/Russia situation than I do. If anyone has any ilinks to news or commentary that are of some depth I'd be appreciative.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:32 PM   #44
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re: POG Politics Thread

Amp, other things matter. Depending on the situation, they matter a lot more.

One cannot eliminate interference. People will always interfere with you. I can interfere with somebody by crossing the street, jaywalking, selling drugs on your corner (wire example ftw), stealing their property, etc. Only by eliminating interaction with other people can one eliminate interference by other people, and very few do that.

Interference is the price of interaction. If freedom is the only thing that matters, go into the woods and never interact with anybody ever again.

But freedom isn't the only thing that matters. Our social boundaries and the government tie us up, not because they force us, but because we let them, because the consequences for resisting are too high (for the most of us).

And the government can create wealth, like any organization can create wealth. Example: National freeway system. There is probably a lot of inefficiency in it's creation, but the drop in transaction costs is worth more than the money spent.

Finally, important note: I'm a consequentialist.

Last edited by lastchance; 09-13-2008 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:49 PM   #45
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re: POG Politics Thread

LC,

I agree that other things matter more, for example, eating. Liberty is a luxury. I said it was an ultimate condition for aspiration.



The idea of interference being the price of interaction is interesting, I'll have to think about that one as I haven't grokked it yet.

But if you steal my property, that is clearly morally wrong. I just don't see it as any different if you call yourself a government and then steal 30% of it. The consequences for resisting government are ultimate. If I don't pay my taxes I will get letters, then knocks on my door, then eventually people with guns will come to take me away to prison. If I defend myself they will kill me.

WN, I have no interest in maximizing the successfulness of society, by any metric. I am interested in maximizing the self-actualization of individuals. I am interested in cooperating with people in endeavors of mutual interest. Such as exchanging fluids with large-breasted women.

You raise another interesting point for me in saying that the government cannot actually restrict my freedom, they can only present me with consequences for resisting their authority. I will try to grok.

Last edited by amplify; 09-13-2008 at 09:57 PM. Reason: wat
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:05 PM   #46
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re: POG Politics Thread

Quote:
But if you steal my property, that is clearly morally wrong. I just don't see it as any different if you call yourself a government and then steal 30% of it. The consequences for resisting government are ultimate. If I don't pay my taxes I will get letters, then knocks on my door, then eventually people with guns will come to take me away to prison. If I defend myself they will kill me.
You can easily resist government and not get shot. Pack up and hide. People do find ways to not pay taxes and not go to jail. Maybe I'm just spewing complete BS, because I have not done this or know anyone who has, but I don't think it would be that difficult to dodge the IRS if you spent the effort required to change your name/move, etc, etc.

Of course, there will be consequences for the above actions. I'm not saying it's correct or even reasonable for most people. But it is not all that different from the things we do everyday to please others. I wish I could make a complete mess of things and not have to clean my room ever, but that isn't happening.

Under your philosophy, it would be morally wrong for one to steal $10 from you right now and give you $1000 a day from now as compensation, but personally, I wouldn't mind, and I don't think most would.

Of course, government is probably not so efficient or effective, but some services may be so essential that the above analogy works. And if it does, well, would you not want even more money to be taken out of your pocket?

Monetary benefit is obviously not the only thing that matters. Privacy and freedom also matter, but these things are tradeable, and so one should find ways to trade one for the other to one's benefit.

Last edited by lastchance; 09-13-2008 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:15 PM   #47
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re: POG Politics Thread

I also don't know why I spend so much time thinking about freedom when I don't believe in free will. I guess that's one of them paradox type things.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:43 PM   #48
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re: POG Politics Thread

My whole stance on most of the majorly less government arguments is that most of the case for them does not hold up in modern day. 250 years ago, absolutely, but not so much now. Take property tax, for instance. There is a very good reason for property tax and that is that land is non creatable, but people are growing exponentially. Without some way of forcing property back into the common pool, it will get locked up by smaller and smaller percentages of the population. Sure, you could just have extremely stiff inheritance and gift tax, and still heavily tax corporate property (so you don't just replace people who do die with corporations who don't have to), but then you are just replacing the mechanism (which is fine, my point is that there needs to be that recycling mechanism in place).

If you want to see a good example of what you don't want, look at Pakistan where I believe the vast majority of the land is held by an extremely small aristocracy. (Note: I did not research this, so I could be dead wrong. Going by some interviews I heard heard or read years ago. It is possible that the government is the major offender there, but the point is that the land is, afaik, locked up by a very small minority which is extremely bad imo.)

At any rate, I can address the need for business regulation with math and duty and history pretty easily. And since humans are now so vast and powerful (with respect to our impact and potential impact on the world) you really cannot remove the superstructure of governance. In fact, it probably needs to be greatly increased in the area of world governance. Then add in the large scale projects that benefit man kind, but are beyond the scope of companies and individuals (either in size or in assumed market value) and you hit a real wall. This really gets into philosophy, but I can bring it bath to math for people who want to take the "oh well, social Darwinism" tact. (I am speaking of things in the last bit like Malaria treatment. The people who suffer from Malaria are all from impoverished areas, so there is no financial incentive for companies to solve the problem, unlike say aids or cancer that hits rich countries hard, too.)

I am kind of rambling here, and I don't know much about the specifics of AC, but my impression is that it does not scale well with human numbers and power. Even if we just start with a simple "your rights end where mine begin" axiom, you get incredibly complex incredibly quickly. (For instance: My factory is on my land, but it causes acid rain on your land a hundred miles away. Or more subtly, I think something you are doing is hurting me, but I don't have the wherewithal to prove it. Or even more subtly, I don't know why things are getting worse, but in reality it is because of actions someone else is taking.)

So, again to ramble a bit further, I would generalize that everyone loves economies of scale, and hate dis economies of scale, but very few see that they are intrinsically related.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:44 PM   #49
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re: POG Politics Thread

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I also don't know why I spend so much time thinking about freedom when I don't believe in free will. I guess that's one of them paradox type things.
Roger that.

Also lol at that post I just made being a 'quick reply.'
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:29 AM   #50
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re: POG Politics Thread

as long as we're getting into more philosophical discussions

amp could you expand upon your belief that people do not have free will? Is it a BF Skinner like belief in determinism or a Kant (I think, maybe Descartes, its been awhile since studying this) belief that the more rational and educated you become the more you realize you have only one correct course of action to take?

I also want to note that its quite interesting to hear from an ACist who believes in public roads.


And with freedom and liberties are we talking only negative or a combination of negative and positive liberties (and if the combination, where and how do you draw the line when they begin to infringe on each other)?

I have more questions but I want to see if these are answered first.
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