2051: "Bad Opinions"

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2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby deskjethp » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:23 pm UTC

Image

Title text: I thought of another bad opinion! I couldn't find anyone who expressed it specifically, but still, the fact that I can so easily imagine it is infuriating! I'm gonna tell everyone about it!

Not to mention the people who are just wrong on the Internet... (xkcd 386)
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby qvxb » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:37 pm UTC

Hint: The opinion is political and angers both Rush Limbaugh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby arkenations » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:46 pm UTC

It makes me think, also, about when you find someone who's arguing about something you've never heard of being a problem so you then have to look it up. I do that a lot.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:20 pm UTC

qvxb wrote:Hint: The opinion is political and angers both Rush Limbaugh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


Your opinion that that is a good hint is bad. You made a grue angry.
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby orthogon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:42 pm UTC

qvxb wrote:Hint: The opinion is political and angers both Rush Limbaugh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I hadn't heard of her before, but that name ... It just sounds like the technical term for a part of the brain that isn't used very often. I haven't googled enough to work out whether that's nominative determinism or not.

ETA: it's not.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Weeks » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:13 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I hadn't heard of her before, but that name ... It just sounds like the technical term for a part of the brain that isn't used very often.
what?
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Isaac Hill » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:46 pm UTC

Weeks wrote:
orthogon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
I hadn't heard of her before, but that name ... It just sounds like the technical term for a part of the brain that isn't used very often.
what?
Ocasio-Cortez sounds like occasional cortex.
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Flumble » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:48 pm UTC

Weeks wrote:
orthogon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I hadn't heard of her before, but that name ... It just sounds like the technical term for a part of the brain that isn't used very often.
what?

Took me some time, but look at that last name. :roll:

[edit] ninja'd I see

Anyway, the title text sounds a lot like trolling: you write a hateable opinion and watch as everyone will argue, retweet and discuss their hatred for it.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:52 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:Anyway, the title text sounds a lot like trolling: you write a hateable opinion and watch as everyone will argue, retweet and discuss their hatred for it.


Is there a term for a "strawman argument" where there was no original argument to make a scarecrow out of?

Straw-mannequin argument?

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby chenille » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:09 pm UTC

Maybe just a straw argument, since there was no attempt to shape it like an actual man.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Flumble » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:46 pm UTC

A haystack argument? With lots of needles in it?

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:34 pm UTC

"Someone is WRONG on the internet. I just have to find them first."

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:20 pm UTC

qvxb wrote:Hint: The opinion is political and angers both Rush Limbaugh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


The fastest and best way to achieve a socialist paradise is to throw all non-whites out of the country?

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby shagbark » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:37 pm UTC

This strip is funny to me because I just did that today. I read about the distinction between "strong" and "weak" emergence, and I immediately thought, "Strong emergence = denial of material reductionism".

Denial of material reductionism is done by people who want to cling to comforting but ultimately meaningless concepts like "free will" and "meaning/purpose/telos". So I googled { "free will" "strong emergence" } to see if anybody was in fact using "strong emergence" to talk about "free will" while pretending they weren't just resurrecting the concepts of "soul", "vital force", or "transcendent origin". I got 4610 hits.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Sableagle » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:40 pm UTC

Carteeg_Struve wrote:"Someone is WRONG on the internet. I just have to find them first."

Image
I have to go. Somewhere, wrong stuff is being posted.
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:22 pm UTC

I find RationalWiki an amusing read sometimes specifically because it is basically a catalogue of all of the various obscure bad opinions people have had over the years, many of which I'd never heard of, but once reading about them, I suddenly start noticing people alluding to them everywhere. Like, on Wikipedia I keep seeing edit fights over people turning the phrase "inalienable rights" into "unalienable rights" and since those sounds like synonyms to me I didn't get why anyone would care, but apparently there's some wacko faction who call themselves the Sovereign Citizens Movement to whom it matters immensely, because of some dumb false etymology involving liens.
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby ijuin » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:44 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
qvxb wrote:Hint: The opinion is political and angers both Rush Limbaugh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


The fastest and best way to achieve a socialist paradise is to throw all non-whites out of the country?


The funny part is that this idea might hold water—if we go from the premise that an ethnically homogeneous group would have more sympathy and loyalty for one another than an ethnically mixed group, then removing minorities might indeed result in a society that is more willing to practice socialism among its own members.

As an example, take attitudes towards taxpayer-funded welfare. Such policies get more traction when voters think of the recipients as being people like themselves as opposed to when they think of the recipients as being outsiders (e.g. minorities).

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby GlassHouses » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:28 pm UTC

shagbark wrote:This strip is funny to me because I just did that today. I read about the distinction between "strong" and "weak" emergence, and I immediately thought, "Strong emergence = denial of material reductionism".

Denial of material reductionism is done by people who want to cling to comforting but ultimately meaningless concepts like "free will" and "meaning/purpose/telos". So I googled { "free will" "strong emergence" } to see if anybody was in fact using "strong emergence" to talk about "free will" while pretending they weren't just resurrecting the concepts of "soul", "vital force", or "transcendent origin". I got 4610 hits.


But 4610 hits on Google is basically nothing, so that's not a very interesting result.

I came to the U.S. as an adult (age 34) and so I got to observe the kind of debate that happens here with a slightly unusual combination of a mature intellect and near-complete ignorance of the local culture.

One thing that struck me was the concept of "statism," i.e. the ideology of wanting The State to control Everything. This was utterly alien to me; where I'm from, some things are government-owned, some things are regulated, some things are left to run as they may, with a whole spectrum of possibilities in between. Of course there are differences of opinion regarding whether or how certain things should be regulated, and some people are of the opinion that nothing should be regulated Because Government Always Fucks Everything Up (TM), but the idea that some people might view State Regulation as an end in itself (as opposed to communism, I guess), was entirely new to me -- but I have come to see that it is a brilliant way to indoctrinate people against any kind of government involvement, because no one wants to be one of those evil Statists (TM).

But maybe even that is giving too much credit for the depth of political discourse. Ultimately, extremism or populism or whatever its moniker du jour may be is just whatever makes a sufficiently large segment of the population believe that They Are Right, and that the problems of the world are either Fake News, or Someone Else's Fault. Logical coherence is neither necessary nor particularly desirable.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Zinho » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:05 am UTC

GlassHouses wrote:One thing that struck me was the concept of "statism," i.e. the ideology of wanting The State to control Everything. This was utterly alien to me; where I'm from, some things are government-owned, some things are regulated, some things are left to run as they may, with a whole spectrum of possibilities in between. Of course there are differences of opinion regarding whether or how certain things should be regulated, and some people are of the opinion that nothing should be regulated Because Government Always Fucks Everything Up (TM), but the idea that some people might view State Regulation as an end in itself (as opposed to communism, I guess), was entirely new to me -- but I have come to see that it is a brilliant way to indoctrinate people against any kind of government involvement, because no one wants to be one of those evil Statists (TM).

I've heard a different name for people whose default solution for a societal problem is government involvement: "legislators". Or, perhaps, "politicians". A good example of this is a quote from Nancy Pelosi from 2013:
Nancy Pelosi wrote:"There are many members in the Republican caucus who do not believe in government. And bless their hearts, they act upon their beliefs. So day to day, we vote here on issues that eliminate government initiatives for clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety, public education, public transportation, public housing, public health, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. They don't believe in a public role. And if you don't believe in a public role, then why do you even have to have taxes to pay for it? ... They're anti-government ideologues, and that's what the speaker has to deal with.
I think the anti-Statist position you saw people adopting may have been a reflection of the general American distrust of our Congress. For those who have been elected to enact laws in order to solve society's problems, government involvement is the default solution that they'll go for first, as that is the area that they have influence over.

The people whose opinion is at the opposite position on the spectrum complain that there are too many laws already. To them, the phrase "there should be a law" equates to, "we should send armed officers of the law to stop and punish people who do [thing]", and that's something they generally don't want. Rational societies operate at a happy medium between these extremes, and America approximates that by flip-flopping between the poles depending on which party has a majority in the government at the moment.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby GlassHouses » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:26 am UTC

The thing you're ignoring there is that if the Free Market, or the Wisdom Of The Crowd, or whatever other Invisible Hand, were effective at dealing with issues like the ones mentioned in that Pelosi quite, there wouldn't be so much support for government activity on those issues.

Of course politicians, legislators, or whatever you want to call our elected officials, are going to consider legislative action to deal with the issues that are brought to their attention. Because those issues wouldn't be issues if they just magically disappeared, or refrained from appearing, in the first place, and because legislation is exactly what Congress was created to do.

I'm also deeply unimpressed by "distrust of Congress" or "congressional approval rates" kind of statistics. In times of political polarization, when at least one side considers any kind of compromise an unacceptable defeat, you will have a lot of dissatisfaction with whatever government does or doesn't do. But if people keep electing the same representatives over and over, that dissatisfaction appears not to be about the representatives they voted for, but about the *outcome* of the democratic process. It's dissatisfaction with the representatives that *other* people voted for.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:02 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:I think the anti-Statist position you saw people adopting may have been a reflection of the general American distrust of our Congress. For those who have been elected to enact laws in order to solve society's problems, government involvement is the default solution that they'll go for first, as that is the area that they have influence over.


As a more or less "anti-Statist" (I prefer libertarian, of course) I can tell you that general distrust of Congress isn't the root reason for that viewpoint for - I would guess - the vast majority of those who hold it. Distrust of Congress is the most bipartisan thing we have in this country. It's also very historical; one of the oldest political jokes asks, "If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?" If distrust of Congress naturally turned into libertarianism, the whole country would be clamoring for a complete dismantling of the whole damn system.

Libertarianism, or, I suppose, anti-Statism, comes from a distrust of government in general, not the dysfunction of a particular branch. Some people are pretty reactionary and have more in common with anarchists than anything else. But it's the bureaucracy more than anything else that earns the distrust of libertarians. A completely unfettered free market would probably result in more polluted air and water than a regulated one, but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby GlassHouses » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:23 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:Libertarianism, or, I suppose, anti-Statism, comes from a distrust of government in general, not the dysfunction of a particular branch.

Paranoia appears to be a wide-spread condition, but as a basis for rational discourse, I rather prefer evidence.

sonar1313 wrote:Some people are pretty reactionary and have more in common with anarchists than anything else. But it's the bureaucracy more than anything else that earns the distrust of libertarians.

It's business-funded propaganda that fuels distrust of government. "Bureaucracy" is something that happens in all large organizations, public and private.

sonar1313 wrote:A completely unfettered free market would probably result in more polluted air and water than a regulated one

"Probably"? What are those examples of pollution getting fixed by mechanisms other than government-imposed regulation (or businesses going bankrupt through not being profitable enough despite being able to pollute to their hearts' content)?

sonar1313 wrote:but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:05 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:

Public housing is a well-known trainwreck which has been generally abandoned.

VA healthcare is pathetic.

DoD fails at using its massive leverage to create any kind of purchasing efficiencies.

The IRS takes years to decide if a taxpayer overpaid or underpaid it, and months to respond to any correspondence with them (that is, when it's not being forced to settle lawsuits and apologize for its targeting of political groups based on ideology.)

The EPA released toxic pollutants into a river in Colorado and refused to pay a dime in resulting claims.

ATF purposely allowed thousands and thousands of firearms to be sold to drug gangs and criminals (what could go wrong) and then lost track of all of them (oh, that).

Department of Education issues sexual assault handling guidelines (which threaten federal funding for noncompliance) that promptly get hundreds of colleges successfully sued for ignoring any kind of due process principles whatsoever.

The "Affordable Care Act" drives health care premiums up, not down.

For all the complaining people do about airlines, they still won't take Amtrak.

These are only the examples here in the US. It doesn't take "business-fueled propaganda" to know that in places where the government owns the economy, the results are typically catastrophic.

Shall I go on? If you think HUD, Education, Labor, HHS, Energy, etc. are improving life in America rather than draining resources from a market that typically does it more efficiently, by all means, let us know how.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:36 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I find RationalWiki an amusing read sometimes specifically because it is basically a catalogue of all of the various obscure bad opinions people have had over the years, many of which I'd never heard of, but once reading about them, I suddenly start noticing people alluding to them everywhere. Like, on Wikipedia I keep seeing edit fights over people turning the phrase "inalienable rights" into "unalienable rights" and since those sounds like synonyms to me I didn't get why anyone would care, but apparently there's some wacko faction who call themselves the Sovereign Citizens Movement to whom it matters immensely, because of some dumb false etymology involving liens.


Sovereign Citizens are a delightfully crazy branch of folks. They seem to commonly have a belief that knowing the right phrasing to shout gives them power over situations. Like arrests, or TSA inspections, or whatever. Does it work? God, no. But it's a curious worldview.

GlassHouses wrote:One thing that struck me was the concept of "statism," i.e. the ideology of wanting The State to control Everything. This was utterly alien to me; where I'm from, some things are government-owned, some things are regulated, some things are left to run as they may, with a whole spectrum of possibilities in between. Of course there are differences of opinion regarding whether or how certain things should be regulated, and some people are of the opinion that nothing should be regulated Because Government Always Fucks Everything Up (TM), but the idea that some people might view State Regulation as an end in itself (as opposed to communism, I guess), was entirely new to me -- but I have come to see that it is a brilliant way to indoctrinate people against any kind of government involvement, because no one wants to be one of those evil Statists (TM).


Statist, like Authoritarian, tends to be applied as a label to others more frequently than it's used as a self-identifier. The two are close enough together that I tend to just use Authoritarian, as it's much more readily recognized.

Regardless of the label you prefer, I think it's a reasonable axis to discuss. People who are fond of having authority tend to seek positions of it, and thus we ought to be cautious regarding people in power. Dictatorships are a fairly common example of power concentration, and they have had many fairly obvious problems with authoritarianism. It's reasonable to suppose that, while perhaps lesser, other methods of organization also might encounter such issues.

sonar1313 wrote:As a more or less "anti-Statist" (I prefer libertarian, of course) I can tell you that general distrust of Congress isn't the root reason for that viewpoint for - I would guess - the vast majority of those who hold it. Distrust of Congress is the most bipartisan thing we have in this country. It's also very historical; one of the oldest political jokes asks, "If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?" If distrust of Congress naturally turned into libertarianism, the whole country would be clamoring for a complete dismantling of the whole damn system.


There is a ton of distrust in the system as a whole. Libertarianism isn't the only possible result of that, though. Disengagement is easier. Half the people in the country just don't vote at all. It appears to be fairly easy for people to just give up on political involvement. And in fairness, it's hard to argue that an individual vote does much. It's only when you look at the great mass of non-voters that the potential is so clearly there.

sonar1313 wrote:Libertarianism, or, I suppose, anti-Statism, comes from a distrust of government in general, not the dysfunction of a particular branch.


I would argue that Libertarianism exhibits strong distrust in both Executive and Legislative branches, but is generally mostly alright with the Judicial branch. There are tweaks to the judicial branch that they argue for, but they generally do not wish to remove entire areas from their purview as they might with the other two.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby GlassHouses » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:38 am UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:

Public housing is a well-known trainwreck which has been generally abandoned.

VA healthcare is pathetic.

I'm pretty sure even shitty public housing is better than living on the street, and veterans are still better off with VA healthcare than without healthcare at all. Why do you think those inadequate systems exist in the first place? Because of Statist fanatics seeking to make government do what the private sector was doing such a great job at already? Why would anyone live in a public housing project or use public healthcare if better alternatives were available to them?

sonar1313 wrote:DoD fails at using its massive leverage to create any kind of purchasing efficiencies.

I'm looking forward to hearing you elaborate on the great private sector militaries elsewhere on the planet.

sonar1313 wrote:The IRS takes years to decide if a taxpayer overpaid or underpaid it, and months to respond to any correspondence with them (that is, when it's not being forced to settle lawsuits and apologize for its targeting of political groups based on ideology.)

Not my experience, but anyway, bring on the statistics on how private enterprise deals so wonderfully with its customers without being forced to.

sonar1313 wrote:The EPA released toxic pollutants into a river in Colorado and refused to pay a dime in resulting claims.

ATF purposely allowed thousands and thousands of firearms to be sold to drug gangs and criminals (what could go wrong) and then lost track of all of them (oh, that).

And if those two government organizations didn't exist, they would obviously not be able to fuck up. They would also not be able to do anything right, though. What were you saying about the private sector doing anything about guns or pollution, except adding to those problems?

sonar1313 wrote:Department of Education issues sexual assault handling guidelines (which threaten federal funding for noncompliance) that promptly get hundreds of colleges successfully sued for ignoring any kind of due process principles whatsoever.

Yep, the best way to make sure you never do anything poorly is to never do anything at all. Noted.

sonar1313 wrote:The "Affordable Care Act" drives health care premiums up, not down.

Let's see some statistics on that? Last I heard, the ACA enabled millions of people to get health insurance who weren't able to get it before. Of course it could be better still -- see pretty much every other country in the industrialized world -- but those countries are more regulated, not less.

sonar1313 wrote:For all the complaining people do about airlines, they still won't take Amtrak.

Commuters generally benefit a lot more from trains than airplanes, and long-distance trains tend to be more expensive than flying. Not sure what that's supposed to prove about the pros and cons of regulation.

sonar1313 wrote:These are only the examples here in the US. It doesn't take "business-fueled propaganda" to know that in places where the government owns the economy, the results are typically catastrophic.

Gosh, I was just waiting for you to trot out that tired false dichotomy. Laisser-faire or Soviet Communism, those are the only options, right? How does it feel to drive on roads that are paid for by progressive taxation? I bet that just eats you up inside, because that is communism right there.

sonar1313 wrote:Shall I go on? If you think HUD, Education, Labor, HHS, Energy, etc. are improving life in America rather than draining resources from a market that typically does it more efficiently, by all means, let us know how.

Yes, please do go on. It is morbidly fascinating to hear crazy people rant. The lack of substance is something I'm already used to. Unfortunately.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:02 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:

Public housing is a well-known trainwreck which has been generally abandoned.

VA healthcare is pathetic.

I'm pretty sure even shitty public housing is better than living on the street, and veterans are still better off with VA healthcare than without healthcare at all. Why do you think those inadequate systems exist in the first place? Because of Statist fanatics seeking to make government do what the private sector was doing such a great job at already? Why would anyone live in a public housing project or use public healthcare if better alternatives were available to them?

sonar1313 wrote:DoD fails at using its massive leverage to create any kind of purchasing efficiencies.

I'm looking forward to hearing you elaborate on the great private sector militaries elsewhere on the planet.

sonar1313 wrote:The IRS takes years to decide if a taxpayer overpaid or underpaid it, and months to respond to any correspondence with them (that is, when it's not being forced to settle lawsuits and apologize for its targeting of political groups based on ideology.)

Not my experience, but anyway, bring on the statistics on how private enterprise deals so wonderfully with its customers without being forced to.

sonar1313 wrote:The EPA released toxic pollutants into a river in Colorado and refused to pay a dime in resulting claims.

ATF purposely allowed thousands and thousands of firearms to be sold to drug gangs and criminals (what could go wrong) and then lost track of all of them (oh, that).

And if those two government organizations didn't exist, they would obviously not be able to fuck up. They would also not be able to do anything right, though. What were you saying about the private sector doing anything about guns or pollution, except adding to those problems?

sonar1313 wrote:Department of Education issues sexual assault handling guidelines (which threaten federal funding for noncompliance) that promptly get hundreds of colleges successfully sued for ignoring any kind of due process principles whatsoever.

Yep, the best way to make sure you never do anything poorly is to never do anything at all. Noted.

sonar1313 wrote:The "Affordable Care Act" drives health care premiums up, not down.

Let's see some statistics on that? Last I heard, the ACA enabled millions of people to get health insurance who weren't able to get it before. Of course it could be better still -- see pretty much every other country in the industrialized world -- but those countries are more regulated, not less.

sonar1313 wrote:For all the complaining people do about airlines, they still won't take Amtrak.

Commuters generally benefit a lot more from trains than airplanes, and long-distance trains tend to be more expensive than flying. Not sure what that's supposed to prove about the pros and cons of regulation.

sonar1313 wrote:These are only the examples here in the US. It doesn't take "business-fueled propaganda" to know that in places where the government owns the economy, the results are typically catastrophic.

Gosh, I was just waiting for you to trot out that tired false dichotomy. Laisser-faire or Soviet Communism, those are the only options, right? How does it feel to drive on roads that are paid for by progressive taxation? I bet that just eats you up inside, because that is communism right there.

sonar1313 wrote:Shall I go on? If you think HUD, Education, Labor, HHS, Energy, etc. are improving life in America rather than draining resources from a market that typically does it more efficiently, by all means, let us know how.

Yes, please do go on. It is morbidly fascinating to hear crazy people rant. The lack of substance is something I'm already used to. Unfortunately.

This entire post boils down to "it's OK because the private sector does it worse." Here's the thing about the private sector: It can be held accountable by the government, or by other private sector individuals in the courts. Now, which Congressman do I vote against so that people affected by the EPA's bumbling can get paid? Oh, wait, I know, that's actually part of the executive branch. I'm curious, how much toxic waste would the Democrat-administered EPA have to dump in the river to have made you mad enough to vote for the GOP candidate Donald Trump? Kind of a lot? Infinite amounts?

Oh, and by the way, in many cases the private sector does it much better. Do you think the alternative to shitty public housing is "everyone who ever lived there would've been homeless otherwise"? Do you think the alternative to VA healthcare is none at all? Puh-leez. And in a post complaining about false dichotomies, no less. How ironic. Not only did every public housing project inevitably turn into a shithole, it added rocket fuel to the rise of urban gang violence and the increase in concentrated poverty, so we have here a perfect example of how the government spent billions to make everything worse.

P.S. Yes, "nothing at all" would've been a far better option than the Dear Colleague letter on sexual assault. "Oh, it's OK, they tried" is pretty much the most pathetic defense possible of any action the government might take.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:As a more or less "anti-Statist" (I prefer libertarian, of course) I can tell you that general distrust of Congress isn't the root reason for that viewpoint for - I would guess - the vast majority of those who hold it. Distrust of Congress is the most bipartisan thing we have in this country. It's also very historical; one of the oldest political jokes asks, "If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?" If distrust of Congress naturally turned into libertarianism, the whole country would be clamoring for a complete dismantling of the whole damn system.


There is a ton of distrust in the system as a whole. Libertarianism isn't the only possible result of that, though. Disengagement is easier. Half the people in the country just don't vote at all. It appears to be fairly easy for people to just give up on political involvement. And in fairness, it's hard to argue that an individual vote does much. It's only when you look at the great mass of non-voters that the potential is so clearly there.

sonar1313 wrote:Libertarianism, or, I suppose, anti-Statism, comes from a distrust of government in general, not the dysfunction of a particular branch.


I would argue that Libertarianism exhibits strong distrust in both Executive and Legislative branches, but is generally mostly alright with the Judicial branch. There are tweaks to the judicial branch that they argue for, but they generally do not wish to remove entire areas from their purview as they might with the other two.


I think that libertarians would actually like to see the scope of the Legislative branch increased as it relates to the nuts and bolts of government operations. Transfer power from Executive to Legislative (and dissipate some of it along the way.) Maybe you could call it the lesser of two evils. Any movement of power downward is considered a step in the right direction. It's easier to hold a congressman accountable than a president.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby chenille » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:36 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:This entire post boils down to "it's OK because the private sector does it worse."

If you like, you could rephrase it as "Absurd inefficiency compared to what? Because the private sector doesn't manage better, so maybe some things are just hard."

But in truth, I think GlassHouses asked the wrong opening question. I imagine their point was that around the world there are many things that have been run much better by governments, for instance health care in most places around the world, though people who complain about government involvement often pretend otherwise. And it's a very sensible point! But unfortunately they asked the inverse, whether or not there were a vast number of things the government is bad at. And of course there are, especially when you say "the" government and so make everything about America, which has shown a strong dedication to doing things like health care poorly instead.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:26 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:Libertarianism, or, I suppose, anti-Statism, comes from a distrust of government in general, not the dysfunction of a particular branch.


I would argue that Libertarianism exhibits strong distrust in both Executive and Legislative branches, but is generally mostly alright with the Judicial branch. There are tweaks to the judicial branch that they argue for, but they generally do not wish to remove entire areas from their purview as they might with the other two.


I think that libertarians would actually like to see the scope of the Legislative branch increased as it relates to the nuts and bolts of government operations. Transfer power from Executive to Legislative (and dissipate some of it along the way.) Maybe you could call it the lesser of two evils. Any movement of power downward is considered a step in the right direction. It's easier to hold a congressman accountable than a president.


There is a general distrust of the legislative folks, but I don't think that's even specifically libertarian. Being skeptical of congress is pretty much just a healthy part of the US mentality.

However, I agree that Libertarianism doesn't generally seek to get rid of the legislative branch, or even remove powers from them. In some cases, they might advocate a more judicially active stance when it comes to shooting down unconstitutional laws, but that doesn't rise to the level of depowering the legislative. Executive overreach is most concerning, legislative is second, and of the three branches, the judicial branch has historically been least likely to do evil. That said, I suppose one could fault it for sins of omission.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby markfiend » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:13 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:


You'll notice that sonar1313 has listed things the US government has sucked at, generally due to chronically underfunding, as though they were universals.

Other countries have fine public health services.
Other countries have great public housing.
Other countries have agencies that protect their environment.
Trains on mainland Europe are largely publicly run and owned and are far better than the privatized shite we get in the UK.
Shall I go on?
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Old Bruce » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:34 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:


You'll notice that sonar1313 has listed things the US government has sucked at, generally due to chronically underfunding, as though they were universals.

Other countries have fine public health services.
Other countries have great public housing.
Other countries have agencies that protect their environment.
Trains on mainland Europe are largely publicly run and owned and are far better than the privatized shite we get in the UK.
Shall I go on?

No, you pretty much make a good point or four, but of course that is just my opinion. [big-cheeky-bugger emoticon]
Seriously you nailed as far as I am concerned.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby GlassHouses » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:59 am UTC

sonar1313 wrote:This entire post boils down to "it's OK because the private sector does it worse."

Given that I was replying to your post, which boiled down to "the private sector always does everything better," that shouldn't come as a huge surprise. If I had agreed with that point, I wouldn't have gone to the trouble to argue with it, don't you think?

Since your memory seems to be pretty bad, here's a reminder:

sonar1313 wrote:A completely unfettered free market would probably result in more polluted air and water than a regulated one, but there are also a vast number of things that the government does with absurd inefficiency, and the root of that is in the bureaucracy rather than the legislative branch. Government just isn't good at most of what it tries to do and it has a natural tendency to grow.

(Emphasis mine.)

sonar1313 wrote:Here's the thing about the private sector: It can be held accountable by the government, or by other private sector individuals in the courts.

Here's the thing about the public sector: it can be held accountable by the electorate.
Also, being anti-government, but then placing your faith in the courts, is insane. Who decides who gets to sit on those court benches?

sonar1313 wrote:Now, which Congressman do I vote against so that people affected by the EPA's bumbling can get paid? Oh, wait, I know, that's actually part of the executive branch. I'm curious, how much toxic waste would the Democrat-administered EPA have to dump in the river to have made you mad enough to vote for the GOP candidate Donald Trump? Kind of a lot? Infinite amounts?

I'm sorry that you don't have any perfect candidates to vote for, but given what the Trump administration is doing to the EPA and pollution regulation, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree there.

sonar1313 wrote:Oh, and by the way, in many cases the private sector does it much better. Do you think the alternative to shitty public housing is "everyone who ever lived there would've been homeless otherwise"? Do you think the alternative to VA healthcare is none at all? Puh-leez. And in a post complaining about false dichotomies, no less. How ironic. Not only did every public housing project inevitably turn into a shithole, it added rocket fuel to the rise of urban gang violence and the increase in concentrated poverty, so we have here a perfect example of how the government spent billions to make everything worse.

Please, do tell me about those people living in shitty public housing, and/or getting their healthcare from the shitty VA. Which of those superior-yet-affordable private sector alternatives are those people passing up?

sonar1313 wrote:P.S. Yes, "nothing at all" would've been a far better option than the Dear Colleague letter on sexual assault. "Oh, it's OK, they tried" is pretty much the most pathetic defense possible of any action the government might take.

Uh what? Please elaborate, I don't even know what you're talking about now.
Last edited by GlassHouses on Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby ijuin » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:17 am UTC

The private sector is more efficient at doing things which generate significant income. The government is better for things which are necessary or useful yet are non-income-generating.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby Old Bruce » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:48 am UTC

ijuin wrote:The private sector is more efficient at doing things which generate significant income...

by getting the government to give them more.
ijuin wrote:... The government is better for things which are necessary or useful yet are non-income-generating.

Like giving the taxes paid by poor people to the wealthy.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:46 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:Here's the thing about the public sector: it can be held accountable by the electorate.
Also, being anti-government, but then placing your faith in the courts, is insane. Who decides who gets to sit on those court benches?

Pro-limited government (i.e. libertarian) is not the same thing as anarchist.

GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:Now, which Congressman do I vote against so that people affected by the EPA's bumbling can get paid? Oh, wait, I know, that's actually part of the executive branch. I'm curious, how much toxic waste would the Democrat-administered EPA have to dump in the river to have made you mad enough to vote for the GOP candidate Donald Trump? Kind of a lot? Infinite amounts?

I'm sorry that you don't have any perfect candidates to vote for, but given what the Trump administration is doing to the EPA and pollution regulation, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree there.


Also, the public sector really cannot be held accountable by the electorate. There's only one way to do that: vote against the people in power. If your attitude is "there are no perfect candidates but I'll continue to vote for these guys because I think those guys would be worse" you are not holding them accountable. At all. Again: how much pollution would you allow a Democrat-controlled EPA to dump into the rivers before you voted for the Republicans?

GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:Oh, and by the way, in many cases the private sector does it much better. Do you think the alternative to shitty public housing is "everyone who ever lived there would've been homeless otherwise"? Do you think the alternative to VA healthcare is none at all? Puh-leez. And in a post complaining about false dichotomies, no less. How ironic. Not only did every public housing project inevitably turn into a shithole, it added rocket fuel to the rise of urban gang violence and the increase in concentrated poverty, so we have here a perfect example of how the government spent billions to make everything worse.

Please, do tell me about those people living in shitty public housing, and/or getting their healthcare from the shitty VA. Which of those superior-yet-affordable private sector alternatives are those people passing up?


Let's put it this way: VA spends about $8,200 a year per veteran that it covers. $76.5 billion on 9.3 million enrollees. The average yearly insurance premium for an individual is about $5,300. (It was about $3,200 in 2014. For families it has gone up from $8,000 to $14,000. There's those statistics you were looking for about the ACA. https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/resour ... ut-subsidy) In other words, the government could just go out and buy health insurance on the private market for its enrollees and save $27 billion. Maybe half that, accounting for the likelihood that your average veteran requires more health care than your average other individual. So the answer to your question is "any alternative at all."

The government long ago figured this out in regards to public housing, via Section 8 rather than just piling everyone up into one ugly building. Public housing still exists in a few places but it is regarded by just about everyone as a failure with huge negative externalities. All the evidence you need is that they don't build it any more.

GlassHouses wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:P.S. Yes, "nothing at all" would've been a far better option than the Dear Colleague letter on sexual assault. "Oh, it's OK, they tried" is pretty much the most pathetic defense possible of any action the government might take.

Uh what? Please elaborate, I don't even know what you're talking about now.

A "Dear Colleague" letter, in the context of the Department of Education, is the tool used to convey new DoE policy to schools, school districts - entities receiving public funding. "The" Dear Colleague letter, as it's come to be known, is the one of April 4, 2011, ordering schools to use a preponderance of the evidence standard in investigating sexual assault and take other steps such as allowing the appeal of a not-guilty verdict and not allowing any cross-examination of the accuser. Since you wrote:

Yep, the best way to make sure you never do anything poorly is to never do anything at all. Noted.


I take that as a sarcastic way of saying that doing something is better than doing nothing. In the case of this Dear Colleague letter, given that hundreds of schools have been successfully sued for following its orders, doing nothing would've been better than doing something.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:51 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:If there really is such a "vast" number of things that governments suck at so terribly, I'm sure it would be easy for you to draw up a list. Go on, I'll wait.

Yes, it is rather easy:


You'll notice that sonar1313 has listed things the US government has sucked at, generally due to chronically underfunding, as though they were universals.

Other countries have fine public health services.
Other countries have great public housing.
Other countries have agencies that protect their environment.
Trains on mainland Europe are largely publicly run and owned and are far better than the privatized shite we get in the UK.
Shall I go on?

Meh, I think it is due to incompetence and the sheer difficulty of asking one person to run a multi-trillion dollar operation that is supposed to govern 320 million people. Bernie Sanders made a big deal about Denmark during the 2016 campaign, failing to note that Denmark is about 1.5% the size of the US. As population grows linearly, the complexity and difficulty of governing it grows exponentially.

I certainly have never bought the argument that the people in charge of doing something are doing it badly, so we should reward them with more money and power - which is what "they're just underfunded" boils down to. If they're underfunded then the solution is to cut back their mission and make them show they can handle it.

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby markfiend » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:46 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:Meh, I think it is due to incompetence and the sheer difficulty of asking one person to run a multi-trillion dollar operation that is supposed to govern 320 million people.

Doesn't explain how other countries manage...
sonar1313 wrote:As population grows linearly, the complexity and difficulty of governing it grows exponentially.

[citation needed]
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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:46 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:Meh, I think it is due to incompetence and the sheer difficulty of asking one person to run a multi-trillion dollar operation that is supposed to govern 320 million people.

Doesn't explain how other countries manage...

Do they? Which other countries operate multi-trillion dollar budgets to govern 320 million people? Hopefully you're not holding up China as a model of governance here.

Here's a question for you. The UK government spends 809 billion pounds. In 1998 it spent 264.1 billion pounds. Has that made people on your side of the pond three times as well off now than they were 20 years ago?

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby ijuin » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:48 pm UTC

First off, how much is the difference after adjusting for twenty years of inflation?

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Re: 2051: "Bad Opinions"

Postby AndrewGPaul » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:56 pm UTC

According to this site:

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bil ... -1900.html

809 billion in 2018 is about 466 billion in 1998.


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