1049: "Bookshelf"

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Karilyn
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Thu May 03, 2012 2:14 am UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
Karilyn wrote:No woman should have a transvaginal ultrasound forced on her, BUT a transvaginal ultrasound doesn't even compare to the "torture" of a gynecology visit. Then again, no woman should be forced to go to the gynecologist either. There's nothing inherently torture about a transvaginal ultrasound. The problem is not that the medical treatment is cruel and unusual, it's that the treatment is being mandated by law. And being mandated when it should not be, is not even close to enough to be a qualifier for being considered torture.
By the legal definition of rape, a mandated ultrasound is rape. And, as mentioned, this is a requirement for women seeking an abortion BECAUSE they were forcibly raped. I don't know what else to call that but torture. Not to mention the psychological torture I described is going on in every single republican run state in the country.
I am going to try and speak very calmly and without anger, because I do not think you realized what you just said.

Do not throw around the word rape so lightly. I don't care how stupid the law is (and it is very stupid), it in no way comes even close to achieving the level of evil of rape. In my life, I have been raped so many times I could not even begin to give you count (It numbers in the hundreds and approaches close to a thousand). You devalue the suffering of real rape victims when you would compare a medical procedure which is minor by comparison to a gynecology visit, to rape.

To call something like transvaginal ultrasound "rape," you are spitting in the face of every woman who has ever been beaten, violently raped, and left sobbing and bleeding from the tears to her vaginal walls, scared to even get help because the person who raped her was someone who knows her, knows where she lives, and threatened to put a bullet through her head should she ever think about telling anybody what happened. Only to know that this was not the first time it happened, nor would it be the last time it happened, and that she could "look forward" to it happening again in a few days.
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.

J Thomas
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 2:23 am UTC

J L wrote:.... But I wanted to ask: Is it save to say that Ayn Rand and the emotions she sparks are a very ... American thing?


Yes.

Cause I never heard of her over here (Germany) until a few years ago. Then I noticed she was referenced again and again: I think my first encounter with her was in Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas & Electric (which, in my opinion, was seriously flawed by his ostentatious hatred for a writer I hadn't even heard about). Next time I met her was in a Twilight parody, then in Stephen Chbosky's Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which she is the only author (along with William Burroughs, sort of) that doesn't receive open praise in the book. Next time, Bert Cooper in Mad Men tries to convince people they should read her work. All in all, she seems to possess a remarkably polarizing effect on people: for some she seems to be an all-American (immigrant) saint, and others seem to feel an irresistible need to make fun of her. And at the same time, from a European perspective, it's very hard to understand why so much attention is being paid to her at all.


Basicly, she's important because a lot of people pay attention to her.

Some people pay attention to her novels because they like her philosophy.
As a philosopher, she makes an almost adequate novelist.

The central thing that makes her important in a US context is her defense of selfishness. Among the first english colonists in America were Puritans, who basicly insisted that God did not want people to have fun. Ever since we've had to struggle with the idea that anything that feels good must be sinful. (Also we sometimes have problems with the converse idea that if something is sinful it's likely to give us pleasure.) Christ implied that if you are a good Christian and you achieve worldly success, you should give away your riches. Americans reject that idea but lots of them don't want to say they reject Christ.

So we had Horatio Alger, who wrote 100+ novels in which poor boys resolved to work hard and live clean and ascended into middle class respectability, a generalized claim that the capitalist system works even for the poorest men provided they are sufficiently heroic.

Ayn Rand took the traditional "capitalism is good" theme and mixed it with the russian intellectual myth. Her characters are not successful capitalists and usually they do not become successful capitalists. They believe it would be immoral to do the things required to be successful. Instead they nobly do good things, superior things, and fail while demonstrating their nobility. They are beaten down by the lackeys of the evil system, even while they know that a true capitalist system would treat them as they deserve. In _Atlas Shrugged_ the noble heroes are taken to fairyland where the system does work as it is supposed to.

The result was a subtle change in conservative alignment. Traditionally the emphasis was on reducing government interference so that capitalists could be more successful at acquiring riches. Rand fit that, and agreed that no one needs to look at the big picture or the long run, that the system will work ideally if everybody just looks after his own interests. But Rand pushed the ideology that everything people do that goes beyond looking after their own individual interests, was intrinsicly evil and should be stopped. Prior to Rand the conservative movement had a distinct apologetic air. They concentrated on arguing that they were not evil. After Rand they argue that everybody is evil except them, and maintain an attitude of fierce indignation that bad people are allowed to do bad things.

Also, Rand helped break the link between economic conservatism and social conservatism. Before, conservatives tended to be "conservative" in their private lives or at least tried to keep their kinks secret. Rand, rejecting religion etc, argued that it's OK to do anything you want that doesn't hurt other people, and OK to hurt other people if they sign contracts agreeing to it. Rand helped popularize the idea that wild and crazy guys don't have to be liberals.


Lots of Americans just lap this stuff up. They quote her with no sense of humor whatsoever, as a sort of revealed truth. Americans who dislike it tend to poke fun at it, secure in the belief that they will not be poked fun at in return because Randites have no sense of humor.

Regrettably, there are only two significant political ideologies today, and Rand is rather close to the center of one of them. Libertarians basicly believe we should dismantle the government (except for a few things we need like maybe a legal system (which might be replaced by private-enterprise arbitrators) and police (which might be replaced by rent-a-cops and concerned citizens) and the military (which might be replaced by mercenaries and amateurs and guerrillas)).

The other is the ecology movement, which holds that we should try to cut back our economy enough to increase our health and safety and leave some natural biomes surviving in case we find out we need them. Proponents of every other political philosophy are just trying to hold onto what they've got without much attempt to explain why they deserve to. Or are crying in the wilderness, getting ignored,
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

drazen
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby drazen » Thu May 03, 2012 2:29 am UTC

Tell me, where exactly are these mass graves where Canada, France, and Scandinavia are tossing the bodied of those who are not "cost effective"? Are they the same place where all those "Don't euthanize me!" bracelet's of Rick Santorum's are?


Nice bullshit attack -- I was a Paul guy, not Santorum. Ricky is an empty suit if there ever was one.

Second, the deaths don't have to be mass graves to be any more real. Waiting for specialists = deaths. One of the ugly little facts people like you COVER UP to fuck the rest of us over with your schemes.

Sure your can, if you have a spare half-mil hanging out under your mattress. I CAN point to many people who died because their insurance denied them coverage and they didn't have any way at all to get the money.


Insurance denied coverage, not service. If it was some incredibly expensive procedure, well, we don't all have the best TV or car either. That's life. But government control means the elimination of the possibility of getting a service.

drazen wrote:Of course, I could say similar things about government jobs that you say about corporations. Many government agencies discourage hard work, so they can get a bigger budget and grow their empire. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Exactly, they're exceptions and should be fixed. The difference is corporations are required by law to behave this way to protect their shareholders.


Huh? The exceptions are a few agencies that work well, so they should be fixed so none work well?

Corporations aren't required by law to grow their personal departments so they can get more funding. They're accountable to the shareholders, which would theoretically mean having the most efficient departments possible. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the idea.

So your solution is less rules means less things to twist. What it really means is less things that NEED to be twisted to do negative things. And how do you propose preventing parties from violating each other? Public shame? I think we've well established that that doesn't work, especially if those you want to shame run all the media.


No, my system is (generally) fewer specific rules, but managed more broadly. If the rule is that you cannot lie about what is in your product, if you cannot poison the water supply, and so on, you don't need 8,000 pages of regulations. The idea is that, instead of outlining an expensive method of what you MUST do, allow people to find the cheapest method that does not violate the rights of others. Companies are not held liable for a lot of things now that they should be. That doesn't need we mean so many rules that even ordinary people get caught up in them. It means we need better enforcement, and that starts not from bureaucratic regulations, but from better principles. In no way have I given people "less things to twist" by doing so.

Your assumption that because someone CAN cause harm, I somehow think they should be allowed to be, is false. Pretty much anyone can cause harm at any time. Take the dentist who just pulled out all of her ex's teeth (in Poland, I think?). I'm pretty sure there's no specific law against that in particular -- but a broad civil and criminal law would cover that sort of thing, without needing a specific prohibition.

drazen wrote:No reputable company would market "poison cola," certainly not in a free, democratic society in which it would be on the internet in about 8 seconds

Oh, yes, the power of the internet. Where the corporations have 2 bloggers shilling for them for every independent blogger telling the truth about them.


drazen wrote:Kind of like your database idea, though. It pretty much aligns with my idea of rating things rather than banning them.

And who would run this database? A corporation, charging subscription fees to access it? The government which you think is so corrupted it can't do anything right?


You could have it done by the government, a corporation, a non-profit, or all three - to expand on the FDA idea, let them compete. You can trust your precious government. I'd probably trust an independent non-profit agency first, a corporation a distant second, and a government dead last.

Actually, government debt is REQUIRED for a stable economy. What do you think savings bonds are? They're government debt. Debt is needed so people have a safe place to store their money. It only applies to the Romney-rich and above, but it's important to the economy.


Government debt to a private banking cartel is required for a stable economy? It is government debt (especially when combined with anti-growth policies) that is eroding the purchasing power of the middle and working classes.

That's an incredibly simplistic and incorrect analysis of the oil market. And I also should add that NO new technology is cheap until significant investment makes it more widespread. Mass production creates cheaper products but requires much more starting capital than hand-crafting. If you want cheap energy, we need to invest in renewable sources of that energy, not in sources that are prone to depletion.


That was not an analysis of the oil market. It was an analysis of the 1990s economy. Energy costs are embedded in everything; rising costs strangle an economy. That's what we are experiencing right now. Costs are rising; the government is trying to spend in a Keynesian way to prop it up, but it's just causing inflation (especially with the antigrowth policies of the current administration)... and that's a never-ending cycle.

Renewables are a pathetic failure. What use is a car that only goes 30 miles, if I live 35 miles from work? Especially with no trunk space and no pick-up. What good are solar panels that require more energy to produce than they generate in their lifetime? What good are wind farms that can't generate 10% of the energy we need AND have been shown to be bad for the environment (there are some species of birds that are getting screwed up by them). All we have right now is failed cronies like Solyndra, not anything close to real solutions.

drazen wrote:"Do it my way or get lost." I mean, I don't care if people enter into voluntary, socialistic agreements -- I just don't want them to be government-run, or to be compulsory.

And I may not want to respect your patent or stop at stoplights. That's the price we pay for living in a civilized society. They're called rules. If you don't like rules, go to Somalia.


I am so sick of you douchebags who constantly draw a false equivalency between a society based on individual rights and Somalia, a mix of anarchy, tribal warlords, and nutjob religious terrorists.

For the millionth time, the job of the government is to protect your life, liberty, and justly acquired property from being taken from you by other people (or by the aforementioned government). It is not to "make a nice society" or "make your life better" or any of that other nonsense. That is best done at the local level. I'd rather see, say, California be socialist and Kansas be a Christian theocracy and New Hampshire be a libertarian paradise, or whatever mix can be worked out, that have some monolith that controls 300 million people at the point of a gun. They won't ALL be corrupt corporatocracies. My only stipulation is that people should be free to choose where they go. Your ideology requires the conscription of the unwilling. It makes you an evil, vile person.

And telling me to leave? You have Europe. You have Canada. You have a HUNDRED countries to choose from. Stop fucking up the last free country on Earth, you parasitic piece of garbage. I owe society nothing merely by virtue of my existence. My only obligation is to not directly harm another. I am not obligated to save you from every conceivable harm that might befall you, and society's only obligation is to protect rights. And your right is only to PURSUE health care, a job, a car, whatever. You have no natural right to get those things for free, as it requires forcing others to give them to you, which is immoral and evil. Period. It may be practical, but to advocate that is to say that you are a person who believes that "the ends justify the means," which is the philosophy of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and every other tyrant in history. This conclusion is inescapable, and to deny it is to deny your true nature: someone who uses force to compel others to act for their own benefit and/or desires.

drazen wrote:the only just personal income tax rate is 0%

I'm not sure if I agree with you or not on income tax, however, the thinking behind income tax is that in order to produce the fruits of your labor, you must use public resources, at the very least you're using public security (military, police, courts, etc) and should therefore pay for what you use.


Perhaps, but I have explicitly stipulated that people should pay for resources they consume. I don't have a moral issue with the gas tax. I might not agree with you about where to set it, but given that we need SOME mechanism for determining who can acquire property, and the "Finders Keepers" method seems rather stupid and baseless to me, having a society that organizes the extraction of resources and then uses that to finance its aims (though we disagree about those aims) is the fairest method I can think of. And if you're paying for the resources consumed in this way, at a well-set rate, then there's no reason for an income tax, even based on that idea. You also could argue that your labor benefits society of its own accord, so it would kind of be like paying a corporation just for the "privilege" of working for them.

drazen wrote:While a democracy may vote in taxes, it doesn't make them moral.

Taxes are how society pays for what it gives you. If you claim it gives you nothing and therefore you owe it nothing, you're lying. Even if you never have to call the police in your life, their presence still protects you, just like herd immunity helps to protect some idiot anti-vaxer's child when they don't get vaccinated.


Again, I was mostly talking about the income tax here. I don't consider every tax immoral theft, just the personal income tax on labor (and probably inheritance) specifically. While I might favor low taxes, I don't consider things like the gas tax, or property tax, etc., explicitly immoral, because they're used to pay for resources used/consumed. This actually separates me from Ayn Rand and from a lot of libertarians as well. I'm probably closest to the "Geo-libertarians," when it comes to the allocation and management of resources.

In the end, though, you want complete domination and control of me. Whereas I really don't give two shits what happens to you. The only thing I want is to ensure that people like you could never harm me through your ill-conceived vision for society. With current technology, that's largely manageable now - let people choose to sign up for, say, Social Security, or not. Choice = liberty. Government mandates (not taxes, but rather "You must do X simply by virtue of existing, or else we will punish you") = slavery. I know which one I'll choose.

J Thomas
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 2:36 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Perhaps you should ask HugoSchmidt whether he objects to the death penalty. When many of his claims are GOP talking points it's natural to suppose he would not. But when he self-identifies as libertarian, it's natural to suppose that he would object to the government killing citizens, and would feel that the government should impose no penalty on US citizens who kill suspected criminals. So it could easily go either way.
I... what? Are we even reading the same dude's posts?


Probably. He did clarify his position just before I posted.

J Thomas wrote:Yes. Played well, too.
...

A better response for him is to say "Here's $5 to help your cause, now go away while I talk about how horrible your side is for not casting out the horrible person who did the horrible thing". That's a win for you because you got him to contribute $5 toward your cause that he has no sympathy for.
...why not just say 'I recognize that's a bad thing, but it's not a bad thing I'm particularly passionate about'? That seems like the reasonable response, to me.


Because just before that, he was saying "Look, here's somebody on your sidewho did something that was absolutely horrible and it proves that your whole side is absolutely horrible unless you agree how horrible he is and throw him off your side".

If he follows that up with "Yeah, it's a bad thing but it's not a bad thing i'm particularly passionate about" then it sounds like what he's passionate about is coming up with things to use to say your side is absolutely horrible.

Which is true, but probably not what he wants to come out and say.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

Steroid
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Steroid » Thu May 03, 2012 2:49 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Steroid wrote:Respectfully, I disagree with this point. When I enter a discussion, I enter it at the tenor that it's being held at. If someone else is being an asshole to me, or assholishly arguing against a point I agree with, you're saying that I should either not enter into the discussion or raise the level to a more rational position. That's not my methodology. Instead, I meet my opponent on the level he has established. In my experience this is the best way to advance your position.

I think I can save us from an ever growing quote war here -- I think I see why you're missing my point. I'm not saying it's wrong in a moral or ethical or respect or whatever sense; I'm saying it's wrong in a factual sense. By taking that approach, you're wrong not because you're being an asshole, but because you're failing to advance your position. You're wrong because the manner in which you have decided to try to advance your position is counterproductive to doing so. That's why it's wrong.

It depends on which direction is advancement. I agree that we're talking about factual effectiveness rather than moral quality. If I'm reading your position correctly, you're saying that it's counterproductive because others, with no entrenched position in the debate, would be more likely to favor mine if I express it nobly and non-condescendingly. What I'm saying is that in my experience, that's not true. If you always take the high road, even when your opponent doesn't, I think you're more likely to be seen as a milquetoast than an honorable debater.

Kaylakaze
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Thu May 03, 2012 3:21 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:Technically I do likely have a better reason that you for being misandrist, but what have I said that would make you think I have better reason for it? Oh well. My strong misandry is part of the reason I'm more tolerant of my girlfriend's racism than I should be. I sorta figure I'd be a hypocrite to condemn her for finding non-whites disgusting, when I find men to be disgusting. How am I any better than her really? Acknowledgement of the fact that my misandry makes me no better than a racist, is part of the reason I've tried in recent years to work being less misandrist.


You've mentioned a highly abusive marriage. I'd think that should be enough.

If you find someone, or a group of people, physically unappealing, there's nothing wrong with that. I think it only becomes a problem if it leads to you thinking that your group is inherently better than there's. Except men. They've demonstrated their inferiority as a group and as a result, expecting them to earn respect on an individual basis is to be expected :D (halfway kidding there)

BTW, your username keeps throwing me because the name I normally use for my characters in video games is Kaylarin and whenever I see your name, my brain instinctively reads it as Kaylarin before I read it more carefully.

Kaylakaze
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Thu May 03, 2012 3:28 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:
Karilyn wrote:No woman should have a transvaginal ultrasound forced on her, BUT a transvaginal ultrasound doesn't even compare to the "torture" of a gynecology visit. Then again, no woman should be forced to go to the gynecologist either. There's nothing inherently torture about a transvaginal ultrasound. The problem is not that the medical treatment is cruel and unusual, it's that the treatment is being mandated by law. And being mandated when it should not be, is not even close to enough to be a qualifier for being considered torture.
By the legal definition of rape, a mandated ultrasound is rape. And, as mentioned, this is a requirement for women seeking an abortion BECAUSE they were forcibly raped. I don't know what else to call that but torture. Not to mention the psychological torture I described is going on in every single republican run state in the country.
I am going to try and speak very calmly and without anger, because I do not think you realized what you just said.

Do not throw around the word rape so lightly. I don't care how stupid the law is (and it is very stupid), it in no way comes even close to achieving the level of evil of rape. In my life, I have been raped so many times I could not even begin to give you count (It numbers in the hundreds and approaches close to a thousand). You devalue the suffering of real rape victims when you would compare a medical procedure which is minor by comparison to a gynecology visit, to rape.

To call something like transvaginal ultrasound "rape," you are spitting in the face of every woman who has ever been beaten, violently raped, and left sobbing and bleeding from the tears to her vaginal walls, scared to even get help because the person who raped her was someone who knows her, knows where she lives, and threatened to put a bullet through her head should she ever think about telling anybody what happened. Only to know that this was not the first time it happened, nor would it be the last time it happened, and that she could "look forward" to it happening again in a few days.


So what you're saying is because there are different degrees of something horrible, a lesser degree of that something is inconsequential? Calling a single murder bad is insulting holocaust victims? Vaginal penetration with any object without consent or through coerced consent is legally rape. Sorry if you don't approve because it's not brutal enough for you.

And you should be careful about saying things like that on the internet. There are people around that'll try to hurt you with that information. Triggering, I think they call it.

J Thomas
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 3:48 am UTC

drazen wrote:
So your solution is less rules means less things to twist. What it really means is less things that NEED to be twisted to do negative things. And how do you propose preventing parties from violating each other? Public shame? I think we've well established that that doesn't work, especially if those you want to shame run all the media.


No, my system is (generally) fewer specific rules, but managed more broadly. If the rule is that you cannot lie about what is in your product, if you cannot poison the water supply, and so on, you don't need 8,000 pages of regulations.


There is room for honest difference of opinion about what it takes to poison the water supply. If you can't release anything into the water, that's expensive. (Maybe your factory can recycle its water. Remove whatever pollutants you need removed for your purpose, and then use it again. Expensive!)

So if there's somebody downstream of you, and you release lead into their drinking water, how much lead is it? One amount will be pretty much harmless, another amount will cause dangerous symptoms, how close to the latter can you get before they can prove in court that you're hurting them?

What if it isn't lead but PCBs? What if it's an analog of a human hormone? If you're responsible for removing tiny trace amounts, that's even more expensive.

And just when you think you have it all settled, a new rumor pops up that something you are releasing in low amounts is dangerous. A new lawsuit?

I don't say what we have is a good system, but it's probably one of the least expensive ways to manage the problem. If you run a factory, you can win frivolous lawsuits that say you are doing something dangerous, as long as you satisfy federal guidelines. Even if there's evidence of harm you can prove that you didn't know and you shouldn't have known, because the FDA or EPA didn't say so. They're experts in the science and when they get solid evidence that something is harmful and they estimate that the cost of preventing the problem is low enough, they will announce a new guideline. So it isn't just 10,000 court cases and sudden new precedents. The process is slow enough and predictable enough to live with.

The idea is that, instead of outlining an expensive method of what you MUST do, allow people to find the cheapest method that does not violate the rights of others.


And then establish that it does not violate other peoples' rights with a series of their lawsuits? Ouch.

It means we need better enforcement, and that starts not from bureaucratic regulations, but from better principles.


That sounds good in theory. I can imagine say an FDA which has world-class experts who publish recommendations instead of regulations. Then private citizens detect companies that fail to meet the recommendations and sue. I can imagine that might possibly be better. It doesn't seem like a sure thing to me at this point.

No reputable company would market "poison cola," certainly not in a free, democratic society in which it would be on the internet in about 8 seconds


My concern is more about powerful drugs that perhaps might kill some people. Say anyone can just buy odorless flavorless iocane -- that would just make my life harder.

drazen wrote:Kind of like your database idea, though. It pretty much aligns with my idea of rating things rather than banning them.

And who would run this database? A corporation, charging subscription fees to access it? The government which you think is so corrupted it can't do anything right?


You could have it done by the government, a corporation, a non-profit, or all three - to expand on the FDA idea, let them compete. You can trust your precious government. I'd probably trust an independent non-profit agency first, a corporation a distant second, and a government dead last.


If it's mostly an automated service, then most of what you'd be trusting a government to do would be to pay the bills. A corporation would need to pay the bills and make a profit. A non-profit would still have to get funding. I don't think any of them would be completely reliable, and I don't see that one would be a lot better except the corporation has that extra constraint. OK, let's separate it into two parts. There's collecting and sanitizing data, and then there's maintaining the data so people can search it. The first task is probably best done by government. They can mostly verify that you are who you say you are and collect your medical data and sanitize it. There's mostly no reason for government to sell your personal data to third parties. Once the data is available, anybody can get copies and let people search them.

But I'd accept a system run entirely by an NGO or a corporation if that's what I could get. It would be better than not having it.

Actually, government debt is REQUIRED for a stable economy. What do you think savings bonds are? They're government debt. Debt is needed so people have a safe place to store their money. It only applies to the Romney-rich and above, but it's important to the economy.


Government debt to a private banking cartel is required for a stable economy? It is government debt (especially when combined with anti-growth policies) that is eroding the purchasing power of the middle and working classes.


We have an economic system that has evolved. Various people have tampered with it over the last 100+ years, based on theories that have changed over 100+ years. Imagine you had a piece of software and when something went wrong you didn't test to make sure you found the bug, instead you changed something that you thought would fix it, and kept making changes until the problem was fixed, and then added new code and new fixes for each new problem you found. And that went on for 100 years. How easy would it be to understand the system at that point?

He could be right that government debt to a private banking cartel is necessary for the system as it exists now. He could have theories that explain why. He could be right for the wrong reasons.

I think we need to design an economic system from the ground up. Decide what we want it to accomplish and design it with those goals in mind. Test it thoroughly in simulation and in smaller model systems. Check for methods participants could use to game the system. Build sample economies that way and see how they work. Introduce it into our own economy and with the feedback loops toned down so they don't have as big an effect as they ought to, and measure how well it does the right things at the right time. Gradually increase the gain and watch how well it works for real.

In the meantime, we live in a system we do not understand. Any little thing that looks harmless could possibly have big bad effects. When you change anything you haven't changed before, you risk it all.

drazen wrote:"Do it my way or get lost." I mean, I don't care if people enter into voluntary, socialistic agreements -- I just don't want them to be government-run, or to be compulsory.

And I may not want to respect your patent or stop at stoplights. That's the price we pay for living in a civilized society. They're called rules. If you don't like rules, go to Somalia.


I am so sick of you douchebags who constantly draw a false equivalency between a society based on individual rights and Somalia, a mix of anarchy, tribal warlords, and nutjob religious terrorists.


He has a potential point. If you start off with a society based on individual rights, and it does not have a mechanism to coerce people into continuing to respect individual rights, what keeps it from devolving into a mix of anarchy, tribal warlords, and religious nutjobs?

I can imagine the USA devolving that way. It's better if everybody keeps respecting individual rights, but if they don't want to do that, how do we make them?

And telling me to leave? You have Europe. You have Canada. You have a HUNDRED countries to choose from. Stop fucking up the last free country on Earth, you parasitic piece of garbage. I owe society nothing merely by virtue of my existence. My only obligation is to not directly harm another. I am not obligated to save you from every conceivable harm that might befall you, and society's only obligation is to protect rights. And your right is only to PURSUE health care, a job, a car, whatever. You have no natural right to get those things for free, as it requires forcing others to give them to you, which is immoral and evil. Period. It may be practical, but to advocate that is to say that you are a person who believes that "the ends justify the means," which is the philosophy of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and every other tyrant in history. This conclusion is inescapable, and to deny it is to deny your true nature: someone who uses force to compel others to act for their own benefit and/or desires.


That's your opinion and I like it. But once again, if others disagree -- how do we force them to do it your way?

We can call them parasitic pieces of garbage, but that might not be enough to persuade them to respect our rights.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Thu May 03, 2012 3:51 am UTC

It is way too late at night for me to be arguing this. inb4 I somehow screw up what I'm saying

Kaylakaze wrote:So what you're saying is because there are different degrees of something horrible, a lesser degree of that something is inconsequential?
No, I'm saying do not trivialize rape by calling something bad that is not rape, rape.

Kaylakaze wrote:Calling a single murder bad is insulting holocaust victims?
The difference is that the holocaust is many murders, and a murder is one murder. Both involve murders. Both are comparable. It's not a matter of the severity, it's a matter of them being the same thing.

The law requiring vaginal ultrasounds is a violation of freedom to chose what medical procedures you have performed on you (I'm too tired right now to think of the proper name for this concept). It is not however rape.

A more accurate comparison than "murder to holocaust" would the the following comparison. The US government passes a law requiring that all people with O Blood Type must donate blood. This is a violation of rights yes, same as the vaginal ultrasounds, but it's obviously not murder. "This mandatory vaginal ultrasound blood donation is legally rape murder, because it involves vaginal penetration the spilling of blood." That's roughly the same thing you are saying.

I understand that murder is worse than rape, and that vaginal ultrasounds are worse than mandatory blood donations. But it's the only analogy I can think of at the moment with how tired I am, so please forgive me. Just because the difference between rape and vaginal ultrasound is less severe than the difference between murder and mandatory blood donation, doesn't make the analogy invalid. It just means my brain is operating too slowly to come up with something better. (Actually I technically think rape is worse than murder, but that's another subject entirely)

Kaylakaze wrote:Vaginal penetration with any object without consent or through coerced consent is legally rape. Sorry if you don't approve because it's not brutal enough for you.
I'm sorry, but have you ever been to a gynecologist? Because when I was a minor, my mother made me go to one, even though I did not want to, and did not consent to see the gynecologist, but I was coerced into consenting because my mother said she would ground me if I did not go. So does that mean that gynecologist and my mom were not only rapists, but child rapists?

Your logic is very flawed.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Thu May 03, 2012 4:14 am UTC

drazen wrote:Nice bullshit attack -- I was a Paul guy, not Santorum. Ricky is an empty suit if there ever was one.

Second, the deaths don't have to be mass graves to be any more real. Waiting for specialists = deaths. One of the ugly little facts people like you COVER UP to fuck the rest of us over with your schemes.


Different suit, same schtick.

And yet the citizens of the countries I'd name would hang you if you tried to give them our healthcare system. Strange that.

Insurance denied coverage, not service. If it was some incredibly expensive procedure, well, we don't all have the best TV or car either. That's life. But government control means the elimination of the possibility of getting a service.


I don't know a single person in any position of power in the US who has advocated a complete take over of healthcare to the point where someone can't purchase healthcare if they chose to do so.

Huh? The exceptions are a few agencies that work well, so they should be fixed so none work well?


Admittedly I misread your original comment there. Had I read it correctly, I would have said that you were wrong

Corporations aren't required by law to grow their personal departments so they can get more funding. They're accountable to the shareholders, which would theoretically mean having the most efficient departments possible. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the idea.


They're required by law to sociopathically get money for their shareholders in any way they can.

No, my system is (generally) fewer specific rules, but managed more broadly. If the rule is that you cannot lie about what is in your product, if you cannot poison the water supply, and so on, you don't need 8,000 pages of regulations. The idea is that, instead of outlining an expensive method of what you MUST do, allow people to find the cheapest method that does not violate the rights of others. Companies are not held liable for a lot of things now that they should be. That doesn't need we mean so many rules that even ordinary people get caught up in them. It means we need better enforcement, and that starts not from bureaucratic regulations, but from better principles. In no way have I given people "less things to twist" by doing so.

Your assumption that because someone CAN cause harm, I somehow think they should be allowed to be, is false. Pretty much anyone can cause harm at any time. Take the dentist who just pulled out all of her ex's teeth (in Poland, I think?). I'm pretty sure there's no specific law against that in particular -- but a broad civil and criminal law would cover that sort of thing, without needing a specific prohibition.


And that's nice in theory, but there's a reason it's not like that. For one, big laws have big loopholes.

drazen wrote:No reputable company would market "poison cola," certainly not in a free, democratic society in which it would be on the internet in about 8 seconds

Oh, yes, the power of the internet. Where the corporations have 2 bloggers shilling for them for every independent blogger telling the truth about them.



You could have it done by the government, a corporation, a non-profit, or all three - to expand on the FDA idea, let them compete. You can trust your precious government. I'd probably trust an independent non-profit agency first, a corporation a distant second, and a government dead last.


I see no difference between a non-profit and the government except that the government is (allegedly) accountable to the people while the non-profit is accountable to no one.

Government debt to a private banking cartel is required for a stable economy? It is government debt (especially when combined with anti-growth policies) that is eroding the purchasing power of the middle and working classes.


No, it's not. You're just factually incorrect on your understanding of economics.

That was not an analysis of the oil market. It was an analysis of the 1990s economy. Energy costs are embedded in everything; rising costs strangle an economy. That's what we are experiencing right now. Costs are rising; the government is trying to spend in a Keynesian way to prop it up, but it's just causing inflation (especially with the antigrowth policies of the current administration)... and that's a never-ending cycle.


Not only do you continue to be incorrect about historical economic analysis, but you don't even understand the current market nor do you even understand what's currently going on economically.

Renewables are a pathetic failure. What use is a car that only goes 30 miles, if I live 35 miles from work? Especially with no trunk space and no pick-up.


First of all, I don't know of any car that runs on renewable energy. However, if you're talking about hybrid vehicles, a Volt goes 25-50 miles on a charge, depending on things like temperature and terrain (just like a car with gas mileage). Anything more than that and the gas engine will take over. So even if you could only go 30 miles on the electric, you're still only paying for 5 miles worth of gasoline (at a much higher fuel efficiency) as opposed to 35 miles worth. In my car, that's a savings of almost 2 gallons per trip, depending on driving conditions. And most commuters don't need that much trunk space. As for no "pick up" I'm not sure what you mean. Acceleration is plenty sufficient for safety. Unless you just mean "It doesn't have that ooomph that makes my dick get all hard".

What good are solar panels that require more energy to produce than they generate in their lifetime? What good are wind farms that can't generate 10% of the energy we need AND have been shown to be bad for the environment (there are some species of birds that are getting screwed up by them). All we have right now is failed cronies like Solyndra, not anything close to real solutions.


I knew you'd play to Solyndra card and again, I knew you'd know absolutely nothing about what you're saying. The main reason for their failure was China driving down the price of silicon through massive investments into their own solar energy systems, leaving Solyndra unable to compete. And again, see my comment on new technologies being expensive at first. Also, these so called cronies were LOANED $527 million, a small fraction of what the US government GIVES to oil companies. China invested 6 billion in their solar industry. Solyndra didn't have the means to compete.

I am so sick of you douchebags who constantly draw a false equivalency between a society based on individual rights and Somalia, a mix of anarchy, tribal warlords, and nutjob religious terrorists.

For the millionth time, the job of the government is to protect your life, liberty, and justly acquired property from being taken from you by other people (or by the aforementioned government). It is not to "make a nice society" or "make your life better" or any of that other nonsense. That is best done at the local level. I'd rather see, say, California be socialist and Kansas be a Christian theocracy and New Hampshire be a libertarian paradise, or whatever mix can be worked out, that have some monolith that controls 300 million people at the point of a gun. They won't ALL be corrupt corporatocracies. My only stipulation is that people should be free to choose where they go. Your ideology requires the conscription of the unwilling. It makes you an evil, vile person.


Oh! I get it now. Government is only for what YOU say it is and other people's opinions don't matter.

And telling me to leave? You have Europe. You have Canada. You have a HUNDRED countries to choose from. Stop fucking up the last free country on Earth, you parasitic piece of garbage. I owe society nothing merely by virtue of my existence. My only obligation is to not directly harm another. I am not obligated to save you from every conceivable harm that might befall you, and society's only obligation is to protect rights. And your right is only to PURSUE health care, a job, a car, whatever. You have no natural right to get those things for free, as it requires forcing others to give them to you, which is immoral and evil. Period. It may be practical, but to advocate that is to say that you are a person who believes that "the ends justify the means," which is the philosophy of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and every other tyrant in history. This conclusion is inescapable, and to deny it is to deny your true nature: someone who uses force to compel others to act for their own benefit and/or desires.


Spoken again like someone living in a bubble of total ignorance. Maybe you've heard of a little thing called "immigration laws." Other countries have much stricter ones than the US. Believe me, if I could get legal rescidency in Canada or Denmark or Sweden or Norway, I'd be gone so fast.

Again, I was mostly talking about the income tax here. I don't consider every tax immoral theft, just the personal income tax on labor (and probably inheritance) specifically. While I might favor low taxes, I don't consider things like the gas tax, or property tax, etc., explicitly immoral, because they're used to pay for resources used/consumed. This actually separates me from Ayn Rand and from a lot of libertarians as well. I'm probably closest to the "Geo-libertarians," when it comes to the allocation and management of resources.


Yes, but you would be unable to perform your labor without the security provided by the state, therefore you need to pay for it. If you don't labor, you don't have to pay it.

In the end, though, you want complete domination and control of me. Whereas I really don't give two shits what happens to you. The only thing I want is to ensure that people like you could never harm me through your ill-conceived vision for society. With current technology, that's largely manageable now - let people choose to sign up for, say, Social Security, or not. Choice = liberty. Government mandates (not taxes, but rather "You must do X simply by virtue of existing, or else we will punish you") = slavery. I know which one I'll choose.


And your naive, childish vision of reality is just silly. In your world, what happens if you get hit by a car and the driver speeds off and is never found? Is it just "Oh well, fuck you. You shouldn't have gotten hit by that car"? Also, I don't think anyone says "you must do X by virtue of existing." We don't have a breathing tax in the US.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Thu May 03, 2012 4:27 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:I'm sorry, but have you ever been to a gynecologist? Because when I was a minor, my mother made me go to one, even though I did not want to, and did not consent to see the gynecologist, but I was coerced into consenting because my mother said she would ground me if I did not go. So does that mean that gynecologist and my mom were not only rapists, but child rapists?

Your logic is very flawed.


Argue with whoever made the law, not me. Hell, my ex-gf claimed she was raped because she was sad her girlfriend broke up with her and her ex boyfriend was keeping her company and he asked her to have sex and she said no so he said "Okay, see you tomorrow" so she said yes and they had sex. And I know many anti-rape groups and feminists who would agree with her. I do not. When it comes down to it, you have to define rape somehow by law, otherwise you can't prosecute. How do you propose we define it? Does someone need to be beaten in order to say they've been raped? What if, as you mentioned, there's a gun involved but no beating? There's no ACTUAL violence but there is threat of it. Is "be penetrated or be forced to have a baby" a suitable enough threat? Does rape have to be performed with a body part or can it be an object? Should the rape law say "except when a doctor does it"?

I understand your position, but I can't see any way the definition of rape doesn't apply or how to redefine rape so that it doesn't include required TV ultrasound.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Eternal Density » Thu May 03, 2012 6:56 am UTC

...

Yeah I'll just stick to reading David Weber.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 03, 2012 7:25 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:But the tools of philosophy are logic, reason, rationality--these are tools that, when truly adopted and embraced, inevitably lead to science, materialism, and empiricism. How can you logically embrace Christianity? Hinduism, or Islam, or homeopathy, or the Bambino's Curse?

I agree with you here, but my point is that if someone didn't, in arguing about that we would be doing philosophy. In fact, in arguing about the value of philosophy we are doing philosophy right now: metaphilosophy is a branch of philosophy.

But I don't think philosophy is a useful tool to convince people who believe these things otherwise--because 'good' philosophy is using the very tools by which we arrived at science--and people who believe in the wonders of faith healing aren't even speaking that language. The only way you can convince people that faith healing is a crock of shit is by trying to understand their values, their beliefs, what's important to them--and then making a persuasive argument, not a logical one.

I'm not quite sure what you mean here by "persuasive" argument. All arguments aim at persuasion, and logic is one of (and I might argue the only correct) method of such persuasion.

Also, there is a whole continuum between people who intuitively grok the value of reason and apply it perfectly, and people who utterly and unabashedly reject it in its entirety. The opinions of the latter can be dismissed (though you still have to account for their behavior of course), and most people will agree that they should be. Most people will consider "unreasonable" a label they want to avoid having pinned on them, and will shun people who openly reject reason by name.

So if you can show them that they are being unreasonable, and how, they they will either be reasonable enough to accept your reasoning and become more reasonable (admittedly unlikely), or at least be ashamed of being unable to defend their claim to reasonability and thus be emotionally pressured to think about their position in an attempt to come up with such a defense, which is a good start and will slowly either adapt their position into a more reasonable one, at which point you've both won, or back them into the corner of outright rejecting reason to cling to their position, at which point they've lost.

I do this all the time. Someone comes into some discussion with some crazy-sounding position, and either I learn something and it doesn't sound so crazy anymore, they learn something and become less crazy, or they're exposed as complete loons and boo'd off stage, so to speak. Of course this last part depends on having a relatively sane 'audience' surrounding the debate, otherwise you just end up arguing alone with a complete loon to no point, or worse, getting jumped by all their friends; but then, everything in the world depends on there being a sufficient population of sane people to keep society functioning sanely.

Point being, someone can ostensibly care about being reasonable and yet still be unreasonable, to a great degree or just a slight degree; and showing them that fact can bring them around, since they ostensibly care about reason. Most debates happing within academic philosophy today are people arguing that each other are being slightly unreasonable in some way or another, and so may seem like fluff to people who just need to be reasonable enough to get on productively with something else. But in broader strokes, philosophy is of immense social utility in bringing the people who ostensibly care about being reasonable (most of them, at least I hope) closer to actually being reasonable, and in exposing those who really don't care about it at all for the crackpots that they are.

One of my goals as a moral creature is to figure out a definition of human prosperity that the majority of people can agree to. It's a bit silly, and probably not going to happen, but I don't think there are many people on earth who disagree with the basic premise--'humans should prosper' is such a neutral statement that it's hard to find issue with it. People who think only they should prosper are outing themselves as people who are unconcerned with morality (at least, morality as most of us would reasonably define it)--people who think only a select set of humans should prosper are similarly outing themselves as what we might reasonably describe as 'fuckdicks'.

Right, and trying to figure out what prosperity (or the good life, or "the Good", etc) is, is literally one of the oldest philosophical questions. Most people ostensibly care about being good, and think they have some idea of what is good. To argue about such matters, we usually show how some proposed standard of goodness has bad implications -- and since the people we're arguing with care about being good, that will be persuasive. In doing this, you are doing philosophy. The amoral fuckdicks, as you put it, get exposed in this process and excluded from the dialogue, just like the people who outright reject reason do in the dialogues described above.

This is essentially what's happening in the debate about Objectivist ethics in this thread. Each side is telling the other "Look, what you propose is tantamount in this that and the other case to being an amoral fuckdick; you're {stealing from people|letting people starve in the street|etc}. You don't want to be a fuckdick, right? You're aiming to be moral? Because you're failing at that and might want to reconsider your strategy." If either side says "No actually I don't really care to be moral", they've lost. And if they get backed into a corner and can't offer a defense, that forces them to rethink things, which is the trailhead to mutual victory.

The rethinking almost never happens real-time in the live conversation, while is why it probably seems unproductive to you. It takes a really big man to honestly evaluate new arguments and say "You're right, I was mistaken, I've changed my mind" right away, and even I'm usually not up to anything more than "I can't think of a response right now, so I'll just drop it". In that kind of case, the "loser" invariably skulks off sour about the whole thing thinking of some way he can rejigger his arguments to not lose next time, and either he comes up with a better argument for his already-correct position, he tweaks his position to be more defensible, or he continues to lose ongoing debates until he either does one of those things or throws a tantrum and gets disqualified from grown-up talk.

Again, I apologize for the bitterness (and I actually appreciate the opportunity to talk with a pro-philosophy type person about this)

No need to apologise, you didn't come off as especially bitter. Many reasonable people dismiss philosophy as unnecessary, so I've had this conversation many times (and I enjoy it too, otherwise I wouldn't partake in it).

but I don't see philosophy as having done a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to making these premises so strong. It's the science--the actual experimentation, the gains made by that science--which makes materialism so strong. I trust materialism because planes let me fly, cars let me drive, computers let me type--and magical broomsticks, dragons, and wizards have yet to replace them. I trust skepticism because that which cannot be accurately measured, tested, and proven via experiment does not concern me--for me, they are meaningless things.

This trust stems from a mixture of experience and absorption of the information available to me; I wasn't convinced by a philosophical argument. I'm sure some people were, and I'm sure some of the things they said and did added to my experience, leading me to my conclusion--but I can't help but suspect that skepticism and empiricism would persist with or without philosophy. They are such simple, primal concepts, and philosophy seems like this extraordinarily complex, self-concerned field.


They are simple, primal concepts, and people have defended them in one form or another for as long as there has been philosophy, since long before there was science as we know it today. But, in the realm of natural philosophy, their proponents eventually won quite a decisive victory, refined the principles well and put them into practice in a program that was so phenomenally successful that that success by itself stands as such a great testament to the validity of the principles that people are convinced of them without even hearing the logical justification for them. People like you, who see what has become of that program -- natural science -- and see its foundations as patently obvious.

But natural science got its start from a bunch of philosophers doing what they called natural philosophy. You don't need to hear the epistemological and metaphysical arguments that underlaid those early scientists' positions to be convinced of their positions now, any more than you need to understand quantum mechanics to use your computer; your computer proves that quantum mechanics is right, whatever its details are that you don't need to worry about, because your computer depends on quantum mechanical principals to function. But your computer wouldn't exist if it weren't for physicists and engineers who understood quantum mechanics and put it to good use, and science wouldn't exist if it weren't for philosophers who understood epistemology and metaphysics and put them to good use.

That kind of revolutionary success hasn't happened yet in moral philosophy. We don't have a moral science yet. I think we can, and we need to; that we've slowly been approaching that threshold the past few centuries, but we still need to get that revolution off the ground, to build a foundation of moral principles so solid that people can just apply them to figuring out the details of what in particular is good or bad, right or wrong, without necessarily doing the philosophy that lead to those principles. I think we as a civilization are not really doing ethics proper at all, any more than Aristotle was doing physics proper by today's definition, because we don't have the foundational issues sorted out well enough yet. In short, I think we need to get ethics into good enough shape that it can be spun out from philosophy the same way that physics was, and then we will have the state that you want where we're doing practical moral reasoning, not philosophy. But to get to that point, we need to do some philosophy still.

And even once we're there, and we've got a moral science to compliment our natural science, it will still have its detractors just as natural science does, and there will still be a large body of the populace who misunderstands it and needs it explained to them better, and in engaging those groups we will still be doing philosophy of the kind detailed at the start of this post.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Thu May 03, 2012 7:31 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu May 03, 2012 7:28 am UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
Karilyn wrote:Holy fucking crap, you're female? Not sure if changes my opinion of you or not. Gawd, I'm so misandrist if I'm seriously considering raising my opinion of you purely because you're female.

That being said, yeah that nonsensical polarization is idiotic. But there does happen to be middle ground you know. There are options besides A or B.


I'm also a misandrist though not as much as you (though you have better reason for it, of course). I don't feel disgusted about being around men, it's just that they might as well be smelly unattractive rocks. Of course, I work in a male dominated field and partake in male dominated hobbies, so it's best that they don't disgust me that completely. Though I will admit my opinion of you increased when you mentioned being female.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby addams » Thu May 03, 2012 7:40 am UTC

Drazen wrote the following:
"Insurance denied coverage, not service. If it was some incredibly expensive procedure, well, we don't all have the best TV or car either. That's life. But government control means the elimination of the possibility of getting a service."

That is just not true! It is so faulty that I need to put my head between my legs.
Wrong! That kind of thing is wrong!

Government health care is spread a little thin, sometimes.
Private health care is for profit. It is a denied on principle.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J L » Thu May 03, 2012 7:51 am UTC

@ IcedT, J Thomas: Thanks for the inside perspective. Sometimes, I'm even glad our political system seems to be almost free of any ideology (aside from some ecologists and a few old-school socialists nobody pays any attention to). But the only political party promoting something remotely similar to Rand is about to lose their last seats in our parliaments because Germany finally realized not everyone's going to become rich even if everyone's acting like a total douchebag.

But I'm still surprised an atheist made it so far within the US conservatives (referring e.g. to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTmac2fs5HQ)

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Exodies » Thu May 03, 2012 8:31 am UTC

I'm reading my ass off in this thread but haven't found what I'm looking for, so I'll ask directly:
which has the better pay-off - Objectivism or Scientology?
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby addams » Thu May 03, 2012 8:42 am UTC

The last line is lovely. I like it.

"I will not die. It is the world that will end."

Elisabeth Kubler Ross wrote a very similar thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_K%C3%BCbler-Ross

Ms. Ross was speaking to the issue of Anticipatory Grieving.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticipatory_grief

Rand was a human. Ross was a human.
They both died.

Stick figures don't die. If, the bookcase fell on that stick figure, it would not die.

Has this turned into a discussion of God vs No God?
Those are some of my favorite kind. I think I know the answer.
Many people think they know the answer.

It is fine to know your own Gods. It is not fine to enforce your Gods on me. I have enough problems with my own.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby pinkgothic » Thu May 03, 2012 9:44 am UTC

Tangent:

J L wrote:But the only political party promoting something remotely similar to Rand


I had the impression the FDP largely lost its votes because it managed to completely stray from its advertised philosophies on major topics lately, honestly; and then the nuclear power fiasco gave the last blow because it was widely perceived as the silliest thing to be rigid about (where they'd be much better off being rigid on other topics they're not). As far as I'm aware, German libertarians largely don't actually want to vote for them... though I concede that may just be the bias of my local area (NRW around Cologne).

Though I suppose it doesn't matter much even if that's the case. :) Your point stands: Ideological libertarianism doesn't play any role in Germany. If anything, the lack of libertarians-voting-for-the-libertarian-party bolsters your claim that there is little ideology polarising the political landscape here.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J L » Thu May 03, 2012 10:30 am UTC

You're right of course, there are many other reasons for their demise. But I thought it was interesting that the more they resembled that strict Randian liberalism, the more voters they lost. As you said, even libertarians don't vote for them any more.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby RoberII » Thu May 03, 2012 11:09 am UTC

@Karilyn

I think the point is that this procedure is bound to traumatize a lot of women, and that this is the entire point of the bill. And I think we can both agree that there is a huge difference between a medical procedure and rape - however, this is, as has been said, an entirely unneccesary and highly invasive procedure with the sole intent of making women feel bad. And of course, just because something is a medical procedure doesn't mean it isn't also a transgression against the bodily autonomy of the individual if done without their consent - In some operations it is necessary to break the patient's bones, for instance, but if the government mandated that all thieves had to have their bones broken, that would not mean they simply had 'a minor medical procedure'. And of course, many medical procedures are also double as literal torture. Anyway, the psychological effects alone can make even minor transgressions rape, and many rapes involve no violence at all. Ultimately, I don't agree that this procedure constitutes rape, but I can't entirely disagree with the people that do.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby fesoferbex » Thu May 03, 2012 11:15 am UTC

I had a hard time with this thread because I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with the first 90% of every post, but got lost at "therefore, I'm right."

obviously, a lot of people are wrong on the internet in this thread.

:P

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Thu May 03, 2012 11:32 am UTC

J L wrote:You're right of course, there are many other reasons for their demise. But I thought it was interesting that the more they resembled that strict Randian liberalism, the more voters they lost. As you said, even libertarians don't vote for them any more.

I'd say that there is a serious cultural divide between European liberals and US libertarians, even where they share ideas and ideals. Parties like the FDP and their predecessors have a history of being close to the establishment, a bit urban-elitist in their base. Readers of the FAZ and the Economist, if you know what I mean.

Libertarianism has historic hints of anarchy, or at least very localized power, a bit rural, anti-establishment. It might be growing into a word for something more moderate and more urban, but that's hardly a done deal. the Ronpaul and Guido Westerwelle are not really different faces of the phenomenon, they are faces of different phenomena that happen to have some areas of overlap.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 12:13 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:No, if you lived in a small state, your vote would count just as much as anyone else's. It mimics Congress? Yes, it does, and Congress is broken and corrupt.
Just because Congress is broken and corrupt, does not mean that everything remotely associated with it is broken and corrupt. 2 votes per state in the Senate, and a variable amount of votes based on population per state in the House is a good system. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.


What's good about it?

Originally, the intention was to unite 13 small nations. Many of these nations didn't get along well. For example, Rhode Island and Connecticut were both places for nonconformist exiles from Massachusetts to go. To agree to join together, the small nations needed to be reassured that they wouldn't just be outvoted. But the large nations didn't want to be outvoted by a bunch of small ones. So they set up one house where each state got the same vote, and one where votes went by population, and nothing could be done unless they both agreed. Everybody had a chance for a veto.

But over the years the states have gotten increasingly irrelevant. They are not designed to fit our needs.

If we had a chance to redesign from scratch, here's part of how I'd do it.

1. Counties were originally designed so a county resident could get to the county seat, transact some business, and get home in a reasonable time. This is obsolete. The boundaries tended to be at rivers because at high water it was hard to cross a river. Also usually obsolete. So I say, try to include an entire watershed in a single county. It's harder to manage a watershed when it's split between counties.

2. Traditionally, eastern states reflected colonial ethnicities and natural barriers, while western states reflected national statehood requirements. This is also obsolete. State lines should in general be laid out along ecoclines.

3. The USA started as a union among states, so it was predictable that voters in one state would be aligned. But now states are not so important. Maybe it would be better to let people decide for themselves what their interests are. Instead of grouping voters based on locale, they could choose their own groupings. Engineers across the country could vote for an engineering candidate to the house of representatives, scientologists could vote for a scientology candidate, people in New York City could vote for a NYC candidate, pro-life voters could vote for a pro-life candidate. Would that be better or worse? It would result in legislators that more closely represented their voters' primary interest. Would that be an improvement? By this point I'm not at all sure what we ought to have.

Kaylakaze wrote:Just because you may live in Bumfuck, Oklahoma, doesn't mean you should have more of a say than if you live in NYC, which is how the system is now. I understand the concept of "well the less populace states may not have their interests met" but that doesn't mean you screw those who live in populace regions by making their votes count less.
Except you already get hundreds of times as many votes. Your votes already count more because you have hundreds of times as many residents.


So, we start out with the idea of majority rule. But we don't want to trample on minorities. So we give them more votes beyond their numbers. Only -- if they still count as a minority they can get trampled on anyway.

OK, we give small states the Senate where Rhode Island is just as important as California, and the Senate can stop things the House proposes. Small states can't start things to oppress big states, but they can stop it when big states oppress them. I guess it's kind of OK as a general principle, but shouldn't it be generalized?

So, the majority of the population lives in cities, and there's a small rural minority. If the city folk pass laws that suck money from the country and put it in the city, shouldn't the country folk be able to stop them? Even if it's country folk who don't live in Wyoming?

Well, say the majority of the population wants to eliminate abortion, but there's a minority who wants it. Shouldn't the minority be able to stop laws that restrict it?

Maybe minorities should be able to stop laws about minor things like taxes, but not about major things like morals?

The way we do it now, minority states can often block things at the national level. So if we can't outlaw abortion nationally, we can outlaw it in lots of states. Then if you want an abortion you can go to Nevada the Mafia state for it. Or for anything else that's illegal elsewhere. Nevada can make their living off supplying whatever the national majority doesn't want, to whatever fraction of the national majority that wants it. We get to have our laws and they get to be filthy rich. I guess that's fair, maybe.

The more I think about it, the less I'm sure what's fair.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby JonT » Thu May 03, 2012 12:23 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:I don't see how you can classify money going to private individuals as being removed from the economy.


I didn't say REMOVED - I set net drag. Shocking as it sounds, the government is not efficient - there are a lot of snouts in the trough. It accrues it's own expenses, so therefore takes its skim/cut/percentage.

Kaylakaze wrote:I never said or implied you did. Walmart, on the other hand, has shut down entire stores because it's workers wanted to form a union. And that third sentence should say "something very common in TOTALITARIAN systems". The economic system of a country has nothing to do with it.


Apologies - your inference that I am opposed to anyone forming a union implies an anti-union sentiment which I have never expressed. That said however, Walmart is absolutely free to close a store or leave an entire region for any reason it pleases. The downside of freedom - people don't always do what you want.

No edit necessary - the sentence is still true.

Definition of Totalitarian from Dictionary.com : 1. of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.

Yup, that's how most Communist countries work.

Kaylakaze wrote:No, not really. Social upheaval often leads to a rise of a charismatic madman. While communism is a much older system than capitalism, it doesn't work that well with groups larger than 200 individuals. Trying it on such a scale was a new idea and required significant societal change in order to try to implement.


Again, the fact that there are madmen in the other two economic systems does not change the fact the percentage of Communist systems ruled by madmen seems extraordinarily high.

Kaylakaze wrote:Such pretty sentiments in the abstract, but completely unenforceable under your philosophy. If a company decides they want to injure someone or damage someone else's property, how do you stop them? Write a mean letter?


If a person decides to injure someone or damage someone else's property, how do you stop THEM? The answer is you can't. What you do is punish those who do, whether they are an individual or organization.

Kaylakaze wrote:How do you square the idea of your own personal freedom to fire a gun randomly with someone else's freedom to not get shot? Keep in mind (since I don't think you caught it), "standing on your land and firing a gun randomly" is a metaphor for pretty much everything you do as a person. No man is an island. What you do affects others.


I don't need to square the idea of firing a gun as freedom. It's a great metaphor for anyone seeking to control others though. People can only do what is deemed OK by the all-knowing authorities who carefully ration rights.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu May 03, 2012 12:58 pm UTC

Pfhorrest: I am staying out of this thread for a variety of reasons (the primary one being for the purpose of my sanity), so I apologize for the brevity of this post--but you've given me some things to think about. I did want to mention one thing, though, largely because I find it amusing:
Pfhorrest wrote:That kind of revolutionary success hasn't happened yet in moral philosophy. We don't have a moral science yet. I think we can, and we need to; that we've slowly been approaching that threshold the past few centuries, but we still need to get that revolution off the ground, to build a foundation of moral principles so solid that people can just apply them to figuring out the details of what in particular is good or bad, right or wrong, without necessarily doing the philosophy that lead to those principles.
Sam Harris once said that he doesn't want morality to boil down to asking a computer a moral question and getting an answer. I do. I want morality to be concrete; a set destination with the only question being how best to get there. All moral debates would therefore become arguments over math!

Not really, I know--we can't measure all ends, there's always going to be arguments over what's the best method to produce a positive result--but if we could actually feed a computer a moral question and have it respond with a solid, clear-cut answer? To me, that would be glorious.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Kaylakaze » Thu May 03, 2012 1:21 pm UTC

JonT wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:I don't see how you can classify money going to private individuals as being removed from the economy.


I didn't say REMOVED - I set net drag. Shocking as it sounds, the government is not efficient - there are a lot of snouts in the trough. It accrues it's own expenses, so therefore takes its skim/cut/percentage.


JonT wrote:Prisons are still a net drag on the economy - regardless of whether they are privatized or not. That is money that is taken out of the economy in the form of taxes. Again, my statement is true.


Do "taken out" and "removed" mean two different things now? Is "efficiency" to sole criteria we have for saying whether something works? Doesn't it matter what they are either efficient or inefficient at doing? Corporations sole purpose is to make as much money while spending as little as possible, nothing more and nothing less. If a corporation can get away with doing it and it makes them a buck, they will shoot you in the face.


JonT wrote:Apologies - your inference that I am opposed to anyone forming a union implies an anti-union sentiment which I have never expressed. That said however, Walmart is absolutely free to close a store or leave an entire region for any reason it pleases. The downside of freedom - people don't always do what you want.

No edit necessary - the sentence is still true.

Definition of Totalitarian from Dictionary.com : 1. of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.

Yup, that's how most Communist countries work.


That's also how every single corporation works, you know, the guys YOU want running everything? What's that called again? Oh yeah... FASCISM.

JonT wrote:Again, the fact that there are madmen in the other two economic systems does not change the fact the percentage of Communist systems ruled by madmen seems extraordinarily high.


Seems to me the number of madmen with facial hair seems extraordinarily high. Correlation v Causation.

JonT wrote:If a person decides to injure someone or damage someone else's property, how do you stop THEM? The answer is you can't. What you do is punish those who do, whether they are an individual or organization.


Actually, I pointed out in another post how you can stop them, assuming it's not a sudden thing. It often takes time to poison a water supply when it's not done for the sole purpose of poisoning the water supply but because it's cheaper to poison the water supply than the alternative. Besides that, let's change the word "stop" to "punish" as you like and you have the same problem with your philosophy. First, how can you punish someone for something there's no law against. If there is a law, how do you a) pay for the expertise needed to make a proper law or b) pay for those to enforce said law. Second, if there is a law and someone has been paid and determines there is a breach in the law, how do you punish them without trampling on their "individual rights"? Steal from them (fines)? Enforce your will on them (forcibly shut down the company or imprison someone)? Kill them (it's probably the most cost effective solution)?



JonT wrote:I don't need to square the idea of firing a gun as freedom. It's a great metaphor for anyone seeking to control others though. People can only do what is deemed OK by the all-knowing authorities who carefully ration rights.


So you should have the freedom to do whatever you want, regardless of how it affects others? If you say no, then you've already started deeming what's OK and what rights should be rationed.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 1:24 pm UTC

drazen wrote:....
Second, the deaths don't have to be mass graves to be any more real. Waiting for specialists = deaths. One of the ugly little facts people like you COVER UP to fuck the rest of us over with your schemes.


I want to point out that you are consistently speaking from theory. It isn't necessarily bad theory, but the relation with the real world is assumed when sometimes things might be different.

Sometimes people wait for specialists and recover fine on their own. They were wrong when they thought they needed the specialists. Sometimes they get specialist treatment and die anyway. Sometimes they die because of special treatment. It goes every which way. But we tend to think that the way you think of it is the way to bet. If we thought that medical care on average did no good then we'd go off and become Christian Scientists or something.

You can get some indication how much good medical care does by looking at Christian Scientists. Sometimes they break down and go to doctors. And people tend to become Christian Scientists when they have incurable health problems and they have given up on doctors. So there are confounding variables. But in general, Christian Scientists tend to be about as healthy and live about as long as everybody else.

I've seen two studies that showed Christian Scientists tend not to do as well. One compared graduates of a Christian Science college to graduates of a 7th Day Adventist college. The 7th Day Adventists lived somewhat longer, statistically. It would be interesting to see results on Christian Scientists who ate like 7th Day Adventists, but that data is not available. The other, as I remember it, compared Christian Scientists to MDs, and the MDs were healthier. But the MDs were richer too, and health tends to correlate better with wealth than it does with medical care.

Sure your can, if you have a spare half-mil hanging out under your mattress. I CAN point to many people who died because their insurance denied them coverage and they didn't have any way at all to get the money.


Insurance denied coverage, not service. If it was some incredibly expensive procedure, well, we don't all have the best TV or car either. That's life. But government control means the elimination of the possibility of getting a service.


Careful with your framing. People generally accept that the wealthy should get the best of everything because they are rich so they deserve it. But at some point they will start to rebel. Like the old song goes,

"If health was a thing that money could buuuuuuy,
the rich would live, and the poor would diiieee,iiieeeee"

When you come out and say that rich people should live and poor people should die, you're getting close to the point they get mad and truly believe it isn't fair.

Corporations aren't required by law to grow their personal departments so they can get more funding. They're accountable to the shareholders, which would theoretically mean having the most efficient departments possible. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the idea.


Bureaucracies tend to grow. Successful growing companies grow bureaucracies. Then when they get in trouble they "resize". They find out that the records they were keeping were not needed after all. And in truth they tend to do better without them. When they have lots of records and they get sued by the government, they have to let the government sort through those records and they have to sort through them themselves for defense, and they need big teams of lawyers. When the records aren't there, the government has much less to work with. Of course, when the records aren't there the government just might go after them for destroying the evidence, so it really makes sense to change management during a resizing....

Anyway, I agree with you in theory. It would be nice if corporations were maximally efficient, provided what they were maximally efficient at was what the world needed them to do. But in practice, corporations evolve slowly. JBS Haldane made theories about the rate of evolution. A species evolves faster the more failures there are to sift through. A species with a billion individuals, that produces 50 billion offspring a year of which 49 billion perish, can evolve faster than a species with only a millioin individuals that produces only a million offspring a year.

In 2008 the USA had about 5.9 million firms with employees. (There were another 22 million firms with no employees, that together didn't make much money.) In the same year there were a pitiful 44,000 corporate bankruptcies. So it's safe to say there is hardly any natural selection going on among US corporations.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Thu May 03, 2012 1:32 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:The more I think about it, the less I'm sure what's fair.
I'm glad you're thinking about it though. While my agreement waned and ebbed throughout that post, I was extremely proud of you for thinking outside of the box and being willing to consider alternatives. You actually made me have to ask a few questions of myself, and for that I am grateful. Specifically the part about counties.

J Thomas wrote:Maybe minorities should be able to stop laws about minor things like taxes, but not about major things like morals?
This in particular though was an interesting concept. I am not agreeing with you, but it's interesting, and I'm excited about the new line of thought I can begin from this. But then it becomes a question of morals? A common so-called moral debate in this country right now is over gay marriage. Is it appropriate for a minority to be able to stop gay marriage from being banned constitutionally?

Personally I do not think it is the business of government to deal with the legality of morals. The only real business with regards to the legality of individual freedom some be when there is a measurable damage that is caused to someone else. Morals are typically things that people think are wrong, but there is no objective way to measure a volume of damage which has been caused by immorality. Unlike more hard laws, like murder, rape, or theft, which deal with measurable damage.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby felltir » Thu May 03, 2012 1:33 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:rape


Karilyn wrote:measurable damage.


I'm sorry, what?
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 2:05 pm UTC

Kaylakaze wrote:
JonT wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:I don't see how you can classify money going to private individuals as being removed from the economy.


I didn't say REMOVED - I set net drag. Shocking as it sounds, the government is not efficient - there are a lot of snouts in the trough. It accrues it's own expenses, so therefore takes its skim/cut/percentage.


JonT wrote:Prisons are still a net drag on the economy - regardless of whether they are privatized or not. That is money that is taken out of the economy in the form of taxes. Again, my statement is true.


Do "taken out" and "removed" mean two different things now? Is "efficiency" to sole criteria we have for saying whether something works? Doesn't it matter what they are either efficient or inefficient at doing? Corporations sole purpose is to make as much money while spending as little as possible, nothing more and nothing less. If a corporation can get away with doing it and it makes them a buck, they will shoot you in the face.


Back to the question of prisons. Money is a symbol for wealth, but sometimes it's a confusing symbol. Try doing it without the money and see what happens.

You have a prison and you fill it up with prisoners. What does it cost?

Somebody has to build the prison, and then it takes maintenance. It costs you the materials and the worktime to do that. How valuable a building could you have made instead? That's opportunity cost. What other valuable use for the existing building could you find? More opportunity cost.

You have to feed and clothe the prisoners.This is a cost, but unless they died it would be paid somehow anyway. somehow they would be fed and clothed and would have places to sleep. So this cost is not so high really, for the whole society.

You have to feed, clothe, house, entertain etc the guards and administration. But they would get all those things if they had other work. So that is not such a big cost.

You lose the productive work that the prisoners would do if they were free. But you also lose the damage they would do.

You lose the productive work that the guards and administrators would do if they weren't doing this.

So in real terms, the cost of prisons is very very high when there is a labor shortage, and very low when there is a labor surplus. If the construction crews who build the prison and the guards and administrators and the prisoners would all be unemployed without the prison, then all it costs you is the resources. The steel and concrete, which otherwise would not be produced at all. The iron ore. The coal to run the furnace, and the coal to calcine the cement. The oil to run the trucks that carry sand and gravel etc. All stuff that would otherwise sit in the ground waiting for somebody to use them later.

How peculiar! You have a bunch of unemployed men sitting around doing nothing, occasionally trying to steal from each other. You have an obligation to feed them. So you organize them, you get some of them to build prisons and others to guard the prisons and still others to be prisoners, and it's all basicly free because you couldn't find any better use for any of them!

And somehow we have it set up so that to get permission to do this, the government has to borrow money from rich people, and pay it back later with interest!

How very peculiar!
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Thu May 03, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Sam Harris once said that he doesn't want morality to boil down to asking a computer a moral question and getting an answer. I do. I want morality to be concrete; a set destination with the only question being how best to get there. All moral debates would therefore become arguments over math!

Not really, I know--we can't measure all ends, there's always going to be arguments over what's the best method to produce a positive result--but if we could actually feed a computer a moral question and have it respond with a solid, clear-cut answer? To me, that would be glorious.

You are describing a platonic ideal of a legal system, I think. Imagine for a moment that we had courtrooms-in-box. Machines that take the same inputs as a court and produce the same kind of output as a court. But at negligable cost and effort (so you could use it as often as necessary), with perfect consistency, and with as much transparency and documentation of the process as desired.

Such machines are at least conceivable, if only as an asymptotic ideal for real courts to converge on. They would presumably be highly useful, perhaps even glorious, but they wouldn't be 'morality machines'. I don't think that any change on the side of the machine could change a court machine into a morality machine. It could only become a morality machine if people accept it as such.

Arguably, we do the same with our laws (at least the broad principles behind it), and religons do it with their principles. You don't just force a law on population, you also educate and convince the population and its children that the laws are roughly just. And it works. Most people genuinely consider the laws they grew up with as more-or-less morally just , including the Mongol hordes of Ghenghis Khan.

Would a machine change that? Suppose there was a Khan-machine, that gave detailed and consistent verdicts on the acceptable behaviour when raping and plundering cities. Could there be anything about the machine that showed it wasn't a morality machine?

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu May 03, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

man why you gotta post a thing in a thread ain't nobody supposed to read?!

But yeah, it's a fair point, but keep in mind--my hypothetical machine relies on several hypothetical (and probably impossible) situations--that everyone who uses it agrees that humans should prosper and agrees to what 'humans should prosper' means, and then manage to program a machine that tells you what the best choice is to reach that end are.

The problem with laws is they serve so many different masters, and so many different ends. We argue ceaselessly about their purpose, their creation, their execution--and why? Because we don't agree about what the ends should be, or we disagree over whether or not a given action actually serves those ends.

I'm kind of being silly here, the machine situation would never arrive because we'll never actually agree as a species on what 'humans should prosper' means. Even if we did, designing a program that could figure out what we should do to accomplish that is similarly silly; no one can see all ends (and nothing ever really ends, anyway). But I see what you mean about our legal infrastructure being a sort of 'machine' we insert moral dilemmas into in order to get a certain 'result', and it's a wrinkle I hadn't considered--my problem with our legal infrastructure is that it's a confusing mess, though (which is only natural, since we're a confusing mess). I'm just dreaming of having an infrastructure that removes the possibility of human bias and human error.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
Kaylakaze wrote:
Karilyn wrote:Holy fucking crap, you're female? Not sure if changes my opinion of you or not. Gawd, I'm so misandrist if I'm seriously considering raising my opinion of you purely because you're female.

That being said, yeah that nonsensical polarization is idiotic. But there does happen to be middle ground you know. There are options besides A or B.


I'm also a misandrist though not as much as you (though you have better reason for it, of course). I don't feel disgusted about being around men, it's just that they might as well be smelly unattractive rocks. Of course, I work in a male dominated field and partake in male dominated hobbies, so it's best that they don't disgust me that completely. Though I will admit my opinion of you increased when you mentioned being female.


Congratulations: you're both idiots.


OK, but they both noticed they were acting like idiots. That's a big step up from the idiots who don't notice.

So who are the idiots who haven't noticed they're acting like idiots? Me? No, definitely not. I would have noticed.

How about you?
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J L » Thu May 03, 2012 2:33 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
J L wrote:You're right of course, there are many other reasons for their demise. But I thought it was interesting that the more they resembled that strict Randian liberalism, the more voters they lost. As you said, even libertarians don't vote for them any more.

I'd say that there is a serious cultural divide between European liberals and US libertarians, even where they share ideas and ideals. Parties like the FDP and their predecessors have a history of being close to the establishment, a bit urban-elitist in their base. Readers of the FAZ and the Economist, if you know what I mean.

Libertarianism has historic hints of anarchy, or at least very localized power, a bit rural, anti-establishment. It might be growing into a word for something more moderate and more urban, but that's hardly a done deal. the Ronpaul and Guido Westerwelle are not really different faces of the phenomenon, they are faces of different phenomena that happen to have some areas of overlap.


Right. I was mainly thinking about those overlaps, for example the (non-existent) reaction to the financial crisis, the idea that everybody should look after themselves, that government should never regulate the market oder individual freedom ... But that extreme libertarian attitude of Ron.Paul (or Swanson ... btw, a little piece of mod madness still in place?) just doesn't exist over here.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby pinkgothic » Thu May 03, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

J L wrote:But that extreme libertarian attitude of Ron.Paul (or Swanson ... btw, a little piece of mod madness still in place?) just doesn't exist over here.


I wouldn't go entirely that far. German anarcho-capitalists exist (as an example of 'extreme libertarian attitude'), just not as a political party, and not necessarily anywhere near as outspoken and/or heard. (...erk. On the 'political party' remark: Presumably, at least? I don't know all parties, especially the tiny ones.)

...I should stop this tangent. I'm not even meaning to criticise, I guess there's just a part in me that actually is that pedantic. Sorry. D: Carry on!
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby anian » Thu May 03, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

drazen wrote:Second, the deaths don't have to be mass graves to be any more real. Waiting for specialists = deaths. One of the ugly little facts people like you COVER UP to fuck the rest of us over with your schemes.


The UK has both public and private healthcare. If you don't want to wait for the free stuff you can pay someone like BUPA and get seen immediately. Most Americans against universal heathcare don't know this fact and seem to think that thousands die while waiting. The rich British certainly don't! But they do like to complain that they are paying for a free service that they don't use. Also, check out survival rates for health problems and tell me why they aren't higher in places like the UK, where you think that millions are dying due to lack of health care.

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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby J Thomas » Thu May 03, 2012 3:11 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The more I think about it, the less I'm sure what's fair.
I'm glad you're thinking about it though. While my agreement waned and ebbed throughout that post, I was extremely proud of you for thinking outside of the box and being willing to consider alternatives. You actually made me have to ask a few questions of myself, and for that I am grateful. Specifically the part about counties.

J Thomas wrote:Maybe minorities should be able to stop laws about minor things like taxes, but not about major things like morals?


This in particular though was an interesting concept. I am not agreeing with you, but it's interesting, and I'm excited about the new line of thought I can begin from this. But then it becomes a question of morals? A common so-called moral debate in this country right now is over gay marriage. Is it appropriate for a minority to be able to stop gay marriage from being banned constitutionally?


Apart from what's right -- imagine that our 17 smallest-population states were full of gay people. That would be something like 27 million people, less than 10% of the population. The way the laws are set up now, those 17 states could block anything that needed a 2/3 majority in the Senate. They would be a power block if they could agree. A constitutional amendment would have to pass the state legislature or a special constitutional amendment in at least 4 of the 17 gay states to pass.

We don't have it set up so that a minority of gays can stop things. We have it set up so that a minority of states can stop anything whatsoever. This is why slavery lasted until 1860+.

Personally I do not think it is the business of government to deal with the legality of morals. The only real business with regards to the legality of individual freedom some be when there is a measurable damage that is caused to someone else. Morals are typically things that people think are wrong, but there is no objective way to measure a volume of damage which has been caused by immorality. Unlike more hard laws, like murder, rape, or theft, which deal with measurable damage.


Felltir was naturally puzzled about measuring the damage from rape.

I want to talk about this and I will try to keep it on an abstract level.

Talmud describes clear and specific rules for rape. If a man is accused of raping a woman, the rapist can be killed or forced to marry her, at her family's choice. If the woman was in town she must scream for it to be considered rape. In the country, no such requirement since a scream might not be heard.

So to prevent rape, her family was supposed to never leave her in a situation where rape was plausible. If her brother was there to protect her and somebody killed the brother and raped her, there was no he-said/she-said involved. On the other side, men had to be careful never to be alone in the country with a woman who might want to marry them....

Arabic custom comes from the same tradition. Families protect women and are not supposed to put them into danger. A woman who puts herself in danger of rape is implicitly giving consent.

To me that all looks workable provided the first priority is to avoid rape. And of course it works a lot better for the prosperous than the poor. It doesn't work for us.

We instead have the ideal that any woman should be able to do whatever she wants without any risk of getting touched against her will. That's a fine ideal and it's hard to enforce when a woman can find herself alone with a man. Consent can be kind of hard to prove one way or another. Particularly when the fiawol community does explicit consent for torture. (Fiawol? No, something else. tttwd maybe.)

During WWII there were a few hundred documented cases of US soldiers raping french women. The US Army paid the women's medical bills. We would have gladly hanged the men but we could never find them. This is a lower limit for measurable damage -- medical bills. I'm sure it isn't what you have in mind. How would we quantify the damage beyond that?

"Damage" is something that we often disagree about. Often it's a moral issue. Does pornography damage communities? How much pollution does it take to kill people? If you help to cause global warming, should you help pay for it afterward? :?

We want minorities to have some protection from majorities, but not when the majorities think it's immoral minorities.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Karilyn » Thu May 03, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

J L wrote:Right. I was mainly thinking about those overlaps, for example the (non-existent) reaction to the financial crisis, the idea that everybody should look after themselves, that government should never regulate the market oder individual freedom ... But that extreme libertarian attitude of Ron.Paul (or Swanson ... btw, a little piece of mod madness still in place?) just doesn't exist over here.


the Ronpaul is more of a Minarchist than a Libertarian, but Libertarian is the best fit of the big three parties in America for a Minarchist to go to. Minarchists, to some extent, are sort of Libertarian+1. I don't want to call them extremists, cause I don't think they are bad even if I disagree with them, but their positions are definitely amplified versions of the Libertarian ones. He's no Herman Cain, but I still think he'd be a reasonable option for Presidency. In part because Minarchism would not be able to be fully executed in 8 years, and yet he could still make approaches in that direction, which I believe would be beneficial, and while I do not agree with his end goals, the goals he can meet along the way I would agree with. He also wins bonus points for being pro-LGBT.

Unfortunately he has other problems. For example, he has a history of racism and anti-semitism. He claims that these were in the past, and that he admits he was wrong when he held those beliefs, which I would accept if it was coming out of the mouth of someone other than a politician. However, any politician would say that for the sake of trying to get elected. HOWEVER, I also don't think he would pass any racist or anti-semitic laws while he was in office, so the entire thing is a moot point.

HOWEVER AGAIN, the idea that he has recognized that he was wrong in the past about racism is somewhat more believable in the light of the fact that he used to be extremely homophobic in the 80s, but has spent the past 10 years voting in favor of LGBT legislation, indicating that he has indeed truly changed his mind on the subject of homosexuality, especially considering he's a Republican party member, and being pro-LGBT can have negative consequences for a Republican party member, indicating that he's willing to stand up for what he believes. In light of his this, I'm generally willing to accept his claim that he was a fool when in the past he was racist, despite it being a claim from a politician.
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Re: 1049: "Bookshelf"

Postby Zamfir » Thu May 03, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:my problem with our legal infrastructure is that it's a confusing mess, though (which is only natural, since we're a confusing mess). I'm just dreaming of having an infrastructure that removes the possibility of human bias and human error.

if you look at our legal systems on a large historic scale, it is very machine-like. There are detailed laws to an extreme amount, far beyond the ability of any single person to comprehend, and the overall system is set up to ensure a highly consistent application of them, with lots of checks to prevent and correct the idiosyncracies of individual people in it. For better or worse, the wiggle room for human interpretation is down in the very details. It might be a confusing mess compared to some truly machine-like ideal, but compared to any previously existing situation it's literally inhumanly rigid and systematic.

And on the same scale, I don't think we disagree very much on laws. Think how strange we already consider Nazis. But go back a few hundred years, and you'll find plenty of Europeans who would fully understand the Jew-killing and the need for continuous war on the weaker races, but who would be highly confused on why you'd allow a commoner like Hitler to be king, and outraged by compulsory education in atheist schools.

Really, if our world doesn't look like your machine, it might be because we zoom in on the remaining differences. But it doesn't give us much sense of having 'solved' morality, or even to be on the way there.


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