Tyndmyr wrote:Discounting future problems is actually pretty rational...if you're not alive then, do you care as much if your house gets flooded? Probably not.
Really. Than why have children? Or worry about what you leave them? It doesn't matter until it does. I don't need an answer. What I wanted to do is point out that we are inconsistent. The attitude is rational only if you don't care if the world ends if you die. It is understandable, since you have to survive today. I would assume it is the basis, in part, for the tragedy of the commons.
I do not hold that we cease to care about what happens after we die altogether...merely that our caring is decreased. Your house flooding after you die is probably still not a good thing...but it's certainly less important to you.
That said, as for the "why do we have children", it seems to be largely due to lack of birth control. Children might be a rational pursuit of some goal, sure...but I'd wager that in practice, they very often are not. The steep dropoff in birth rates as populations gain access to decent birth control supports this.
LaserGuy wrote:That said, even if the survey company is manipulating the results, that's simply changing the problem from "47% of people believe something crazy" to "47% of people can be manipulated into giving crazy information to a survey", which is not necessarily any better when we're running a democratic system that relies on people casting a single vote on policy. If anything, the survey is more finely grained than our voting process, because at least it is probably asking your opinions about a bunch of different issues rather than just "Team Red or Team Blue".
Yup. And that gets you to the worry over pure democracy. Thus, you end up with various checks and balances to limit the power of the democracy to reduce error due to manipulation, temporary surges in popularity, and other such human behaviors. Individual choice is still important...but it is not always best safeguarded by a simple majority-wins voting structure.
morriswalters wrote:It isn't that the population is wrong all the time, or right. It's that each has different priorities and needs. For instance I live inland at about 400 foot above mean sea level. My attitude here and now is to hell with all those crazy people on the coast. I also live on a river that drains a large portion of the Eastern United States. The attitude upriver is that their waste has to go somewhere, being how I get my drinking water from that river that attitude leaves me a little queasy despite the fact that we do something similar. I personally consider the idea of any individual action not affecting us all, as a little bit of an internet myth.
Some actions affect others sufficiently little as to be effectively a non-issue. Some resources are very heavily shared. The air, for instance, is not really a respecter of state lines. So, air pollution regs on one side of the line are logically affecting someone just on the other side quite a bit(and currently, that person may not have a great deal of say in that...certainly not in proportion to how much he or she is affected).
But say, the color one paints the doors of their homes has fairly little effect on you, yes*? Oh, sure, exterior doors, you might see them if you happen to live in the nearby area. Still...that's a pretty minor thing, yes? Interior doors, why...one would have to get fairly elaborate, with multiple steps to draw a pretty tentative and minor connection. In practice, it would be difficult or impossible to show any effect on you at all.
Surely, the two issues need to be handled differently, with the easily corrupted shared common resource being handled differently than the private resource, yes?
*This example is actually regulated in some communities near me...and building permits are normally required here for even interior-only changes. So, not that much of a stretch.