The 99%

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Max™
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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

:roll:

Reducing inequality, and ways to proceed towards that end, were in fact part of the Occupy discussions.

I'm sure there were some paleoanarchists wanting a return to agrarian lifestyles, but for the most part that wasn't a major focus.
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Re: The 99%

Postby sam_i_am » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

Max™ wrote::roll:

Reducing inequality, and ways to proceed towards that end, were in fact part of the Occupy discussions.

I'm sure there were some paleoanarchists wanting a return to agrarian lifestyles, but for the most part that wasn't a major focus.



fix'd

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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:19 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:
Max™ wrote::roll:

Reducing inequality, and ways to proceed towards that end, were in fact part of the Occupy discussions.

I'm sure there were some paleoanarchists wanting a return to agrarian lifestyles, but for the most part that wasn't a major focus.



fix'd

No, see, you mistakenly included strike tags in my quote. That isn't a fix. You seem to be saying Occupy never even discussed how to go about reducing inequality, and I'm not sure why you'd say that unless you got your info about Occupy from Fox News or something.
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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:45 pm UTC

Max™ wrote::roll:

Reducing inequality, and ways to proceed towards that end, were in fact part of the Occupy discussions.

I'm sure there were some paleoanarchists wanting a return to agrarian lifestyles, but for the most part that wasn't a major focus.


im not suggesting they were, just pointing out that equality = prosperity & stability has pretty obvious counter arguments.

I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.

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Re: The 99%

Postby leromarinvit » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:46 am UTC

leady wrote:Income equality is a good outcome, but its a terrible goal.

For example a completely backward agrarian society is very equal and very resistant to recession

So? Hitler Stalin breathed. Hitler Stalin was a bad person. Does that mean you're against breathing?
(No, I won't Godwin this thread)

leady wrote:im not suggesting they were, just pointing out that equality = prosperity & stability has pretty obvious counter arguments.

I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.

You want equality but you don't want to achieve it? Or do you want to achieve it by not trying to? Because I don't think that will work.
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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:01 am UTC

leady wrote:I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.
I'm sorry, but what? What does this even mean? You're for equality, but you oppose any action to achieve equality? Isn't this something like saying "I'm all for Romney taking the White House, but I oppose any action that would put him there"?

Are you trying to say that you support equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome?

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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:19 am UTC

Yeah, my head broke trying to parse that too.
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Re: The 99%

Postby pizzazz » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:47 am UTC

leromarinvit wrote:
leady wrote:Income equality is a good outcome, but its a terrible goal.

For example a completely backward agrarian society is very equal and very resistant to recession

So? Hitler Stalin breathed. Hitler Stalin was a bad person. Does that mean you're against breathing?
(No, I won't Godwin this thread)


That massive whooshing sound you heard was the sound of the point going right over your heard. The point was not, "backwards agrarian societies were very equal," therefore egalitarian societies must be poor/bad in some way." It was, "backwards agrarian societies were very equal but also very poor and undesirable, so equality does not imply that you have a good society."

For example, the US is much less equal now than it was 50, 100, 200 years ago. Does anyone want to go back to those times just because it was more equal? Of course not. Your standard of living (along with all sorts of social factors) is much improved since then. In particular, inequality has risen mostly because the top incomes have skyrocketed, and lower incomes have only risen more slowly. Complaining that this is somehow a worse situation than before because inequality has risen is absurd.

leady wrote:im not suggesting they were, just pointing out that equality = prosperity & stability has pretty obvious counter arguments.

I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.

You want equality but you don't want to achieve it? Or do you want to achieve it by not trying to? Because I don't think that will work.


All other things being equal, more equality is probably better than less equality, but trying to force equality from above isn't a great idea.

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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:43 am UTC

pizzazz wrote:Your standard of living (along with all sorts of social factors) is much improved since then. In particular, inequality has risen mostly because the top incomes have skyrocketed, and lower incomes have only risen more slowly. Complaining that this is somehow a worse situation than before because inequality has risen is absurd.

No, in many cases lower income levels have gone down, not just risen slowly.

All other things being equal, more equality is probably better than less equality, but trying to force equality from above isn't a great idea.

Not trying to increase equality, just reduce inequality, which sounds like the same thing, but really isn't.
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Re: The 99%

Postby leromarinvit » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:That massive whooshing sound you heard was the sound of the point going right over your heard. The point was not, "backwards agrarian societies were very equal," therefore egalitarian societies must be poor/bad in some way." It was, "backwards agrarian societies were very equal but also very poor and undesirable, so equality does not imply that you have a good society."

Of course equality can't be the only goal. Making everyone starve would be equal, but I don't think anybody wants that. The reason agrarian societies were poor wasn't that they didn't have enough inequality, it was that they didn't have the necessary technology to produce enough. Also, I'm not sure agrarian societies qualify as equal in any way other than "most common people were equally poor". There was aristocracy, clergy, etc. Have you ever heard of a king starving?

The only truly equal society I can think of that we've had so far would be hunter-gatherers. Of course they were even poorer than agrarian societies, because they didn't have agriculture. Inequality developed with agriculture, because somebody needed to manage the surplus that was available for the first time in history. That worked better than everybody deciding by themselves what to do with it because they vere still very poor and could easily have eaten everything - but then the surplus and its obvious benefits would be gone. Today, we have the means to feed everybody comfortably. We don't need inequality any more.

pizzazz wrote:For example, the US is much less equal now than it was 50, 100, 200 years ago.

Regarding income, yes. But certainly not in all ways, ask any black person. Or any woman. These changes didn't fall from the sky and rising income inequality didn't cause them either, they happened because people fought for them.

pizzazz wrote:All other things being equal, more equality is probably better than less equality, but trying to force equality from above isn't a great idea.

This I can agree with, forcing things from above is bad. But I'm not sure what it has to do with Occupy, it looked very much like a movement from below to me.
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Re: The 99%

Postby capefeather » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:31 am UTC

"It's your fault!" said the successful man to a statistical trend. "You should have gone against the dynamics that constrained and compelled you into what you did! I'm a hard-working man who was subjected to different constraints and compulsions. Therefore, I DESERVE what I have, and I DESERVE to be valued much more as a human being than you do!"

"What? The Zimbardo experiment? The Milgram experiment? Those guys totally could have gone against their compulsions. Psychology is bunk!"

"What you want promotes theft, envy and laziness! People got raped at those rallies!"

So yeah, if you want to talk about Occupy, then talk about Occupy. Let's not extrapolate Occupy to the potential victims of our pet political leanings. Also, dropping bad-sounding words to describe people you don't like does nothing to actually justify your dislike.

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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:50 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
leady wrote:I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.
I'm sorry, but what? What does this even mean? You're for equality, but you oppose any action to achieve equality? Isn't this something like saying "I'm all for Romney taking the White House, but I oppose any action that would put him there"?

Are you trying to say that you support equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome?


Basically I'm pro both as an outcome because I can see why both are good for society. However neither of these is more important than the maintenance of liberty and so I would never support "positive action" to achieve either by government, but I'm quite happy for them to take "negative action" to achieve either.

*positive being economic and personal intervention & negative being removal of the former

I also believe that the removal of positive actions will lead to both outcomes, which has reasonably historical empircal evidence.

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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Wait, what?

Are you saying that government intervention leads to greater inequality?

Or are you saying that government needs to back off so rich people can stop taking so much of the overall increases in growth?


Can I buy some drugs from you?
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Re: The 99%

Postby lutzj » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

I think another way to approach it is that inequality is not an inherently bad thing in itself but rather a symptom of other things which are bad: discrimination and bias in society, poor education, crime, and a host of other problems. (edit) It can also be a symptom of things which are good, such as economic freedom and meritocracy. (/edit) With that view in mind, government attempts to tackle inequality by simply redistributing wealth will 1) mask and possibly protect the root problems, 2) drain public support for the cause because they are expensive and don't work very well, and 3) make people worse off on average because they are expensive and don't work very well.
Last edited by lutzj on Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:50 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

capefeather wrote:Also, dropping bad-sounding words to describe people you don't like does nothing to actually justify your dislike.
This was a fun link, and I appreciated it. I particularly liked the 'Taxation is theft!' example. God, I've seen that one fucking everywhere these days.
leady wrote:Basically I'm pro both as an outcome because I can see why both are good for society. However neither of these is more important than the maintenance of liberty and so I would never support "positive action" to achieve either by government, but I'm quite happy for them to take "negative action" to achieve either.
Liberty is just a means. People are the end.

On the scale of importance, nothing trumps people.

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Re: The 99%

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
capefeather wrote:Also, dropping bad-sounding words to describe people you don't like does nothing to actually justify your dislike.
This was a fun link, and I appreciated it. I particularly liked the 'Taxation is theft!' example. God, I've seen that one fucking everywhere these days.
leady wrote:Basically I'm pro both as an outcome because I can see why both are good for society. However neither of these is more important than the maintenance of liberty and so I would never support "positive action" to achieve either by government, but I'm quite happy for them to take "negative action" to achieve either.
Liberty is just a means. People are the end.

On the scale of importance, nothing trumps people.



do you mean the

"happiness of the people"

or do you mean

"health of the people"


or

"safety of the people"


You certainly consider something or other than

"the liberty of the people"


considering that you've just explicitly said that that is merely a means.
Last edited by sam_i_am on Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The 99%

Postby Max™ » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:05 pm UTC

Perhaps he means the end of the people by liberating their organs in the jaws of the Hippo Army!

*eyes TGH suspiciously*
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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:19 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:do you mean the

"happiness of the people"

or do you mean

"health of the people"


or

"safety of the people"


You certainly consider something or other than

"the liberty of the people"


considering that you've just explicitly said that that is merely a means.
Does liberty always serve people? Are there examples you can think of where liberty is actually detrimental to the people's interests?

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Re: The 99%

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
sam_i_am wrote:do you mean the

"happiness of the people"

or do you mean

"health of the people"


or

"safety of the people"


You certainly consider something or other than

"the liberty of the people"


considering that you've just explicitly said that that is merely a means.
Does liberty always serve people? Are there examples you can think of where liberty is actually detrimental to the people's interests?



"interests" of the people is every bit as vague as "people".

I do not know what you mean when you say that "people" or "people's interests" are important.

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:24 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:"interests" of the people is every bit as vague as "people".

I do not know what you mean when you say that "people" or "people's interests" are important.
Let me make this as simple as possible for you:

Do you or do you not believe we should imprison people--deny them their liberty--when they commit violent crimes?

Which is more important in this case: Protecting liberty, or protecting people's safety?

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Re: The 99%

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:01 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
sam_i_am wrote:"interests" of the people is every bit as vague as "people".

I do not know what you mean when you say that "people" or "people's interests" are important.
Let me make this as simple as possible for you:

Do you or do you not believe we should imprison people--deny them their liberty--when they commit violent crimes?

Which is more important in this case: Protecting liberty, or protecting people's safety?


Judging by your response, you seem to have identified Safety of the people as at least one of the things that you value more than the liberty of the people.

In that case would you consider the degree of safety vs the degree of liberty in some instances? For example, would you say the the safety risks associated with alpine skiing aren't worth taking away the liberty to ski?

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:06 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Judging by your response, you seem to have identified Safety of the people as at least one of the things that you value more than the liberty of the people.
No. I value people more than I value safety or liberty. Which I chose in a given circumstance relates to which one serves people's best interests. Most people agree that they'd rather have jails than the risk of murder, so in this case, I am comfortable valuing this particular type of liberty less than this particular type of safety.
sam_i_am wrote:In that case would you consider the degree of safety vs the degree of liberty in some instances? For example, would you say the the safety risks associated with alpine skiing aren't worth taking away the liberty to ski?
Yes. Because, again, like liberty, 'safety' is a means; people are the ends. On the scale of importance, nothing trumps people.

The goal is to create a context where people can--and do--prosper. Where they're happy and satisfied and their needs are met. Things that benefit people are things we should do; things which don't benefit people are things we shouldn't do.

People who serve principles rather than people--who put liberty first, people second--are very frustrating to deal with. Partly because they're often logically inconsistent (they're fine with violating liberty in certain cases, just not the cases that concern them), but also partly because the logical implication of this value is that words and ideals are more important than people. And I don't like that.

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Re: The 99%

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:14 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
sam_i_am wrote:Judging by your response, you seem to have identified Safety of the people as at least one of the things that you value more than the liberty of the people.
No. I value people more than I value safety or liberty. Which I chose in a given circumstance relates to which one serves people's best interests. Most people agree that they'd rather have jails than the risk of murder, so in this case, I am comfortable valuing this particular type of liberty less than this particular type of safety.
sam_i_am wrote:In that case would you consider the degree of safety vs the degree of liberty in some instances? For example, would you say the the safety risks associated with alpine skiing aren't worth taking away the liberty to ski?
Yes. Because, again, like liberty, 'safety' is a means; people are the ends. On the scale of importance, nothing trumps people.

The goal is to create a context where people can--and do--prosper. Where they're happy and satisfied and their needsare met. Things that benefit people are things we should do; things which don't benefit people are things we shouldn't do.

People who serve principles rather than people--who put liberty first, people second--are very frustrating to deal with. Partly because they're often logically inconsistent (they're fine with violating liberty in certain cases, just not the cases that concern them), but also partly because the logical implication of this value is that words and ideals are more important than people. And I don't like that.


Your mission statement seems to reflect the state of affairs described in Fahrenheit 451.

I've bolded what seems to be what you mean by "the people" I've underlined the only point that's not subjective and vague.

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Re: The 99%

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote: Most people agree that they'd rather have jails than the risk of murder,


Unfortunately, the two do not seem to be mutually exclusive. As it is, we have both.
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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:35 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Your mission statement seems to reflect the state of affairs described in Fahrenheit 451.

I've bolded what seems to be what you mean by "the people" I've underlined the only point that's not subjective and vague.
When we need to make a decision about governance and society, we do so by balancing many things--liberty, prosperity, health, safety, and many more. It's reasonable to think one thing is more important in certain cases; it's unreasonable to think one thing is more important in all cases. Some decisions increase safety at a loss of liberty. Some decisions increase liberty at a cost of prosperity. Some decisions may increase everything now, but at a cost in the future.

When I say people are the ends, I mean that these things serve the overall benefit of people--we are beholden to them only insomuch as they help us. People don't prosper when you deny them liberty; they also don't prosper when you deny them safety. So, in cases where we can only gain one to the detriment of the other, we make a decision. This decision reflects the overall benefit to people--by answering questions like the one I asked: Would people be better off if they're safer (violent criminals go to jail), or more free (no jails)? In some cases, the answer is obvious. In other cases, it's not. But all reasonable parties agree that these things are not ends in of themselves, and should never be individually placed above public welfare.

A poster mentioned that they believe maintaining liberty is more important than equality of outcomes and equality of opportunity. I pointed out that liberty is just a means; it serves the interests of people, which is the only reason we protect it. Sacrificing it is sometimes a good idea. In fact, it's such a good idea that we've built our civilization based on measured reductions of it! So to promote the maintenance of liberty over something like equality of opportunity may actually turn out to be a terrible idea--because it might mean sacrificing crucial needs for less crucial needs. For example: It increases our overall liberty if we do away with taxes. It also reduces our ability to maintain equality of opportunity. But if all we're concerned with is liberty, that becomes irrelevant. So when more liberty is clearly detrimental to people's welfare, maybe we should hold off on more liberty.

Now, you're telling me how pointing all of this out--how saying that liberty, safety, etc, are all just means that serve the ends of public interest--somehow makes my stance equivalent to the one held by villains from a short story about burning books and brainwashing people with drugs and TV. You're further implying that because I'm not rigorously defining what people need at great and elaborate length, I'm committing a fallacy.

Have I gotten all of this right? Am I missing anything here?
EdgarJPublius wrote:Unfortunately, the two do not seem to be mutually exclusive. As it is, we have both.
Pardon, I should have written 'the greater risk of murder'. But it might be a bad example anyway, because jails as they're constructed (in the US) are probably a sub-optimum solution. Sacrificing too much liberty for too little safety. But that's a dialogue for another thread.

Rather, a better way to put it might be 'would people rather have laws or more liberty?'. Laws reduce liberty; they also increase safety (among other things).

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Re: The 99%

Postby leromarinvit » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:52 am UTC

What I feel is missing from this discussion so far is that liberty is nothing without opportunity and means. I may have all the liberty in the world to build a spaceship and fly to Alpha Centauri, but I certainly don't have the means to do so.

To put it in famous words: what good is a phone call... if you're unable to speak?
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Re: The 99%

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:26 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Rather, a better way to put it might be 'would people rather have laws or more liberty?'. Laws reduce liberty; they also increase safety (among other things).



I'm not sure that's necessarily true either. Laws certainly *can* reduce liberty, but many laws are designed to protect liberty or otherwise have a net positive effect on liberty.
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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:28 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:]Liberty is just a means. People are the end.

On the scale of importance, nothing trumps people.


At the risk of re-iterating arguments from the other threads (sorry), but

a) "people" is a completely nebulous concept, I can do things to help individuals but not abstract concepts

b) Noone actually acts even close to this position. Even within a country no individual acts like "nothing trumps people", aparently a lot of things "trump people" in practice like watching the X factor.


Strong liberty might have a few debateable areas in terms of logical consistency - but at least it tries. The standard government paradigm is completely and utterly arbitrary in its nature and goals.

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I'm not sure that's necessarily true either. Laws certainly *can* reduce liberty, but many laws are designed to protect liberty or otherwise have a net positive effect on liberty.
If we're defining liberty as freedom from government control, then there is no law directed at people that does not reduce people's liberty. If we add a few caveats to what we mean by 'government control', we can start talking about laws that don't necessarily reduce liberty--but the more caveats we add, the more we reshape liberty into what we personally want, rather than what it actually is. Regardless of how many caveats we add, however--unless we add so many that it can suitably replace people's welfare in all cases--there will always be cases when we should sacrifice liberty for something else.
leady wrote:At the risk of re-iterating arguments from the other threads (sorry), but

a) "people" is a completely nebulous concept, I can do things to help individuals but not abstract concepts
Then you should be against taxes. Hell, you should reject government--and civilization--in its entirety.
leady wrote:Strong liberty might have a few debateable areas in terms of logical consistency - but at least it tries. The standard government paradigm is completely and utterly arbitrary in its nature and goals.
No, it isn't. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's arbitrary.

The government in the US is meant to serve the people. The people is defined as 'the collective welfare of American citizens'. No, we don't have an explicit set of attributes which define, point-by-point, what is in the best interests of American citizens; yes, we can still use this metric to talk about what sort of decisions move us toward public welfare and what sort of decisions move us away from public welfare.

Does releasing wild, hungry lions into the public schools move us toward or away from public welfare? Does building highways move us toward or away from public welfare? Does abolishing all laws move us toward or away from public welfare?

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Re: The 99%

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:03 pm UTC

leady wrote:
Max™ wrote::roll:

Reducing inequality, and ways to proceed towards that end, were in fact part of the Occupy discussions.

I'm sure there were some paleoanarchists wanting a return to agrarian lifestyles, but for the most part that wasn't a major focus.


im not suggesting they were, just pointing out that equality = prosperity & stability has pretty obvious counter arguments.

I'm all for greater equality, just heavily against any action to achieve it because its almost without exception counter productive.


Anything like equality is going to be pretty unachievable in practical terms without wildly undesirable side effects. People are incredibly diverse...even if, at birth, we all started off exactly the same in terms of wealth, opportunity, etc...some people through luck of genetic shuffling would end up better off at whatever skills currently allow for acquisition/development of more wealth. This will result in more wealth and opportunity for their offspring. Within a few generations, a perfect equality in outcomes would destroy itself, and we'd be back to a widespread range of wealth.

And of course, the stats correlating inequality to bad stuff...it really depends on the type of society. The type of inequality in an african dictatorship does indeed mean people living in slums. The type of inequality in America really does not. Why? Because the inequality is lot less important than what kind of nation we live in.

Inequality in outcomes is what the 99% were mostly railing against. There was a strong undercurrent of "I'm owed a solid outcome because I got a degree". I'm not against equality under the law...we want that. Discrimination against people based on trivial surface stuff like skin color results in sub-optimal outcomes for society. You're making poor use of your talent pool. However, that's not at all the same kind of equality that was being discussed.

Max™ wrote:Wait, what?

Are you saying that government intervention leads to greater inequality?

Or are you saying that government needs to back off so rich people can stop taking so much of the overall increases in growth?
Can I buy some drugs from you?


Government intervention *can* lead to greater inequality. The example of the dictator would be a fairly trivial proof of this. Hell, even in our government, there is a strong tendency for government leaders to come from positions of wealth. The giant government bailout of bankers, etc did benefit mostly wealthy people. So yeah, I think there's a pretty strong argument that even in our government, wealthy people use the government for their own benefit.

The Great Hippo wrote:
sam_i_am wrote:"interests" of the people is every bit as vague as "people".

I do not know what you mean when you say that "people" or "people's interests" are important.
Let me make this as simple as possible for you:

Do you or do you not believe we should imprison people--deny them their liberty--when they commit violent crimes?

Which is more important in this case: Protecting liberty, or protecting people's safety?


I don't view this as a liberty vs safety issue. It's an issue of protecting everyone else's liberty. A violent crime inherently limits the victim's ability to do things, and thus, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, it's bad. So, it's fairly easy to make the case that imprisoning the assailant, or better, rehabilitating him, is a net gain for liberty.

Liberty vs safety would consider being a danger to yourself(say, driving a motorcycle without a helmet) as equally bad, but Liberty vs Liberty would not. And I certainly wouldn't want to imprison someone just because they partake in dangerous hobbies.

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Re: The 99%

Postby omgryebread » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

leady wrote:a) "people" is a completely nebulous concept, I can do things to help individuals but not abstract concepts
Not really. I think it's pretty easy to define "people", say as all homo sapiens sapiens.

b) Noone actually acts even close to this position. Even within a country no individual acts like "nothing trumps people", aparently a lot of things "trump people" in practice like watching the X factor.
Of course. Shit ain't perfect.


Strong liberty might have a few debateable areas in terms of logical consistency - but at least it tries. The standard government paradigm is completely and utterly arbitrary in its nature and goals.
"Liberty" only approaches anything close to logical consistency if you define it very narrowly. In the case of the libertarian: the lack of government restrictions on behavior beyond the enforcement of common law tort cases. Of course, your question then is why you choose this definition over say, "freedom from uneven negotiating positions."
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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't view this as a liberty vs safety issue. It's an issue of protecting everyone else's liberty. A violent crime inherently limits the victim's ability to do things, and thus, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, it's bad. So, it's fairly easy to make the case that imprisoning the assailant, or better, rehabilitating him, is a net gain for liberty.
Only by defining 'liberty' as a matter of public interest and not a matter of individual interest.

And when you define liberty in this way, some funny things happen: My lack of money inherently limits my ability to do things, and therefore, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, poverty is bad. So it's an easy to make a case that we should find ways to increase my ability to do things without money (like foodstamps), or find ways to redistribute wealth (like welfare) to raise 'net liberty'. After all, is a man with five billion dollars any more 'free' than a man with one billion dollars? Why not take that four billion dollars away and use it to make all the people with ten dollars free as fuck?

This is what happens when you start adding caveats to liberty and talking about 'increasing net liberty by reducing individual liberty'--'liberty' just becomes another way of saying 'public interest', except now you're just measuring public interest in one very specific direction. Rather than using liberty, let's use public interest--and let's talk about whether or not it's really in public interest to do things like this. I suspect that my last example is an extraordinarily bad idea, but I can't tell you why if we only talk about net liberty.

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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:No, it isn't. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's arbitrary.

The government in the US is meant to serve the people. The people is defined as 'the collective welfare of American citizens'. No, we don't have an explicit set of attributes which define, point-by-point, what is in the best interests of American citizens; yes, we can still use this metric to talk about what sort of decisions move us toward public welfare and what sort of decisions move us away from public welfare.


If you don't have an objective target to achieve and many of your outcomes are completely random, then I don't think its unfair to describe the way modern democracies as arbitrary in action. Don't get me wrong, most of the woolly stated intent is positive but I don't believe that changes the empirical reality

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:29 pm UTC

leady wrote:If you don't have an objective target to achieve and many of your outcomes are completely random, then I don't think its unfair to describe the way modern democracies as arbitrary in action. Don't get me wrong, most of the woolly stated intent is positive but I don't believe that changes the empirical reality
If modern democracies are arbitrary in action, what you're saying is that there are no actions modern democracies can take which can clearly increase--or decrease--the public welfare of people. So, I'll ask again: Does releasing wild, hungry lions in our public schools decrease or increase the public welfare?

Your response, if you're remaining consistent, should be a shrug followed with "WE CAN NEVER KNOW!".

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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
leady wrote:a) "people" is a completely nebulous concept, I can do things to help individuals but not abstract concepts
Not really. I think it's pretty easy to define "people", say as all homo sapiens sapiens.

b) Noone actually acts even close to this position. Even within a country no individual acts like "nothing trumps people", aparently a lot of things "trump people" in practice like watching the X factor.
Of course. Shit ain't perfect.


Strong liberty might have a few debateable areas in terms of logical consistency - but at least it tries. The standard government paradigm is completely and utterly arbitrary in its nature and goals.
"Liberty" only approaches anything close to logical consistency if you define it very narrowly. In the case of the libertarian: the lack of government restrictions on behavior beyond the enforcement of common law tort cases. Of course, your question then is why you choose this definition over say, "freedom from uneven negotiating positions."


You know that in any of these discussions "people" does not refer to the objective reality of all homo sapiens, so I think thats deliberately misleading sorry.

Also yes things aren't perfect - but we aren't talking anything close to perfect. In reality the average person basically commits ~ 20% of their energy towards others, mostly in a geographic area and by coercion. Many many things apparently "trump" people in practice.

The relative merits of liberty are a different discussion, but as I say it at least tries and is consistent within its own framework. But at least it has a consistent framework to work within compared to the current system.

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Re: The 99%

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:36 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't view this as a liberty vs safety issue. It's an issue of protecting everyone else's liberty. A violent crime inherently limits the victim's ability to do things, and thus, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, it's bad. So, it's fairly easy to make the case that imprisoning the assailant, or better, rehabilitating him, is a net gain for liberty.
Only by defining 'liberty' as a matter of public interest and not a matter of individual interest.

And when you define liberty in this way, some funny things happen: My lack of money inherently limits my ability to do things, and therefore, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, poverty is bad. So it's an easy to make a case that we should find ways to increase my ability to do things without money (like foodstamps), or find ways to redistribute wealth (like welfare) to raise 'net liberty'. After all, is a man with five billion dollars any more 'free' than a man with one billion dollars? Why not take that four billion dollars away and use it to make all the people with ten dollars free as fuck?

This is what happens when you start adding caveats to liberty and talking about 'increasing net liberty by reducing individual liberty'--'liberty' just becomes another way of saying 'public interest', except now you're just measuring public interest in one very specific direction. Rather than using liberty, let's use public interest--and let's talk about whether or not it's really in public interest to do things like this. I suspect that my last example is an extraordinarily bad idea, but I can't tell you why if we only talk about net liberty.


There is a difference between "not having the money to do something" and "this guy just shot me, so I'm in the hospital". The latter is pretty ridiculously more limiting.

See, you're free to go work extra hours or whatever if you really want x thing. The guy in the hospital is not...and in fact, he probably now has hospital bills as well. And you probably have lots of things you CAN do, even while poor. The guy in the hospital...not so much. Violent crime ends up being wildly undesirable regardless of the metric you use.

"public interest" is vaguer than "net liberty". You can argue that any number of things are in the "public interest" that are obviously not conducive to net liberty. That's why we shouldn't switch words...it's goalpost moving.

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:39 pm UTC

leady wrote:The relative merits of liberty are a different discussion, but as I say it at least tries and is consistent within its own framework. But at least it has a consistent framework to work within compared to the current system.
Please. Its framework is just as fuzzy as a framework that operates off of public interest. Valuing 'liberty' over 'public interest' in this respect is just playing a word-game. It sounds better to scream "FOR LIBERTY!" than "FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD!", so we're going with 'liberty' instead.

How do you objectively measure liberty? Above, I gave a means to use net liberty to justify not just welfare, but the aggressive redistribution of wealth--how is that any different than the problem we face when people do the exact same thing in 'public interest' instead? This metric you're dealing with carries all the same problems; it's just as fuzzy--but we should subscribe to it because it 'sounds' better.
Tyndmyr wrote:There is a difference between "not having the money to do something" and "this guy just shot me, so I'm in the hospital". The latter is pretty ridiculously more limiting.
The difference isn't clear or concrete, particularly where money intersects with life-or-death issues--or simple quality of life issues.
Tyndmyr wrote:"public interest" is vaguer than "net liberty". You can argue that any number of things are in the "public interest" that are obviously not conducive to net liberty. That's why we shouldn't switch words...it's goalpost moving.
And you can argue any number of things are in the interests of 'net liberty' that are obviously not in the 'public interest'.

This is just a game of words.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The 99%

Postby leady » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:40 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
leady wrote:If you don't have an objective target to achieve and many of your outcomes are completely random, then I don't think its unfair to describe the way modern democracies as arbitrary in action. Don't get me wrong, most of the woolly stated intent is positive but I don't believe that changes the empirical reality
If modern democracies are arbitrary in action, what you're saying is that there are no actions modern democracies can take which can clearly increase--or decrease--the public welfare of people. So, I'll ask again: Does releasing wild, hungry lions in our public schools decrease or increase the public welfare?

Your response, if you're remaining consistent, should be a shrug followed with "WE CAN NEVER KNOW!".


I'll answer your crazy scenario with a crazy answer :) . It is a shrug, if public welfare is narrowly defined as GDP per capita , then yes hungry lions in some schools are a net positive, in others a net negative. Obviously the consumed individuals probably aren't happy either way :)

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Re: The 99%

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

leady wrote:I'll answer your crazy scenario with a crazy answer :) . It is a shrug, if public welfare is narrowly defined as GDP per capita , then yes hungry lions in some schools are a net positive, in others a net negative. Obviously the consumed individuals probably aren't happy either way :)
Except I clearly did not define it so narrowly. I defined it as 'things which clearly serve the needs and interests of people'.

Yes, it's fuzzy. 'Liberty' is fuzzy too. Words are fuzzy. Deal with it. We can still make decisions that move us forward. Releasing wild lions into public schools does not move us forward.

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Re: The 99%

Postby leromarinvit » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Your response, if you're remaining consistent, should be a shrug followed with "WE CAN NEVER KNOW!".

To be fair, can we? I hope nobody's ever tried that. :D

The Great Hippo wrote:And when you define liberty in this way, some funny things happen: My lack of money inherently limits my ability to do things, and therefore, strictly from a liberty viewpoint, poverty is bad. So it's an easy to make a case that we should find ways to increase my ability to do things without money (like foodstamps), or find ways to redistribute wealth (like welfare) to raise 'net liberty'.

QFT. If you don't have the means, you don't have the effective liberty to do something. I'm at liberty to have this discussion with you because:
* I have a computer with internet access
* I have a job that pays enough, while still leaving enough time to browse the tubes
* I can buy food from the store without having to grow it myself, again increasing my free time
* There is no law against posting on the fora
The last point is what is commonly understood as "liberty". It is, of course, a necessary requirement, but certainly not a sufficient one.

I think what we should be trying to increase is the ability of people to live their lives in the way they desire, free from external pressures. This obviously includes not being the victim of a violent crime, but it also includes things like access to education, having food and shelter, having a job that's not shit, etc.
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