1277: "Ayn Random"

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Monika » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:08 pm UTC

osiris wrote:Alt text should be: "Objectivist-oriented programming?"

:lol:
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby NiteClerk » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:13 pm UTC

addams wrote:
Kit. wrote:
NiteClerk wrote:I would say that there should be some rational criteria for scholarship. Such as decent grades in high school, the ACT or SAT. I don't support paying for people to go to college who could barely finish high school. Also we should take the major into account. I would want the money to go towards someone who stood a chance of getting a job, repaying the loan and then paying taxes in the future. An investment in other words. The governments profit would come from future tax collections.

An investment?

You seem to believe that law and order come for free.

My Nation allowed me to go to the Local Community College.
I did not get decent grades in High School.
I would not meet your criteria.
I did not go to High School.
Not much. I skipped school.
One time I was living up in the Mountains.
Long story. The Facts are I skipped school.
What did I do?
Sometimes I stood by a partially frozen creek and watched the water.
I was an idiot. Skirts were short. Thank the Gods, socks were long.
But; As it turned out, Some Liberal Weird-O's were making Big Decisions that would effect us all.
They built some schools and allowed The People to go to school, after high school and before University or The Salt Mines.
I took a Transmission Class. I was horrible.
I took a Wood Working Class the men Screamed.
I took Physical Chemistry and I had never had a Math class.
Math astounded and confounded me. Math was something other people did. Not me.
My Brother did math. If Math needs to be done, ask some Man that knows math.

You are right that you would not meet my criteria. I do not believe that the government (taxpayers) can afford to send every single person to college. Therefore there has to be a selection process. You have the right to attend (subject to admission criteria), but that does not mean the government (taxpayers) should have to pay for you to attend college. Too often people think that because they have the right to something, that thing must be provided. Look at it this way. I have the right to buy a new $40,000 Ford F150 XLT crew cab pick-up with tow package and a 30 foot travel trailer. That does not mean that the government (taxpayers) should buy it for me. So you have the right to attend college, if you can afford it.
Today in the 21st century a Woman can do math if she is born with the Math Gene.
I knew a woman that was born with the Math Gene.
She was something and then some. I liked her. What a mind. What a body.
That is what killed her. Having a body is required and it is the absolute fatal flaw.
Anyone that has a body can die. That is, just, fact. She died while being herself.
If the bar to an education is set too high, some people will still be reading Tails of Long Forgotten.....

I honestly don't understand this.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Klear » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:18 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:You are right that you would not meet my criteria. I do not believe that the government (taxpayers) can afford to send every single person to college. Therefore there has to be a selection process. You have the right to attend (subject to admission criteria), but that does not mean the government (taxpayers) should have to pay for you to attend college. Too often people think that because they have the right to something, that thing must be provided. Look at it this way. I have the right to buy a new $40,000 Ford F150 XLT crew cab pick-up with tow package and a 30 foot travel trailer. That does not mean that the government (taxpayers) should buy it for me. So you have the right to attend college, if you can afford it.


People have right not to starve to death. That does not mean that the government (taxpayers) should pay for it. So you have the right not to starve if you can afford it.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:19 pm UTC

Klear wrote:I don't see how "there are people who get welfare benefits that they don't deserve" means "welfare shouldn't exist at all".

I wrote:If I decide to get a better job that pays more money, I should have more stuff for me and my kids, and the government should have more of what I make (or they should be giving me less of what others make). I shouldn't have the same amount of stuff. I certainly shouldn't have less stuff. But if I'm (relatively) poor, that's exactly what I get. Less stuff.

I don't see advocacy for zero welfare in my statement.

I do see a problem in my graph above (gov't gets 19% of GDP) and our current spending rate (24% of GDP last I checked), which is largely spent on entitlements. And becoming more entitlement- and debt-service-focused every year.

It's worked so far, for various reasons (China seems to think we're "too big to fail", it is possible to grow into/inflate away debt). That can't, and won't, go on forever. Fixing it now will be less painful overall than fixing it in the future.

Fixing it now will be incredibly politically painful, so it won't happen, because Washington is full of... people who have their own self-interest at heart. (Rand may have said something along these lines.) Of course, it's always easier to fund your own self-interests with other people's money!

(Believing 100% of Rand? Absolutely silly. Thinking everything she says is bunk just because she said it? Stark-raving insane.)

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Kit. » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:24 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:I have the right to buy a new $40,000 Ford F150 XLT crew cab pick-up with tow package and a 30 foot travel trailer. That does not mean that the government (taxpayers) should buy it for me. So you have the right to attend college, if you can afford it.

I'm sorry but... haven't you just compared higher education with a couple of stupid pieces of iron?

I'm not interested in my neighbors having the trash you want.
I'm interested in my neighbors having higher education.
How is it comparable?

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Monika » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:39 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:
Monika wrote:The state not only has the right, but the obligation to provide welfare. Money to buy food and pay rent and other essential stuff. Free health care for those who can't afford insurance.

I disagree with this. Should the state (meaning taxpayers) support a healthy 18 year old who chooses to not work?

Actually, yes. I am for an unconditional base income. That's why I'm a member of the German Pirate Party. They (and "The Left") support this.

People do not stop working when there is an unconditional base income. Research, including experiments, have shown that about 10% of people would actually stay home. That's about as many as are unemployed today. So get those who cannot find a job and want to work (majority of the unemployed) into a job and let those who are tired of their job sit at home until they get bored. Better for the employers, too - motivated workers instead of those just working because they would starve otherwise. Wouldn't you continue working even if they gave you 1200 USD a month for doing nothing? Would your father [replace with other relative as suitable] continue working? Your teachers? The other benefit is that it will raise income in the low wage industry.

But conditional base incomes are a somewhat acceptable intermediate solution, too. I.e. only giving the money to those who cannot work (disability, chronical illness, caring for a baby/young child, disabled or elderly person) and those who cannot find a job.

If they get rent, then they should not have satellite, smart phones, cigarettes or air conditioning.

This is something that can be argued about.

If the state is going to give them food then it should be mostly beans and rice. Not pizza and steak.

This is not something that can be argued about. Seriously, beans and rice?! You sound like a psychopath. Making plans in your head to lock some person whom you deem lazy up in your basement and punish them by deprivation. You seem to hate poor people a lot.

Heart and lung transplants? Where does it end?

Nowhere, obviously. All industrial countries have realized and implemented this. The US being the last one. You deserve health care by being human. Not by working as hard as you can.

And this shall be paid by mandatory taxes, not by voluntary donations, because that simply does not raise sufficient funds and also it's not fair.

Life is not fair. Boo hoo. Blabla take away my stuff blabla

It would not be fair because some people who are able to pay a lot of taxes/donate a lot would donate a lot and other people who are able to pay a lot of taxes/donate a lot would donate little or nothing. You missed the point completely.

Herman Cain, a colored person

The term "colored" has been racist and offensive in the US for decades. If the person is black, say "black" or "African-American". If the person is non-white, but also not black, you can say "person of color" (works also for black people) or mention their specific ethnicity. If you reply to this post whining that it supposedly illogical that "colored" is offensive, but "person of color" is appropriate, or any other excuse for continuing to use "colored", I shall have to invent punch-over-TCP/IP. So don't.
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:43 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Nice personal attack.

What's wrong with his actual statement, other than it not aligning with your position? (And what is your position? All I see in this post is "a difference in relative prosperity between two humans is evil (or, at least, more evil than armed robbery)."
My position is that it is just to steal someone's laptop and phone in order to secure the prosperity of an entire country. Do you disagree with this position?
Mikeski wrote:I don't see how you can remove all drive to better oneself, or provide more for our children, from our species, so you can't get rid of differences in relative prosperity. And it seems you see that too, since you started those sentences with "If"... So, why is he wrong, and why is your position not as childish and parable-y as his? I just see government-as-Robin-Hood in yours.)
My position is that it would be just to steal someone's laptop and phone in order to secure the prosperity of an entire country. That's not a parable; that's a statement. You've turned it into a parable (the parable of Robin Hood) because... well, I've already covered this point.

Would you like to discuss my position, or would you like to discuss the parable you've made out of my position?
NiteClerk wrote:That's almost funny. Have you ever seen a kid playing with a toy, then another kid comes along who wants the toy and tries to take it away from the first kid? That is your position. Using force to take something you want from someone else.
Right. My position is that there are circumstances where it is okay to use force to take something from someone else when it serves a greater good (for very specific values of 'greater good'). The 'steal a laptop / phone to secure the prosperity of a country' is a very specific, very obvious, very extreme example of this. The circumstance you're suggesting (where a kid has a toy I want, so I take it) is an example where it would be unjust.

If you disagree with my premise -- that there are circumstances where it is just to use force to take something from someone -- I am left to presume that you believe it is never justifiable to use force to take something from someone else. In short, you oppose taxes, the construction of roads, corporations, countries, civil services, military, law enforcement, prisons...
NiteClerk wrote:I have a comfortable life and pay a lot in taxes. What I object to is poor people who think they are entitled to the same lifestyle I have. If you want a more materialistic life then develop a skill that people will pay you more for. In the meantime don't complain about being poor while you have a smart phone, $60/month data plan, cigarettes, alcohol, cable t.v. and air conditioning.
Under what circumstances are the poor allowed to complain about being poor? Could you list those circumstances for us? We're very interested in knowing, and will make sure to send out a memo outlining those circumstances to all the poor people so they can stop bothering you.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:46 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:45 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:Sure. So, what's wrong with tax writeoffs?

Nice derail. A-minus, since I'll respond: Any tax scheme that would eliminate the gov't playing favorites among its citizens and corporations (and thus eliminate the need for the adds-nothing-to-the-economy IRS) would be better. Then all those keen mathematical minds in the IRS could go to work on useful stuff, like curing cancer or putting people on other planets, or something, rather than deciding how to take slightly-less-or-more money from Peter and give it to Paul.

Now: any thoughts about how we're supposed to keep funding things at this rate when the government has never had an income to match its current spending rate? (And we're about to stack ACA on top of it, and the baby boomers are retiring?) Galt may have been a two-dimensional caricature, but that graph above, with the gov't taking in 19%-of-GDP-since-WWII no matter what they try to tax, sure looks like we're a nation full of him.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:My position is that it is just to steal someone's laptop and phone in order to secure the prosperity of an entire country. Do you disagree with this position?

Absolutely. Property rights exist. Theft is unjust.

If you can do a loaves-and-fishes thing and save a whole country with one laptop, then you can find one person to donate you the laptop (as Jesus did with the loaves and fishes; I don't recall him garnering them at swordpoint), or you can work for a week or two, buy a laptop, and save the country all on your own.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:52 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Absolutely. Property rights exist. Theft is unjust.
Ah; so you're the sort who opposes taxes -- and government -- in their entirety. IE, fruitful discussion with you is essentially impossible.

Good to know.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby ucim » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:59 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:So you have the right to attend college, if you can afford it.
I think the idea is that while society does not benefit from you having a new $40,000 Ford F150 XLT crew cab pick-up with tow package and a 30 foot travel trailer, society does benefit from your having a college education.

Whether society actually benefits from an educated populace is a separate question. (One must consider direct and indirect benefits, as well as detriments (who would flip the burgers?), and also how much of the education would have occurred anyway) But that't the theory behind government-supplied schooling.

As for welfare cliffs; that is a function of the simple formulas used to calculate benefits. Smoother cutoffs would be better. But you still run into the fundamental problem, which is once you set a threshold below which assistance is provided, and a limit to this assistance, no matter how you shape the curve, the slope is still shallower than the rest of the curve. This is just the way math works. If you are below the threshold, working will always give you less than if you were above it (unless you simply give everyone free money, which leads to other issues and is off topic as well as antithetical to Ayn's posturing)

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Absolutely. Property rights exist. Theft is unjust.
Ah; so you're the sort who opposes taxes -- and government -- in their entirety. IE, fruitful discussion with you is essentially impossible.

Good to know.

And you're the sort who creates impossible situations, believes there is no middle ground, and piles word upon word in another's mouth.

You're right; we're done.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:09 pm UTC

Wait; you do realize taxation is a violation of property rights, right? We use force (or the threat thereof) to take away people's money and fund police officers and the military -- both of whom protect our property. In other words, we protect our property rights by violating our property rights.

Also, I'm ignoring the middle-ground? You're the one saying that the theft of a laptop and phone is unjust even if it's for the sake of a country's prosperity. Would you say stealing a penny from Bill Gates' money vault to cure cancer would also be unjust?

These are ridiculous situations, yes; that's what makes them easy to answer. Because real situations rarely have easy answers. But if you can't navigate silly, easy shit like this, you'll have no chance when it comes to the hard, complicated shit.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Kit. » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:18 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:Sure. So, what's wrong with tax writeoffs?

Nice derail.

That's quite an accusation. Dare to substantiate?

Mikeski wrote:Any tax scheme that would eliminate the gov't playing favorites among its citizens and corporations (and thus eliminate the need for the adds-nothing-to-the-economy IRS) would be better.

Example?

Mikeski wrote:Now: any thoughts about how we're supposed to keep funding things at this rate when the government has never had an income to match its current spending rate?

I believe you should spend less money on spying at yourselves and on killing others.

(Actually, this wouldn't be my first priorities. My first priorities would be aimed at fat cats extorting money from the government by positioning their businesses as "too big to fall"... but I guess those would be holy cows to you.)

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:25 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Wait; you do realize taxation is a violation of property rights, right? We use force (or the threat thereof) to take away people's money and fund police officers and the military -- both of whom protect our property. In other words, we protect our property rights by violating our property rights.

Also, I'm ignoring the middle-ground? You're the one saying that the theft of a laptop and phone is unjust even if it's for the sake of a country's prosperity. Would you say stealing a penny from Bill Gates' money vault to cure cancer would also be unjust?

These are ridiculous situations, yes; that's what makes them easy to answer. Because real situations rarely have easy answers. But if you can't navigate silly, easy shit like this, you'll have no chance when it comes to the hard, complicated shit.

I prefer to work on real problems vs. mental masturbation when there's a real problem laying about. Engineers are like that. I'll go brain-wank in the "what if" forum about an ever-expanding earth and relativistic-speed baseball pitches.

That's why I've posted about a few real problems (scroll up and the graphs should jump out at you), while you've ... claimed to give a poor country a USAan level of prosperity for $800, and to cure cancer for a penny, which had to be extracted at gunpoint from a billionaire. And divined the soul of another human based on his responses to those ridiculous situations.

That deserves boldface. Whatever, man.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:35 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:I prefer to work on real problems vs. mental masturbation when there's a real problem laying about. Engineers are like that. I'll go brain-wank in the "what if" forum about an ever-expanding earth and relativistic-speed baseball pitches.

That's why I've posted about a few real problems (scroll up and the graphs should jump out at you), while you've ... claimed to give a poor country a USAan level of prosperity for $800, and to cure cancer for a penny, which had to be extracted at gunpoint from a billionaire. And divined the soul of another human based on his responses to those ridiculous situations.

That deserves boldface. Whatever, man.
Hypothetical situations are a litmus test for our positions; to determine whether or not our starting assumptions are deranged. As an engineer, I would think you'd be intimately familiar with the idea of testing your premise by creating an extreme -- perhaps even impossible! -- circumstance to determine whether or not the end result is nonsensical.

That being said, you're not 'working on a real problem'; you're a non-expert engaged in mental masturbation on a forum with a bunch of fellow non-experts. These are certainly real problems, but we are not working on them -- we're merely discussing them.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:38 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:Sure. So, what's wrong with tax writeoffs?

Nice derail.

That's quite an accusation. Dare to substantiate?
Go back to my original post. Even if tax writeoffs are removed or tripled, the gov't is going to get 19% of GDP, so why bother discussing them?

Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Any tax scheme that would eliminate the gov't playing favorites among its citizens and corporations (and thus eliminate the need for the adds-nothing-to-the-economy IRS) would be better.

Example?
VAT. Flat tax. Piecewise-linear (progressive) flat tax. Plenty of possibilities. Not sure we can get any of them with the number of pigs (politicians, corporations, and ordinary citizens) at the trough, though.

Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Now: any thoughts about how we're supposed to keep funding things at this rate when the government has never had an income to match its current spending rate?

I believe you should spend less money on spying at yourselves and on killing others.

Damn fine ideas, which I agree with. But even zeroing out the military won't fix the coming crisis. They're a "paltry" 19% of spending, and we need some level of military, since not everyone else in the world is as nice as you. (And "save the citizens of $country from their vicious dictator" or "stay out of $country's affairs" is a somewhat-difficult choice.)
Kit. wrote:(Actually, this wouldn't be my first priorities. My first priorities would be aimed at fat cats extorting money from the government by positioning their businesses as "too big to fall"... but I guess those would be holy cows to you.)

Hell no. But thanks for putting even more words in my mouth! (Getting hard to close it due to this thread; it's becoming quite full of verbiage.)

Corporate welfare is as bad, or worse, than personal welfare. Bin all of it, and the lobbyists could go get productive jobs, too.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:44 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:That being said, you're not 'working on a real problem'; you're a non-expert engaged in mental masturbation on a forum with a bunch of fellow non-experts. These are certainly real problems, but we are not working on them -- we're merely discussing them.
Mostly correct. I'm not a politician and (God-willing) never will be. But if I can persuade a few forum readers that what we're doing with our current unsustainable spending levels is unfair (to our children, our grandchildren, our poor & unskilled laborers who can't rise out of poverty, other countries' poor who're propping up our debt), then maybe I'll have made the world an ever-so-slightly better place.

In the "teach a man to fish" rather than "give a man a fish" sense.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:46 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Mostly correct. I'm not a politician and (God-willing) never will be. But if I can persuade a few forum readers that what we're doing with our current unsustainable spending levels is unfair (to our children, our grandchildren, our poor & unskilled laborers who can't rise out of poverty, other countries' poor who're propping up our debt), then maybe I'll have made the world an ever-so-slightly better place.
The vast majority of forum goers I'm aware of would likely prefer to see our spending levels decrease, particularly in regards to corporate welfare and military expenditures -- so I think you're largely preaching to the choir.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:06 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:so I think you're largely preaching to the choir.

That's good. You wouldn't want to hear me sing.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:06 am UTC

In general, I am opposed to the idea that an 18-year-old who refuses to work should get a free ride for life, but I'm also, and even more, opposed to the tacit assumption behind that that anyone who lacks a job does so by their own choice.

Given the choice, I'd rather give the 18-year-old a free-ride for as long as he wants it than say to the 30-year-old father of two who just lost his job because people on another continent decided poor people should own houses and some clever people figured out a way to get the money for that out of other people by pretending that the money was a solid investment with a guaranteed return when it was actually just throwing money into a hole in the ground, and when enough people caught onto that, the amount of money in circulation dropped sharply, and lots of companies stopped being able to pay other companies for things which meant those companies stopped being able to pay still other companies, which meant that those companies had to reduce costs themselves, which they did by reducing the number and pay of employees they had, which meant that those employees and former employees stopped spending as much money on things, meaning that major retailers, taking in less money, cut back on infrastructure maintenance, which meant that our man, with a job with one of those contractor firms came into work one day to discover that, not only did his job no longer exist, but it was anyone's guess how long the company he no longer worked for would continue to exist... rather than say to that man who is one of thousands competing for dozens of jobs that he's a lazy bum and he and his children should suffer because people on another continent let short-term greed overrule long-term sense...

If there are only so many jobs people are willing and able to pay other people to do, then it doesn't matter what pressures you put on someone to try to get them to stop being a lazy bum and get a job - unless you are prepared to hire anyone who wants a job, you're in a very weak position to criticise people for not having a job - and that applies both to individuals and to governments.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby capefeather » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:09 am UTC

See, this is why I don't like saying that government has an obligation to help people. People end up interpreting that as government having an intrinsic obligation to help people, and they go on slippery slope rants that completely miss the point of why anybody thinks that an institution with a monopoly on force should exist. I do believe that a government institution has an intrinsic obligation to act in the best interests of the people it represents, because if it doesn't even aim to do that, then it doesn't deserve any of the involuntary investment $s (i.e. tax revenue) that it gets. Note that by "government institution" I'm referring to any individual section of an overall government that serves a specific purpose. I feel like people don't pay enough attention to the fact that government is not a single groupthink entity but a collection of organizations that happen to draw from the same revenue pool.

As far as the discussion going on right now goes, what I think Hippo is getting at is that simplistic arguments deserve simplistic counterarguments. Hippo's using spherical cow scenarios precisely because Mikeski argued that theft is always unjust - a spherical cow argument. If you want to talk about real situations, then the kinds of absolute moral imperatives seen in deontological ethics not only won't work, but won't even accurately represent your own real views. I'm pretty sure that nobody here really begrudges the mere existence of a government that "steals" some amounts of money from its citizens, but that's the logical conclusion that one must draw from the premise that stealing is wrong no matter the context.

The classic "poor man steals bread to feed his starving family" scenario might have worked just as well.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Kit. » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:25 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:Sure. So, what's wrong with tax writeoffs?

Nice derail.

That's quite an accusation. Dare to substantiate?
Go back to my original post.

Which one? The one where you were supposed to answer how robin hoods were better than government redistribution of wealth? And where you answered with a chart that had no comparison to robin hoods at all?

So, who was derailing then?

Mikeski wrote:Even if tax writeoffs are removed or tripled, the gov't is going to get 19% of GDP, so why bother discussing them?

That was my question, actually. What was your point in mentioning tax writeoffs. And you answer was...
Spoiler:
(see it quoted above if you forgot it)

Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Any tax scheme that would eliminate the gov't playing favorites among its citizens and corporations (and thus eliminate the need for the adds-nothing-to-the-economy IRS) would be better.

Example?
VAT. Flat tax. Piecewise-linear (progressive) flat tax. Plenty of possibilities.

And which of them would eliminate the need for IRS and/or for government-provided welfare?

Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Now: any thoughts about how we're supposed to keep funding things at this rate when the government has never had an income to match its current spending rate?

I believe you should spend less money on spying at yourselves and on killing others.

Damn fine ideas, which I agree with. But even zeroing out the military won't fix the coming crisis. They're a "paltry" 19% of spending, and we need some level of military, since not everyone else in the world is as nice as you.

Come on. You have higher military spending per capita than Israel. Your total military spending is higher than of EU, China, Russia, Japan and India combined.

Are you sure you can afford it? Are you sure you should be able to afford it?

Mikeski wrote:(And "save the citizens of $country from their vicious dictator" or "stay out of $country's affairs" is a somewhat-difficult choice.)

So, how many people have you saved?

Mikeski wrote:
Kit. wrote:(Actually, this wouldn't be my first priorities. My first priorities would be aimed at fat cats extorting money from the government by positioning their businesses as "too big to fall"... but I guess those would be holy cows to you.)

Hell no. But thanks for putting even more words in my mouth! (Getting hard to close it due to this thread; it's becoming quite full of verbiage.)

Corporate welfare is as bad, or worse, than personal welfare. Bin all of it, and the lobbyists could go get productive jobs, too.

But they are too big to fall! And the reason for that is poor control of the government over the schemes they used to make poor people poorer and rich people richer. And not "lobbyists".

(I'm not saying that I wouldn't also shoot oops, retire lobbyists)

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:44 am UTC

Maybe I misunderstood her fundamental argument, but the impression I got was always that she believed property rights could be derived from an objective analysis of reality. She never seemed to argue that things should be this way, but rather that they were.

A claim about rights is inherently an "ought" claim. Nobody who speaks of rights means to say that the world does do this or that thing, e.g. to say you have a right against assault isn't to say that something will always stop people from assaulting you, but that in no circumstances should they assault you.

Rand does (to my admittedly limited knowledge) try to derive those kinds of "oughts" from "is" statements (and in that regard I strongly disagree with her), but her conclusions are still effectively "ought" statements.

And in particular, the "is" statements she derives her "ought" statements from are not "is" statements about what kind of laws are in effect anywhere, so saying "she's wrong, look at these laws" is still non-sequitur. She's saying "look at human nature etc; because of that, this is what people ought and ought not do (and consequently what just laws would say they ought and ought not do)". Replying "but the laws don't say that" is irrelevant; she could simply reply "then the laws are unjust".



On the different subject we've since moved on to: it is possibly to hold and debate opinions on what an ideal system would be like without suggesting that the entire current system should be scrapped entirely because it's not implemented in an ideal way. Consider for analogy some ancient but mission-critical corporate website written in some kludge of IE-specific HTML-pre-3.2 and a mix of proprietary bullshit. Someone who knows a thing or two about good coding practices can come in and say that that site is horribly implemented, that it shouldn't be using many of the features (and bugs) it relies upon, that the whole thing is done wrongly from the ground up. And yet still acknowledge that any replacement needs somehow to accomplish the same mission-critical functionality. And that the old system has to keep running while the new one is being designed and implemented, because it's mission-critical.

Similarly, we can have a discussion about how an ideal government would function, including admitting such things as that taxation is theft and theft is inherently wrong, while at the same time acknowledging that we have mission-critical social infrastructure built upon that "bug" and we can't just scrap it without a replacement in place. But we should be admitting that it is a bug and we should be working on finding ways to implement the mission-critical functionality of government in a way that doesn't rely on theft. That may be a hard problem, but I've scarcely ever met a single person who even considers it a problem worth thinking about, and that's frankly disgusting. People either say "you can't have a civilized society without 'theft', so 'theft' must be ok" or "you can't have 'civilization' without theft, so fuck your 'civilization'". Can't anybody even give the question "how can we have civilization without theft?" a thought?


And just to throw a related idea out there to fuck with the minds of people stuck on the stubborn sides of that debate: taxation is evil, but thanks to marginal value, progressive taxation directed to needs-based programs minimizes that evil, so unless you're ready to talk about eliminating all taxation completely, ethical tax objectors should support the kind of thing that gets called "socialism", cause it's the least-bad kind of taxation.
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:59 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Rand does (to my admittedly limited knowledge) try to derive those kinds of "oughts" from "is" statements (and in that regard I strongly disagree with her), but her conclusions are still effectively "ought" statements.
It's that derivement of an 'ought' from an 'is' that I was criticizing her for. What did you think I meant when I said I believed she tried to derive property rights from an objective analysis of reality?
Pfhorrest wrote:And in particular, the "is" statements she derives her "ought" statements from are not "is" statements about what kind of laws are in effect anywhere, so saying "she's wrong, look at these laws" is still non-sequitur. She's saying "look at human nature etc; because of that, this is what people ought and ought not do (and consequently what just laws would say they ought and ought not do)". Replying "but the laws don't say that" is irrelevant; she could simply reply "then the laws are unjust".
No one I'm aware of brought up the existence of laws as an objection to Ayn Rand's premise. Rather, the objection I brought up is that Ayn Rand doesn't know enough about human nature to make absolute statements concerning what type of morality is in the best interests of human prosperity.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Kit. » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:22 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Rand does (to my admittedly limited knowledge) try to derive those kinds of "oughts" from "is" statements (and in that regard I strongly disagree with her), but her conclusions are still effectively "ought" statements.

And in particular, the "is" statements she derives her "ought" statements from are not "is" statements about what kind of laws are in effect anywhere, so saying "she's wrong, look at these laws" is still non-sequitur. She's saying "look at human nature etc; because of that, this is what people ought and ought not do (and consequently what just laws would say they ought and ought not do)". Replying "but the laws don't say that" is irrelevant; she could simply reply "then the laws are unjust".

The only way to convince someone else in the validity of your "oughts" is by using "ises" you both share. There is no such purely logical way, but there are some other rational ways, and there is coercion (not all ises are verbal, there are some physical as well).

If you decide to do it by a rational way, then you need to provide a (not purely logical, but still plausible) method to produce oughts from ises, as well as the set of ises that you think will work as the base. Then both the plausibility of your method and the selection of your ises can be questioned by your opponents.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:31 am UTC

Also:
Pfhorrest wrote:But we should be admitting that it is a bug and we should be working on finding ways to implement the mission-critical functionality of government in a way that doesn't rely on theft. That may be a hard problem, but I've scarcely ever met a single person who even considers it a problem worth thinking about, and that's frankly disgusting. People either say "you can't have a civilized society without 'theft', so 'theft' must be ok" or "you can't have 'civilization' without theft, so fuck your 'civilization'". Can't anybody even give the question "how can we have civilization without theft?" a thought?
I take it you haven't met many anarcho-capitalists, then?

That being said, it's probably a bug we can't fix until/unless we reach a post-scarcity society. If you want to find our lack of interest in fixing a (currently) unfixable bug disgusting, that's your right -- but I think it's a waste of perfectly good disgust.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby NiteClerk » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:50 am UTC

This post had objectionable content.Unacceptable. See me after class. -SecondTalon

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Mikeski » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:26 am UTC

NiteClerk wrote:This post had objectionable content.

In using outdated terminology, the existence of the NAACP, much like that of the United Negro College Fund, or multiple uses of the actual N word in modern rap music, is only of use in stand-up comedy. (Though I, too, find it rather droll.) Polite conversation should use the current terminology.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:50 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:It's that derivement of an 'ought' from an 'is' that I was criticizing her for. What did you think I meant when I said I believed she tried to derive property rights from an objective analysis of reality?

No one I'm aware of brought up the existence of laws as an objection to Ayn Rand's premise. Rather, the objection I brought up is that Ayn Rand doesn't know enough about human nature to make absolute statements concerning what type of morality is in the best interests of human prosperity.


What you wrote that I responded to was:

The Great Hippo wrote:More troubling to me has always been Rand's insistence that morality is simple, and that there are clear and obvious solutions for almost every problem. Property rights are natural, and flow logically from thought to reality.

This is, of course, nonsensical; property is a useful construct we made up. I never got the sense from her work that she understood this; indeed, she seemed to believe that property was somehow special and inviolable.


Now the flow of ideas in this doesn't seem very solidly constructed so it's hard to be sure what point you're trying to make, but the conjunction of all these things seems to suggest that you think the property rights we've made up (that is, the property laws that are on the books) being decidedly not simple, clear, obvious, or inviolable, somehow count as counter-evidence against her claims that the correct, moral rights (i.e. the laws that should be on the books) are simple, clear, obvious, and inviolable. That is what I was arguing against. If you didn't mean to say that, then this was all a big misunderstanding.

The Great Hippo wrote:I take it you haven't met many anarcho-capitalists, then?

I consider most of them I've met to be on the "you can't have 'civilization' without theft, so fuck your 'civilization'" side. The kind of people who would cut all social programs to reduce taxes, "starve the beast", etc.

Although strangely enough some anarcho-capitalists might even want to count me among them, since I am a propertarian and a philosophical anarchist, but I rather call myself a libertarian socialist and emphasize that free markets and capitalism are different things, the former is good but the latter is bad, and the latter undermines the former and destroys the possibility of a stable anarchic anti-state.

That being said, it's probably a bug we can't fix until/unless we reach a post-scarcity society. If you want to find our lack of interest in fixing a (currently) unfixable bug disgusting, that's your right -- but I think it's a waste of perfectly good disgust.

I've got plenty of disgust to go around. What boggles me is that there are statistically at least 30 million people in America alone smarter than me, and I'm sitting here cranking out one suggestion after another for ways to have economic liberty and free markets without runaway inequality and no social safety net, while it seems everyone else just says "it's impossible" without considering the problem. I want to challenge all the bright people here: if you found out right now that your life depended on coming up with a workable way of having a stateless government, or even the smaller problem of funding social programs without taxes, where would you start? I don't care how good the idea is right now, just throw out the start of an idea.

Here's some of mine:

If I wanted all the profits of some company, what would I have to do? Own the company. If I wanted a fraction of the profits of some company, what would I have to do? Own a fraction of the company. So if the government needs X% of the GDP to operate, the government needs to own X% of the productive economy -- it needs a huge investment portfolio to profit from. If we were starting from scratch out of anomie and trying to bootstrap a government that way, that would mean a bunch of people would have to donate money to the government to get it up and running -- but that already needs to happen in the rare cases when governments start up from scratch. But a government that's already running can funnel some of its existing revenue into buying investments to profit from and then use those profits to decrease its dependence on coercive income (taxes).

In particular, we could turn all corporate welfare programs into corporate investment programs: if you want money from the government to help your business, the government gets shares of your business in return. We can make this all non-voting stock if you're worried about the government having a say in private businesses. Hell, we could have an independent organization (a la the IRS) do all the actual portfolio management independent of political control, just focusing on maximizing profits from those investments, and cutting the government regular checks from its profits. The increased revenue from the growing stock portfolio, and the decreased corporate welfare expenses from companies who don't want the aid if it means giving up some ownership, means increased income for the government overall, which it can use grow its investment portfolio further, reduce taxes, or some mix of the two. Whoever's managing the portfolio, the goal would of course be long-term growth, not next-quarter profits, which would also add a lot of general stability to the market having such a huge investor with steady long-term investment practices.

Any social services organization, either the government or an independent charity, can create a positive feedback loop in its investment-based funding by investing in the businesses which provide the services the organization is subsidizing (e.g. a food stamps type of deal can invest in food companies), so that when it lowers the effective price paid for those services (by making them affordable to a wider market with its subsidy) without lowering the price received by the service company, the service company profits from the increase in business, and the social service organization profits further from its investment in such companies, allowing it to both increase the amount of subsidies it offers and grow its investment portfolio, which boosts the profits of the service companies and boosts the fraction of those profits which go back to the organization and around we go in a virtuous circle.

On a completely different note, we can reduce (but probably not completely eliminate) the need for social services in the first place if we can decrease systemic economic inequities to the point that most people are mostly self-sufficient. I've ranted about this one here a lot before, but it looks to me like rent and interest are major factors which make money flow from the poor to the rich, when you would expect from a superficial analysis of a free market that money would flow from the rich to the poor (because the poor need money and will trade work for it, and the rich have enough money that they can pay someone else to work for them, so the poor work and the rich rest until the poor have enough that they don't have to work so much and the rich lose enough that they have to start working). If we stopped enforcing contracts of rent and interest and refactored all existing rent and interest arrangements into forms of legitimate sales, having money would cease to be an effortless way of making money, and the curve of economic outcomes would change to match the normal distribution of abilities, reflecting the increase equality of economic opportunity created by the elimination of rent and interest as market distortions.

These are just ideas. I have more but these are my favorites. I'm not claiming that any one of these is a magic bullet by itself. I'm not claiming any of them are completely flawless. I'm just saying, look, I'm one mediocre person and here's a bunch of starting points for investigating this really important problem that has the country torn in half: how to reconcile the fact that taxation is theft and theft is wrong with the fact that there's a lot of people who depend on government services and the ones with the money to fund those services would just as soon let those people die. And everyone else just says "it's impossible; we have to steal to help those people "or "it's impossible; stealing is wrong, let those people die". Out of the hundreds of millions of people in this country, or at least the tens of millions of really smart people in this country, nobody but me can come up with even a suggestion as to how this problem might be resolved? I don't believe it. Even if I'm stupid for thinking the problem can be solved, you'd think some significant chunk of the hundreds of millions of people stupider than me would be putting forth similar stupid ideas, and the smarter people would be debunking them. Ideas being stupid doesn't stop people from talking about them. But nobody is even bothering to even consider this problem at all, nobody is offering even stupid ideas much less smart ones, and with the amount of good that could come from solving it, the apathy toward even thinking about it is genuinely disgusting.

So let me hear your stupid ideas. Better yet let me hear your smart ones. Just please don't shrug off the problem entirely.

Kit. wrote:The only way to convince someone else in the validity of your "oughts" is by using "ises" you both share.

There are lots of ways to convince someone of anything, but the only valid justification for an "ought" is an "ought", and the only valid justification for an "is" is an "is". In either case at some point you will need to share some common premises of the relevant type in order for an argument to get off the ground.

Then both the plausibility of your method and the selection of your ises can be questioned by your opponents.

And how is the selection of "ises" any less problematic than the selection of "oughts"? Trying to ground "oughts" in "ises" just makes an unfounded logical jump (the is-ought one) only to wind up in the same conundrum we started with: how do we resolve a disagreement between people? Both factual and normative arguments suffer from the same problem of infinite regress. What makes you think one can overcome it while the other can't?
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:43 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I want to challenge all the bright people here: if you found out right now that your life depended on coming up with a workable way of having a stateless government, or even the smaller problem of funding social programs without taxes, where would you start?
I would start by carefully defining the problem and the objectives. Then I would see if I could get consensus on these definitions.
Spoiler:
... and if my life really depended on this, I'd try to figure out who is judging, and by what criteria, because for many, "workable" means "steps on other people instead of on me". After all, dictatorships are workable, and quite nice for the dictator.
"Stateless government" sounds like an oxymoron to me. What is it? (That is, if it matters... we're going way off topic here).

I would ask what the "proper" role of government is. This sounds like an ought (framed with the word "is") but it really is a matter of taste. Some like to live under one kind of government, other people prefer another kind of government. I do not see where any kind of overarching "ought" comes from that defines what kind of government we all ought to live under. Here's a fundamental place where I think Ayn differs from me - she has a preference for a certain outcome, and has back-filled a rationalization that this is an overarching "ought" for everyone.

I've yet to see why her preference should be my preference.

Something to consider... if you were to be plopped into society, in a role to be chosen for you by others through some stochastic means (not necessarily at random, but uncorrelated with your present role in present society, and also in a state of health and wealth (or lack of it) chosen stochastically)... what kind of government would you like to be plopped into? There are many ways to answer the question, but it becomes a matter of preference too.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:03 am UTC

ucim wrote:"Stateless government" sounds like an oxymoron to me. What is it? (That is, if it matters... we're going way off topic here).

No, that's a very good question.

A state is a monopoly on the "legitimate" use of force. That is, it's an organization which (claims that it) has special liberty to use force: its agents, when properly authorized through whatever mechanisms it operates by, are allowed (by it, and the people who support and tolerate it) to use force in ways that ordinary people are not allowed to.

A government is an organization that provides various services to keep society running nicely, such as courts to mediate disputes, police and military to defend people from violence, and in more recent times social welfare programs, large infrastructure projects, support of the arts and sciences, etc.

A stateless government would be an organization of the latter type which is not an organization of the former type. An organization which provides social services like the above, without claiming any agent of it has any authority to do anything that any citizen couldn't do, or conversely that any citizen has any less authority than its own agents. Exactly how much authority over what that is, which is to be shared equally between all citizens whether or not they work for the government, is an open question for the purposes of just defining "stateless government".

One of the biggest problems facing the proposition of such an entity is where it will acquire funding from. States claim special authority to steal -- tax -- and draw their funding that way. In a stateless government either everyone must be granted equal authority to steal -- a prima facia ridiculous solution but one nevertheless effectively proffered by some anti-propertarian anarcho-socialists -- or else some means of funding such an organization without resorting to theft must be found.

I would ask what the "proper" role of government is. This sounds like an ought (framed with the word "is")

The word "proper" brings the "ought-ness" into that. Much like "right" and "good" and other adjectives that can be used in superficially indicative sentences to make what are effectively imperative assertions.

but it really is a matter of taste. Some like to live under one kind of government, other people prefer another kind of government. I do not see where any kind of overarching "ought" comes from that defines what kind of government we all ought to live under. Here's a fundamental place where I think Ayn differs from me - she has a preference for a certain outcome, and has back-filled a rationalization that this is an overarching "ought" for everyone.

I've yet to see why her preference should be my preference.

Something to consider... if you were to be plopped into society, in a role to be chosen for you by others through some stochastic means (not necessarily at random, but uncorrelated with your present role in present society, and also in a state of health and wealth (or lack of it) chosen stochastically)... what kind of government would you like to be plopped into? There are many ways to answer the question, but it becomes a matter of preference too.

Preferences are a poor choice off of which to justify "ought" statements for the same reason beliefs are a poor choice off of which to justify "is" statements. Something doesn't become true just from being believed, and something doesn't become good or right or proper or whatever just be being wanted or intended or preferred or whatever. You need something deeper, less subject to invention and interpretation and distortion. I have a suggestion for that but that would sidetrack us into a very deep discussion of metaethics that's already getting started in another thread as we speak.

I'll also spare you even an unargued assertion of what I think the proper role of government is, because it's late here.

For the purposes of my challenge here, consider the purpose of government to be to provide the kinds of services contemporary governments already do. The specifics of exactly what services it provides, e.g. what kinds of welfare are available, what kinds of infrastructure it funds, what activities it criminalizes, etc, are all flexible. We're just looking for a way to fund such an organization without giving it authority to do what would otherwise be called stealing.
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Klear » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:45 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:So let me hear your stupid ideas. Better yet let me hear your smart ones. Just please don't shrug off the problem entirely.


One of the problems of this is that it is relatively easy to come up with a system which is more fair and overall better on paper, but the subject we are dealing with here is so large and there are so many factors, it's pretty much guaranteed that you're overlooking something critical which would make the whole thing come crashing down hard. And it's not just a matter of thinking about it harder. I believe that with any sufficiently different governance system there would be some unprecedented and almost unforseeable consequences, which makes empirical testing the only reliable way to test a system's viability. Obviously, empirical testing of such a system is probably a very bad idea.

ucim wrote:Something to consider... if you were to be plopped into society, in a role to be chosen for you by others through some stochastic means (not necessarily at random, but uncorrelated with your present role in present society, and also in a state of health and wealth (or lack of it) chosen stochastically)... what kind of government would you like to be plopped into? There are many ways to answer the question, but it becomes a matter of preference too.


This is pretty much Rawls' Veil of Ignorance. I love that idea.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:14 am UTC

If you don't know how words work, don't use them. That is all.
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:51 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What you wrote that I responded to was:

The Great Hippo wrote:More troubling to me has always been Rand's insistence that morality is simple, and that there are clear and obvious solutions for almost every problem. Property rights are natural, and flow logically from thought to reality.

This is, of course, nonsensical; property is a useful construct we made up. I never got the sense from her work that she understood this; indeed, she seemed to believe that property was somehow special and inviolable.


Now the flow of ideas in this doesn't seem very solidly constructed so it's hard to be sure what point you're trying to make, but the conjunction of all these things seems to suggest that you think the property rights we've made up (that is, the property laws that are on the books) being decidedly not simple, clear, obvious, or inviolable, somehow count as counter-evidence against her claims that the correct, moral rights (i.e. the laws that should be on the books) are simple, clear, obvious, and inviolable. That is what I was arguing against. If you didn't mean to say that, then this was all a big misunderstanding.
I think my point was fairly clear, and I don't see how you got to "Ayn Rand thinks property laws are inviolable" rather than "Ayn Rand thinks our right to property is inviolable", but yes -- that thing you said is not what I said.
Pfhorrest wrote:I consider most of them I've met to be on the "you can't have 'civilization' without theft, so fuck your 'civilization'" side. The kind of people who would cut all social programs to reduce taxes, "starve the beast", etc.
You said you haven't met many people who have given thought to how to eliminate taxes while maintaining a functional society. Anarcho-capitalists have put some thought into this.
Pfhorrest wrote:I've got plenty of disgust to go around. What boggles me is that there are statistically at least 30 million people in America alone smarter than me, and I'm sitting here cranking out one suggestion after another for ways to have economic liberty and free markets without runaway inequality and no social safety net, while it seems everyone else just says "it's impossible" without considering the problem.
Or maybe we say it's impossible because we have considered the problem.

It's fine if this is the discussion you want to have, but it sounds like you think this isn't a discussion that has happened before.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby Kit. » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:55 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I want to challenge all the bright people here: if you found out right now that your life depended on coming up with a workable way of having a stateless government, or even the smaller problem of funding social programs without taxes, where would you start? I don't care how good the idea is right now, just throw out the start of an idea.

As Godwin has already been invoked in this thread, I hope no one objects if I come with the following analogy:

Spoiler:
If you found yourself to be Heisenberg and to be put in charge of Nazi A-bomb program, where would you start?

I have no reasons to believe in "property is just, but taxation is wrong". And I have my reasons to believe that if people that believe that "taxation is wrong" come to power, it will be harmful to the society.

Pfhorrest wrote:Here's some of mine:

I'm not sure what is scarier: a government as a market player (as opposed to a market regulator - or, worse, just combining both functions), or top managers of huge companies largely owned by a government but not controlled by it, - but it's definitely not "taxation".

Pfhorrest wrote:On a completely different note, we can reduce (but probably not completely eliminate) the need for social services in the first place if we can decrease systemic economic inequities to the point that most people are mostly self-sufficient. I've ranted about this one here a lot before, but it looks to me like rent and interest are major factors which make money flow from the poor to the rich, when you would expect from a superficial analysis of a free market that money would flow from the rich to the poor (because the poor need money and will trade work for it, and the rich have enough money that they can pay someone else to work for them, so the poor work and the rich rest until the poor have enough that they don't have to work so much and the rich lose enough that they have to start working). If we stopped enforcing contracts of rent and interest and refactored all existing rent and interest arrangements into forms of legitimate sales, having money would cease to be an effortless way of making money, and the curve of economic outcomes would change to match the normal distribution of abilities, reflecting the increase equality of economic opportunity created by the elimination of rent and interest as market distortions.

I hope you do realize that people can only sell their labor if there are jobs for them. And what people rarely rent what they can buy unless there are some economic perks that pay for the inconvenience of renting.

Pfhorrest wrote:how to reconcile the fact that taxation is theft and theft is wrong with the fact that there's a lot of people who depend on government services and the ones with the money to fund those services would just as soon let those people die.

For me, there is only one fact here: "there's a lot of people who depend on government services". Then, "the ones with the money to fund those services would just as soon let those people die" is close to a fact, but is not a fact yet, and the rest is just pure imagination.

Pfhorrest wrote:
Kit. wrote:The only way to convince someone else in the validity of your "oughts" is by using "ises" you both share.

There are lots of ways to convince someone of anything, but the only valid justification for an "ought" is an "ought", and the only valid justification for an "is" is an "is". In either case at some point you will need to share some common premises of the relevant type in order for an argument to get off the ground.

Are you claiming that you have no way to make me knowingly and willingly join your "taxation is wrong" society, and can only get me there by trickery and/or coercion?

Pfhorrest wrote:
Then both the plausibility of your method and the selection of your ises can be questioned by your opponents.

And how is the selection of "ises" any less problematic than the selection of "oughts"?

At least some of the "ises" are empirical evidence. There is no (known) empirical evidence among "oughts".

Pfhorrest wrote:Trying to ground "oughts" in "ises" just makes an unfounded logical jump (the is-ought one)

At least for known logic, yes (whether it's a theoretical limitation is a different topic). However, fortunately, there is more to human rationality than just pure logic...

Pfhorrest wrote:only to wind up in the same conundrum we started with: how do we resolve a disagreement between people?

...so, somehow we do.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:A state is a monopoly on the "legitimate" use of force. [...] A government is an organization that provides various services to keep society running nicely, such as courts to mediate disputes, police and military to defend people from violence [...] A stateless government would be an organization of the latter type which is not an organization of the former type.
Here's where it seems oxymoronic. If there is a dispute, then either the parties involved can (somehow) come to an agreement, or they cannot. In the former case, there is no longer a dispute. But you cannot guarantee that all cases will evolve to the former case. The reason for courts is the existence of the latter case, where an arrangement has to be imposed from above, by some final arbiter. Because (by definition) this is the latter case, at least one of the parties will have a dispute with this final arbiter.

That final arbiter must win, or we do not have successful dispute resolution. This requires, at the very least, that it has force behind it that the parties in the dispute do not have, and since anyone can have a dispute, it follows that it must have force behind it that no other party may have. This is the definition of a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

Jose
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby capefeather » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:14 pm UTC

One thing that bothers me is when people try to define words as broadly as possible, while also trying to maintain the emotive power of those words. "Theft" is not an inherently evil word. It's just a word. It's when theft refers specifically to when some jerk invades your house and takes your stuff, that we object to theft as undesirable to allow in society. However, when theft is broadly defined as the transfer of property from one party to another that doesn't require the consent of the giving party, it's hard to say that it is necessarily evil, unless you somehow want to equate every example of theft to some jerk breaking into your house and stealing your stuff. Perhaps a clearer example is violence. When referring specifically to some jackass punching you in the face, it's clear that such activity is undesirable to let happen unpunished. However, with the broad definition of "any activity that causes physical or emotional harm", well, a lot of stuff under that definition is still undesirable, but a needle injection is not (at least, not by itself).

So I can see the appeal in wanting to consider the question of how to have government that runs without "theft", just as I theoretically see the appeal in researching ways of putting things into people without the use of needles. I just don't see why it should take precedence over other matters that I think are more pressing.

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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:31 pm UTC

capefeather wrote:One thing that bothers me is when people try to define words as broadly as possible... [... theft...]
That's not quite what's happening. The idea of "broad definition" is a red herring. The word is deliberately being abused in order to attach the pre-existing emotional appeal of a perfectly good word for an evil act, to an act that is not (anywhere near as) evil. It's like the way the word "piracy" has been abused to refer to illegally copying a song, or like any number of other examples you can easily come up with when people draw emotions into a discussion.

It's disingenuous. You can either argue the word is being misappropriated (and thus get distracted from the main thrust of the discussion) or you can ignore the misappropriation (and tacitly give it your approval).

It bothers me too. I've chosen the latter tactic, but for the record, I do not consider taxation (with representation) to be theft. The same could be said of the transfer of assets due to a lawful adverse court judgement.

Jose
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Re: 1277: "Ayn Random"

Postby addams » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:08 pm UTC

I believe you should spend less money on spying at yourselves and on killing others.

(Actually, this wouldn't be my first priorities. My first priorities would be aimed at fat cats extorting money from the government by positioning their businesses as "too big to fall"... but I guess those would be holy cows to you.)

This all seems so familiar.
I heard a song one time.
"I an changing my name to Chrysler."

How many people want to live in Peace and Prosperity?
Money is the way that is done? What do we spend our money on?

Guns and bombs? Guns. We all have guns. Guns are concentrated wealth.

Give all the money to all the people and in the year 2000 each would have gotten a little.
Today we don't have money. All we have is debt. How much debt do we each have?

4.7 trillion divided by 300 million.
I am not good at exponent.

The zeros give me trouble.
Math Guys! What is that number?

Does it really matter? Broke is broke.
We are psychologically broken.

I am ready to surrender. You?
I don't want to surrender to the TEA Baggers! you?

What do they want? Nothing?
No change. Not even their painties? why?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.


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