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Print Page - [BLOG] Pity the conservatives

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I Drew This => Today's Editorial => Topic started by: Marsillio on November 06, 2008, 07:29:24 EST



Title: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Marsillio on November 06, 2008, 07:29:24 EST
http://www.idrewthis.org/2008/11/pity-conservatives.html

Quote
I actually feel a little sorry for conservatives, right now. They're deeply scared. Talk radio hosts and campaign ads have been telling them for weeks that the man we just elected president is a Socialist terrorist who will destroy our economy, take away all of our guns, and allow us to be nuked by Iran. They're afraid for their country right now. They also feel trapped. As liberals, if we're feeling panicky about the state of the nation, we can always fantasize about emigrating to Canada or any number of other liberal democracies. Conservatives have no such safety valve; I mean, where would they go that's more conservative?

A lot of them are also feeling a sense of shock. They really thought they would win. Right-wing news outlets were talking up McCain's chances of victory, and so was McCain himself. People whose news came only from those sources didn't see this one coming.

It will take them a while to realize that Obama isn't a tenth as radical as they've been led to believe. You're going to see a lot of unhinged, intolerant ranting from the right for the next couple of weeks. It's best to pay it no mind. These people are venting because they're afraid of the imaginary monster the right-wing pundits have constructed and labeled with a nametag that says "Obama." I'm sure there will always be a strong, seething anger, like was directed at Clinton, because conservatives fundamentally believe that Democrats have no legitimate claim to power. The current level of venom, however, is not likely to last.


Seagull, why should we pity used asswipes? At all? They've spent the last eight years supporting a complete fuckwit as he destroyed the infrastructure of the U.S., butchered our civil rights, violated our privacy, wrecked the environment, committed mass murder, and allowed by his own inaction a bunch of assholes with boxcutters to fly two jetliners into the World Trade Center.

No, we should not pity regressives. We should watch them flail uselessly and scream in mortal terror of an Obama administration. Then when the U.S. doesn't come to an end and they realize just how profoundly stupid they've been, we can point at them and collectely laugh our asses off.

Until they realize just how wrong they and their party have been on nearly everything, until they show some goddamn sorrow and remorse at what they've inflicted on us all, regressives can piss off.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on November 06, 2008, 08:18:09 EST
I agree mostly with Marsillio. I feel no sympathy at all for the conservatives; indeed, I feel a strong sense of delight. The bastards have had this coming a long damn time.

As for the conservatives having no place to escape to, it's not because there's nowhere more conservative. There are plenty of places. Poland, for instance, is one of the most conservative countries in Europe right now; it is one of the most devoutly religious countries in Europe at present with an 89% Roman Catholic majority, they've already managed to ban abortion, and there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples there either (and with the current conservative government, that looks very unlikely to change).

No, the real reason conservatives feel trapped with nowhere to run to is because they've spent years perfecting the delusion that there is nowhere on Earth that can possibly be better than the United States. Their twisted sense of patriotism, that America is The Greatest Country in the WorldTM, is what has brought them here. They've spent so long spouting that bullshit that they believe it, and if the Greatest Country in the WorldTM can fall to a black-anti-American-radical-socialist-liberal-terrorist-sympathiser like Obama, then what hope is there anywhere else?

Personally, I doubt the venom will drop as low as Seagull expects. In fact, it may only get worse. I imagine we'll be seeing an influx of disgruntled conservatives to this forum in due course too.

Until they realize just how wrong they and their party have been on nearly everything, until they show some goddamn sorrow and remorse at what they've inflicted on us all, regressives can piss off.

Don't hold your breath waiting for it. The reactionary right will probably never realise that they're wrong. It's not in their nature to do so. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Conservative Cat on November 06, 2008, 09:02:44 EST
Oh yes, I'm writhing in pain and agony, as I cry out "Why has America abandoned me?" as I make my plans to move to Vanuatu and live there while we at least have a Democrat controlled White House AND Congress.  The tears that I shed could fill a lake if I could shed tears. 

Seriously, though, while I am disappointed that Obama was elected, and I am nervous that he has, for all tense and purposes, a rubber stamp Congress, I'll continue to live life thankful that we have a stable change in government, unlike most other governments where change only happens through Molotov cocktails and machine guns.  I'll continue to live in this great country of ours and make the best of what I have while building for a better tomorrow.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 06, 2008, 09:13:18 EST
First. before we go any further, lets get our terminology straight here. Most of you are talking about the 30% of the population that are Neoconservatives (the number comes the polls that still approve of President Bush jr), not Conservatives. A good many of who voted with us to get Obama elected.

Now the 16ish percent the voted for McCain that art Necons believed the talk radio and fox that necons and conservatives are the same are the ones that still have to wake up.

As for the conservatives having no place to escape to, it's not because there's nowhere more conservative. There are plenty of places. Poland, for instance, is one of the most conservative countries in Europe right now; it is one of the most devoutly religious countries in Europe at present with an 89% Roman Catholic majority, they've already managed to ban abortion, and there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples there either (and with the current conservative government, that looks very unlikely to change).

You forgetting one big thing here the Necon base comes from Evangelical Protestant base that considers Roman Catholic not to be Christian at all.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Laserlips on November 06, 2008, 10:27:20 EST
Yes, because gloating over a political victory is SO mature.

(I should know, I did it myself in the Prop 8 thread.)

But just so you're aware, I accept Obama as my legitimately elected representative to the world--starting next January.  The campaign is over; he won.  I believe in democracy even when my party doesn't win.  Some liberals seem to have a different view on that than I do, but I might be (and I hope I am) wrong about that.

It falls to the next three years for us to judge how well he does.  You can expect many to all of the problems he encounters to be blamed on the Bush administration (both of them, perhaps), and frequent references to Reagan as well.  Expect praise for the current legislature even when their approval ratings dip into the single digits.  Expect corrupt congressmen and senators to continue to be reelected because they tell you what they want to hear, on both sides of the party aisle.

And you can also realize that conservatives don't believe that America is the greatest country on earth because of its government.  Heck no.  If we are the greatest, and I believe that we are, then it is because of our people--both liberal and conservative--who make it so.

If the people of America choose to be great, they will be so in spite of their government.  If they choose to be (for lack of a better word) wicked, then no government can possibly stop them.  Obama is not America.  Nor are Pelosi or Reid.  They do not control the country; they merely take a whole lot of its money and spend it, for the most part unwisely.

I'm willing to accept that Obama could be a great president.  Only time will tell.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: jerseycajun on November 06, 2008, 17:13:38 EST
Conservatives aren't scared.  NeoCons are.  Conservatism, or the part of it that aligns more closely to my part of the spectrum, was resigned to this fate long before ballots were cast.  We don't like the direction the country is going or is likely to go under the current state of leadership with either party.

As others have mentioned, it's best to distinguish conservatism from the NeoCons (epitomized by Rush & Hannity).  Mixing the terms is only going to further misconceptions and muddy discourse.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: joshbrenton on November 06, 2008, 18:07:27 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on November 06, 2008, 18:15:09 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

"Annoyed" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings towards what has been allowed to transpire at the whim of conservatives over the last eight years. And I do lump in other conservatives besides the neocons, because they still went and voted for Bush. Twice. I'll excuse the first time, but the second time I will not forgive.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Himatsu on November 06, 2008, 18:15:52 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

Oh, yes. Childish indeed. Not at all like the way you badmouthed every candidate who wasn't Bob Barr.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: jerseycajun on November 06, 2008, 18:27:39 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

Oh, yes. Childish indeed. Not at all like the way you badmouthed every candidate who wasn't Bob Barr.

Are you aware how many neocons outnumber Goldwater conservatives in Washington these days?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: jerseycajun on November 06, 2008, 18:53:28 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

"Annoyed" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings towards what has been allowed to transpire at the whim of conservatives over the last eight years. And I do lump in other conservatives besides the neocons, because they still went and voted for Bush. Twice. I'll excuse the first time, but the second time I will not forgive.

You've never been offered the Devil's choice, have you?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on November 06, 2008, 19:13:23 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

"Annoyed" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings towards what has been allowed to transpire at the whim of conservatives over the last eight years. And I do lump in other conservatives besides the neocons, because they still went and voted for Bush. Twice. I'll excuse the first time, but the second time I will not forgive.

You've never been offered the Devil's choice, have you?

I can't speak for Wodan, but I'm not even aware of what choice you're referring to. "Lesser of two evils", perhaps?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on November 06, 2008, 19:27:23 EST
He was talking to me, Medivh. Not Wodan.

You've never been offered the Devil's choice, have you?

Assuming Medivh is correct, and conservatives considered Bush the "lesser of two evils", it doesn't make me any more sympathetic. By voting for him, they gave their stamp of approval to everything he had done and was going to continue doing. How precisely four more years of an unjust, illegal war, crushing civil liberties, and tearing the constitution to pieces constitutes the less of two evils, however, is beyond me, particularly when Kerry was nowhere near as liberal as Obama. Unless, perhaps, it's more than just the neoconservatives who believe in those things?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: hitchkitty on November 06, 2008, 19:52:46 EST
I have to say that I'm a little annoyed at how you're pretty much lumping all conservatives together to badmouth and insult. It just comes off as childish.

Given the way "liberal" has been turned into a swear word, cry me a fucking river.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on November 06, 2008, 19:58:39 EST
He was talking to me, Medivh. Not Wodan.

Crap. That's my face red. :P


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 06, 2008, 20:24:45 EST
He was talking to me, Medivh. Not Wodan.

Crap. That's my face red. :P

Well we not going to make you bottom red over it ;)


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: jerseycajun on November 06, 2008, 20:32:47 EST
He was talking to me, Medivh. Not Wodan.

You've never been offered the Devil's choice, have you?

Assuming Medivh is correct, and conservatives considered Bush the "lesser of two evils", it doesn't make me any more sympathetic. By voting for him, they gave their stamp of approval to everything he had done and was going to continue doing. How precisely four more years of an unjust, illegal war, crushing civil liberties, and tearing the constitution to pieces constitutes the less of two evils, however, is beyond me, particularly when Kerry was nowhere near as liberal as Obama. Unless, perhaps, it's more than just the neoconservatives who believe in those things?

I have the personal shame of having been one of these people, and I can speak from personal experience on this - I must have stood in front of my 2004 presidential ballot for a good ten - plus minutes agonizing over it.  I've never had that happen before at the polls.  It's clear cut for you because the opposing candidate already is much more in line with your thinking.  Much of the Democratic party platform represents to me a violation of the Constitution (note, that's just how I see it and I really don't want to argue the point right now - just accept that we're going to strongly disagree here - with the understanding that how we see it is going to color and inform how we make decisions).  Even the Bluest of the Blue dogs in the congress, if they stray at all from the left wing of the party only veer more towards neoconservative.

It took time for me, and many others to essentially "give up" on the Republicans entirely - and if it took us longer, remember that you had a shorter distance to travel to get there than we did.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 06, 2008, 20:41:52 EST
Both Democrats and Republicans want to redefine/extend/stretch/violate the constitution to some extent in order to carry out the goals.  The difference is that one wants to do so to help poor people, the other to torture and carpet bomb people in the pursuit of imaginary bogeymen even as they cause real bogeymen to become more numerous.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on November 06, 2008, 20:51:29 EST
Seagull, why should we pity used asswipes? At all?

Because they're are fellow citizcens... and for some of us, like me, friends and family?

It was kind of funny... my Mom and I were talking on the phone. She asked me if I was ready, warning me to get ready. I think she forgot that I actually support Democrats. XD

I try to be more compassionate about the whole Bush re-election. I have no love for the man and its really disappointing that he managed to get a second term. But I also realize that many people are too focused on the concerns of their daily lives to really get involved and become informed; they're more prone to be mislead or make ppor judgements simply due to a lack of any direct knowledge. I think many people just weren't willing in 2004 to admit just how bad Bush was.

As for picking Bush as the lesser of two evils, however, I'm not sure if I can be sympathetic of that...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: The Dude on November 06, 2008, 20:59:19 EST
Considering the amount of pent up venom and frustration I see here, that will be given release under a Democratic administration, it would seem some conservatives have good reason to be afraid.  It certainly doesn't excuse the excesses of the Bush years, but it's hard to fault people for being worried when they're being told that their beliefs are going to be sunk into a grave from which there is no hope of resurrection.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 06, 2008, 21:10:35 EST
We wish to implement many of the same things Republicans want, just, you know, in a manner that actually resembles coherent and rational problem solving.  Outside of social affairs, Democrats and Republicans merely argue about approaches to dealing with things.  For example, Republicans believe the way to fight terrorism is to get 100s of thousands of civilians killed in a country that actually opposed the terrorists, whereas Democrats think that perhaps we could, you know, not antagonize the ENTIRE F***ING PLANET.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: jerseycajun on November 06, 2008, 21:13:18 EST
Both Democrats and Republicans want to redefine/extend/stretch/violate the constitution to some extent in order to carry out the goals.  The difference is that one wants to do so to help poor people, the other to torture and carpet bomb people in the pursuit of imaginary bogeymen even as they cause real bogeymen to become more numerous.

When you stretch, break or otherwise try to circumvent the rules, the floodgates are open.  The goals are irrelevant as even the "other side" sees themselves as doing it for noble reasons, which is why whether they're "your" noble goals or "someone elses's", neither can be tolerated as excusable - it's all based on what the individual sees as noble.

The rules don't exist for when things are going well and the temptation to violate them for any perceived good is low (when poverty is low, economies are good and times are peaceful) they're there for when the temptation to do good by breaking the rules is the greatest.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: joshbrenton on November 06, 2008, 21:14:37 EST
Seagull, why should we pity used asswipes? At all?

Because they're are fellow citizcens... and for some of us, like me, friends and family?

It was kind of funny... my Mom and I were talking on the phone. She asked me if I was ready, warning me to get ready. I think she forgot that I actually support Democrats. XD

I try to be more compassionate about the whole Bush re-election. I have no love for the man and its really disappointing that he managed to get a second term. But I also realize that many people are too focused on the concerns of their daily lives to really get involved and become informed; they're more prone to be mislead or make ppor judgements simply due to a lack of any direct knowledge. I think many people just weren't willing in 2004 to admit just how bad Bush was.

You're tuned in to the same level I am, Blue boy. What bothers me is that a lot of people here seem to show outright hatred towards people with conservative viewpoints. I do not hate those who have differing political ideologies (provided they're not promoting violence or prejudice.) I may disagree with them, I may engage in discussion to understand their position and present my own, but I will not belittle or degrade them simply because our opinions vary. And I think that's something a lot of people on the left and the right need to learn to do.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 06, 2008, 21:29:05 EST
For clarification, I dislike only the Neocons.  However, the Conservative Moderates let the Neocons wrest control from their party, and be their representatives, and the Neocons have been encouraging the party as a whole to emphasize its worst aspects.  You know, MAYBE if the Libertarians had tried to change the party from within rather than giving up on negotiation altogether, maybe those representing more classical small government conservatism would've been leading the Conservative party, rather than the Neocons.

Neocons: Big government, but for helping private interests and war funding, opposes social freedom
Classical Conservatives: Small government, opposes social freedom
Neoliberal: Small goverment, supports social freedom
Liberal: Big government, but for helping economically, supports social freedom

Personally, I'd prefer the political game field to be between Neoliberals and Liberals, where the discussion is about how large the government should be, rather than about whether the government should be helping or persecuting people.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 06, 2008, 21:37:35 EST
But I also realize that many people are too focused on the concerns of their daily lives to really get involved and become informed; they're more prone to be mislead or make ppor judgements simply due to a lack of any direct knowledge. I think many people just weren't willing in 2004 to admit just how bad Bush was.

or as The Onion phrased it: the country finally got screwed up enough that we can actually move forward.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 06, 2008, 21:43:20 EST
Considering the amount of pent up venom and frustration I see here, that will be given release under a Democratic administration, it would seem some conservatives have good reason to be afraid.  It certainly doesn't excuse the excesses of the Bush years, but it's hard to fault people for being worried when they're being told that their beliefs are going to be sunk into a grave from which there is no hope of resurrection.

Neocovers should be scared. Conserved have nothing to fear, they are needed to get things done. What we are lashing out at is excesses of the bush year only, because we got to clean up the base the made simple to get back what we once had, expend the political capital that could have been better spent moving forward.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: FireyTiger on November 06, 2008, 23:59:28 EST
To be honest, i'm really irritated by the arrogant attitude people are taking over Obama's victory. What the hell is the point of rubbing it in people's faces? Conservatives are already disappointed at best, self-destructing at worst. There's a fine line between being excited about a victory and just being a childish jerk about it. McCain has been very gracious and humble in his defeat, we should do the same in our victory.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Bocaj Claw on November 07, 2008, 00:15:00 EST
Quote from: Barrack Obama
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

This applies to the winning side as well.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 07, 2008, 00:24:11 EST
When you stretch, break or otherwise try to circumvent the rules, the floodgates are open.  The goals are irrelevant as even the "other side" sees themselves as doing it for noble reasons, which is why whether they're "your" noble goals or "someone elses's", neither can be tolerated as excusable - it's all based on what the individual sees as noble.

The rules don't exist for when things are going well and the temptation to violate them for any perceived good is low (when poverty is low, economies are good and times are peaceful) they're there for when the temptation to do good by breaking the rules is the greatest.
Unless you are as presumptuous as to assume that you have come up with the right set of rules on the first try, it is to be expected that the rules are and should be changeable, to reflect a changing society that progresses in directions beyond what was theorized centuries ago, or even decades ago.

Also, stop acting as if the two choices are between keeping the Dam shut forever or blowing it open with dynamite, when what we are really trying to do is create a spillway.  As for the question as to who will keep the spillway under control and not be dominated by the baser instincts of humans, the answer is that we are, those of us who are willing to act to seek higher goals be achieved.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Manufacturing Dissent on November 07, 2008, 03:48:08 EST
To be honest, i'm really irritated by the arrogant attitude people are taking over Obama's victory. What the hell is the point of rubbing it in people's faces? Conservatives are already disappointed at best, self-destructing at worst. There's a fine line between being excited about a victory and just being a childish jerk about it. McCain has been very gracious and humble in his defeat, we should do the same in our victory.

I couldn't agree more.  Let's be good winners over this, people, on the forum and directly.  America took a small step away from the extreme right by electing a moderate president and giving him a centre right congress to work with, that's all.  We have to remember that it's one victory in a long, hard fight.
That said... to our conservative, there were a lot of fears on our part that this election would be lost, again, to dirty tricks, fear mongering, and electoral fraud.  There's a lot of pent up fears and anxiety being released right now, so you'll have to give those of us who supported Obama (even those who did it reluctantly) a bit of time to gloat and celebrate.  We liberals and progressives are only human (contrary to the theories of people like Ann Coulter).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 08, 2008, 12:34:26 EST
My worry right now is that the dems will make the same errors in judgement that the neocons made (ahahah, we have won now and forever, we shall never have to pay for these actions, never!), and the same result will occur as did under Clinton, 2 years and kaboom.

Obama may develop into the savvy thinker Clinton was, but I'm not holding my breath.  I doubt Pelosi can power this congress through in the short time they have before the next cycle, so good temper and restraint is required if anything wants to get done.  It takes more then 1.5 years to get health care through the system, and arrogence may well result in a tailspin 2 years from now.

The Neocons may have shot thier bolt, but the 'pubs are quick to rebrand and refire, the groundwork needs to be laid for legislation now, not cheering and high fives.  A lot of work needs to be done, and there's not a lot of skilled folks on the docket to do it.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 08, 2008, 13:04:14 EST
Correct.  We need to implement policies during the brief time that democrats are more united than republicans.  Which should be about 36 seconds.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on November 11, 2008, 11:32:45 EST
There have been many articles by republicans about recent setbacks.

As usual the funniest is P J O'Rourke's (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/791jsebl.asp?pg=1).... "George W. Bush, at his most beneficent, said if illegal immigrants wanted citizenship they would have to do three things: Pay taxes, learn English, and work in a meaningful job. Bush doesn't meet two out of three of those qualifications."


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: boring7 on November 14, 2008, 23:27:11 EST
There have been many articles by republicans about recent setbacks.

As usual the funniest is P J O'Rourke's (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/791jsebl.asp?pg=1).... "George W. Bush, at his most beneficent, said if illegal immigrants wanted citizenship they would have to do three things: Pay taxes, learn English, and work in a meaningful job. Bush doesn't meet two out of three of those qualifications."

Are we sure he actually pays all of his taxes?  Ba-dum-pish

I do not pity the "conservatives" because, aside from having hardly EVER fit the definition of the word (Really, small government?  You think that's what conservative means?)  they are currently about to have the time of their lives.  The Neocons were at their happiest when they were watching X-Files and babbling incoherently about black helicopters, UN stormtroopers, and New World Orders.  The Republican party had its greatest fun when their bleating cries of helplessness and meaningless "White water investigations" gave them a sold enemy to unify against.  The evangelicals can feel like they are the poor oppressed Christ-like martyrs, the not-quite-libertarians can blame someone else for excesses of government (though I anticipate a reduction of unconstitutional things like the Patriot Act in the near future). 

I foresee a lot of scared little red-stater "worshippers in the cult of personal responsibility" being a whole lot happier now that they are no longer responsible and have someone else (the democrats) to blame.  They'll still be scared, but that hardly goes away.  They were terrified of Terrorist Attacks on Rural Targets (thanks Dubya!), they were terrified of appearing weak, and they are terrified of being White-enslaved or Gun-grabbed, and they will continue to be scared of whatever the next infotainment-manufactured terror is in 2,4, and 6 years' time. 

Honestly, after 8 years of having everything go their way for good or ill I think the Republicans, Libertarians, and the like are quite happy to drop the cognitive dissonance from hating Bush (at least 30% of McCain voters disapprove of him) even though it is doubtless they voted for him in 2004.  A clean slate means that they don't have to balance "I vote Republican," with "I think we are right proper ****ed right now because of Republican leadership." 

Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty we're free (of responsibility) at last! 

And on a non-sequitor of the day, the bitter, bitter tears and flailings of http://www.hillaryis44.org/ (http://www.hillaryis44.org/) bring me far more dark and vile joy than they probably should. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 15, 2008, 12:04:17 EST
They are ranting buffoons, but they are correct on some things.

Hillary -is- much smarter then Obama, and Obama's first teetering steps towards legislations have been aboninations.  He needs a policy wonk.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Somber Ghost on November 16, 2008, 16:57:47 EST
Why should you pity the conservatives?

Well would you rather have an America that works together for the next eight, twelve, or twenty plus years or one that is out in two?

To get anything done requires some concensus with the republicans.  Even should Democrats aquire "the magic 60" there will still be a challenge getting ALL the democrats on board.  And if the republicans want to make Obama's first term a spectacular failure they can dig in their heels and refuse to vote on the color of the sky without a fillibuster.  So we have to get them onto the field to play at all before they shut the game down.  That means being gracious and magnanimous and not providing more fuel to the faux news machine to devide the country even more.

Also, this is a chance to help conservatives redefine what 'conservatism' means.  Does it mean low taxes?  Minimal taxes?  Effective and efficient government?  Or are we going to let republicans stay in the idea that government is the problem and not a solution.  Most people don't mind paying taxes as long as they expect to get something worth their tax money.  Drawing republicans on to the game field opens that opportunity to change the narrative.  Encouraging republicans to ditch the pundits and religious right helps moderate the country as a whole and makes sure that, when the pendulum swings back its not nearly so dramatic or chaotic a change.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 16, 2008, 23:48:53 EST
*late night smoke break post*

They have no fucking idea what it means, and that's why it's gonna be a nightmare to negotiate with them.  However, politicans are too soft to walk on thier own, and they need the cuddle-blankets of thinktanks and pundits.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Somber Ghost on November 17, 2008, 02:10:02 EST
The sad reality is that Republicans have two options: hunker down and get nothing done for two years and hope they pick up seats in congress while obstructing as much as possible or compromise to advance their agenda at all.  Democrats will need some moderate republicans to break ranks to get their agenda through.  While I'm sure Rush and the others would gleefully approve of the former, I can only hope that some republicans will be pragmatic enough to play the game.  The more welcomed they are and the more they feel they can get something for playing along the better off things will be for both parties.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 17, 2008, 10:41:28 EST
The former worked out pretty well for them in '92, and had they had a decent guy running, they could have won in '96.

As long as the stand sounds principled it works, so were I them I would take the fiscal conservative bent and veto every single one of Obama's mad spender what spends at midnight bills.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on November 17, 2008, 12:13:04 EST
As long as the stand sounds principled it works, so were I them I would take the fiscal conservative bent and veto every single one of Obama's mad spender what spends at midnight bills.
Which would be incredibly irritating after they FAILED to do so for all of Bush's mad spender what spends at midnight bills.  I guess they don't mind breaking from fiscal conservatism if it means they get to give money to rich people while stomping on foreign people.

Also, I don't think spending needs to be raised at all in order to fix problems.  For starters, Obama's tax cut for the poor is paid for entirely by an increase on tax on the rich, whereas McCain just gave a pittance to the poor and a ton to the rich, with no explainable source for the money.  The rich might not like it, but it does pay for itself.  Similarly, the government spends about 700 Billion each on healthcare, welfare, and defense, that's more than enough to pay for universal healthcare, cheap food/shelter for all who ask for it, and a primarily defensive military with heavy diplomatic/intelligence backup.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 18, 2008, 13:34:28 EST
Yeah, Obama`s going to see a lot less of that money then he thinks.

Anyone who has asked me in the last little while what they should do I have been pretty clear.  If you make more then 300K create offshore shells and wait for the tax level to dip down, as there is no additional bump up by taking it into income later, and you know it`s going to kick back down.  If you make more then 150K and you don`t need to hire someone to manage your shells, do it now, and avoid the tax.

If you have sufficent cash to subsist without taking present income in, delay it.  There is a lot of money to be made by anyone who knows international accounting practices, as it`s going to be stupid to pay full taxes in America, and the cost of setting up shells will be significantly less then the additional taxes.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on November 18, 2008, 13:45:04 EST
What mostly pays for Obama's tax cuts is the shifting downward of the tax bands caused by price inflation, "bracket drag".  In normal economic circumstances wages are a price and they increase fairly much in line with price inflation.  That means if tax bands stay in the same place in terms of money then taxes increase in real terms.  Obama's tax cuts would really have been a small rise in overall taxes given projections of wage inflation and price inflation.

Now though all bets are off.  Obama's tax cuts will be real tax cuts and will have to be financed by borrowing or cutting expenditure.  Increasing taxes on the rich are very unlikely to cover it.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 18, 2008, 13:56:58 EST
Yeah, Obama`s going to see a lot less of that money then he thinks.

Don't make me laugh, ALL Obama tax increase are restoring pre-Bush Jr Level, and we did not HAVE such mass exoduses under those levels.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on November 18, 2008, 14:45:01 EST
Yeah, Obama`s going to see a lot less of that money then he thinks.

Don't make me laugh, ALL Obama tax increase are restoring pre-Bush Jr Level, and we did not HAVE such mass exoduses under those levels.
I don't think there will be mass exodus either.

That said it is false to say that Obama is restoring taxes to pre-Bush levels when accounting for price inflation.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 18, 2008, 15:40:54 EST
Yeah, Obama`s going to see a lot less of that money then he thinks.

Don't make me laugh, ALL Obama tax increase are restoring pre-Bush Jr Level, and we did not HAVE such mass exoduses under those levels.
I don't think there will be mass exodus either.

That said it is false to say that Obama is restoring taxes to pre-Bush levels when accounting for price inflation.

I would dissagree with you on that it is saying it s false. I might not be "adjusted" but it is not false


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 18, 2008, 16:30:12 EST
It's not a mass exodus, that was how we did things for years until Clinton convinced everyone to buy in because if you didn't have your money in America, you couldn't really win.

The big money-maker is now China, and the Dow is quickly losing in eminance in the market.  We're talking about a very different economy now then 20 years ago, as America is not the primier market, and is certainly not viewed as the robust giant it once was.

The saying during the .com was that if you we're in America, you're out of the game, whereas now America just got no game.

The key difference between Obama and Clinton is no-one sees a boom coming in America any time during the Obama presidency, there is just too much drag.  Obama would be wise to do the Clinton and scrap the tax cuts for the middle class if he's going to go on this massive rescue binge.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: rogue-kun on November 18, 2008, 17:07:14 EST
It's not a mass exodus, that was how we did things for years until Clinton convinced everyone to buy in because if you didn't have your money in America, you couldn't really win.

Sorry but BULL. No one that left during the Clinton year cam back because of bushes tax cuts. and sorry We can nver competed with the Camin Islands for those that this is such a deal break for


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 18, 2008, 17:14:08 EST
Really?

Gee, hmmm...

Oh, lemme look here at these numebrs...Stock market average return for 1990s...18.17%

Hey, stocks right now, are they making even 10%?

Just, of course, I'm sure there is no capital outflow during this period, everyone just leaves their money in the american money to let it rot.

Doing business used to be the key to making real money, now it is not.  As it is not, people have less incentive to live there so they can do business.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 18, 2008, 17:16:18 EST
By the way, you didn't even read my post.

I actually stated an increase in inflow to America during Clinton, who then stayed.  If you're going to be making accusations could you please do me the favour of getting off the talking point and reading first rather then second (long day, I'm bitchy, so what?)


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on November 18, 2008, 18:12:58 EST
Even if the point wasn't a correct response to your argument, it's a fair point in the wider scheme; you're saying that increasing tax will drive a lot of corporations to make offshore shell corporations. The US didn't attract more business going from Clinton's tax levels to Bush's, why would it lose business going back to Clinton's levels?

Booms, and the lack of them, yeah? Well, the whole world is screwed right now, and the US is likely to get back on it's feet before anyone else. There's your boom.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 18, 2008, 20:37:45 EST
Sadly, it isn't the back on the feet that makes the issue, it's the concept of potential future earnings.

It will lose business investment dollars which are present and essentially just floating balls of uninvested money (right now a lot of folks are just holding cash), it simply wasn't worth it to move them out under Bush, as while he was pitching it into the sea he was, in essance, bribing the ever living hell out of the businesses which kept reinvesting.

Basically, you could stab people in the face and get away with it, which investors like until things go south, then they run around and scream like little girls.  Bush overspent, but people are dim and really sort of assumed that after the war everything could be fixed, hell, Clinton managed to fix Ronald, right?

But no, there is nothing ever approaching the concept of balancing the budget on the horizon, and what does this mean?

Three options, all of which suck.

1.  Increase corporate tax levels-  This sucks, but is probably the most politically palatable for the democrats at this juncture.  Increases in corporate tax rates cause companies to consider rebasing, which given the state of the current US borders and cash flow controls is probably a good idea anyway.  I mean, if you want to buy politicians you have to be american, but otherwise, leave a husk to pursue your american goals and say it's american and get as much as you can out of the country so you can avoid that 5-10% corp tax hike.

2.  Increase income tax rates for everybody....a lot-  More taxes equal less money for people who make more money, Obama's tax plan does not even come close to anything like a solution to the current spending malstrom left by Bush, and which he intends to continue.  He can't cut veterans pensions or support, which is going to continue the war costs.  War costs don't vanish when you say "come home"

3.  Kick down the interest rate (maybe) watch inflation go bonkers (probably)-  Inflation increases the cost of holding cash, which forces people to either invest or get out, and given the current instability they will likely ditch into friendlier markets (not all markets are bad, China is underpreforming...at 5.8%), this is what happened to Japan some time ago, when too many rate cuts had eliminated the ability to regulate some sectors of the economy, resulting in a long, hard recession.

If you want a model to look at, look at what happened to Canada when it let it's currency and debt get out of control (70s), it's not a good time to be invested in that economy.  Obama has shown neither interest nor intention in keeping anything like a balanced budget, or even a GDP to budget fix (keeping the budget tied to the potential GDP growth).  Bush took a big dump on the economy, but Obama's response thus far has been to back policies that sound good but are just...well...not going to work.  You can't spend your way out of debt, that only works on paper.  In real world money retains value only as long as your economy is actually making something.

As a side note, Bush's biggest mistake was letting the US fall behind the tech curve in a crapload of sectors.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on November 18, 2008, 22:33:49 EST
(not all markets are bad, China is underpreforming...at 5.8%)

For now. Soon it'll be underperforming at 5%. Then at 4.5% Probably winding up lower than 1% Possibly even negative. As much as the US relies of China, the reverse is also true.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on November 19, 2008, 07:12:04 EST
I agree with Heq that there will be increased investment in foreign assets in the next few years in the US.  I don't have much of an opinion on how big this effect will be though.  What folks around here often forget is that much of the rest of the world is in quite a bad state too.

Yeah, Obama`s going to see a lot less of that money then he thinks.

Don't make me laugh, ALL Obama tax increase are restoring pre-Bush Jr Level, and we did not HAVE such mass exoduses under those levels.
I don't think there will be mass exodus either.

That said it is false to say that Obama is restoring taxes to pre-Bush levels when accounting for price inflation.

I would dissagree with you on that it is saying it s false. I might not be "adjusted" but it is not false
It only makes sense to discuss the tax burden in terms of its real level, not its monetary level.

Obama is not restoring taxes to pre-Bush levels in anything but monetary terms, in real terms they are increasing.  In real terms more people pay taxes and more fall under the higher tax bands than did in pre-Bush times.

(not all markets are bad, China is underpreforming...at 5.8%)

For now. Soon it'll be underperforming at 5%. Then at 4.5% Probably winding up lower than 1% Possibly even negative. As much as the US relies of China, the reverse is also true.
The Chinese are probably lying about their GDP significantly.  Electrical power generated has dropped 4% this year.  It is likely that that figure represents GDP change more accurately than state figures.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 19, 2008, 12:53:08 EST
I swear to the god I don't believe in if the US trades monetary support for themselves in exchange for not forcing China to float thier currency I am going to be found in the snow-dressed park wearing nothing but a loincloth howling at the sky with pure, unbridled rage.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: boring7 on November 28, 2008, 23:26:06 EST
Yes, but the critical question is will you be covered in blood?

and if so, whose?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on November 29, 2008, 11:17:55 EST
That is why I live in the country, as I will likely get the news at home, if I get it at the school...

Well, I will most likely come barrelling down the hall screetching, Tom will hit the dirt (quite the effort for him) yelling "I'm a soft unionist, this is not my doing!", I will round the bend and Jung will immediately know what is up and point towards  Larry, who will mutter something about quick monatary cycling due to increased technology before I hold him over my head and tear him in half before leaping through a window when I am turned (like a vampire) by a copy of Atlas Shrugged.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: boring7 on November 29, 2008, 11:48:41 EST
Its always good to have a plan. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Laserlips on December 03, 2008, 04:31:07 EST
Heck, I'm pretty freaking far right, and I *hiss* when someone shoves Ayn Rand at me.  When forced to read it, my hair begins to singe slowly.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 03, 2008, 11:52:21 EST
Oh, my reaction is entirely of my own creation.

In my heedy childhood, I guess 13 or 14, I was a devout Randian.  Occassionally people make the very excellent point that despite all the claims of noblity and quest for perfection, Randianism is all that is likely to result from a Neitzchian distopia.  While I can use elbow room and policy to get distance from myself as a Randian, there would be few who would believe me if I stated I was not heavily influenced by the big N.

Of course, this naturally leads me back to Ayn Rand, whom I reject, but cannot help but see as the successor to lord N (actually, I'm a devotee of Simone Weil, who I consider his direct successor, but most existentialism does not lead itself to nice continuities, to a non-philosopher, it's hard to get from N to W)


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 03, 2008, 13:09:40 EST
I pretty much follow objectivism, but with the vital caveat that the prisoner's dilemma both exists and is pretty much the core of how societies work.  As a result, the most selfish thing to do is to work for the group, because if you don't, the group kicks your ass, and if you do, the group rewards you with nice things like water fountains and the full protection of the legal system.  Even those smart enough to cheat the group only need to err once in order to get an ass kicking, whereas they could instead use their smartness for slow but steady success otherwise.

The vital problem with Randian philosophy is its ignoring of the prisoner's dilemma, instead assuming a simpler paradigm that helping yourself results in +2 for you, and helping others results in +1 for them, -1 for you.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 04, 2008, 12:17:24 EST
I don't think tat's the core of Rand, in the end Rand seems to feel it is actually morally wrong to work in a group, similar to the views espoused by Nietzsche.  Not because it makes you worse off, but because it makes the weak stronger then they deserve to be, and thus rewards the chattle which should rightfully be used and disposed of.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 04, 2008, 12:39:41 EST
I don't think tat's the core of Rand, in the end Rand seems to feel it is actually morally wrong to work in a group, similar to the views espoused by Nietzsche.  Not because it makes you worse off, but because it makes the weak stronger then they deserve to be, and thus rewards the chattle which should rightfully be used and disposed of.
Well, technically she says its because people know their own interest best and are thus better suited for doing so, but ya, mainly cause she's a horrible witch of a person.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on December 04, 2008, 17:43:28 EST
While we're sharing the philosophers we admire, I'd like to voice my agreement with Rawls in staunch opposition either Neitzche or Rand. Nobody deserves to be born any better or worse off than anyone else, so it is ludicrous to talk about making the weak stronger than they deserve to be. The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy.

Furthermore, as Aristotle said, man is a social animal; while the harsh individualism that Neitzche and Rand believed in may benefit the very strong at the expense of the weak, we all benefit much, much more through cooperation with one another. If it was every man for himself, as in the state of nature, then as Hobbes so eloquently put it "the life of man [would be] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". While I may not wholly agree with the exact kind of society Hobbes argues for, I certainly do agree with him that we need a cooperative society in order to achieve our full potential.

Screw Neitzche and Rand and their social Darwinist bullshit. I agree with Obama when he said, "our destiny is not written for us, but by us". We have the power to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and I have no respect for anyone who believes that we should not.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 04, 2008, 18:15:45 EST
Well, that explains rather a lot.

I have always dispised Rawls and his ilk because I don't find any of the arguments compelling in any way, shape, or form.  It does not behoove man to be moral simply because one is a social beast, nor am I willing to grant the idea that such concepts of good and evil exist as anything more them a social construct.

There is no divine arbitar, and it does not matter wether an action is good or evil unless it:

A:  Matters to you
B:  Is disadventageous to oneself

Many people care about the idea of goodness, but similarly many people care about the idea of god.  Merely thinking it is important does not mean it exists.

I go the step farther then Neizsche and believe that there is no such thing as human morality, only a vague social contract enforced by biology and shame.  We should not more be beholden to our biology then we should our birth position, and thus can shed those moralistic impulses (perhaps with great difficulty).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on December 04, 2008, 18:57:58 EST
And I despise those who espouse greed and selfishness as the ideal standards upon which human action ought to be based.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 04, 2008, 19:28:13 EST
And I despise those who espouse greed and selfishness as the ideal standards upon which human action ought to be based.
Which you do out of your own greed and selfishness.

You see, from the perspective of me and probably Heq as well, every action anyone does is selfish, because you chose to do it as the action that you believe would result in you being the most happy or least unhappy.  Give all your money to the poor?  Well, you only did it because you would've felt worse if you didn't.  If you say you did it because you have a higher calling, then it becomes clear that you believe that you will be less happy if you didn't follow that calling.  Even doing stuff that directly results in unhappiness is done because you believe you would feel worse otherwise (regardless of the truth).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 04, 2008, 19:40:16 EST
I go the step farther then Neizsche and believe that there is no such thing as human morality, only a vague social contract enforced by biology and shame.
It is also enforced by uniformed people with sticks.

As I said, the most selfish thing to do is to be a team player.  Life isn't a short term game, you generally can't afford to go backstab happy on people.  If you can, its in the selfish motivations of the rest of us to curtail you.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Eon on December 04, 2008, 20:59:09 EST
If every human action is based on greed and selfishness, then greed and selfishness become rather meaningless concepts. It's like describing everyone as agnostic, because, quite truly, none of us can say with one hundred percent certainty that there is or is not a God. But if everyone is agnostic, then agnosticism doesn't mean anything.

It seems you have defined self-interest as including whatever a person desires. I disagree with that definition. It seems quite obvious that people regularly desire things that are not in their own interests. For instance, I've recently spent rather a lot of money on Christmas presents. Yes, it is because I desire to give gifts to people I care about, but if I were to act in what I would consider my own self-interest, I wouldn't bother, I'd just send them all cards, because it would save me a lot of money. Hell, it wouldn't even harm my reputation with those people, since I could feasibly say "I'm sorry, but I'm trying to save money this year", and it would be true. As an impoverished student, I'm sure those I care about would understand. I haven't done that; I've done what I desired to do, not what might have better suited my interests. One might object that I have decided that fulfilling my desire is worth the cost and thus I am absolutely acting in my own self-interest. However, while I think getting those gifts is worth the cost, I also think I'd have been personally better off saving my money.

Are desires still greedy and selfish when they're generous or charitable desires that don't even necessarily jive with our other interests? Only really if you define desire as being necessarily self-interested. But, for the reasons I've given, I don't think we should understand self-interest as necessarily including what we desire. Sometimes it does, of course; but even then I wouldn't necessarily call it greedy or selfish to act upon our self-interested desires unless it would cause harm to others.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on December 04, 2008, 21:06:16 EST
And I despise those who espouse greed and selfishness as the ideal standards upon which human action ought to be based.
Which you do out of your own greed and selfishness.

You see, from the perspective of me and probably Heq as well, every action anyone does is selfish, because you chose to do it as the action that you believe would result in you being the most happy or least unhappy.  Give all your money to the poor?  Well, you only did it because you would've felt worse if you didn't.  If you say you did it because you have a higher calling, then it becomes clear that you believe that you will be less happy if you didn't follow that calling.  Even doing stuff that directly results in unhappiness is done because you believe you would feel worse otherwise (regardless of the truth).

Do you make no distinction between selfishness and self-interest?

I do agree that even "selfless" acts are motivated by the desire to improve one's own condition, be it through moral satisfaction, acclimation of reputation, or some other non-material benefit. This, however, is "self-interest" and not "selfishness."

My personal belief is that the majority of our actions have multiple motivations at different levels - some are more immediate and other long-term, some focus on the external world and others on one's internal world, some are personal and others pro-social. Altruistic actions often are in fact supplemented by other, less "noble" sentiments.

I consider someone "selfish" when the stronger, more prevalent motivations are those aimed towards advancing oneself at the cost of others.

For example, two business people may both start companies with the intention of making, say, $10 million a year. One may also have the desire to create a product or provide a service that will benefit their customers while building the company that respects and promotes the well-being of its employees. The other just wants control over a business that they have no intentions of keeping should it fail to meet expectations. The first business man is not greedy, but the second one is; this is not because he desires money, but because promoting his own well-being is a higher priority than anything that promotes the common good.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 05, 2008, 00:22:45 EST
As a quick reply, don't assume selfishness is mainly based around money.

Humans are not really generally motivated by such things, our fundamental currency is prestige, which is a social trait.  Our society does this clever two-step when being good for the society is considered pretigous, and thus we act in ways which aid society as a whole.

We buy presents instead of cards because it is tradition, and operating within traditions is percieved as better then operating outside of them, and hence nets us more prestige.

There does appear to be a set segment of the population with a heavy self-annihilation impulse for whom the prestige system does not apply directly (often is still applies after death), but the pretige seeking interaction model for public dealings is a good rule of thumb.

Basically, a self-interested model can describe much more of human behavior then a morality based model.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 05, 2008, 00:30:11 EST
Exactly.  Arguing that all people are inherently selfish may render the term selfish meaningless, but at the same time, it renders morality meaningless as well.  A society built around the assumption that people will act selfish is more likely to succeed and benefit its constituents than a society built around the unrealistic assumption that people should be moral, or worse, that they naturally trend towards being moral.  Saying that people are naturally good or evil is nonsense, people do what they want, labeling their actions as objectively moral or not is an exercise in futility.

Either that or I'm suffering from overexposure to Heq.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 05, 2008, 07:04:07 EST
Exactly.  Arguing that all people are inherently selfish may render the term selfish meaningless, but at the same time, it renders morality meaningless as well.
No it doesn't.

A society built around the assumption that people will act selfish is more likely to succeed and benefit its constituents than a society built around the unrealistic assumption that people should be moral, or worse, that they naturally trend towards being moral.  Saying that people are naturally good or evil is nonsense, people do what they want, labeling their actions as objectively moral or not is an exercise in futility.
Yes, exactly.

If every human action is based on greed and selfishness, then greed and selfishness become rather meaningless concepts. It's like describing everyone as agnostic, because, quite truly, none of us can say with one hundred percent certainty that there is or is not a God. But if everyone is agnostic, then agnosticism doesn't mean anything.

It seems you have defined self-interest as including whatever a person desires. I disagree with that definition. It seems quite obvious that people regularly desire things that are not in their own interests. For instance, I've recently spent rather a lot of money on Christmas presents. Yes, it is because I desire to give gifts to people I care about, but if I were to act in what I would consider my own self-interest, I wouldn't bother, I'd just send them all cards, because it would save me a lot of money. Hell, it wouldn't even harm my reputation with those people, since I could feasibly say "I'm sorry, but I'm trying to save money this year", and it would be true. As an impoverished student, I'm sure those I care about would understand. I haven't done that; I've done what I desired to do, not what might have better suited my interests. One might object that I have decided that fulfilling my desire is worth the cost and thus I am absolutely acting in my own self-interest. However, while I think getting those gifts is worth the cost, I also think I'd have been personally better off saving my money.

Are desires still greedy and selfish when they're generous or charitable desires that don't even necessarily jive with our other interests? Only really if you define desire as being necessarily self-interested. But, for the reasons I've given, I don't think we should understand self-interest as necessarily including what we desire. Sometimes it does, of course; but even then I wouldn't necessarily call it greedy or selfish to act upon our self-interested desires unless it would cause harm to others.
Eon, I agree with you here.

You are all arguing at cross purposes here.  Heq and Wodan are arguing from the individual out to society.  They are saying, "we can't say what peoples motivations are".  Eon is arguing from society down to the invidividual.  He is saying "society can judge the individuals behaviour", he is right, but as Wodan and Heq tell us it cannot judge if intentions were truly moral.

While we're sharing the philosophers we admire, I'd like to voice my agreement with Rawls in staunch opposition either Neitzche or Rand. Nobody deserves to be born any better or worse off than anyone else, so it is ludicrous to talk about making the weak stronger than they deserve to be. The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy.
I agree with your rejection of the false individualism of Neitzche and to some extent Rand too.

However, I disagree with Rawls.  Rawls concerns himself with utopia not with the real world.  Anyway, I'll criticize Rawls later if I have the time I'm involved in a lot of threads at present.



Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Andrei on December 05, 2008, 10:00:24 EST
Quote from: Eon
It seems you have defined self-interest as including whatever a person desires.
I would define it as whatever brings happiness to a person. For instance, you preferred giving gifts over saving your money because doing so makes you happier (for whatever reason) than having more money.

The good thing is that it's different for different people. For some, among which I think you count, eliciting tender feelings in others is very important. For others, among which Heq (I suppose), it is more important to elicit feelings of admiration (which is what prestige is).

There are some, hopefully few, for which material wealth really is the first and foremost goal.

Personally, my goal is comfort. I need a bit of material wealth and a bit of emotional gratification, but mostly I need peace and quiet. I figure academia is a good place for me. I actually don't want much prestige. A little is fine, but on all occasions on which I've "shined" I felt more embarassed than happy.

Socially, the best solution is to make it so that people want what society wants them to want. Education and pop culture are great for that.

Money is probably the easiest goal to use that way since it's a social construction and can be granted to those who sit and beg, and prestige is also very easy to give to those who play the game the way society wants them to.

Tender feelings are harder to manipulate since they escape social regulation to a great extent.

Comfort is very easy to manipulate as well, but I don't mind being manipulated by society as long as it gives me what I want.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 05, 2008, 11:53:03 EST
However, I disagree with Rawls.  Rawls concerns himself with utopia not with the real world.  Anyway, I'll criticize Rawls later if I have the time I'm involved in a lot of threads at present.

Eon, one thing I would say is read Harlan Ellison's short story Harrison Bergeron (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html).
The logical conclusion of Rawls' philosophy is, as the quip goes, "A Birkenstock stamping on a human face, forever".


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: purplecat on December 05, 2008, 21:15:24 EST
Eon, one thing I would say is read Harlan Ellison's short story Harrison Bergeron (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html).
The logical conclusion of Rawls' philosophy is, as the quip goes, "A Birkenstock stamping on a human face, forever".


Bad strawman fiction in response to philosophy?

Oh come on, you're not even trying any more.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 06, 2008, 01:49:00 EST
The Ingsoc referance is valid 1984 is (even though Orwell was an intellectual lightweight) a decent critique of the future of socialism revolutionary utopianism.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 06, 2008, 23:28:17 EST
I don't think 1984 is very believable.  For starters, it has a very capable, competent, and organized government.  Our current government has some Orwellian 1984 style powers, and it uses them to spy on little old ladies having tea parties.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 07, 2008, 01:19:56 EST
I held when I first read the novel, and I hold now, that I would probably vote for big brother, merely because then I could be assured someone of at least moderate intellect was in charge of things.

Conspiracies take a lot of skill.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on December 07, 2008, 16:24:08 EST
Exactly.  Arguing that all people are inherently selfish may render the term selfish meaningless, but at the same time, it renders morality meaningless as well.  A society built around the assumption that people will act selfish is more likely to succeed and benefit its constituents than a society built around the unrealistic assumption that people should be moral, or worse, that they naturally trend towards being moral.  Saying that people are naturally good or evil is nonsense, people do what they want, labeling their actions as objectively moral or not is an exercise in futility.

I would disagree. Morality may not be practical and, if you assume everyone is inherently selfish, it probably does seem rather pointless. But morality is not without value -it serves a purpose for both individuals and for society as a whole.

For a society, the culture's morals help establish a direction and a common purpose; it motivates people to work towards bettering society and encourages them to cooperate. Without a sense of morality, a society is more likely to become incoherent and disharmonious. People will not only have no standards for what is acceptable behavior (aside from what little is inferred by cultural and civil law). The motivation to cooperate will hinge more upon what they feel they can and cannot safely get away with.

For an individual, it serves as a sense of direction and as encouragement. It also serves as the foundation upon which many difficult personal decisions are made. Without a sense of "right," people are more apt to do whatever they feel will benefit them most - which in of itself isn't bad, but there is the strong tendency for amoral individuals to "think small." They take care of their immediate needs, and, if they have some wisdom, will be mindful enough not to be a disruption or drain on society. They do not, however, benefit from any large sense of fulfillment. Moral satisfaction is seen as a rather vague and difficult means of reinforcing one's self image and/or accumulating social prestige. Why aspire toward high ideals when you can more readily sustain yourself with modest, earthly achievements?

Now, I by no means advocate constructing a system of governance based on moral principles. (Indeed, I'm a big proponent of the separation of Church and State.) However, I do think that the perspective that "all people are selfish" is limited. It may be good for designing the mechanisms by which a society maintains its structure, but its quite poor for more philosophical and emotional questions about what the purpose of society is and how to advance it.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 07, 2008, 23:41:46 EST
Well duh, but is has to be acknowledged that morality is a human construction that mixes in beliefs that society needs to survive and people's personal beliefs about their place and purpose in the world.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 08, 2008, 05:47:30 EST
Eon, one thing I would say is read Harlan Ellison's short story Harrison Bergeron (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html).
The logical conclusion of Rawls' philosophy is, as the quip goes, "A Birkenstock stamping on a human face, forever".


Bad strawman fiction in response to philosophy?

Oh come on, you're not even trying any more.
It is not strawman fiction, it is a direct response to the philosophical doctorines of egalitarianism.

The point I was making is that if we accept Eon's point: "The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy."  Then obviously a world like that described in the story Harrison Bergeron must follow, those who are more able than others must be handicapped.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 08, 2008, 12:31:49 EST
It also removes a lot of the impetus behind doing anything that is difficult.

If everyone must be of the lowest grade, then why seek to become better?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on December 08, 2008, 18:27:21 EST
Eon, one thing I would say is read Harlan Ellison's short story Harrison Bergeron (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html).
The logical conclusion of Rawls' philosophy is, as the quip goes, "A Birkenstock stamping on a human face, forever".


Bad strawman fiction in response to philosophy?

Oh come on, you're not even trying any more.
It is not strawman fiction, it is a direct response to the philosophical doctorines of egalitarianism.

The point I was making is that if we accept Eon's point: "The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy."  Then obviously a world like that described in the story Harrison Bergeron must follow, those who are more able than others must be handicapped.


Or the reverse: there should be no cost to getting devices or surgery which account for the lowered abilities of some.

Or, perhaps, you're taking a straw man of the idea. Not that everyone should have the same physical abilities, but the same opportunities while developing. Hence, the "bad straw man fiction" comment of purplecat.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 08, 2008, 18:39:03 EST
I think Eon is philosophically bonded to that idea if he was not merely using hyperbolie or exaggeration.  If we all should be equal, and our faults should not hold us back from achievement, it sort of naturally means everyone should be forced into compliance.

I am more inclined to believe he exaggerates to make a point, but he would have to clarify.  It's certainly not a strawman in either case though, as he does not take the origonal argument and depart, he merely takes the origonal argument as presented.  What it may be is a misconstuing of the main point.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 09, 2008, 08:11:41 EST
Eon, one thing I would say is read Harlan Ellison's short story Harrison Bergeron (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html).
The logical conclusion of Rawls' philosophy is, as the quip goes, "A Birkenstock stamping on a human face, forever".


Bad strawman fiction in response to philosophy?

Oh come on, you're not even trying any more.
It is not strawman fiction, it is a direct response to the philosophical doctorines of egalitarianism.

The point I was making is that if we accept Eon's point: "The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy."  Then obviously a world like that described in the story Harrison Bergeron must follow, those who are more able than others must be handicapped.


Or the reverse: there should be no cost to getting devices or surgery which account for the lowered abilities of some.

Or, perhaps, you're taking a straw man of the idea. Not that everyone should have the same physical abilities, but the same opportunities while developing. Hence, the "bad straw man fiction" comment of purplecat.
Let's look at what Eon suggests "The advantages or disadvantages one is born with are morally arbitrary and should not determine the quality of life one will be able to enjoy."  Now, it is my understanding that Eon takes this point of view to indicate how society should be organized.

So, according to this view some organization should ensure that "advantages or disadvantages one is born with" do not determine quality of life.  Obviously this requires that advantages and disadvantages be nullified.  Now in some situations this could be achieved by finding ways to enhance the abilities of those who have disadvantages.  However this could only form one part of a broader strategy.

There are many people who have disadvantages which technology cannot rectify.  Some people are not very pretty, some are not very clever.  Those who are pretty or clever have an advantage over those who aren't.  As Eon points out this is morally arbitrary.  If we take the view that it should not determine quality of life then obviously these advantages must be nullified.  Pretty or clever people must be handicapped in some way to prevent them from using their advantages to be more successful than others.  Inherited intelligence or appearance is every bit as morally arbitrary as inherited wealth.  That this handicapping would be necessary is the point that Harlan Ellison was making in the story.

So, as Heq says, I'm not presenting a straw-man of Eon's point of view.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Andrei on December 09, 2008, 09:53:20 EST
Quote from: Current
So, according to this view some organization should ensure that "advantages or disadvantages one is born with" do not determine quality of life.  Obviously this requires that advantages and disadvantages be nullified.
Are you sure of that?

Different societies reward different abilities and it doesn't seem inherently impossible to have a society which doesn't reward any ability in particular, at least as far as quality of life goes. As an example, even relatively low-level workers in much of western Europe have pretty good salaries and social benefits. That surely is a step in that direction... and not toward H.Bergeron...

IMO, the real problem with egalitarianism is that certain advantages one is born with must influence on one's quality of life, though abilities don't strike me as the ones. As an example, there is no doubt that certain childhood environments (not only because of material problems) predispose one towards criminality, and that comitting crime should reduce your quality of life.

Incidentally, surely there must be some middle ground between complete egalitarianism and the law of the jungle...

P.S.
You must admit Harrison Bergeron isn't that good as far as fiction goes, even if you agree with its message. Its didacticism and manicheism alone put me off, and it has all the subtlety of an elephant diving from a ten foot building.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on December 09, 2008, 17:59:28 EST
Well duh, but is has to be acknowledged that morality is a human construction that mixes in beliefs that society needs to survive and people's personal beliefs about their place and purpose in the world.

Yes, but you'd be surprised how often people tend to forget one or the other...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Laserlips on December 10, 2008, 22:32:39 EST
Oh, I don't know.  If Harrison Bergeron is the story I'm thinking of (and I'm not confusing it with Vonnegut, or did Vonnegut write it?), then it is the ultimate egalitarianism.

What is affirmative action if not, "We are handicapped and you people who aren't are responsible for fixing that?"  What is universal health care if not, "Some people are incompetent to care for themselves so you must do it?"

I'm not saying those statements are necessarily wrong, just trying to classify them.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: hitchkitty on December 11, 2008, 00:33:03 EST
What is affirmative action if not, "We are handicapped and you people who aren't are responsible for fixing that?"  What is universal health care if not, "Some people are incompetent to care for themselves so you must do it?"

You use "incompetent" as a synonym for "unable".  This is a loaded and insulting substitution.  I cannot tell if this was deliberate.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 11, 2008, 11:43:30 EST
The difference is vital.  Incompetent implies that it is the fault of the person for failing to obtain healthcare/education, when in actuality it is often the situation.

For example, if you are born in a poor region, you are likely to go to a lower quality school than someone in a rich region.  Hence, if you get a C and the person in the rich school gets a B, you probably have more actual talent than the rich region kid does, and hence would be more successful at college.  It is thus reasonable to say that it would be better if you got into the college rather than the other kid.  Since many minorities tend to be in poor regions...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 11, 2008, 13:33:32 EST
Quote from: Current
So, according to this view some organization should ensure that "advantages or disadvantages one is born with" do not determine quality of life.  Obviously this requires that advantages and disadvantages be nullified.
Are you sure of that?

Different societies reward different abilities and it doesn't seem inherently impossible to have a society which doesn't reward any ability in particular, at least as far as quality of life goes. As an example, even relatively low-level workers in much of western Europe have pretty good salaries and social benefits. That surely is a step in that direction... and not toward H.Bergeron...
Yes.  But egalitarians don't look at the issue like that.

As you say, in Western Europe quite low-level workers have reasonable salaries.  But what egalitarians point to is that many higher level workers have much better salaries.  To those who think in terms of Rawlsian justice this is all very bad.  Because, there is nothing to say that those who earn low salaries merit them in Rawlsian terms, or that people with high salaries merit them.

A person may earn a high salary because he or she has inherited some beneficial characteristic or because he or she has inherited money.  In the Rawlsian view this is unjust.  That everyone may earn quite a lot does not enter the equation.  What matters is relative benefit not absolute benefit.

IMO, the real problem with egalitarianism is that certain advantages one is born with must influence on one's quality of life, though abilities don't strike me as the ones. As an example, there is no doubt that certain childhood environments (not only because of material problems) predispose one towards criminality, and that comitting crime should reduce your quality of life.
Well, doesn't the story demonstrate that you are wrong.  In a sufficiently totalitarian society everyone could be made equal.  At the very least everyone could be brought up in the same environment, one provided by the state.  None of this is what I would advocate, of course.

Incidentally, surely there must be some middle ground between complete egalitarianism and the law of the jungle...
Of course there is.  One is to have minimum incomes provided by government from taxes.  Doing that though is as un-egalitarian as "law of the jungle" since no-one is measuring the merit of anything.  In my view though this is a more reasonable course than either "law of the jungle" or egalitarianism.  There are many other approaches to this sort of thinking.

You must admit Harrison Bergeron isn't that good as far as fiction goes, even if you agree with its message. Its didacticism and manicheism alone put me off, and it has all the subtlety of an elephant diving from a ten foot building.
That's sort of deliberate though, he is doing it tongue-in-cheek to some extent.  That said, I wouldn't say Harlan Ellison is that great.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 11, 2008, 17:47:46 EST
Well, doesn't the story demonstrate that you are wrong.  In a sufficiently totalitarian society everyone could be made equal.  At the very least everyone could be brought up in the same environment, one provided by the state.  None of this is what I would advocate, of course.

North Korea is the only place that springs to mind...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Schmorgluck on December 12, 2008, 05:33:23 EST
Except North Korea is not egalitarian. It's a feudal regime, with an aristocracy and serfs, just like the USSR was.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 12, 2008, 07:46:19 EST
There has never been a totalitarian society that has also being egalitarian.  My point though is that only a totalitarian society could be egalitarian.  At least in the sense of egalitarian that means rewarding people on merit.

Speaking of which...
Quote from: Wodan46
For example, if you are born in a poor region, you are likely to go to a lower quality school than someone in a rich region.  Hence, if you get a C and the person in the rich school gets a B, you probably have more actual talent than the rich region kid does, and hence would be more successful at college.  It is thus reasonable to say that it would be better if you got into the college rather than the other kid.  Since many minorities tend to be in poor regions...
Certainly.  Notice though what you are criticising.

If someone has talent that does not imply merit, inheriting it is in a moral sense like inheriting money.  Your argument here is that someone with talent may serve society better than someone without.  This is very different to what Eon is arguing.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 13, 2008, 05:52:56 EST
There has never been a totalitarian society that has also being egalitarian.  My point though is that only a totalitarian society could be egalitarian.  At least in the sense of egalitarian that means rewarding people on merit.

Well, a sufficiently advanced society that has solved many of the problems plaguing us today perhaps could. Eventually it could reach the point where everyone has the same chances in life, at least when it comes to education, work, etc. Where economy won't really matter anymore. Where mental disabilities could be cured/prevented before/at birth. (Note that some of these are caused by the fetus/infant getting insufficient oxygen during the delivery).

Of course, at this point, that's science fiction, and I doubt even my great great grandchildren will see the day(if I get around to having kids).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 13, 2008, 12:49:10 EST
Certainly.  Notice though what you are criticising.

If someone has talent that does not imply merit, inheriting it is in a moral sense like inheriting money.  Your argument here is that someone with talent may serve society better than someone without.  This is very different to what Eon is arguing.
That's because I tend towards the utilitarian perspective, where morality, while very important, is ultimately subordinate to the success of society.  As a result, while I generally support people having the right to opportunity, and having the right to their property, I am willing to override both under the proper circumstances.  The problem is that most utilitarians are terrible at judging where and when to draw the line, if they bother to draw one at all.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 14, 2008, 10:44:13 EST
Certainly.  Notice though what you are criticising.

If someone has talent that does not imply merit, inheriting it is in a moral sense like inheriting money.  Your argument here is that someone with talent may serve society better than someone without.  This is very different to what Eon is arguing.
That's because I tend towards the utilitarian perspective, where morality, while very important, is ultimately subordinate to the success of society.
That idea remains ludicriously inconsistent.  If morality is subordinate to the success of society then why is the success of society supposed to be important?  If you think it's important it must be for some moral reason.

What you are really saying here is that according to your morality the success of society is more important than other people's morality.  You are judging yourself as worthy of holding moral ideas, but you are judging the rest of society as being too stupid to do so.

As a result, while I generally support people having the right to opportunity, and having the right to their property, I am willing to override both under the proper circumstances.  The problem is that most utilitarians are terrible at judging where and when to draw the line, if they bother to draw one at all.
If you say that "under the proper circumstances", what are those?  What on earth is "right to opportunity" anyway?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 14, 2008, 12:53:18 EST
That idea remains ludicriously inconsistent.  If morality is subordinate to the success of society then why is the success of society supposed to be important?  If you think it's important it must be for some moral reason.
It is in my benefit for society to succeed, therefore I view the success of society as important.  Whether or not it is moral for me to want benefits is unimportant, I seek them because I want them.  Similarly, most other people also seek to attain goals of some or another which they believe will grant them benefit.  It is unimportant whether or not their goals are moral, what is important is that they want to fulfill those goals, and the success of society will help them do that, therefore it is logically the best choice for them to choose to assist in the success of society.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 14, 2008, 13:02:33 EST
That idea remains ludicriously inconsistent.  If morality is subordinate to the success of society then why is the success of society supposed to be important?  If you think it's important it must be for some moral reason.
It is in my benefit for society to succeed, therefore I view the success of society as important.
Yes.  Surely though if you have no morals though then you must entertain the possibility of succeeding at the expense of society.  If you became a criminal for example it would be unlikely that you would be caught.  You could then live by damaging societies prospect for success.

Whether or not it is moral for me to want benefits is unimportant, I seek them because I want them. Similarly, most other people also seek to attain goals of some or another which they believe will grant them benefit.  It is unimportant whether or not their goals are moral, what is important is that they want to fulfill those goals, and the success of society will help them do that,
Not necessarily.  What if those goals involve harming society?

therefore it is logically the best choice for them to choose to assist in the success of society.
No it isn't.  Many, if not most people, could choose to become criminals and to live at the expense of other members of society.  This is entirely logical since law enforcement is such a joke these days.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 14, 2008, 15:06:23 EST
That idea remains ludicriously inconsistent.  If morality is subordinate to the success of society then why is the success of society supposed to be important?  If you think it's important it must be for some moral reason.
It is in my benefit for society to succeed, therefore I view the success of society as important.
Yes.  Surely though if you have no morals though then you must entertain the possibility of succeeding at the expense of society.  If you became a criminal for example it would be unlikely that you would be caught.  You could then live by damaging societies prospect for success.
Prisoner's Dilemma.  While you may succeed in the short run (cooperate+defect), in the long run, people not cooperate with you(defect+defect) and you will lose access to society's many benefits.  However, in the real world, repeated defections will result in consequences in addition to the defect+defect scenario, such as society throwing you into jail or executing you, negative consequences which tend to be very big compared to the rewards gaining for stealing.  Stealing something worth a year's pay is hardly worth it if getting caught will result in you going to jail for five years, wherein you don't earn any money, and are miserable.

Furthermore, for all those who cooperate, it is in their interests to ensure that those who defect suffer such consequences.

Whether or not it is moral for me to want benefits is unimportant, I seek them because I want them. Similarly, most other people also seek to attain goals of some or another which they believe will grant them benefit.  It is unimportant whether or not their goals are moral, what is important is that they want to fulfill those goals, and the success of society will help them do that,
Not necessarily.  What if those goals involve harming society?
If your goal involves harming society, society will kick your ass for interfering with its people's goals.  In those circumstances, it is likely that your goal to not get your ass kicked ranks higher than your goal to harm society.

therefore it is logically the best choice for them to choose to assist in the success of society.
No it isn't.  Many, if not most people, could choose to become criminals and to live at the expense of other members of society.  This is entirely logical since law enforcement is such a joke these days.
Law Enforcement is still quite competent, and even if it weren't, criminals generally aren't, excluding white collar crime.  I'd love to enhance Law Enforcement's ability to deal with white collar crime, but you seem to specifically oppose that notion, because it requires additional regulation on companies to monitor them to see if they are committing such, or to prohibit them from certain actions that make it easy for them to commit such.

Frankly, I think that White Collar crime should be treated much, much, more harshly, as the harm it inflicts is often in excess of things like murder and mugging, even if it is more indirect.  People should be made to understand that ruining a dozen people's lives via fraud for a few cheap bucks is going to put them in jail for a LONG time.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 17, 2008, 09:44:10 EST
That idea remains ludicriously inconsistent.  If morality is subordinate to the success of society then why is the success of society supposed to be important?  If you think it's important it must be for some moral reason.
It is in my benefit for society to succeed, therefore I view the success of society as important.
Yes.  Surely though if you have no morals though then you must entertain the possibility of succeeding at the expense of society.  If you became a criminal for example it would be unlikely that you would be caught.  You could then live by damaging societies prospect for success.
Prisoner's Dilemma.  While you may succeed in the short run (cooperate+defect), in the long run, people not cooperate with you(defect+defect) and you will lose access to society's many benefits.  However, in the real world, repeated defections will result in consequences in addition to the defect+defect scenario, such as society throwing you into jail or executing you, negative consequences which tend to be very big compared to the rewards gaining for stealing.  Stealing something worth a year's pay is hardly worth it if getting caught will result in you going to jail for five years, wherein you don't earn any money, and are miserable.

Furthermore, for all those who cooperate, it is in their interests to ensure that those who defect suffer such consequences.

Whether or not it is moral for me to want benefits is unimportant, I seek them because I want them. Similarly, most other people also seek to attain goals of some or another which they believe will grant them benefit.  It is unimportant whether or not their goals are moral, what is important is that they want to fulfill those goals, and the success of society will help them do that,
Not necessarily.  What if those goals involve harming society?
If your goal involves harming society, society will kick your ass for interfering with its people's goals.  In those circumstances, it is likely that your goal to not get your ass kicked ranks higher than your goal to harm society.
Oh come on!  You are a reasonably smart guy.  There is loads of crime that you could commit without ever getting caught.  Are we seriously to believe that you decide not to commit crime only for the reason that you may be caught and punished?

If you truly do not care for morals then why do you debate things on this forum?  There is nothing in it for you.  Why do you hold opinions on the subject?

therefore it is logically the best choice for them to choose to assist in the success of society.
No it isn't.  Many, if not most people, could choose to become criminals and to live at the expense of other members of society.  This is entirely logical since law enforcement is such a joke these days.
Law Enforcement is still quite competent, and even if it weren't, criminals generally aren't, excluding white collar crime.  I'd love to enhance Law Enforcement's ability to deal with white collar crime, but you seem to specifically oppose that notion,
No I don't.

because it requires additional regulation on companies to monitor them to see if they are committing such, or to prohibit them from certain actions that make it easy for them to commit such.

Frankly, I think that White Collar crime should be treated much, much, more harshly, as the harm it inflicts is often in excess of things like murder and mugging, even if it is more indirect.  People should be made to understand that ruining a dozen people's lives via fraud for a few cheap bucks is going to put them in jail for a LONG time.
I certainly agree with you that law enforcement should deal with white collar crime.  I have never taken any other position.

Regulation is quite a different matter.  I don't agree with this modern idea where certain "regulatory bodies" make up huge amounts of rules and also deal with enforcing them.  That is not law enforcement it is a mockery of law enforcement.

I agree with laws which make it an offence to commit the sort of fraud that Bernard Madoff recently committed.  However the sort of rules that regulate every detail of how business is done are counterproductive.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 17, 2008, 11:55:55 EST
There has never been a totalitarian society that has also being egalitarian.  My point though is that only a totalitarian society could be egalitarian.  At least in the sense of egalitarian that means rewarding people on merit.

Well, a sufficiently advanced society that has solved many of the problems plaguing us today perhaps could. Eventually it could reach the point where everyone has the same chances in life, at least when it comes to education, work, etc. Where economy won't really matter anymore. Where mental disabilities could be cured/prevented before/at birth. (Note that some of these are caused by the fetus/infant getting insufficient oxygen during the delivery).

Of course, at this point, that's science fiction, and I doubt even my great great grandchildren will see the day(if I get around to having kids).
Exactly.

From the standpoint of debating policies it isn't really very relevant.  The future may be a lot better than the past in this regard.  However, does that mean that egalitarianism will ever prevail?  Personally, I doubt it.  It may be that culture changes and that inheritance of wealth ends.  It may also be that most mental disabilites may be cured before birth.  It may be that wealth becomes much less relevant.

However, there are things that are much less likely to change.  The genetic advantages that some people have over others at birth will probably continue to be important.  Especially since it depends on circumstances what an advantage and a disadvantage is.

Also, chance will continue to be important.  It is hard to see how any future society could negate the effects that chance can have without being totalitarian.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 17, 2008, 12:15:19 EST
Well, actually it -is- to one's best interests not to commit crimes which one can get away with.

If we're going to make a monkeysphere kind of argument, there are both national anthomorphisations and constant haragues of victims in our society to ensure we are indoctrainated to feel personally aggrevied at serious violations of both the law and public morality.

This has both the effect of causing people to be irrationally adherant to the law, and continue holding outdated moral structures.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 17, 2008, 18:31:18 EST
Oh come on!  You are a reasonably smart guy.  There is loads of crime that you could commit without ever getting caught.  Are we seriously to believe that you decide not to commit crime only for the reason that you may be caught and punished?
Well, that's not my ONLY reason, but its the primary one, by far.  Many crimes have a relatively low risk of getting caught, but a very large consequence if you are caught.  There is a reason why most criminals tend to be less smart and less capable than the average citizen.  Sure there are criminals, but those people are definitely not winners in our society, and that's why most people are smart enough not to commit crimes to begin with.

If you truly do not care for morals then why do you debate things on this forum?  There is nothing in it for you.  Why do you hold opinions on the subject?
The same reason I do anything, to make myself happy.  Winning arguments is enjoyable.  While in theory converting you to my perspective might make society run an iota better and give me a return, but mainly, its winning the argument, or at least learning to refine my own arguments.

because it requires additional regulation on companies to monitor them to see if they are committing such, or to prohibit them from certain actions that make it easy for them to commit such.

Frankly, I think that White Collar crime should be treated much, much, more harshly, as the harm it inflicts is often in excess of things like murder and mugging, even if it is more indirect.  People should be made to understand that ruining a dozen people's lives via fraud for a few cheap bucks is going to put them in jail for a LONG time.
I certainly agree with you that law enforcement should deal with white collar crime.  I have never taken any other position.

Regulation is quite a different matter.  I don't agree with this modern idea where certain "regulatory bodies" make up huge amounts of rules and also deal with enforcing them.  That is not law enforcement it is a mockery of law enforcement.

I agree with laws which make it an offence to commit the sort of fraud that Bernard Madoff recently committed.  However the sort of rules that regulate every detail of how business is done are counterproductive.
A company like Enron would not have been able to commit crimes (for long) had there been proper oversight of their actions.  Companies have proven that they can't be trusted to obey the law.  If they believe they are unlikely to be caught, they are likely to commit the crime, as it results in a net gain that outweighs the risk.

The law has no teeth unless there is oversight.  For preventing shoplifting, you have video cameras and tagged products.  For preventing white collar crime, you have regulations that either look at what actions the company is doing, or forbid the company from doing suspicious actions.  The latter is for the shoplifting example equivalent to someone walking into the store with a bulky coat while a hat obscures their face.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 18, 2008, 09:36:44 EST
Earlier we were talking about egalitarianism.  In the UK the Labour government have being, in recent times, quite hostile to civil liberties.  We have seen the peculiar spectacle of people who ran civil rights lobby groups twenty years ago being attacked by those groups.

This article (http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-is-labour-so-illiberal.html) on the blog Heresy Corner is quite interesting on the subject.

Quote from: Heresy Corner
There are philosophical issues too, though, that are not covered by a simplistic division into liberals and authoritarians. It is possible to be both a liberal and an authoritarian - and in quite contradictory ways. Davis (like many instinctive Tories) is a liberal authoritarian: that is, he believes that society is generally self-policing, and is best regulated by families and communities; and that the role of the police and the courts is to come down hard on criminals, as far as possible leaving law-abiding people alone. New Labour ministers tend to be authoritarian liberals: their vision of society is one of generally incompetent and unevolved people who need to be coralled, controlled and told what to do in order to produce a re-engineered society that more closely resembles their ideal. Which is currently that of a tolerant egalitarian wonderland in which diversity of appearance is matched to a uniformity of behaviour and even thought. Right-wing authoritarians want to be tough on criminals; left-wing authoritarians want to be tough on everyone.
I think the upcoming Democrat Presidency in the US will be similar.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 18, 2008, 11:30:41 EST
Quote from: Heresy Corner
Davis (like many instinctive Tories) is a liberal authoritarian: that is, he believes that society is generally self-policing, and is best regulated by families and communities; and that the role of the police and the courts is to come down hard on criminals, as far as possible leaving law-abiding people alone.
That sounds a lot more like a conservative, or even more so like a libertarian.  Current, you and your buddies have emphasized the importance of families and communities, while giving the government limited but powerful authority to deal with crime.

Quote from: Heresy Corner
New Labour ministers tend to be authoritarian liberals: their vision of society is one of generally incompetent and unevolved people who need to be coralled, controlled and told what to do in order to produce a re-engineered society that more closely resembles their ideal.
Once you remove the weasel words, that comes out as politicians concluding that because they are smarter than the average citizen, they should tell the citizen what to do and not the other way around, which is why the citizen elected the politician in the first place.

Quote from: Heresy Corner
Which is currently that of a tolerant egalitarian wonderland in which diversity of appearance is matched to a uniformity of behaviour and even thought. Right-wing authoritarians want to be tough on criminals; left-wing authoritarians want to be tough on everyone.
I think you are confusing France, and its equality through conformity attitude of lacite, with the US.  We are kinda the exact opposite there, and Obama himself is clear proof of that.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 18, 2008, 12:35:38 EST
Quote from: Heresy Corner
Davis (like many instinctive Tories) is a liberal authoritarian: that is, he believes that society is generally self-policing, and is best regulated by families and communities; and that the role of the police and the courts is to come down hard on criminals, as far as possible leaving law-abiding people alone.
That sounds a lot more like a conservative, or even more so like a libertarian.  Current, you and your buddies have emphasized the importance of families and communities, while giving the government limited but powerful authority to deal with crime.
Remember this is a British writer.  Liberal does not mean Social Democrat in Britain.  In this article the writer is using "liberal" to mean something like "liberal attitude", the attitude that people should not have their actions interfered with without a very good reason.

Quote from: Heresy Corner
New Labour ministers tend to be authoritarian liberals: their vision of society is one of generally incompetent and unevolved people who need to be coralled, controlled and told what to do in order to produce a re-engineered society that more closely resembles their ideal.
Once you remove the weasel words, that comes out as politicians concluding that because they are smarter than the average citizen, they should tell the citizen what to do and not the other way around, which is why the citizen elected the politician in the first place.
Well yes, I agree with you and I think the author would too.  Neither I nor the author though think this is a particularly good thing.  What the author is doing in this trying to show how left wing views (and especially modern left wing views) do not tally with personal liberty.

Quote from: Heresy Corner
Which is currently that of a tolerant egalitarian wonderland in which diversity of appearance is matched to a uniformity of behaviour and even thought. Right-wing authoritarians want to be tough on criminals; left-wing authoritarians want to be tough on everyone.
I think you are confusing France, and its equality through conformity attitude of lacite, with the US.  We are kinda the exact opposite there, and Obama himself is clear proof of that.
We shall see.  But, I don't really see why you disagree here.  You have just said that you think that politicians are smarter than their electorates and should order those electorate around.  Why then would you oppose it if they order them into whatever form those politician believe is best?

Also, why bother about the Magna Carta, the rights of man and all that guff?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 18, 2008, 12:59:18 EST
Remember this is a British writer.  Liberal does not mean Social Democrat in Britain.  In this article the writer is using "liberal" to mean something like "liberal attitude", the attitude that people should not have their actions interfered with without a very good reason.
I think we have differing perspectives on what qualifies as a "very good reason", in part because we have differing perspectives on the risks/gains of government interference.

Well yes, I agree with you and I think the author would too.  Neither I nor the author though think this is a particularly good thing.  What the author is doing in this trying to show how left wing views (and especially modern left wing views) do not tally with personal liberty.
I think we have differing perspectives on what qualifies as personal liberty, and which aspects of personal liberty are more important.  Also remember that I'm willing to compromise, I'm willing to give the corporations much freer rein if the public is given a proper safety umbrella of welfare.  No welfare, no free rein either.

We shall see.  But, I don't really see why you disagree here.  You have just said that you think that politicians are smarter than their electorates and should order those electorate around.  Why then would you oppose it if they order them into whatever form those politician believe is best?
Politicians are given mandates by the people to carry out the people's will.  They can't do anything that the people do not want them to do.  If the people want to believe that they can't make a difference, if the people want to sit on their asses and ignore the world around them, if people do not encourage the media to watch the politicians for misdoings, then the people will get what they deserve, and no system of government or lack thereof will save them if they retain such an attitude.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 18, 2008, 13:52:01 EST
Oh come on!  You are a reasonably smart guy.  There is loads of crime that you could commit without ever getting caught.  Are we seriously to believe that you decide not to commit crime only for the reason that you may be caught and punished?
Well, that's not my ONLY reason, but its the primary one, by far.  Many crimes have a relatively low risk of getting caught, but a very large consequence if you are caught.  There is a reason why most criminals tend to be less smart and less capable than the average citizen.  Sure there are criminals, but those people are definitely not winners in our society, and that's why most people are smart enough not to commit crimes to begin with.
Can't say I really agree with you.  Certainly I think that many crimes have a low risk of getting caught, but serious consequences if that happens.  I'm not convinced though that the risk-reward situation is that bad.  Certainly where I live the police (the Gardi) are not too sharp.  Had I no morals I would become a criminal, the possible repercussions simply aren't bad enough to be worth worrying about.

Certainly most criminals are not very smart or capable.  I think this though has a much simpler explanation.  Those who are smart and capable have much less reason to commit crime.  They can achieve their aims at lower risk.

Also, I think that capable people tend to be more moral.  Since, most types of morality put some emphasis on working.  And people who work generally become more capable.

If you truly do not care for morals then why do you debate things on this forum?  There is nothing in it for you.  Why do you hold opinions on the subject?
The same reason I do anything, to make myself happy.  Winning arguments is enjoyable.  While in theory converting you to my perspective might make society run an iota better and give me a return, but mainly, its winning the argument, or at least learning to refine my own arguments.
Oh, for sport.  Fair enough.  To be honest though when I've talked to you in the past you don't seem like you do it for sport.

because it requires additional regulation on companies to monitor them to see if they are committing such, or to prohibit them from certain actions that make it easy for them to commit such.

Frankly, I think that White Collar crime should be treated much, much, more harshly, as the harm it inflicts is often in excess of things like murder and mugging, even if it is more indirect.  People should be made to understand that ruining a dozen people's lives via fraud for a few cheap bucks is going to put them in jail for a LONG time.
I certainly agree with you that law enforcement should deal with white collar crime.  I have never taken any other position.

Regulation is quite a different matter.  I don't agree with this modern idea where certain "regulatory bodies" make up huge amounts of rules and also deal with enforcing them.  That is not law enforcement it is a mockery of law enforcement.

I agree with laws which make it an offence to commit the sort of fraud that Bernard Madoff recently committed.  However the sort of rules that regulate every detail of how business is done are counterproductive.
A company like Enron would not have been able to commit crimes (for long) had there been proper oversight of their actions.  Companies have proven that they can't be trusted to obey the law.  If they believe they are unlikely to be caught, they are likely to commit the crime, as it results in a net gain that outweighs the risk.
Fair enough.

The law has no teeth unless there is oversight.
Yes.  I'm not proposing "no oversight" though.

For preventing shoplifting, you have video cameras and tagged products.  For preventing white collar crime, you have regulations that either look at what actions the company is doing, or forbid the company from doing suspicious actions.  The latter is for the shoplifting example equivalent to someone walking into the store with a bulky coat while a hat obscures their face.
Those two things are not at all similar.  A shop takes steps to stop shoplifting within its own premises.  The customers decide whether or not they enter that shop.  This is an example of a market participant, the shop, taking steps to prevent another market participant from potentially thieving from them.

This is not what the regulations I'm complaining about concern.  They concern a third party, the regulator, stepping in and saying that the transaction must proceed in a particular way.  There is no good reason for this in my view.  If the two parties have come to another arrangement about how the trade can be made why should they be stopped?  If there is a potential externality perhaps there is an argument.  Also, it is reasonable that there should be default terms, so if certain things are left out of an agreement then the law still indicates what is permissible.

Many occurrences of corporate fraud are helped by this sort of regulation not prevented by it.  Most US companies are incorporated in Delaware.  Delaware have setup their laws to make shareholders weak and management strong.  If shareholders were permitted scope to negotiate contracts with their boards of directors then it is likely they would not permit their position to be as weak as it is.  Thankfully Delaware company law has been revised quite a bit recently.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 19, 2008, 01:35:24 EST
Can't say I really agree with you.  Certainly I think that many crimes have a low risk of getting caught, but serious consequences if that happens.  I'm not convinced though that the risk-reward situation is that bad.  Certainly where I live the police (the Gardi) are not too sharp.  Had I no morals I would become a criminal, the possible repercussions simply aren't bad enough to be worth worrying about.
I seriously doubt it would work to your benefit.

Certainly most criminals are not very smart or capable.  I think this though has a much simpler explanation.  Those who are smart and capable have much less reason to commit crime.  They can achieve their aims at lower risk.
I'm confused.  You seem to be proving my point.  Is that your intent?  The question was whether or not the prisoner's dilemma showed that its consistently to your benefit to work with society.  Seeing as those who work with society tend to be winners, I say that answer is yes.  Perhaps you are trying to say that defect is a better choice than cooperate for sufficiently stupid or incapable people.  I find that extremely doubtful to be true, and the only reason the people who make the choice to defect in that case think otherwise is because they are stupid and incapable.  Note that such adjectives do not have to remain true, it is in society's power to change that, they can't, because of the problem of them already having said adjective.

Also, I think that capable people tend to be more moral.  Since, most types of morality put some emphasis on working.  And people who work generally become more capable.
This, combined with your previous statement, is rather disturbing.  It seems, like much of Randian philosophy, an excuse to ignore those less fortunate, saying that they are immoral and foolish and brought it upon themselves.  In actuality, many of these people were never given a chance, and simply sank into the bog at the bottom of society.  At this point, they will tend to continue to ensure their own doom, but that was not their fault nor their choice.  Society was the one that gave them the raw deal, and it is society that has the power to pull them back out.


The same reason I do anything, to make myself happy.  Winning arguments is enjoyable.  While in theory converting you to my perspective might make society run an iota better and give me a return, but mainly, its winning the argument, or at least learning to refine my own arguments.
Oh, for sport.  Fair enough.  To be honest though when I've talked to you in the past you don't seem like you do it for sport.
In debate, you are generally supposed to advocate your points with vigor.  Also, I'm probably going to end up doing arguing/information gathering for a career, so I better be putting my energies into it.

A company like Enron would not have been able to commit crimes (for long) had there been proper oversight of their actions.  Companies have proven that they can't be trusted to obey the law.  If they believe they are unlikely to be caught, they are likely to commit the crime, as it results in a net gain that outweighs the risk.
Fair enough.
The law has no teeth unless there is oversight.
Yes.  I'm not proposing "no oversight" though.
Stop dancing around terms.  The thing needed to stop Enron was oversight, and oversight would logically come in the form of regulation/bureaucracy.  What exactly did you think bureaucrats do?  They oversee things, that's what.  Unless they spot violations of the law, law enforcement won't even know they need to do something.  Unless you want the policeman to start watching the corporations themselves.  That sounds really orwellian awesome.  I'd rather keep the bureaucratic and police powers separate, rather than end up with a setting where the choices are Judge Dredd, Oligarchy, Anarchy, or any of them paired.

For preventing shoplifting, you have video cameras and tagged products.  For preventing white collar crime, you have regulations that either look at what actions the company is doing, or forbid the company from doing suspicious actions.  The latter is for the shoplifting example equivalent to someone walking into the store with a bulky coat while a hat obscures their face.
Those two things are not at all similar.  A shop takes steps to stop shoplifting within its own premises.  The customers decide whether or not they enter that shop.  This is an example of a market participant, the shop, taking steps to prevent another market participant from potentially thieving from them.

This is not what the regulations I'm complaining about concern.  They concern a third party, the regulator, stepping in and saying that the transaction must proceed in a particular way.  There is no good reason for this in my view.  If the two parties have come to another arrangement about how the trade can be made why should they be stopped?  If there is a potential externality perhaps there is an argument.  Also, it is reasonable that there should be default terms, so if certain things are left out of an agreement then the law still indicates what is permissible.
However, while the enforcement may be different, the problem is the same, and I find the white collar criminal remaining unwatched no more palatable than the shoplifter, and will perhaps lead to significantly worse consequences.  Unless you have another solution, I think that it is pretty clear that the customer being left with a few safe choices is better than the customer being left with many dangerous ones.  Given the clear facts that without action being taken, their will be dangerous choices, and we know the customer will often pick them, causing a ton of damage.  Sure you could say this could be taken to extremes as the government takes ever greater control over what the customer is allowed in an attempt to protect, but we have no choice but to plant our flag on the icy slope.

For example, would you say that because some Torts are frivolous and wasteful, that people should be banned from filing Torts?  I just read a Libertarian not long ago who basically said just that, for a paper I was writing on Wyeth v. Levine.  Which I find odd given that a second ago Libertarians were about the freedom of the people, but it seems as though it keeps turning into freedom of corporate douchbags to stomp on the people as much as they want.  Getting offtrack there, the main point is that just because Torts can be taken to extremes doesn't mean they should be banned altogether, it is necessary for us to find a compromise on it, even if it could potentially slip out of balance.  It is the same thing for government regulation.  You will never be able to find a clean solution with neat dividing lines ensuring the limitation of government power.  It just isn't going to happen.

Many occurrences of corporate fraud are helped by this sort of regulation not prevented by it.  Most US companies are incorporated in Delaware.  Delaware have setup their laws to make shareholders weak and management strong.  If shareholders were permitted scope to negotiate contracts with their boards of directors then it is likely they would not permit their position to be as weak as it is.  Thankfully Delaware company law has been revised quite a bit recently.
That just shows that there should be universal rules across all states regarding companies made by the federal government.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: boring7 on December 21, 2008, 00:36:23 EST
For example, would you say that because some Torts are frivolous and wasteful, that people should be banned from filing Torts?  I just read a Libertarian not long ago who basically said just that, for a paper I was writing on Wyeth v. Levine.  Which I find odd given that a second ago Libertarians were about the freedom of the people, but it seems as though it keeps turning into freedom of corporate douchbags to stomp on the people as much as they want.  Getting offtrack there, the main point is that just because Torts can be taken to extremes doesn't mean they should be banned altogether, it is necessary for us to find a compromise on it, even if it could potentially slip out of balance.  It is the same thing for government regulation.  You will never be able to find a clean solution with neat dividing lines ensuring the limitation of government power.  It just isn't going to happen.
I love this argument, because I have an analogy I really like to use for it.  (obviously, because it is inflammatory and hateful)

It goes, "What is the difference between this:
(http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i284/boring7/gun.jpg)
and this:
(http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i284/boring7/1323572851_463cbba1b7.jpg) ?

Both are tools, both can destroy lives, both are sources of power, so why do you support one and not the other?"

Unsurprisingly it angers both Gun-control advocates and Lawyer-haters. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on December 21, 2008, 03:23:22 EST
Because one can be used equally for either ruining lives or helping them. This is on the same level as "if guns should be banned, does that mean you should ban knives?" No, because a knife is otherwise useful.

In short: your analogy fails. Epically.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 21, 2008, 11:24:59 EST
Correct, the analogy is flawed for the reasons Medivh suggests.  It is plainly obvious that the gun has more potential for ruining lives than helping them, while a lawyer is more likely to help lives than hurt them.  In regards to necessity and rights, it is clear that a society having law and legal protections is more important than a society allowing people access to a particularly dangerous and unpredictable form of self defense.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Ihlosi on December 21, 2008, 12:57:16 EST
Because one can be used equally for either ruining lives or helping them.

Also, compare the requirements for getting one of the two. One requires several years of study, the other requires ... well, depends on what country you're in.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Heq on December 21, 2008, 13:34:09 EST
You can use the first to resolve the problem with the second, then you will have no need of the first.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: boring7 on December 21, 2008, 16:23:40 EST
Because one can be used equally for either ruining lives or helping them. This is on the same level as "if guns should be banned, does that mean you should ban knives?" No, because a knife is otherwise useful.

In short: your analogy fails. Epically.
Why do you think a law degree any less capable of defending someone than a gun?  Or did you mean the other way around...?  Because that's even sillier.  If lawyering comes into play it is because someone needs to be ruined, or at the very least deterred, if a gun comes into play its because someone needs to be shot, or at the very least scared off by superior firepower. 

But thank you for demonstrating my second point, that it is a *very* effective analogy for the purposes of irritating people who are refusing to see other sides of things anyway. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 21, 2008, 19:42:46 EST
Why do you think a law degree any less capable of defending someone than a gun?  Or did you mean the other way around...?  Because that's even sillier.
A Law Degree is more commonly used, and is more likely to be a viable tool, then a Gun is.  The odds of needing a gun for self defense is far less than needing a lawyer for legal recourse.

If lawyering comes into play it is because someone needs to be ruined, or at the very least deterred
Actually, the ruining is done by the person who the lawyers target, in order to seek either containment to prevent future crimes,  compensation for the damages, or both.

If a gun comes into play its because someone needs to be shot, or at the very least scared off by superior firepower. 
Actually, a gun is likely to come into play because you want to murder someone, commit suicide, or otherwise cause problems. 

But thank you for demonstrating my second point, that it is a *very* effective analogy for the purposes of irritating people who are refusing to see other sides of things anyway. 
The proportion of guns used harmful uses rather than helpful uses is far higher than that of the law degree.  As such, it is a poor analogy, seeing how it is easy to establish differences between the two.



Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on December 21, 2008, 19:47:35 EST
Because one can be used equally for either ruining lives or helping them. This is on the same level as "if guns should be banned, does that mean you should ban knives?" No, because a knife is otherwise useful.

In short: your analogy fails. Epically.
Why do you think a law degree any less capable of defending someone than a gun?  Or did you mean the other way around...?  Because that's even sillier.

Did I say anything about defense? While I could argue your point, I wont bother because it would give your argument false legitimacy.

In the words of Gene Wilder: You LOSE. Good DAY sir.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 23, 2008, 13:37:36 EST
Why do you think a law degree any less capable of defending someone than a gun?  Or did you mean the other way around...?  Because that's even sillier.
A Law Degree is more commonly used, and is more likely to be a viable tool, then a Gun is.  The odds of needing a gun for self defense is far less than needing a lawyer for legal recourse.
Depends on where you live, and how you live. Chances of me needing a lawyer are miniscule, chances of me needing a gun for defense, also miniscule, put probably slightly higher.

If lawyering comes into play it is because someone needs to be ruined, or at the very least deterred
Actually, the ruining is done by the person who the lawyers target, in order to seek either containment to prevent future crimes,  compensation for the damages, or both.
Or just divorce proceedings.

If a gun comes into play its because someone needs to be shot, or at the very least scared off by superior firepower. 
Actually, a gun is likely to come into play because you want to murder someone, commit suicide, or otherwise cause problems.
I take exception to this. You are stereotyping gun owners as criminals. While criminals will fairly often have guns, it doesn't mean banning guns is good, criminals will still have them(by definition, being people who do not obey the law), while law abiding citizens will be left defenseless. Also see people finally realizing that gunfree zones are actively targeted by mass-murderers, helpless target rich enviroment.

But thank you for demonstrating my second point, that it is a *very* effective analogy for the purposes of irritating people who are refusing to see other sides of things anyway. 
The proportion of guns used harmful uses rather than helpful uses is far higher than that of the law degree.  As such, it is a poor analogy, seeing how it is easy to establish differences between the two.
I'd say they're close to equal. And legal gun carry actually works as a better violent crime deterrant than the law does(see Chicago vs Dallas murders by firearm rate, for example).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 23, 2008, 14:19:22 EST
If lawyering comes into play it is because someone needs to be ruined, or at the very least deterred
Actually, the ruining is done by the person who the lawyers target, in order to seek either containment to prevent future crimes,  compensation for the damages, or both.
Or just divorce proceedings.
Boring7's strawman had no specific mention of what the law degree was used for.  In Divorce proceedings, its hardly the lawyer's fault that the people couldn't come to an agreement, and that the lawyer receives a share of money in return for helping the agreement benefit their side more.  Hell, people should know by now that's how it works.

If a gun comes into play its because someone needs to be shot, or at the very least scared off by superior firepower. 
Actually, a gun is likely to come into play because you want to murder someone, commit suicide, or otherwise cause problems.
I take exception to this. You are stereotyping gun owners as criminals. While criminals will fairly often have guns, it doesn't mean banning guns is good, criminals will still have them(by definition, being people who do not obey the law), while law abiding citizens will be left defenseless. Also see people finally realizing that gunfree zones are actively targeted by mass-murderers, helpless target rich enviroment.
Once again, it's boring7's strawman at work.  I support gun ownership, but only with sufficient regulation.  Also, I was countering boring7's statement that if a gun comes into play its because someone needs to be shot while law degrees only come into play to ruin someone.  I was countering by arguing that guns often come into play as the problem as well as being solutions to such problems, whereas law degrees almost always come into play as the solution to a problem, though it differs as to whether it is a good one.

But thank you for demonstrating my second point, that it is a *very* effective analogy for the purposes of irritating people who are refusing to see other sides of things anyway. 
The proportion of guns used harmful uses rather than helpful uses is far higher than that of the law degree.  As such, it is a poor analogy, seeing how it is easy to establish differences between the two.
I'd say they're close to equal. And legal gun carry actually works as a better violent crime deterrant than the law does(see Chicago vs Dallas murders by firearm rate, for example).
However, gun carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is.  Note that in Boring7's example there is no mention of legal carry with the gun, while the law degree is itself a legal document.  Granted, even legal carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is, seeing as its near impossible for a law degree to cause such.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Current on December 23, 2008, 19:11:16 EST
Can't say I really agree with you.  Certainly I think that many crimes have a low risk of getting caught, but serious consequences if that happens.  I'm not convinced though that the risk-reward situation is that bad.  Certainly where I live the police (the Gardi) are not too sharp.  Had I no morals I would become a criminal, the possible repercussions simply aren't bad enough to be worth worrying about.
I seriously doubt it would work to your benefit.
Well, you're entitled to your own opinion.  But do you really think that the criminal justice system is functional?  My view of the UK and Ireland at the least is that it is not.

Certainly most criminals are not very smart or capable.  I think this though has a much simpler explanation.  Those who are smart and capable have much less reason to commit crime.  They can achieve their aims at lower risk.
I'm confused.  You seem to be proving my point.  Is that your intent?
I certainly accept that the risk of getting caught is one of the reasons that people do not commit crime.  I don't think though that with the feeble justice systems of today it is a particularly significant one.

The question was whether or not the prisoner's dilemma showed that its consistently to your benefit to work with society.
I don't agree with the supposed relevance of the prisoner's dilemma to this situation.  Normally the prisoners dilemma is about decisions to be made by certain agents.  Society is not an agent, it does not make invididual decisions.  It is a group, which is something completely different.

Seeing as those who work with society tend to be winners, I say that answer is yes.
In light of you recent post on the pay of executives I find this comment somewhat ironic.

Perhaps you are trying to say that defect is a better choice than cooperate for sufficiently stupid or incapable people.  I find that extremely doubtful to be true, and the only reason the people who make the choice to defect in that case think otherwise is because they are stupid and incapable.  Note that such adjectives do not have to remain true, it is in society's power to change that, they can't, because of the problem of them already having said adjective.
I don't really agree.  I think that it is in the interests of very many people to become criminals.  They don't not because they are afraid of the consequences but because of the moral codes they follow, for one reason or other.

Also, I think that capable people tend to be more moral.  Since, most types of morality put some emphasis on working.  And people who work generally become more capable.
This, combined with your previous statement, is rather disturbing.  It seems, like much of Randian philosophy, an excuse to ignore those less fortunate, saying that they are immoral and foolish and brought it upon themselves.
For many of the so-called working-class that is what I think, though not all.

In actuality, many of these people were never given a chance, and simply sank into the bog at the bottom of society.  At this point, they will tend to continue to ensure their own doom, but that was not their fault nor their choice.  Society was the one that gave them the raw deal, and it is society that has the power to pull them back out.
How?

Regardless of that though what I was talking about was something rather different....  In most cases moral codes encourage both obeying the law and working. 

The same reason I do anything, to make myself happy.  Winning arguments is enjoyable.  While in theory converting you to my perspective might make society run an iota better and give me a return, but mainly, its winning the argument, or at least learning to refine my own arguments.
Oh, for sport.  Fair enough.  To be honest though when I've talked to you in the past you don't seem like you do it for sport.
In debate, you are generally supposed to advocate your points with vigor.  Also, I'm probably going to end up doing arguing/information gathering for a career, so I better be putting my energies into it.
Fair enough.  Hope you don't become a politician :)

A company like Enron would not have been able to commit crimes (for long) had there been proper oversight of their actions.  Companies have proven that they can't be trusted to obey the law.  If they believe they are unlikely to be caught, they are likely to commit the crime, as it results in a net gain that outweighs the risk.
Fair enough.
The law has no teeth unless there is oversight.
Yes.  I'm not proposing "no oversight" though.
Stop dancing around terms.  The thing needed to stop Enron was oversight, and oversight would logically come in the form of regulation/bureaucracy.  What exactly did you think bureaucrats do?  They oversee things, that's what.
What I'm complaining about is the way this is done, not that it is done.

Unless they spot violations of the law, law enforcement won't even know they need to do something.  Unless you want the policeman to start watching the corporations themselves.  That sounds really orwellian awesome.  I'd rather keep the bureaucratic and police powers separate, rather than end up with a setting where the choices are Judge Dredd, Oligarchy, Anarchy, or any of them paired.
I don't think you understand how this sort of thing works.  Modern regulatory agencies are not like law enforcement.  They deal with the application of rules.

The recent Madoff case gives a good example of this.  In 1999 the SEC were warned about Madoffs activities.  Articles were written in major investment magazines exploring whether Madoff's fund was a confidence trick.  They seem not to have investigated it.

This tallies with my experience of regulatory agencies.  What they are interested in is making sure that those they regulate adhere to various rules and make correct filings with them.  They presume that by doing so they will prevent crimes from occuring, even though fulfillment of the rules often doesn't gaurantee that a crime hasn't occurred.  (Also infringement of the rules often doesn't always mean anything terrible has occurred either).

What they should do is behave more like the police, act as investigators of crime.  Doing so would not require Orwellian powers.  Much of what financial services companies do is public knowledge.  Also, precautions could be put in place similar to how the ordinary police work, by requiring search warrants for example.  These precautions are already in place in many countries.

For preventing shoplifting, you have video cameras and tagged products.  For preventing white collar crime, you have regulations that either look at what actions the company is doing, or forbid the company from doing suspicious actions.  The latter is for the shoplifting example equivalent to someone walking into the store with a bulky coat while a hat obscures their face.
Those two things are not at all similar.  A shop takes steps to stop shoplifting within its own premises.  The customers decide whether or not they enter that shop.  This is an example of a market participant, the shop, taking steps to prevent another market participant from potentially thieving from them.

This is not what the regulations I'm complaining about concern.  They concern a third party, the regulator, stepping in and saying that the transaction must proceed in a particular way.  There is no good reason for this in my view.  If the two parties have come to another arrangement about how the trade can be made why should they be stopped?  If there is a potential externality perhaps there is an argument.  Also, it is reasonable that there should be default terms, so if certain things are left out of an agreement then the law still indicates what is permissible.
However, while the enforcement may be different, the problem is the same, and I find the white collar criminal remaining unwatched no more palatable than the shoplifter,
That is not what I am proposing.  This situation is not analogous to shoplifting.

and will perhaps lead to significantly worse consequences.  Unless you have another solution, I think that it is pretty clear that the customer being left with a few safe choices is better than the customer being left with many dangerous ones.  Given the clear facts that without action being taken, their will be dangerous choices, and we know the customer will often pick them, causing a ton of damage.  Sure you could say this could be taken to extremes as the government takes ever greater control over what the customer is allowed in an attempt to protect, but we have no choice but to plant our flag on the icy slope.
How though do regulations make the transaction significantly safer?  Any provision that a regulator asks for in a trade can be requested by the customer.  In fact that is how most of these sort of regulations originate, as common contract terms.

The contract terms are matters for the customer and the supplier.  The laws role is not to dictate what they are but to give some protection to both sides from fraud.

For example, would you say that because some Torts are frivolous and wasteful, that people should be banned from filing Torts?
No.

I just read a Libertarian not long ago who basically said just that, for a paper I was writing on Wyeth v. Levine.  Which I find odd given that a second ago Libertarians were about the freedom of the people, but it seems as though it keeps turning into freedom of corporate douchbags to stomp on the people as much as they want.  Getting offtrack there, the main point is that just because Torts can be taken to extremes doesn't mean they should be banned altogether, it is necessary for us to find a compromise on it, even if it could potentially slip out of balance.  It is the same thing for government regulation.  You will never be able to find a clean solution with neat dividing lines ensuring the limitation of government power.  It just isn't going to happen.
Well, I agree with you there.  I think though that regulations have got out of hand though.  Law enforcement agencies should concentrate on the more general parts of the law.

Many occurrences of corporate fraud are helped by this sort of regulation not prevented by it.  Most US companies are incorporated in Delaware.  Delaware have setup their laws to make shareholders weak and management strong.  If shareholders were permitted scope to negotiate contracts with their boards of directors then it is likely they would not permit their position to be as weak as it is.  Thankfully Delaware company law has been revised quite a bit recently.
That just shows that there should be universal rules across all states regarding companies made by the federal government.
Why though would federal government make a better job of it than state government.  Governance of companies should not be something decided by government.  Rather the rules should be laid down by those who own the company, the shareholders, subject to reasonable general laws.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on December 23, 2008, 21:39:04 EST
Can't say I really agree with you.  Certainly I think that many crimes have a low risk of getting caught, but serious consequences if that happens.  I'm not convinced though that the risk-reward situation is that bad.  Certainly where I live the police (the Gardi) are not too sharp.  Had I no morals I would become a criminal, the possible repercussions simply aren't bad enough to be worth worrying about.
I seriously doubt it would work to your benefit.
Well, you're entitled to your own opinion.  But do you really think that the criminal justice system is functional?  My view of the UK and Ireland at the least is that it is not.

Define "functional" in this case. You're clearly using a different definition than I am.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 24, 2008, 02:13:07 EST
However, gun carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is.  Note that in Boring7's example there is no mention of legal carry with the gun, while the law degree is itself a legal document.  Granted, even legal carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is, seeing as its near impossible for a law degree to cause such.

Actually, a law degree might make you more likely to be targeted for violent crime(more people will have motive to hate you)... carrying a gun on the other hand makes you more able to defend yourself from violent crime, and can actually abort violent crime in progress without bloodshed. (example: http://www.kfsm.com/global/story.asp?s=9541680 )


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 24, 2008, 21:01:54 EST
However, gun carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is.  Note that in Boring7's example there is no mention of legal carry with the gun, while the law degree is itself a legal document.  Granted, even legal carry is more likely to cause a violent crime than a law degree is, seeing as its near impossible for a law degree to cause such.

Actually, a law degree might make you more likely to be targeted for violent crime(more people will have motive to hate you)...
The law degree is not causing the crime, nevertheless, and even if it did, the probability is minimal enough to be ignored, whereas the frequency of which a legal carry results in a violent crime or suicide is much, much higher.

carrying a gun on the other hand makes you more able to defend yourself from violent crime, and can actually abort violent crime in progress without bloodshed. (example: http://www.kfsm.com/global/story.asp?s=9541680 )
I am aware of stuff.  That does not change the fact that law degrees do not directly facilitate violent crime, whereas guns do.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 24, 2008, 21:58:51 EST
Can't say I really agree with you.  Certainly I think that many crimes have a low risk of getting caught, but serious consequences if that happens.  I'm not convinced though that the risk-reward situation is that bad.  Certainly where I live the police (the Gardi) are not too sharp.  Had I no morals I would become a criminal, the possible repercussions simply aren't bad enough to be worth worrying about.
I seriously doubt it would work to your benefit.
Well, you're entitled to your own opinion.  But do you really think that the criminal justice system is functional?  My view of the UK and Ireland at the least is that it is not.
Functional enough.  Just as everyone thinks they are the competent driver, everyone thinks that they could be the competent criminal.  However, being a criminal is equivalent to gambling.  You might succeed in the short turn, but those few who are capable enough to succeed in the long term are probably busy doing non-criminal things for a living.

Granted, I think there are about 3 different kinds of crime we could be talking about, all ones with profit based motives:
1. Minor Thefts, things like Shoplifting, Thievery, and other such actions.
2. Electronic Crime, other Scams
3. White Collar Crime, including Embezzling, Insider Trading, or other simply negative skills that aren't officially crimes yet.

Because 3 is not properly regulated and treated as the threat it is, if not outright being supported by corruption, it is more successful than the others.  It is my perspective that in is in the interest of the general public to make 3 less likely to be successful.

Certainly most criminals are not very smart or capable.  I think this though has a much simpler explanation.  Those who are smart and capable have much less reason to commit crime.  They can achieve their aims at lower risk.
I'm confused.  You seem to be proving my point.  Is that your intent?
I certainly accept that the risk of getting caught is one of the reasons that people do not commit crime.  I don't think though that with the feeble justice systems of today it is a particularly significant one.
I still say it is significant.  In the US, 2.3 million people are in jail and another 4.9 million on probation or parole.

The question was whether or not the prisoner's dilemma showed that its consistently to your benefit to work with society.
I don't agree with the supposed relevance of the prisoner's dilemma to this situation.  Normally the prisoners dilemma is about decisions to be made by certain agents.  Society is not an agent, it does not make invididual decisions.  It is a group, which is something completely different.
By work with society, I don't mean literally working with society, but with the countless people within that society you will meet and play games of the prisoner with, often many times with the same people.  It is consistently to your benefit to cooperate in those games, which means its consistently to your benefit to cooperate with society.  Same thing.

Seeing as those who work with society tend to be winners, I say that answer is yes.
In light of you recent post on the pay of executives I find this comment somewhat ironic.
How so?  Executives are currently able to do defect decisions on their dilemmas and succeed, this results in net losses for society, I wish to implement laws that prevent them from doing so, in order to improve society.  Seems pretty straightforward.  Its not that they won by making other people lose, but that it was done in a non zero sum way, IE if a CEO gets a bonus that requires 5 workers to be laid off, those 5 workers are no longer able to be as productive, while the CEO probably gained minimal productivity, if anything they gained more ability to be unproductive to society.


Perhaps you are trying to say that defect is a better choice than cooperate for sufficiently stupid or incapable people.  I find that extremely doubtful to be true, and the only reason the people who make the choice to defect in that case think otherwise is because they are stupid and incapable.  Note that such adjectives do not have to remain true, it is in society's power to change that, they can't, because of the problem of them already having said adjective.
I don't really agree.  I think that it is in the interests of very many people to become criminals.  They don't not because they are afraid of the consequences but because of the moral codes they follow, for one reason or other.
In today's society, no.  I see the cameras in the stores, I see the policemen patrolling and watching, and I know the statistics.  Most people who commit crimes will get caught, mainly because they will commit multiple crimes and eventually run out of luck, then lose everything they gained.

Also, I think that capable people tend to be more moral.  Since, most types of morality put some emphasis on working.  And people who work generally become more capable.
This, combined with your previous statement, is rather disturbing.  It seems, like much of Randian philosophy, an excuse to ignore those less fortunate, saying that they are immoral and foolish and brought it upon themselves.
For many of the so-called working-class that is what I think, though not all.
I agree that many of the working class are immoral and foolish and brought their fate upon themselves.  I also think that many of the upper class are equally immoral and foolish and did not earn their fate in the slightest.

In actuality, many of these people were never given a chance, and simply sank into the bog at the bottom of society.  At this point, they will tend to continue to ensure their own doom, but that was not their fault nor their choice.  Society was the one that gave them the raw deal, and it is society that has the power to pull them back out.
How?
Look at Sub-Saharan Africa for an example of an inescapable societal sinkhole.  Ours is not as big or as deep, but it is there.

Regardless of that though what I was talking about was something rather different....  In most cases moral codes encourage both obeying the law and working. 
Some of them.  Religion is the most common foundation for morality, and it typically supports whatever allows it to survive.  In a cooperate-cooperate society, it will support cooperate, in a defect-defect society, it will support defect.  It is not capable of engineering proper morality, only a product of it.

The same reason I do anything, to make myself happy.  Winning arguments is enjoyable.  While in theory converting you to my perspective might make society run an iota better and give me a return, but mainly, its winning the argument, or at least learning to refine my own arguments.
Oh, for sport.  Fair enough.  To be honest though when I've talked to you in the past you don't seem like you do it for sport.
In debate, you are generally supposed to advocate your points with vigor.  Also, I'm probably going to end up doing arguing/information gathering for a career, so I better be putting my energies into it.
Fair enough.  Hope you don't become a politician :)
Charisma was my dump stat, so no.  Physical stats aren't so good either.  I really shouldn't have spent so many points on Int.

Stuff
What I'm complaining about is the way this is done, not that it is done.
The problem is that it has to be done that way, for it is intrinsic.  Like it or not, interference in private affairs is necessary, even if their is the slippery slope danger, just like what is true for torts.  It is our job to be informed and watch the government for those slips.

Unless they spot violations of the law, law enforcement won't even know they need to do something.  Unless you want the policeman to start watching the corporations themselves.  That sounds really orwellian awesome.  I'd rather keep the bureaucratic and police powers separate, rather than end up with a setting where the choices are Judge Dredd, Oligarchy, Anarchy, or any of them paired.
I don't think you understand how this sort of thing works.  Modern regulatory agencies are not like law enforcement.  They deal with the application of rules.

The recent Madoff case gives a good example of this.  In 1999 the SEC were warned about Madoffs activities.  Articles were written in major investment magazines exploring whether Madoff's fund was a confidence trick.  They seem not to have investigated it.

This tallies with my experience of regulatory agencies.  What they are interested in is making sure that those they regulate adhere to various rules and make correct filings with them.  They presume that by doing so they will prevent crimes from occuring, even though fulfillment of the rules often doesn't gaurantee that a crime hasn't occurred.  (Also infringement of the rules often doesn't always mean anything terrible has occurred either).

What they should do is behave more like the police, act as investigators of crime.  Doing so would not require Orwellian powers.  Much of what financial services companies do is public knowledge.  Also, precautions could be put in place similar to how the ordinary police work, by requiring search warrants for example.  These precautions are already in place in many countries.
Perhaps.  However, I think such will still necessitate considerable interference.  Police don't merely react to crime reports and investigate, they set up video cameras and patrol regardless, and such in addition to catching crime also deters it from occurring.

However, while the enforcement may be different, the problem is the same, and I find the white collar criminal remaining unwatched no more palatable than the shoplifter,
That is not what I am proposing.  This situation is not analogous to shoplifting.
That wasn't the point.  My point was the both are significant problems that justify government interference.

and will perhaps lead to significantly worse consequences.  Unless you have another solution, I think that it is pretty clear that the customer being left with a few safe choices is better than the customer being left with many dangerous ones.  Given the clear facts that without action being taken, their will be dangerous choices, and we know the customer will often pick them, causing a ton of damage.  Sure you could say this could be taken to extremes as the government takes ever greater control over what the customer is allowed in an attempt to protect, but we have no choice but to plant our flag on the icy slope.
How though do regulations make the transaction significantly safer?  Any provision that a regulator asks for in a trade can be requested by the customer.  In fact that is how most of these sort of regulations originate, as common contract terms.

The contract terms are matters for the customer and the supplier.  The laws role is not to dictate what they are but to give some protection to both sides from fraud.
Um, isn't that exactly what the regulations do?

Also, apparently, your customers seem to be adhering to the French model of rational choice theory, the one you denied with vigor.  In the real world, the customers do not have access to the knowledge of what regulatory requests they should be making in order to prevent fraud or other major problems.  Allowing those customers, who are still capable and productive members of society, to be screwed because they don't have a law degree in addition to everything else they know, is not a good choice of action.

For example, would you say that because some Torts are frivolous and wasteful, that people should be banned from filing Torts?
No.
Then why not the same for Regulations?

I just read a Libertarian not long ago who basically said just that, for a paper I was writing on Wyeth v. Levine.  Which I find odd given that a second ago Libertarians were about the freedom of the people, but it seems as though it keeps turning into freedom of corporate douchbags to stomp on the people as much as they want.  Getting offtrack there, the main point is that just because Torts can be taken to extremes doesn't mean they should be banned altogether, it is necessary for us to find a compromise on it, even if it could potentially slip out of balance.  It is the same thing for government regulation.  You will never be able to find a clean solution with neat dividing lines ensuring the limitation of government power.  It just isn't going to happen.
Well, I agree with you there.  I think though that regulations have got out of hand though.  Law enforcement agencies should concentrate on the more general parts of the law.
Deciding where the regulations should be is reasonable, but you and other Libertarians have repeatedly protested regulatory presence to any extent in a wide range of areas.

Many occurrences of corporate fraud are helped by this sort of regulation not prevented by it.  Most US companies are incorporated in Delaware.  Delaware have setup their laws to make shareholders weak and management strong.  If shareholders were permitted scope to negotiate contracts with their boards of directors then it is likely they would not permit their position to be as weak as it is.  Thankfully Delaware company law has been revised quite a bit recently.
That just shows that there should be universal rules across all states regarding companies made by the federal government.
Why though would federal government make a better job of it than state government.  Governance of companies should not be something decided by government.  Rather the rules should be laid down by those who own the company, the shareholders, subject to reasonable general laws.
Is it reasonable for people in Minnesota to be subject to corporate law in Delaware?  People should be entitled to have political control over the Corporate Law that affects their region, since Corporations are multistate, Corporate Law must be on the Federal and not state level.  I thought multistate network stuff was one of the few things the Federal Government was clearly specified to have control over, after all.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Bringerofpie on December 25, 2008, 16:14:48 EST
I just want to put it out there, lawyers look over contracts, review employee handbooks, and perform many other services that can't really be seen as negative.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 28, 2008, 19:02:28 EST
perform many other services that can't really be seen as negative.

Guns are used in wildlife conservation, personal protection against violent criminals, deter crime, and other services that can't really be seen as negative.

An attitude I don't really like, espoused here by for example Wodan, is that someone who's law-abiding, has been background checked and thuroughly vetted, has been trained and aproved, etc, will suddenly be more likely to commit crime because he or she carries a firearm. I don't think I've ever heard of a CHL/CWL holder use his firearm to commit crime, but areas where such is legal typically have LESS violent crime than areas where it is verboten.

If there's any exception to it, in normally law-abiding citizens commiting violent crime with a firearm, it's crimes of passion, which typically means it's targeted against the spouse, and then, usually in the home, and thus legal carry has no bearing on it. Countries with no carry allowed have it happen, and if there's not even a gun in the whole country, well, there's always kitchen knives.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 28, 2008, 20:45:38 EST
An attitude I don't really like, espoused here by for example Wodan, is that someone who's law-abiding, has been background checked and thuroughly vetted, has been trained and aproved, etc, will suddenly be more likely to commit crime because he or she carries a firearm.
I said that someone who's law abiding, has been background checked and thoroughly vetted, has been trained and approved, etc, is the only person I trust to own a firearm.  The problem is that is not what actually happens.  I do not want guns to be banned, I want them to be treated with the utmost carefulness.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 28, 2008, 21:33:29 EST
An attitude I don't really like, espoused here by for example Wodan, is that someone who's law-abiding, has been background checked and thuroughly vetted, has been trained and aproved, etc, will suddenly be more likely to commit crime because he or she carries a firearm.
I said that someone who's law abiding, has been background checked and thoroughly vetted, has been trained and approved, etc, is the only person I trust to own a firearm.  The problem is that is not what actually happens.  I do not want guns to be banned, I want them to be treated with the utmost carefulness.
Not what actually happens? It's required for CHL/CWL.

Then again, there's those rough and rowdy places where you can carry openly without a licence, you know places like: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia, and Vermont. Heck, Montana lets you do it at age 14.

A hundred bucks to your one that montana has a lower death by firearms per capita rate compared to oh say california, new york, or washington.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 29, 2008, 01:27:03 EST
Not what actually happens? It's required for CHL/CWL.
Um, you are kind of stating the obvious.  My concern is not with guns that are properly licensed, but for firearms at gun stores that have a tendency to "disappear" only for them to later show up at crime scenes, much like how firearms bought at gun shows tend to circumvent the rules as well.  I don't care about when the rules are followed.  I care about when they are not.  Which is far too often.  Hence, the rules need to be enforced a bit harder till they get the point.

Then again, there's those rough and rowdy places where you can carry openly without a licence, you know places like: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia, and Vermont. Heck, Montana lets you do it at age 14.

A hundred bucks to your one that montana has a lower death by firearms per capita rate compared to oh say california, new york, or washington.
Could you not resort to strawmen?  I don't think that's the right word for the logical fallacy that you are using in a semi-joking manner, but its 1:24 AM here so cut me some slack.  Montana has a lower death by firearms per capita rate because it has more hunters and less crime ridden ghettos.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Kaerius on December 29, 2008, 16:29:58 EST
Then again, there's those rough and rowdy places where you can carry openly without a licence, you know places like: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia, and Vermont. Heck, Montana lets you do it at age 14.

A hundred bucks to your one that montana has a lower death by firearms per capita rate compared to oh say california, new york, or washington.
Could you not resort to strawmen?  I don't think that's the right word for the logical fallacy that you are using in a semi-joking manner, but its 1:24 AM here so cut me some slack.  Montana has a lower death by firearms per capita rate because it has more hunters and less crime ridden ghettos.

The point <-

You <-

Even though yes, that is indeed the conclusion I would make as well.

I was:
a) Referencing that letting people carry doesn't raise crime, or cause ordinary people to go craaazy.
b) Alluding to difference in perception of guns having a much larger impact on such. Note how the states with stricter gun control laws have more violent crime, which caused which is not mine to say though. Note however that the UK, after _completely_ banning handgun ownership(some hunting rifles are still legal to own), firearms deaths have gone up. Restricting it by law does not keep it out of the hands of criminals, only out of the hands of the law-abiding.

The country with the most guns per capita in the world btw? Switzerland. Deaths by firearms? Near nil(probably more in military accidents than crime, and they have no standing army, other than the vatican guards, with their halberds).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: Medivh on December 29, 2008, 21:31:49 EST
I was:
a) Referencing that letting people carry doesn't raise crime, or cause ordinary people to go craaazy.

That would be the straw man.

b) Alluding to difference in perception of guns having a much larger impact on such. Note how the states with stricter gun control laws have more violent crime, which caused which is not mine to say though.

Well that's just the point. You're arguing that there's some causality between "loose gun control laws" and "low rates of violent crime". The laws are the only part we can directly influence, so the causality is implied through that.

Never minding that places with tighter gun control laws are likely to be highly urbanised, and places with looser gun control laws are likely to be more rural.

Note however that the UK, after _completely_ banning handgun ownership(some hunting rifles are still legal to own), firearms deaths have gone up. Restricting it by law does not keep it out of the hands of criminals, only out of the hands of the law-abiding.

A saying that has much traction with the anti-gun-controllers. However you've not backed up your assertion.

I've got one of my own: Since Australia's own introduction of gun control laws, no massacres have occurred. No-one has has the ability to kill four people at a time. In fact, it was big news (http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200706/s1954052.htm) when one person was shot recently. Occupied the front page for days, even.

Source (http://www.usyd.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=513)

In fact, the only citations I've found that say that the Australian gun control laws were a bad thing are websites that advertise for Ann Coulter. And they refuse to back up their figures too. And the articles look suspiciously cut and pasted...

The country with the most guns per capita in the world btw? Switzerland. Deaths by firearms? Near nil(probably more in military accidents than crime, and they have no standing army, other than the vatican guards, with their halberds).

Try again. Apparently Switzerland has an unusually low rate of homicide, and as such, nearly 40% of all murders are done with a gun. This is almost as bad as the US. Australia, by comparison, has the same metric at less than 17%.

Most gun crime is done with stolen, or otherwise illegal, weapons. Tighter control of ownership and transfer is in aid of swifter identification of these illegal firearms.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Pity the conservatives
Post by: wodan46 on December 29, 2008, 22:35:57 EST
a) Referencing that letting people carry doesn't raise crime, or cause ordinary people to go craaazy.
Where have I suggested this?  All I have suggested is that before we grant people the right to carry, we actually check to see whether or not they are craaazy.  Those who sell firearms have made a habit of using loopholes and other underhanded methods to sell guns to people without giving them a background check, in addition to selling guns that are basically illegal.

b) Alluding to difference in perception of guns having a much larger impact on such. Note how the states with stricter gun control laws have more violent crime, which caused which is not mine to say though.

Note however that the UK, after _completely_ banning handgun ownership(some hunting rifles are still legal to own), firearms deaths have gone up. Restricting it by law does not keep it out of the hands of criminals, only out of the hands of the law-abiding.
I would request a statistic to prove such.  From what I understand, firearms deaths have decreased there, in favor of knifing.  Britain, unlike the US, is in a far better position to outright ban guns, seeing as they are A, smaller, and B, on an island.

The country with the most guns per capita in the world btw? Switzerland. Deaths by firearms? Near nil(probably more in military accidents than crime, and they have no standing army, other than the vatican guards, with their halberds).
The Swiss also don't have much in the way of ghettoes, seeing as they have an isolated, insular, population, that has not had armed conflict in centuries.

Look, what do I have to say?  After recently being intellectually sucker punched on the issue of gun control, I don't support banning handguns to any degree, but nevertheless, I demand that rigorous standards be adhered to.  Selling automatic weapons to people off the books or at gun shows is bad.  Selling guns of any sort to people without background checks is bad.  That's it, nothing to it.