About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread


Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 0

Thursday, June 6 - 2:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Accepting the problems in even measuring GDP, if we just mean the overall wealth of a society, then like 1% ought to be enough, generous even, given that the government would benefit from the same conditions as everyone else: it's gold, etc., gain value over time, so it takes less money to achieve the same things.  Also, the general increase in prosperity would benefit the government: lightbulbs instead of candles, and all that.

We here already generally agree (I think) that while the government maintains a "monopoly" on retaliatory force, nothing precludes private services in this area, granted that they all subscribe to the same over-arching body of law.

Thus, the basic function of government would be law-making, which is far less costly than law enforcement.  Once all the right laws are made, how often can you need a new one?  The courts would be the major function, with legislation and administration reduced to miniscule proportions.




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 1

Thursday, June 6 - 3:53pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mike,

Good, albeit quick, analysis. I created the poll after witnessing a descriptive paragraph of Greece on the internet.

The descriptive paragraph categorized Greece as a capitalist country with a public sector comprising 40% of the GDP. That didn't seem quite right to me. For instance, would those same authors have categorized Greece as a capitalist country if the public sector had comprised 80% of the GDP? What about 100%? If 100% of the GDP came from the public sector, then could you still call the country "capitalist"?

Is the concept of capitalism so large that it would encompass things like a huge public sector, interventionist bailouts, nationwide "phone tapping", etc.?

A lot of anguish and strife stems from playing fast and loose with words and concepts. In many -- if not most -- cases, it is intentional dissemble/evasion. More often than not, someone is siphoning either money or power or both -- when words are misused like they were in this descriptive paragraph. Words like capitalism, fair, class, investment, God, social justice, and the like, are thrown around at others like way back when in the school gym, where kids take sides and play the childish game: Bombardment.

Not much value can get produced under such circumstances.

Ed




Post 2

Thursday, June 6 - 3:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I selected 1 - 10%. I'm not sure about the 1% Michael suggests since military defense is expensive... but it would be a good goal. The costs would include legislative and administrative functions, and in particular, law enforcement (police, jails, prisons, criminal courts, etc.), and civil courts, as well as the military defense. (I'm assuming we are talking about both Federal, state and local costs).

The costs would come down not just as we approached the goal of minarchy, but once achieved, it would come down some as we became ever better at exercising it.

Then the costs would come down still more because the educational, and motivational aspects of such a culture would tend to reduce crime, and over a longer period of time, as a result of this grand experiment, I suspect that fewer other nations would continue to maintain large military structures, letting us lower our military defense costs as well.



Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 3

Thursday, June 6 - 4:47pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed,

I agree with your take on Greece. Certainly there is some limit as to how much money can flow through government and still have something that can reasonably called Capitalism.

And there must be some factor to be applied to that percentage that relates to the way the government spends the money. For example, if it made loans to small businesses that would be bad for the economy compared to letting private lenders handle that function, but it would not be as bad for the economy as sending an equal amount to foreign nations as aid, or giving it out as unemployment checks.

And there is also the burden of regulations. And the abuse of the tort system. Both are government artifacts that drain away private funds, and diminish future innovation.

There are also the harmful effects of inflation, and the ugly effect of massive government borrowing - effects both on the current markets that are drained of capital, and on the future markets that will bear either the inflation or taxation needed to cover that borrowing.

I look at the economies as farmers and their seed corn. The farmers harvest this years crop, put away enough seed for next year, and sell the rest to cover costs and make a return on their capital and effort. If for whatever reason they were to spend the coming winter eating their seed corn, spring would present them with an unpleasant reckoning.

To make the model account for government, imagine they are taxed, and if the taxes get to high, then they won't be able to put away a full field's worth of seed corn which means shrinking production in the future. Whether the seed corn is eaten by the farmer, or taken by the government, it will not change the destructive results.

Inflation is where the government sneaks into the grainery during the winter and steals some of the seed corn leaving the farmer somewhat bewildered about why his future production has become so unpredictable.

And borrowing is where the government makes the farmer send them some of the seed corn, not this year, but next year - as if putting it off will somehow change that fact that it will be a bad year when their isn't enough seed corn to make a crop. Can anyone in their right mind not see that borrowing 40 cents of each dollar government spends signals a terrible crash in the near future?

And regulations have the effect of making farming into a process that takes more pounds of seed corn per acre with each new regulation than it did before.

Tort laws that permit lawyers sue farmers and win settlements, even when no harm was done the defendant, are another way that raids are done on the seed corn.

When the farmers are only able to sell this years crop for enough to cover costs and retain just enough seed corn to plant the same next year as last, then they are at an absolute break even point. Add some regulations, increase some taxes, do some government borrowing, inflate the currency some, let the bad lawsuits continue... and the seed corn is being eaten and next year there will be less planted, and less harvested. It is a downward spiral. The government is eating everyone's seed corn.



Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 4

Thursday, June 6 - 7:37pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The sign of an efficient government, to me, is an ever decreasing % of GDP (asymptotically approaching some low %).

Folks glomming onto OPM via the public sector (not necessarily members of the public sector)look at it differently, and are the folks who introduced the concept that the overhead of government -should- be normalized to GDP: I don't accept that at all-- except under models where the government is actively supposed to 'run the economy.'

That was the failed Soviet model. To the extent we emulate their model, we are failing, too.

Government spending via taxation is not 'stimulus.' Government spending via taxation is government taking money from all, turning that money around and giving it back to some, and demanding that folks hand over value/stuff for what was just taken from them. Eliminate the back and forth, and the net is, 'government demanding value/stuff from the economies.'

That can't be net stimulative; it is a drain on the economies and those who create value.

Government spending via printed money is not net 'stimulus.' It is demanding value/stuff from the economies in exchange for paper with wet ink.

Government spending via borrowed money is not net 'stimulus.' Not a single human being anywhere in the world wakes up the next day after an increase in debt with any incentive to created -new- value and paydown that debt. ANd so, the paper with wet ink handed to those that the government just demanded value from turn around and face economies where there is a deficit of value equal to the total amount of government borrowing and printing.

Even the economic definition of GDP is rigged, a political argument not based in fact:

GDP = P + G + INV + (E-I)

In that equation, a dollar of Private spending is equivalent in all respects to a dollar of Government spending, is equivalent to a dollar of private Investment.

Why, all the government would need to do is print a qaudrillion dollar bills and 'spend' it -- G -- and we would say that our GDP was a quadrillion dollars. That is nonsense; there is no value associated with the Government printing and spending a quadrillion dollars that is 'produced.' Government spending does not induce value from our economies (by sucking it downhill.) It merely dilutes the scoring in units of circulating dollars chasing value.

That is hardly in evidence; P - G + INV + (E-I) is closer to reality.

Necessary G is necessary overhead, not 'product.' What shred of reasoning there is behind that equation (with a dollar of P equal to a dollar of G) is something like "Well, they spent it, so someone must have produced something."

Nonsense. Go work for a large defense contractor and see how government money is thrown around by the wagonfull. The scoring of what is 'produced' is scored using vastly inflated dollars... which then get dumped into our economies. The net result is exactly as it must be, exactly as we observe; a gradient of opulence spilling out into every nook and cranny-- you cant hide that tsunami of OPM-- centered around DC, expropriated from the balance of the nation on its ass. This is -exactly- what is going on today.

regards
Fred









Post 5

Thursday, June 6 - 7:54pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
How they think.

True story. My wife is on local school board, 140M budget.

By referendum a few years ago, an 0.3 mil tax was approved(by a slight majority) to subsidize a local public library. This was added to the local school tax and administered by the school district.

The county just reassessed all the property in the county, and redefined their criteria. As a result, the district, in order to be revenue neutral cut its millage rate by 2/3. What was about 40 mils is now about 13 mils, and raised the same revenue. (In case you didn't notice, it means that in the future, a 1 mil tax increase is three times as large as it used to be, but will still be called a 1 mil tax increase...ie, increasing the slow boil.)

The local library, however, thought it was going to maintain its 0.3 mil tax...and get a nearly 3 fold increase in tax revenue in just one year. The district said 'not so fast...we need to adjust your millage just like we adjusted ours, to keep this reassessment revenue neutral. Otherwise we are screwing over the taxpayers; they didnt' approve three times what you're getting, that is an artifact of the old millage and the new property assessment formulas.(Used to be 50% of FMV, now 100% of FMV, but at same time, new assessments to current FMV, resulting in a tripling of the real estate valuu base in the county.)

Now get this; the library folks are suing the District; they insist they should get the windfall and keep the same millage. Talk about 'don't get it.'

Their argument is that, because the referendum approved a millage, that is the millage that applies.

My wife has suggested a new referendum for the fall; one in which taxpayers will be given the opportunity to increase, keep the same, cut by a third, or totally eliminate the subsidy to the library. Live by the referendum, die by the referendum.

But this raises a question, which I totally don't get. Say 55% of the district wants to fund the library, and 45% don't. Screw government, why don't the 55% just cut a check and send it to the library? Why doesn't the library charge fees? Why are the unwilling 45% beat over the head with supporting something they don't want to support, just because there was a vote? Privatize it for the use of those who want to support it. Why must -everything- be made 'public' -- which means, shoved down the throat of 45% by 55% of us?

That is the ethics of gang rape. That is what pure democracy is; gang rape. Hey, we had a vote. Bend over.

We do this with -everything-. We should do it for almost -nothing-.

regards
Fred



Post 6

Friday, June 7 - 7:43amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Democracy seems natural enough and most of the world endorses it one way or another, either as reality or pretense.  But historically, different tribes organized in different ways. Anthropologists need classification schemes to understand them all. 

The American government is unique in being thought out from first principles.  We accepted democracy as a primary of social living.  But we had a frontier.  That allowed people who did not want to go along to go somewhere else -- and yet maintain contact. Utopian communities were common - the Shakers, the Mormons, New Harmony, Amana. (Most were unsuccessful. The Amana  group decided to go into the kitchen appliance business as a community venture.)  Robert V. Hines's California's Utopian Colonies is a classic catalog.  So, there is no end to the alternatives.

We see this still in the various organizations of city governments. Mayor-council plans and city manager arrangments take many forms.

But largely, we agree, that if you live some place, you get to vote, but that by so doing, you agree to abide by the outcome.

That said, we have another tradition: One nation, under God.  According to military protocol, no flag flies higher than the American flag, except the chaplain's pennant when services are being held.  It means that even the government is subject to a higher moral law, which individuals understand through the conscience.  So, we have civil disobedience as a tradition.

It would take science fiction to describe a purely individualist society where - as Fred painted it - 55% voted Yes without making the other 45% go along.

Realize also, that among the key issues behind the Revolution was not taxation per se.  Taxes in 1776 were one-fourth of what they had been in 1763.  It was the lack of representation.  Paying taxes is how you buy in to the process.  The founders wanted to pay taxes.  Many were merchants.  But merchants rent their homes or own small city lots, while farmers pay taxes on land.  Land remains real estate because it is the only real property.  Lacking land, many of the founders of the republic sought to pay "poll taxes." 

If the slogan "taxation is theft" were accepted, wealthy people would have moved out of town - which they did, but for other reasons - and then resisted annexation - which largely they do not: they want police, fire, water, sewer, schools and libraries.

Free market libertarian theory suggests that all of those can be privatized.  But the fact remains that they are deep within our common culture.  And at root is the idea of majority rule (with minority rights).




Post 7

Friday, June 7 - 8:00amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Steve, it costs $100,000 a year to keep someone in prison because the system is fundamentally socialist. But privatizing prisons is morally wrong.  In ancient Rome, they had "free market tax collection."  The Roman army showed up, took over your city, and called in the richest people. The rich people then bid for contracts to collect taxes.  The disciple Matthew was a tax collector.  You would not want the IRS to follow such a "free market" model.  The same applies to prisons.  They are something that no one should have the right to do. 

Similarly, I have suggested that a "limited" constitutional government could expand to whatever size it wanted, starting with the premise that if the government runs the military, then the military should be allowed to build its own weaponry. In fact, the Springfield Arsenal did just that.  Then, we had the Manhattan Project. 

On the downside, the Indians had repeating rifles bought on the open market while the cavalry still relied on single-shot breech loaders - better than muzzle loaders, at least.

Military expenditures are what they are because of the mentality behind them.  It is a basic philosophical problem in first principles. 

Imagine our national defenses if Telsa had been given the contract.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 6/07, 8:03am)




Post 8

Friday, June 7 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,
Steve, it costs $100,000 a year to keep someone in prison because the system is fundamentally socialist. But privatizing prisons is morally wrong.
I'm not following you on this at all. There seem to be only a few ways to deal with criminals (and here we're talking about people that threaten to initiate force, actually use force, or engage in theft or fraud.) They can be fined, if they have money, or take away their possessions. They can be locked up. A country could make an arrangement with some other country to accept them as forced expatriates. They can be executed. And some cultures are fond of some form of physical punishment (cutting off of hands, whippings, etc.)

I presume you don't believe that government doing NOTHING would be a workable solution - am I right on that?

As to the prison system being socialist... I don't think that makes sense to categorize it that way.

As to the $100,000 per year per prisoner, I'd make arrangements to have Mexico, or some other third world country maintain our prisons for all longer sentences. But there would still be a cost and I don't see a way around that - not one that serves the goal of creating an environment that is as consistently free of force, fraud and theft as possible.
-------------------------

We've already had that discussion on the military making their own guns, their own roads, etc., etc. Then, as now, I don't find any compelling argument that government CAN NOT BE LIMITED because any permitted function (e.g., military defense) could then grow itself, and thereby the government to any size at all. I think that is a case of treating words as having only a very tenuous connection to reality by dropping the context of "what is needed to accomplish the purpose, in the most reasonable fashion, and no more." If I work at a company, at a job that requires me to make notes, in pencil, of this or that event, that would not reasonably justify my acquiring all the raw components needed to build a pencil factory.



Post 9

Friday, June 7 - 3:28pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
We pretty much agree on what the government is morally empowered to do.  We are looking at ways to keep the costs down.
There seem to be only a few ways to deal with criminals...   They can be fined, if they have money, or take away their possessions. They can be locked up. ...  some form of physical punishment (cutting off of hands, whippings, etc.) 

I presume you don't believe that government doing NOTHING would be a workable solution - am I right on that?

My zeroeth point is that I do not propose answers.  I have none; but I do see some suggestive lines of reason and experience that might prove beneficial.

To take the last point first, it is possible to do nothing.  Storms destroy property and we largely do nothing about them.  We certainly do not try to punish them.  The anthropomorphic fallacy is assuming that all featherless bipeds are rational animals.  In fact, the so-called "insanity" defense recognizes rationality as a precondition to justice. 

That actually raises a different question: if an entity is not rational - like a rabid dog, or really, any canine, rabid or not - we just kill them when they become unmanageable.  It might be acceptable to kill any child who harms an animal, as cruelty to animals correlates directly and strongly with later harms to humans.

That then opens up the "horse whisperer" approach.  Maybe we just do not know how to communicate with such individuals.  Clearly, the usual modes did not work.

We do know that violence begets violence. Punishing someone without more to it than that is just brutality. They plan revenge and usually find it in hurting still other victims. 

Braithwaite's theory of "Reintegrative Shaming" seems to work.  It has been operating at the Redhook Community Justice Center for over a decade, at least, maybe 20 years now.  Recividism is low.  But the process requires that the perpetrator confront their victim and apologize. 

That said, though, I once found a book of photographs of perpetrators and victims who met.  It was not always a tearful reconciliation. As I recall, in at least two cases, the perpetrator (one of them a rapist), laughed derisively at his victim. 

"The" problem may be trying to address it as "a" problem.  People are individuals.  Thus, individual outcomes would seem to be required by individual cases.  We must have some standard of judgment and action, of course, but an objective standard is not an absolute standard. Kantian deontology is absolute. We know that does not work well - and in fact Kant insisted that it be followed regardless of how well it actually worked. 

As to the $100,000 per year per prisoner, I'd make arrangements to have Mexico, or some other third world country maintain our prisons for all longer sentences. But there would still be a cost and I don't see a way around that - not one that serves the goal of creating an environment that is as consistently free of force, fraud and theft as possible.
We could just reduce the costs by paying guards ridiculously low wages, feeding prisoners next to nothing, and housing them hardly at all.  We tried that for a hundred years.  It did not work out well.  Spending more is not the answer, either.  My point was only that we throw money at a problem with no substantive understanding of its roots and remedies.  Prisons are a failure mode.  If you want a history of prisons, I can provide one, but the facts are out there, albeit often hidden in books. 

You seem to think that "criminals" are a class of people who can somehow be differentiated from "ordinary" people, or "good folk."  Indeed, some can.  I think that much crime is genetic.  I think also that much crime is learned.  Much else is freely chosen.  Some people who are "naturally violent" find socially acceptable outlets such as ice hockey and military service.

White collar crime is planfully competent, carried out by people with education, status, and privilege, with full intent and clear understanding.  Bernie Madoff can never repay the money he stole.  Should we just execute him?

Myself, given that his so-called "victims" were other people at his level who simply abandoned their obligations for due diligence, doing nothing is probably best.  Why bother to house him and feed him?  And he is being protected from his victims while in state custody.  All in all, I fail to see the need for his arrest and conviction. Madoff is a clear case where doing nothing would be appropriate.  

And, yet, on the other hand,  I point out that the early joiners in his scheme profited immensely for as long as 30 years.  Should they not be considered co-conspirators? 

Like I said:  I have no answers.  

I do suggest that if government were run by objective standards, it would cost much less than 10% of GNP.  The costs of government today are not merely the accidental consequences of poor implementation of otherwise sound policies. 




Post 10

Friday, June 7 - 5:20pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,
Like I said: I have no answers.
I noticed that. I also noticed that having no answers didn't tend to shorten your post. :-)
-----------

It isn't that complicated.

Those who initiate violence against others should be locked up. If they learn by that experience and refrain from violence when they get out, good. If not, then lock them up for a much, much longer time. I'm not interested in rehabilitating them, or punishing them, or measuring out justice, or making the victims feel whole. I'm only interested in making an environment that strongly favors individual rights. Initiate violence - go to jail. Simple.

Notice that it doesn't matter if crime follows genetic lines, or is caused by poverty, or is a response to poor upbringing. It doesn't matter if the people are legally sane or not - if they initiate violence, lock them up. None of this is for them, it is for everyone else. It is to free our environment of them.

You say that prisons are a failure mode. Not in the key sense of keeping someone who initiates violence out of our environment. To me, the recidivism rate is indicative of a couple of things:

1.) For some criminals, prison isn't a deterrent. Their standards of living quality are so low that it prison is close enough to being home. A prison of my design would have a TV in each cell with various educational programs running, but other than what's on the tube, it would be solitary confinement. No communications with others, no recreation, no library, no basketball court, no movie nights, no fun in the showers, no cell mate to make into a personal bitch, no conjugal visits, no weight training equipment, etc.

2.) If a person is convicted of violence after being released it is evidence they weren't given a long enough sentence the first time.

3.) Some criminals are never going to reform or learn. We need to be faster at identifying those and giving them life sentences.





Post 11

Friday, June 7 - 5:44pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Clearly, we have different philosophies, both called "Objectivism." 

Front Cover
Zehr to Be Recognized for Reconciliation Work
Posted on April 9th, 2003
Howard Zehr, co-director of the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University, will be recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of restorative justice.
The EMU professor is an authority on criminal justice and a professional photographer. He directed the first victim-offender reconciliation program in the U.S. and also helped to develop the theory of restorative justice based, in part, on a biblical understanding of justice. Because of his work and experience with this movement, which is now international in scope, he is considered an authority in the field.
Zehr joined the CTP faculty in 1996. Previously, he served 17 years with Mennonite Central Committee, working in areas of crime and justice in the United States and internationally. He has combined his writing and photography expertise in several books on criminal justice and victim-offender issues, including “Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims” (Good Books, 2001).
Many of the 39 victims that Zehr featured in the book were twice wounded – once at the hands of an assailant and the second time by the courts, where there is little legal provision for a victim’s participation.
“What victims need more than anything else,” Zehr noted, “is to tell their stories as a way of rebuilding their lives.”
http://emu.edu/now/news/2003/04/zehr-to-be-recognized-for-reconciliation-work/

Transcending: reflections of crime victims: portraits and interviews
by Howard Zehr. (Intercourse, Pennsylvania: Good Books, 2001)
Author Howard Zehr presents photographic portraits and the courageous stories of 39 victims of violent crime in this groundbreaking book.

Are victims of crime destined to have the rest of their lives shaped by the crimes they've experienced? ("What happened to the road map for living the rest of my life?" asks a woman whose mother was murdered.) Will victims of crime always be bystanders in the justice system? ("We're having a problem forgiving the judge and the system," says the father of a young man killed in prison.) Is it possible for anyone to transcend such a comprehensively destructive, identity altering occurrence? ("I thought, I'm going to run until I'm not angry anymore," expresses a woman who was assaulted.)

(GoogleBooks)





Post 12

Friday, June 7 - 7:58pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Yes, Michael, clearly we have different philosophies. Yours prompts you to post information on victim-offender reconciliation based upon Biblical theories of justice.

My approach is to lock up offenders so as to have fewer future victims.



Post 13

Friday, June 7 - 9:44pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mike and Steve,

If you two got along any better than this then my head would explode.

:-)

Seriously, it's really very entertaining for me (and possibly for others, too) to witness the back-n-forths between you guys. A lot of truth gets forged in the fires of conflict. I'm not be coy. No, scratch that. I'm being coy, but I'm not being mischievous. Okay ... somewhere between coy and outright mischief ... that's where I'm at. Mike is the type of guy who can take a "perfect" diamond and still find some kind of a flaw in the damn thing (being so details-oriented, or differentiation-oriented). Steve is a guy who is taken aback by people who act so as to appear to manufacture flaws in order to apply them to valuable ideas or things (being so values-oriented). 

Yes, Michael, clearly we have different philosophies. Yours prompts you to post information on victim-offender reconciliation based upon Biblical theories of justice.

My approach is to lock up offenders so as to have fewer future victims.
And a third approach is to lock up offenders so as to punish them for their crimes (to be primarily integration-oriented).

Ed




Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 14

Saturday, June 8 - 7:26amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael:

re: Democracy seems natural enough and most of the world endorses it one way or another, either as reality or pretense. But historically, different tribes organized in different ways. Anthropologists need classification schemes to understand them all.


Sure. But a gang rape is governed by [pure] Democracy. A vote was held. The victim lost. Clearly there are other principles involved in an ethical scheme of human interaction other than "we had a vote and the majority rules."

re:The American government is unique in being thought out from first principles. We accepted democracy as a primary of social living. But we had a frontier. That allowed people who did not want to go along to go somewhere else -- and yet maintain contact

Exactly. Federalism. The freedom to vote with our feet, to reward brilliance and punish stupidity in governance.

re: It would take science fiction to describe a purely individualist society where - as Fred painted it - 55% voted Yes without making the other 45% go along.

Or, a restoration of federalism. 50 State governments and countless local governments as the primary instruments of inward looking governance, with a federal government primarily looking outward(in our relations with other nations), and looking inward only when a local state experiment is getting jiggy with it, as in Eisenhower sending federal troops to Little Rock to turn the local NG bayonets round 180 degrees...

I don't accept for a minute that restoration of federalism is impossible in this nation. We just need to weed out the totalitarian sand in the gears of state and institutions of education, and once again, as a nation, think clearly about the issue of freedom.

regards,
Fred






Post 15

Saturday, June 8 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Fred,
re:The American government is unique in being thought out from first principles. We accepted democracy as a primary of social living. But we had a frontier. That allowed people who did not want to go along to go somewhere else -- and yet maintain contact

Exactly. Federalism. The freedom to vote with our feet, to reward brilliance and punish stupidity in governance.

... a restoration of federalism. 50 State governments ...
In game theory research, you can alter the dynamics of games wherein agents' values compete. If you make it so that 'the audience is captive', then bad results can ensue. Individuals can materially thrive on the defection against others. However, if you make it so that the audience is not captive, but can instead choose to withdraw from a subsection of the game -- then things don't go wrong. In other words, the ability to vote with your feet provides a backstop against the value asymmetries inevitably produced by tyrannical behavior.

It's sort of like the way kids divide a treat: one kid slices the treat into two, but the other kid gets to pick first. Like an unspoken contract: I will deal with you, but only on terms which happen to guarantee that you cannot exploit me. Our Founding Fathers used that logic. When utilizing such simple logic, things don't go wrong.

Ed




Post 16

Saturday, June 8 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Nice post, Fred. I particularly liked this: "I don't accept for a minute that restoration of federalism is impossible in this nation. We just need to weed out the totalitarian sand in the gears of state and institutions of education, and once again, as a nation, think clearly about the issue of freedom. I agree... and it only saddens me that it will most likely take longer than my remaining life (maybe MUCH longer) to clean that sand out - especially in the educational institutions.



Post 17

Saturday, June 8 - 9:58amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Steve:

Yes, when it comes to 100+yrs plus of nearly unfettered attack, that sand is more like sediment at this point.


Not a hose at this point, nor even a power washer. Dynamite, maybe.


regards,
Fred







Post 18

Friday, October 11 - 5:20pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The country-western duo: "Brooks & Dionne" was interviewed today (as always, on Fridays) on NPR. Robert Siegel cited Ben Carson's comments about the Affordable Care Act being the worst thing since slavery and then asked for responses. Brooks unsurprisingly dodged the question but the more straight-forward half of the duo, Dionne, said that the Affordable Care Act is a market-based solution to providing more health insurance coverage -- a fact which makes it absurd for Ben Carson to think that it might be, or even become, a national catastrophe approaching that of the catastrophe of slavery. 

What I want to know is, if the Affordable Care Act is a market-based solution, then what would a non-market-based solution look like? Would there have to be a government bureaucrat referring to you as a number, like this:
A-5437, please step forward to receive your allotment of government-approved health insurance. A-5437, please walk over to Line B where you will be receiving your daily dose of government-mandated vitamins. Do not talk to others and do not look government officials in the eye while you are here. ...
Would that be E. J. Dionne's answer to my question?

Ed




Post to this thread
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.