Public vs. Private

This is a forum for discussing philosophical theories of government and social structure. It is not a venue for partisan rants or plugging favored candidates.

Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 4th, 2017, 8:32 pm 

Trying to get back on topic...

There is a major separation between those who think government knows best and those who think individuals should have more control over their lives. Perhaps neither is up to the task.

Bill Bonner wrote this last month:

"Large groups of people do extraordinarily pig-headed things from time to time.

Republicans can drive a car more or less as well as Democrats or Communists. Of the millions of autos on the road, driven by Rosicrucians, Rotarians, Riverkeepers, and all manner of people with all manner of ideas, there are relatively few accidents.

Making their own decisions about their own lives, people of all sorts get along passably well – even when they are driving automobiles at high rates of speed with a Democrat headed right for them. They obey simple, general rules – keep to the right (or left!) – and decide the minor details for themselves.

Usually, they get where they are going. But trust these people with public affairs and there’s a good chance you’ll wind up driving tanks through Poland.

The human brain is well adapted to driving a car and to looking out for itself. Without conscious thought, it makes life and death calculations on a second-by-second basis, for the most part successfully. But it evolved while living in small groups without the abstractions of large-scale, modern, public life.

The ability to do abstract thinking, or to understand the dynamics of large groups, was unnecessary. That is probably why the ability to do this kind of thinking is so rare. The typical brain is not equipped for it. Ask the human brain to coordinate the ordering of a pizza for a family of five, and the results are outstanding. Put it to work on Obamacare, NSA snooping, firearms control, or public finance, and the results can be astonishingly silly.

Ambitious people pretend this isn’t the case. They feel it is their responsibility to read the papers and try to understand the headlines. They identify the hero, the villain, the love interest, and the conflict. They root for the good guy, curse the guy in the well-tailored business suit, and pray their side will win.

They cannot imagine a team without a captain or an army without a general or a war without a victor. They need to think someone is in charge — someone who can win this struggle against an uncertain fate.

Few people can stomach the idea that public life is out of the conscious control of the authorities in whom they have placed so much faith. They lack what Nietzsche referred to as an “amor fati”… a faith in, and an affection for, fate. People don’t like fate. Fate is the bad stuff that happens when no one is in charge, when chaos reigns.

Instead, they believe in the ability of right-thinking experts to “do something” to bring about a better outcome than fate had in store for them. They want a leader who will slay their enemies and bring the home team to victory. They want officials to deliver up full employment, someone else’s money, the America’s Cup, and free beer on tap 24/7.

They want someone in the driver’s seat who will take them where they want to go.

But where do they want to go? They don’t know. And history is largely a record of fender benders, sideswipes, and pileups on the way there – a place, it turns out, they really shouldn’t have been going in the first place.

History ignores the trillions of very good decisions made by private citizens in their private lives.

We don’t see the calculations of the boatmen, bringing their barks to shore just before the tide turns. We hardly notice the bowman who sends his arrow to a spot just a few feet in front of a racing rabbit. Nor does history spend much time on the brakeman who carefully brings the 11:07 a.m. from New York to a halt directly in front of travelers standing on the platform at Pennsylvania Station in Baltimore.

But the competence of the brakeman, boatman, and bowman makes us overconfident. If we can bring a train to rest at exactly the right spot, why not an economy? If we can impose our will, by force, on a rabbit… why not on Alabama? If we can drive a car, why not a whole society?

It seems reasonable enough. And it agrees with our core intellectual bias – well-established since the time of Aristotle and re-established during the Renaissance – that we are able to see, understand, and direct our future.

But if that were true, history would be a lot less colorful than it is. What actually happens is that people take on big projects. And fail miserably.

For instance, the people of nation X demand cheap bread. The government assigns its finest minds to the project. Soon, people are starving.

Military history offers plenty of examples of strategic miscalculations, misunderstandings, and gross recklessness. These various buffooneries appear antiseptically in the historical record as simple “errors.” But they are errors of a special sort.

They are the kind made when you undertake large-scale projects in the modern world using brains evolved and adapted for much smaller problems."
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 4th, 2017, 8:58 pm 

What does all that mean?
Abolish traffic lights?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
d30 liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 4th, 2017, 10:39 pm 

Personally I have seen places where traffic laws aren't followed well and I personally know far too well what happens when perfectly rational and responsible people believe they haven't had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel. And in fact, I know that most drunk drivers make it home safe most of the time. But sometimes it only takes one mistake, one bad decision to result in catastrophic results. Of course there are plenty of examples where government intervention could and should be eased. But sometimes it needs to be ramped up. Not long ago I heard someone complain about how Canadian laws on fishing were so restrictive that it was hurting the tourist industry and that Canada should loosen the restrictions to be more like the US. But then another avid fisherman pointed out that perhaps so many Americans come up here to fish because there are still fish here to catch - thanks to the laws and restrictions.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 4th, 2017, 11:00 pm 

Another question.
If people can't do anything on a large scale, how come so many airplanes, satellites and skyscrapers keep not falling down?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
d30 liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 12:49 am 

Forest_Dump » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:39 am wrote:Personally I have seen places where traffic laws aren't followed well and I personally know far too well what happens when perfectly rational and responsible people believe they haven't had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel. And in fact, I know that most drunk drivers make it home safe most of the time. But sometimes it only takes one mistake, one bad decision to result in catastrophic results. Of course there are plenty of examples where government intervention could and should be eased. But sometimes it needs to be ramped up. Not long ago I heard someone complain about how Canadian laws on fishing were so restrictive that it was hurting the tourist industry and that Canada should loosen the restrictions to be more like the US. But then another avid fisherman pointed out that perhaps so many Americans come up here to fish because there are still fish here to catch - thanks to the laws and restrictions.


I actually went and looked up the fishing regulations in Ontario. They are fairly complicated but I'm guessing that the restrictions on larger fish is a result of slow growth rates and the desire to develop a trophy fishery?

Much of the fishing in the US has become a put and take kind of fishery for some species trout and walleye being the most evident. For these species reproductive rates will not sustain heavy fishing pressure. Obviously I'm not an expert on fishery management but it does seem the limits are often pretty generous in the US in general. On the other hand there is a healthy catch and release ethos for some species such as Large Mouth Bass. What is interesting I would say is that the catch and release ethos can be generally associated with a certain social economic class. The more educated economically successful people seem more inclined to be adopting the catch and release ethos. The less educated seem to be more inclined to fish for species that are generally considered consumable commodities such as Crappie and Catfish.

Having fished all my life I would say the biggest problem is population growth and the popularity of fishing. Take Crappie for example 30 years ago most lakes had a creel limit of 30 with a possession limit somewhat higher. Today the same lakes have creel limits of 15 as the norm with possession limits of 30. Keep in mind that these are all reservoirs not natural lakes. Natural lakes and older reservoirs tend to not be as productive as new reservoirs which is something that has to be taken into account. There have been no new reservoirs built in recent years so I have no experience with how that may effect limits. Old or new it is apparent that the farther south you go the reservoirs are more productive and have higher creel limits in general. For example in Texas the Crappie creel limit is generally 25.

Last year I ran into a immigrant from Indonesia. He seems to have been caught up in a situation where failing to adhere to the creel limits can be painful. He told me he was one fish over the limit and ended spending the night in jail. Now I suspect there was a bit of racism involved but it is also true that I have noticed that certain groups of recently immigrated poor Asians seem to not learn or obey fishing laws in my area. The lifetime residents with low educational status seem to be as indifferent to creel limits but are less open about violating them and are especially indifferent to possession limits. They simply have learned how to violate the law with little risk of punishment. My guess is that the fishery managers are under a lot of pressure to keep creel limits high as to not unnecessarily criminalise people who are poorly equipped to adapted a catch and release ethos.

My point is that the situation is much more complex than it may seem at first glance. I would suggest that the same social economic issues that US fishery management face contributed to the collapse of the Canadian Newfoundland cod fishery. To be fair the major contributor was changes in technology but ecological ignorance played a role. Canada's Environment and Sustainable Development commissioner recently stated that there are currently 15 additional fish stocks that are in danger of collapse. Whether or not this is an example of the tragedy of the commons it does illustrate that resources that are not privately owned are treated differently than those that are. That does not mean that private owners will act responsibly and that is not the argument I would make. My argument is that people that are economically successful tend to be more responsible with the things they care about. The same people that would cause economic carnage in areas that are exploitable will fight tooth and nail to keep their beach front property pristine. It is easy to be an environmentalist if you can afford to be one. I'm not suggesting that the people that abuse local sport fish stocks are doing so out of need only that they do not feel they are a part of the wealthier society that has always saw fishing as a sport and not a source of food. In general we now see that the richer nations have better environmental laws and a healthier environment China being example A. Many of the nations now crying about environmental issues have hypocritically exported much of their pollution and slave labor needs to China.

The best way forward it would seem is to make everyone wealthy enough that they feel they have skin in the game. Daniel Dennett asked his students what would it take for you to make a contract with a robot. The answer is the robot has to have something to lose. You can't have moral agency if someone else is manipulating your decisions.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 9:10 am 

There is a lot there that I could comment on but I won't since I don't agree with anything but will just point out a few things.

One complication is that in the areas where there was (so I am told) a significant drop in fresh water fish populations prior to more recent restrictions, there has always been First Nations populations who face no restrictions on what they would take for food. (Well there might have been some restrictions but they were never enforced and couldn't be.) But that was and is still a low pressure even when FN people use nets, etc. Extra fish is given to elders. Commercial fishing is definitely a major contributer to pressure on fish stocks.

Big, trophy sized fish also lay a lot more eggs at a time. There are defiitely a lot more around. I know a place or two where you can pull the car over and catch tropy sized pike on almost every cast.

The Newfoundland fishery is different because most of the Grand Banks are out in international waters so there are still European factory boats out there that do not come to shore. I hear about it every so often because I have family down that way and I even get the odd photo. Seems even when they drift into Canadian waters, the Feds wouldn't prosecute because of other diplomatic concerns that involve international trade, oil, immigration deals, etc.

Couldn't agree more with the idea of making people more wealthy so they have more skin in the game, feel better about the world, are more educated, etc. which leads to more support for environmental protection and a healthier world (and I would say less radical politics including less terrorism). Of course the question is how do we get there from here.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 5th, 2017, 11:08 am 

During a brief youthful phase where I tried the "sport" of fishing, a friend and I fished for crappie one time, caught and cleaned about 20, and then learned an important fact: crappie taste like s__t. (hence the name?) Any socioeconomic group that believes crappie are a food source needs our immediate help. Seriously, it's so important that the Tragedy of the Commons be a basic part of everyone's education. Not just something the affluent learn about in college.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6859
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 11:46 am 

Forest_Dump » February 5th, 2017, 8:10 am wrote:Couldn't agree more with the idea of making people more wealthy so they have more skin in the game, feel better about the world, are more educated, etc. which leads to more support for environmental protection and a healthier world (and I would say less radical politics including less terrorism). Of course the question is how do we get there from here.

Open the borders.
Abolish standing armies.
Institute universal female control of reproduction.
Shut down religious institutions.
Enforce anti-trust laws.
Outlaw usury and profiteering.
Ban private ownership of natural resources, especially water.

If that's too radical, just do this:
Free enterprise by confiscation to the public purse of large cash gifts and legacies by wealthy people to their offspring - so that every generation starts on a level playing field.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 5th, 2017, 12:20 pm 

Serpent » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:46 am wrote:
Open the borders.
Abolish standing armies.
Institute universal female control of reproduction.
Shut down religious institutions.
Enforce anti-trust laws.
Outlaw usury and profiteering.
Ban private ownership of natural resources, especially water.

If that's too radical,


That's an understatement.

just do this:
Free enterprise by confiscation to the public purse of large cash gifts and legacies by wealthy people to their offspring - so that every generation starts on a level playing field.


If it were possible to divide the entire world's wealth evenly, where everyone started on day one with "a level playing field", the distribution would be slightly uneven by day two. And as uneven as it is today within a few years.

Because having money does not make a level playing field if the skill of the players varies.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 1:01 pm 

Serpent wrote:Open the borders.
Abolish standing armies.
Institute universal female control of reproduction.
Shut down religious institutions.
Enforce anti-trust laws.
Outlaw usury and profiteering.
Ban private ownership of natural resources, especially water.

If that's too radical,


I would say beyond radical to much much worse than any despot to date. I wonder how quickly traditional, native peoples would disappear and what level of misery they would have to endure before they did? Natural resources and any conception of a "wild" would also be gone pretty quick. I actually am n favour of more and stronger borders to protect diversity, promote capitalism and competition, including protecting peoples from competition if they wish and of course protect religious and other philosophical diversity. The key is always how it is done and how we go about protecting and even compensating the inevitable losers.

Paul Anthony wrote:
Serpent » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:46 am wrote:
just do this:
Free enterprise by confiscation to the public purse of large cash gifts and legacies by wealthy people to their offspring - so that every generation starts on a level playing field.


If it were possible to divide the entire world's wealth evenly, where everyone started on day one with "a level playing field", the distribution would be slightly uneven by day two. And as uneven as it is today within a few years.

Because having money does not make a level playing field if the skill of the players varies.


I do think there is some merit to looking at the inheritance issue. I think it was in Japan that inheritance was taxed so that the kids could get a very healthy amount, the grand kids could do well but the great grandkids would hardly see any. The desire to pass something more onto your kids and grandkids is, IMHO, understandable and healthy both for the individuals and society. Why else does anyone work to create a better world and who should be the judge of what metric is to be preferred by us all? But I also certainly think that there needs to be some impetus to work and strive, not just for yourself but for others. I also know it is and wouldn't be all that easy. It is universal to believe that some important things are inherited. Many of us do believe that native peoples, for example, inherit (or should) certain rights, etc., and I think most of us accept that citizenship into one country or another is a right that is inherited. There is a healthy baby somewhere in the bathwater and we do nee to work to figure out what best to do, not simply adopt some half baked jingoistic idea just because it popped out like a Trump tweet.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 5th, 2017, 4:31 pm 

Serpent,

Regarding open borders, you might find this interesting.

"All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.”

No, it's not the latest tweet from President Trump. It's from a speech made over 20 years ago by Bill Clinton.
Last edited by Paul Anthony on February 5th, 2017, 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Braininvat liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 5:11 pm 

If all power continues to be entrenched in the same small elite, and all the wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, everybody else has to keep getting poorer.
If private companies own all the resources, the trees will be cut down, the rivers will be poisoned, the farms will be parched and the natives - along with the settlers - will be dispossessed.
If religious megalomaniacs keep forcing babies on people who can't feed them, the human race will keep growing more crowded, angry, sick and hungry.

Because change that might actually change something is unthinkable, the species is unviable.

Because having money does not make a level playing field if the skill of the players varies.

See, this is the most common misconception: conflating the field with the players. People very often say they want free enterprise, while in fact advocating a system where a hereditary aristocracy makes all the rules and owns all the land; where inherited wealth controls government, business and banking. They say they want competition so that "hard work" and "talent" are rewarded, while supporting a system where the most reward goes to people with no talent who make pots of money by owning things. They point to the one-in-a-thousand exceptionally talented, ambitious and ruthless or lucky individual who becomes successful in spite of an underprivileged start and say "You want him to give up some of his hard-earned fortune to a lazy bum?" while ignoring the 985 ordinary people who work hard and stay poor so that their silver-spoon bosses can swan around in private jets to exclusive ski resorts.

Playing field means the setting in which a competition takes place, not the ability of the competitors.
I doubt you'd admire the winner of a 100-meter race who started at the 90-meter mark, no matter how fast he was.

PS What makes you think I care what Clinton said? I was talking about how it might be possible to raise the level of general wealth. He was talking about safeguarding his own privilege.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
d30 liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 6:54 pm 

Well we do have a wide diversity of options here that must be a good sign :-)
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 7:15 pm 

I agree with Serpent that establishment of a true meritocracy is a worthy goal. I agree with Braiinvat that are educational system is not teaching basic economic principles. I agree with Paul Anthony that it is important to regulate immigration.

It's Forest that presents the greatest challenge. Why we are interested in preserving stone age cultures is not clear to me. At the same time I recognize that there are social justice issues that have to be addressed when dealing with first nations.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby d30 on February 5th, 2017, 7:39 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 5th, 2017, 12:31 pm wrote:Serpent,

Regarding open borders, you might find this interesting.

"All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.”

No, it's not the latest tweet from President Trump. It's from a speech made over 20 years ago by Bill Clinton.


Paul, dang it, where's the source of that quote you claim is from Bill Clinton? - so we can affirm you didn't get it from a questionable site or other source, accept it without scientific, skeptical, critical eye, and pass it on without verification, a bad habit of unscientific masses of our people past and present, now heavily amplified by the Internet, substantially complicit in the severe, unprecedented trouble our nation and world are consequently in.
d30
Member
 
Posts: 246
Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Location: San Diego area


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 5th, 2017, 7:50 pm 

User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 8:27 pm 

wolfhnd wrote:It's Forest that presents the greatest challenge. Why we are interested in preserving stone age cultures is not clear to me. At the same time I recognize that there are social justice issues that have to be addressed when dealing with first nations.


Its not so much about preserving stone age cultures. Its about preserving people's right to choice. You may well enjoy living in some city or suburb and if thats your choice, fine by me. You may prefer to live by American or Chinese communist values and culture. Again fine by me. I don't want any of those choices and don't want yours imposed on me.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 8:56 pm 

Of course. Nobody wants anything imposed on them,

yet, as long as we give unbridled power to self-interested entities, they impose all kinds of things on everybody. The churches did unquantifiable harm to native peoples everywhere - probably even more than the armies and commercial monopolies - yet you insist that doing away with those things would be bad for native people.

What would be good?
Last edited by Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 9:07 pm 

Serpent wrote:What would be good?


Letting people make their own choices. Clearly it would surprise you that many of the First Nations people that I know who were victims of some of the worst crimes in residential schools are devout Christians. Others find healing through traditionalist religion and values. And it works. Why would you want to take away something that gives meaning and healing to people just because it is not your thing?

The crimes committed in the residential school system were because other people wanted to impose their values and beliefs on First Nations people. It sounds very much to me like that is what you want to do.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 9:21 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 5th, 2017, 8:07 pm wrote:
Serpent wrote:What would be good?


Letting people make their own choices.

That would be good, yes. If it were possible.

Why would you want to take away something that gives meaning and healing to people just because it is not your thing?


Wasn't about my thing, or anybody's thing, or what I want.
The question was: What would raise the level of wealth for everyone?
Taking power away from the most concentrated bodies of organized, systemic oppression would increase both the wealth and choices available to all the people of the world. Obviously, nobody wants that, including the people who would most benefit.
Therefore, I suggested the next best thing, which is possible: break the cycle of inherited wealth and power.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
d30 liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 9:31 pm 

Forest_Dump » Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:27 am wrote:
wolfhnd wrote:It's Forest that presents the greatest challenge. Why we are interested in preserving stone age cultures is not clear to me. At the same time I recognize that there are social justice issues that have to be addressed when dealing with first nations.


Its not so much about preserving stone age cultures. Its about preserving people's right to choice. You may well enjoy living in some city or suburb and if thats your choice, fine by me. You may prefer to live by American or Chinese communist values and culture. Again fine by me. I don't want any of those choices and don't want yours imposed on me.


But the situation is not one in which nothing is being imposed. Canada is set to spend 8.4 billion on aboriginal issues over the next 5 years. It is not even entirely an internal issue as Canada is spending less than half of what it's NATO agreement requires. Then there is the issue of deficit spending which is a tax on future generations who had nothing to do with current conditions and don't get a vote.

I'm not equipped to argue the merits of consequential ethic or virtue ethics but there are practical considerations that must be addressed. The U.S. has 200 trillion in paper obligations and 50 trillion in real assets. In other words a lot of the wealth that gets distributed is only theoretical. The disconnect between real goods and services and actually wealth is a matter of concern. If the banksters ponzi scheme collapses it will create real hardship especially for those least financially secure. The U.S. situation is not unique and some European nations are in worse shape when unfunded liabilities are taken into account..

Before government took on responsibility for everyone's financial security then the idea that everyone could live as they choose was not entangled in a web of competiting obligations and esoteric ethical issues. But it isn't even that simple because people are more dependent on and interconnected than ever before. In such a system the bar for ethical standards and the obligations to materially contribute to the wider society are substantially higher than in a more primitive environment.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 10:02 pm 

Serpent » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:21 am wrote:
Forest_Dump » February 5th, 2017, 8:07 pm wrote:
Serpent wrote:What would be good?


Letting people make their own choices.

That would be good, yes. If it were possible.

Why would you want to take away something that gives meaning and healing to people just because it is not your thing?


Wasn't about my thing, or anybody's thing, or what I want.
The question was: What would raise the level of wealth for everyone?
Taking power away from the most concentrated bodies of organized, systemic oppression would increase both the wealth and choices available to all the people of the world. Obviously, nobody wants that, including the people who would most benefit.
Therefore, I suggested the next best thing, which is possible: break the cycle of inherited wealth and power.


How about baby steps before we create a dystopia.

I would argue that the 60s generation moved from being sociopathic hedonists to corporate and political sociopaths fairly easily. While the clean cut middle class kids were making civil rights a reality the dope smoking hedonists burning down college buildings gave us Nixon.

In a democracy when radicalism is a signal of virtue liberalism becomes tyranny.

It also isn't clear that those that inherit wealth are the worst offenders. Take the Nazi collaborator George Soros for example. He was not born rich. To cover his crimes in the eyes of many liberals all he had to do is support Hillary. His entire fortune is based on sowing chaos to profit from it. If you don't believe in civilization then chaos may be your cup of tea. I believe however that orderly transition is preferably accept in the worst imaginable situations.

What is broken cannot be fixed overnight. If you look at Occupy Wall Street you can see how focusing on unrelated and radical proposition do more harm than good. OCW was taken over by the same kind of degenerates that destroyed the anti war movement in the 60s.

There will be a time to be radical if the forces of darkness are able to establish an authoritarian identity regime. In the meantime we can focus on reform. I would start with the banking and investment sectors not inheritance. It is a delicate game however as they tend to pick up their toys and in it for everyone when threatened.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 10:08 pm 

wolfhnd wrote:But the situation is not one in which nothing is being imposed. Canada is set to spend 8.4 billion on aboriginal issues over the next 5 years. It is not even entirely an internal issue as Canada is spending less than half of what it's NATO agreement requires. Then there is the issue of deficit spending which is a tax on future generations who had nothing to do with current conditions and don't get a vote.

I'm not equipped to argue the merits of consequential ethic or virtue ethics but there are practical considerations that must be addressed. The U.S. has 200 trillion in paper obligations and 50 trillion in real assets. In other words a lot of the wealth that gets distributed is only theoretical. The disconnect between real goods and services and actually wealth is a matter of concern. If the banksters ponzi scheme collapses it will create real hardship especially for those least financially secure. The U.S. situation is not unique and some European nations are in worse shape when unfunded liabilities are taken into account..

Before government took on responsibility for everyone's financial security then the idea that everyone could live as they choose was not entangled in a web of competiting obligations and esoteric ethical issues. But it isn't even that simple because people are more dependent on and interconnected than ever before. In such a system the bar for ethical standards and the obligations to materially contribute to the wider society are substantially higher than in a more primitive environment.


Of course I see it as being about paying your bills. If you enter into an agreement to buy or rent a property, you don't get to simply stop paying just because you say you can't afford it. Now of course I do know it is not always that simple but it isn't really that much more complicated. When new immigrants arrive they should be explicitely told that they are assuming these debts and, just like if you don't like the rent in an apartment, they need to be prepared to leave if they don't accept the costs. Isn't that what you expect from immigrants in other areas of North American culture? If you don't honour your debts, etc., how can you expect anyone else to? I definitely think everyone can pay more taxes (and some more than others). But the bottom line is we all have to respect our debts and the deals made. Otherwise aren't we all kleptocrats?
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2017, 10:48 pm 

Changes certainly need to be gradual and my sympathies for the value of inheriritance is defnitely linked to my belief in the rights of First Nations peoples. Many of these people have certainly been screwed over for centuries (and some a lot less having come into direct contact with EuroCanadians or Americans within OUR lifetimes) by deals (treaties, etc.) that the immigrant cultures renege on whenever it is convenient (politically expedient, pragmatic, or whatever term you prefer). It might seem logical to Serpent to wipe out native peoples properties and rights just because he thinks these are inherited. It might seem ethical to Wlfhnd or Paul Anthony to renege on deals made in the past to avoid a tax increase or a debt you yourself didn't vote for. But sometimes thats the price you pay in life.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 5th, 2017, 11:02 pm 

wolfhnd » February 5th, 2017, 9:02 pm wrote:
How about baby steps before we create a dystopia.

Before? We've had a hundred dystopias, one making treaties with another or war on it, or both.
Sure, go ahead. Be as babyish as you please. Take your time. What's another couple of millennia?
Fact is, nobody's going to do anything at all. It was a mere hypothetical. I gave the most extreme example of action that might actually be effective, precisely to show that nothing can be done.

Forest_Dump --- It might seem logical to Serpent to wipe out native peoples properties and rights just because he thinks these are inherited.

Hey! I said don't let private corporations own the water and minerals. Don't let people take other people's money through a lifetime and then hand it down to their privileged, useless princelings. I said nothing about taking away tribal or national rights.

And, again, for heaven's sake, I didn't think any government was ever going to have those powers or the will to carry out any such extreme measures. Hypothetical means of raising the level so that everybody gets to put some "skin in the game" - whatever that means.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 5th, 2017, 11:21 pm 

Thanks for the clarification Serpent :-)

Are you really as angry as you sound or is it for effect. Don't get me wrong it is ok to be angry I'm just curious.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2017, 12:17 am 

wolfhnd wrote:Thanks for the clarification Serpent :-)

Are you really as angry as you sound or is it for effect. Don't get me wrong it is ok to be angry I'm just curious.


The angry communist thing remainds me very much of a former member called Alf I believe.

Serpent wrote:I said nothing about taking away tribal or national rights.


You most certainly did:

Serpent wrote:Open the borders.
Abolish standing armies.
Institute universal female control of reproduction.
Shut down religious institutions.
Enforce anti-trust laws.
Outlaw usury and profiteering.
Ban private ownership of natural resources, especially water.


Without defined and defended borders, how do you define what is tribal or native lands and what is not? If these borders are open, how do you prevent French or English settlers (colonists could also include Muslims, Mormans, or any other kind of corporate group) from encroaching and building their own Trump towers? And here's the real onion. If rights to membership is not inherited, how do you define who is a member of a tribal or national group and who is not and thus, how do you keep their rights intact without granting the same rights to all and thereby erasing any distinction?
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 6th, 2017, 2:09 am 

I'm a capitalist that doesn't believe in private property :-)

The written social contract of a pastoral tribe says Thou shall not steal but no where does it say thou shall not tax and regulate. Ownership is about the exclusive use of or control of something. There are two types of things, tangible physical objects like land and abstractions such as money. There are things you are not allowed to do with physicals things like build a poorly constructed damn that could drown your neighbors or cut off there water rights, there are things you are not allowed to do with money like pay people to revolt against the government. It is hard to imagine there has ever been a time when you were allowed to do whatever you wanted with your property accept in some cases where people had no neighbors but even then I'm not sure. In this sense private property itself is an abstraction or social construct. As Daniel Dennett likes to say free will is real it just isn't what you think it is and in this way private property is real it too is just not what most people think it is.

I mentioned free will because it is the key to understanding the social contract that established private property. There is always a social contract that establishes private property because it is the consensus of the population that makes it possible. Your ownership is enforced by the government and it's agents the police, the army, the law makers and courts. In the absence of free will no social contract can be made because there would be no moral agency. Those unable to have privacy property are those that are not competent to make a contract. The very young, the insane, alcoholics that can't operate automobiles, criminals who can't possess firearms, or anyone else who has proven incompetent at conforming to a contract.

In practice communism tends to destroy moral agency by replacing personal responsibility with collective responsibility. How can you hold society responsible for the crimes it commits? The same problem exists in any democracy when the tyranny of the majority violates the rights of individuals. Even more fundamentally private property should be seen as a responsibility not an absolute right. You only have the right to operate and automobile if you do so within the guidelines laid out in the social contract. This is where we get into the bright lines issue. All laws are arbitrary as in you can't drive before you are 16 regardless of your competency to adhere to the contract. What we strive to do is increase responsibility by extended rights to their practical limitation.

People have found ways around the social contract. The most grievous to me is the ability of corporate managers, bureaucrats, investors, bankers, politicians, and others to avoid personal responsibility by passing it off to an entity that has no skin in the game. Just as you wouldn't make a contract with a robot we should not be making contracts with other entities that have no moral agency. We don't make contracts with the government but with the moral agents that make up society. The government is not a moral agent either in theory or in practice it is the robot of the will of the people.

I understand it is only an abstraction that the government is the free will of the people but money is just an abstraction as well but I know no one who would say money isn't real so I will burn it. In the same way a corporation may not be a manifestation of the free will of the stock holders and that is why the management of the corporation and the members of the government must be held personally responsible for the actions of the corporation and the government.

We have laws to decide when the social contract has been broken but we enforce them very unevenly. The privileged are often not held to the same standards as the general population. For example there are people in prison for less serious violations of the secrecy laws than those Clinton violated. Sometimes a jury may decide to grant someone amnesty to express a discontent with what they see as a greater injustice such as was the case with O.J. Simpson. If any of us had been as careless with the funds of others intrusted to us as the investment bankers were with the prime mortgages they were intrusted with we would be in prison. If friends of mine from Europe crossed the border into the U.S. the way millions of Mexicans do they would be deported or worse. The first thing we must do is enforce the contracts that already exist evenly or we in effect deprive everyone of moral agency. Promises are worthless without punishments.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4736
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 6th, 2017, 10:20 am 

wolfhnd » February 5th, 2017, 10:21 pm wrote:Thanks for the clarification Serpent :-)

Are you really as angry as you sound or is it for effect. Don't get me wrong it is ok to be angry I'm just curious.

I'm not angry about the state of the world and the hopelessness of humanity - merely resigned and sometimes sad. I do get frustrated when people read what I haven't written.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3143
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2017, 10:41 am 

Serpent wrote:I'm not angry about the state of the world and the hopelessness of humanity - merely resigned and sometimes sad. I do get frustrated when people read what I haven't written.


I can understand that. My own frustrations sometimes come from people who don't think through their positions and planned actions. In fact, I think that is why the US got Trump and why Trump is doing some of the things he is doing. Just a lack of thought and an unwillingness to recognize the consequences of your actions on people.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8799
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


PreviousNext

Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests