Sam Harris' new book isn't out until October, but his new arguments have already hit the public -- as outlined in his TED talk and ensuing articles (1 and 2) -- and are creating quite a stir. From the likes of our very own Massimo Pigliucci to physicist Sean Carroll (1 and 2), Harris has received two main criticisms: first, that he has not overcome Hume’s "is-ought" obstacle, and second, that the terms he employs to define his morality, "well-being" and "flourishing," are too vague to form the basis of any universal or objective morality.
This essay will not address the supposed "is-ought" problem. It will also not build universal definitions of "well-being" and "flourishing," or an objective secular morality (note: this is not an argument for moral relativism). Rather, this essay will discuss the universal understanding of morality. People might not agree on the meaning of terms like "well-being" and "flourishing," but perhaps they can agree that these concepts, however they are used, are the very concern of morality itself in its broadest sense.
The argument is that morality, and moral contemplation, is the domain of concerns for the well-being (generally, happiness and/or health) and flourishing (generally, the amount to which one is thriving, prospering, succeeding) of sentient and conscious beings. Morality is an expression of the desire for happiness and a good life. People promote their moral views because they want to live in what they think is a fair and civil society, for the benefit of themselves and others.
This is not meant as an exhaustive sampling, but consider some of the various moral systems. Many believe morality concerns doing what God commands people to do. Consequentialists or utilitarians, believe morality should be a function of weighing the outcome of a belief, decision, or action, for the greatest good. Virtue ethicists, put central focus on the moral character of a person, while promoting certain values. Still others, deontologists, follow a moral system that sets certain principles and guidelines to follow (1). More generally, ask the man or woman on the street, and many will say that morality is about goodness for one's self and for others.
Now consider that even religious believers think humans should follow God commandments because they think it is best for humanity. Consequentialists aim to ensure the happiness and well-being for the most beings that can experience such. Virtue ethicists focus on moral character, and certain values, because they think this is the best way to foster a reasonable, just, and civil society, which they believe produces well-being for all. Deontologists argue that guidelines are necessary for a morally good society. Even someone like Kant, with his categorical imperative, had to believe his moral ideas were in the service of a more moral world. In sum, all moral systems, beliefs, and values -- religious or secular -- are generally about how to best treat other beings and how to form a better society.
This argument may not be convincing to you. As it is, there are three quality objections lurking around the corner that must be reconciled before this writer himself can be convinced.
The first objection is that morality is about truth. People don’t necessarily want well-being, but they think they are right, and will follow their beliefs regardless of the outcome. For instance, secular philosophers would not posit that society should embrace belief in God even if it was proven that it made society collectively happier or more civil (it doesn’t). Others might argue that religious believers are carrying out God’s will because they actually believe God wants them to do it, not because they think it is best for humanity.
But doesn't everyone think truth is the best path to take? Both groups in the above examples would be acting in such a way because of their belief that society is always better off for picking truth over superstition. We all believe we are right to believe what we believe. This is just how belief works. Nobody knowingly deceives himself or herself about their beliefs or asks others to do the same for the mere pleasure of the experience. Indeed, almost all people promote that the best way to believe is to base beliefs on evidence and reason. If faith were truly faith, theology would not exist. Indeed, even supporters of fideism employ reason to support faith.
The second objection is that morality is about power and control. This camp argues that many, or even most systems of morality have been created, sustained, and/or hijacked and used in the interest of maintaining power and influence over others. Creators of these moralities haven’t had in mind well-being or flourishing for anyone but themselves. Morality, thus, is a tool used by the powerful to control others.
There is no doubt this observation is true. But that does not mean morality cannot be accepted and used differently by the majority of those who adopt it. Far fewer people make, create or hijack moral systems than follow moral systems. Even if a handful of people can use morality to their own ends, why do the masses accept such morality? Because they believe it enhances their own well-being.
The third objection is that morality is more about sustaining community and identity. Morality, in this view, has been used to keep people of certain tribes together by way of common rituals and customs. Morality surely includes such things. But preservation of one's community and identity is in the very service of promoting well-being and flourishing for one's society and one's self. Identities are arrived at via a determination of the beliefs and values involved. By choosing certain ideas and traditions, one thinks he or she is doing better for themselves and their community.
Exceptions for these objections would do no harm to the thesis. Remember that the argument is about morality in its most universal sense. That people hold their moral views because they think they are correct in doing so in no way undermines this thesis, because being correct is at the core of well-being and flourishing for all sane people. That some people have created or hijacked morality for their narrow benefit does not suggest that the majority of people do not follow or use morality for different purposes, such as living a good life and helping others do the same. Morality might even be about well-being at a number of different levels for different people, from one person, to local tribes, and the global community. But this does not mean that in some sense people are not concerned with the well-being of a certain society and its members.
One more lingering objection helps bring this essay to a close. Some argue that moral contemplation, or what we call ethics, is more extensive than stated. This position argues that moral contemplation asks "what ought we do?" Well-being and flourishing, then, become axioms which one might want to define and work toward. Others might choose different axioms.
Yet moral contemplation does not usually weigh such questions as: "what ought we do about lunch, turkey or ham?" or "what ought we do tonight?" or "what ought we do about the car, which needs fixing?" Even if such questions were posed in the moral sense, they would involve the potential happiness and suffering of beings who are involved in those questions. The focus and concerns of moral conversation entail "what ought we do in regard to the well-being and flourishing of creatures that might experience pain and happiness?" All the different axioms one can select are in the service of working toward greater well-being and flourishing, however one defines those terms.
An over-abundance of subjectivity might bother some, but it needn't worry us here. Well-being and flourishing are surely defined differently by different people, and many systems of morality seem misguided and horrid to us. Yet, even though people have different conceptions of how to achieve well-being and flourishing, achieving these things is their moral goal. Further, just as the idea of secular moral philosophy does not fall because there are various conceptions of the best secular moral system, morality itself does not fall because people come to the table with different ideas and definitions about what a good moral system looks like. Remember, this is not a conversation about objective standards for moral beliefs and values, but instead, for a somewhat objective view of morality's broadest concerns and purpose.
Morality and moral debate must have parameters. A frame for our moral conversations will make clear what participants' moral beliefs and values, and reasons and justifications for such, should concern. Accepting that morality and moral contemplation centrally focus on the well-being and flourishing of (at least potentially) sentient and conscious creatures would at least get public discussion about morality between all the groups in our pluralistic society on some firmer, shared ground. From there, one could apply his or her objective standards. But without first setting a frame, people cannot engage in the defined, quality public dialogue that might lead to more objective moral truths.
(1). One need not pick from only these moral philosophies; one can consider them collectively. But many people find themselves more in one camp than another.
"Morality and moral debate must have parameters. There must be a general stance on the concerns of peoples’ moral beliefs and values. Without such, people cannot engage in quality public dialogue." I don't see this as necessary even for a "quality" debate. Your post here sets a certain agenda, which doesn't include words that I take to be of interest in this debate, "purpose" and "meaning". Those are perhaps obvious enough that perhaps someone else would think to include them before the cutoff for the committee's consideration, but what of more innovative ideas?ReplyDelete
Trying to set the agenda is a standard power play, right? Don't we have to decide whether it's moral to set an agenda before we set the agenda?
Getting "conversations about morality between all the groups in our pluralistic society on some firmer ground" seems problematic. Just the current conversation on the status of "truth" as a nexus of the modernist/post-modernist debate is at least a century old, but you seem to want to take "truth" as something of a centerpiece of the discussion on morality, to which I can only say "good luck" and doubt it will work out well.
Well, I won't go as far as Peter and say that your essay is a power play. However, morality seems to me to entail how we feel about situations and decisions on an emotional level. It's inseparable from what people think of conscience.ReplyDelete
When you get into the realm of abstract principles to guide behavior, aren't you talking about ethics? The problem is very few people rely on conscious, rational deliberation to make important decisions.
I'm afraid I agree with Peter that the chances of getting people to think more in terms of ethics than morality (getting them to stop conflating the two) slim.
As brilliant as Hume was, the 'is/ought' should only be a gentle reminder that these issues need to be carefully considered.ReplyDelete
Certain philosophers want to apply it as a universal, which seems silly.
Every move, every thought, could be considered in light of this distinction. Where's that going to get us except paralysis?
"The argument is that morality is the domain of concerns for the well-being (generally, happiness and/or health) and flourishing (generally, the amount to which one is thriving, prospering, succeeding) of sentient and conscious beings."ReplyDelete
Question: Do non-sentient beings fall outside the realm of moral discussion? For instance, is the health of the environment a moral issue only insofar as it affects sentient beings?
I bring up these questions because for many of us, not only how we treat other people, but how we treat everything in the world is to be thought about morally. I'm not sure it's helpful to look at all moral questions as a matter solely of human flourishing.
Another question: Need we concern ourselves with sentient beings that will live in the future, or those currently living only?
The answer to this question, in my mind, says a huge amount about how transcendent we take morals to be. Yet it doesn't seem fair to lump this question under the discussion of the meaning of well-being or flourishing. It seems we need an answer before even beginning the discussion.
Generally I agree that we need more rational moral discussion. But genuinely rational people will probably still disagree on what morality even means, and I don't think there's any avoiding that. In fact I'm not sure I'd want to avoid that.
Perhaps morality truly is subjective and moral philosophy is merely a competition of narratives to win over the undecideds?ReplyDelete
Then, I think, the question becomes, "What are the similarities and differences between these competing moral outlooks and where did they arrive from?"
Since we are discussing material brains that reached these outlooks and that were shaped by evolution (full disclosure, I have found no argument that culture isn't selected for convincing) and that resulted in these similarities and differences, Harris' argument is deeply empirically founded. Much more empirically based than any of the competitors that have been proposed to date (utilitarianism, deontology, divine command, etc.).
So maybe we should take it very seriously. Based on a naturalistic world-view, I believe it is the hypothesis that evidence demands be taken more seriously than any of the alternatives.
Maybe we should look at the "is-ought" argument as an "is-is" argument. Maybe there a reasonable consensus could be reached.
"The argument is.....sentient and conscious beings......"ReplyDelete
Welcome to being vegan, Mr. de Dora!
But doesn't everyone think truth is the best path to take? ... Nobody knowingly deceives himself or herself about their beliefs or asks others to do the same for the mere pleasure of the experience.ReplyDelete
Oh but yes! There are many so-called religious people on the record throughout history with variations on the theme of religion (and thus religion-based morals) being factually indefensible but necessary for the coherence and stability of society. This was a position of many antiquity philosophers and politicians, and it is a mainstay of today's religious apologetics (who admittedly, depending on the degree of self-delusion, sometimes do not consciously realize that it is actually unrelated to the question of the truth value of their religious claims). This starts with "but what if people need faith to be happy" and ends with "without Christianity, our society will collapse". In this case you can make the argument that they ultimately care about well-being, but they don't care about truth.
Conversely, it seems to me that many other religious people consider moral what their god commands, even if it causes suffering, end of debate. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that this is oriented towards well-being and flourishing because the ultimate goal is to personally end up in heaven rather than hell, especially if they embrace religion-based morals that cause suffering in others? Think god's-chosen-people; think human sacrifice of prisoners to Huitzilopitchli; think stoning of rape victims.
Maybe morals cannot be defined in a non-tautological way; maybe it does have to boil down to how we should behave, with the problem simply being pushed into the "should", because there just is no ultimate answer. Don't get me wrong, I consider people who follow a god's commands just because that is what it says to be dangerous lunatics; my point is simply that you cannot reach them with reasonable argument. And they are too many to just exclude them with your all sane people qualifier. Sure would be nice if we could just exclude the willfully ignorant, the insufferably stupid, the helplessly deluded, the dangerously insane and the deeply malicious from the discussion of those topics where they will not contribute anything useful anyway, but that would mean discussing every individual issue among 10% of the world population, tops. If you also exclude those who are completely unqualified and too uninformed to contribute, the number easily goes down by another two orders of magnitude, by the way.
There must be a general stance on the concerns of peoples’ moral beliefs and values. Without such, people cannot engage in quality public dialogue.
Maybe. Maybe that is the case. Your point being? This sounds like an argument from consequences, not like an argument showing the factually correctness of your position that there can be a general stance in the first place.
Mintman says_ "Sure would be nice if we could just exclude the willfully ignorant, the insufferably stupid, the helplessly deluded, the dangerously insane and the deeply malicious from".ReplyDelete
This type of elitism that has allowed the todays government to pass bills like the new healthcare plan. Forget the fact that the majority dont want it, its the moral thing to do. And after all the rest of us uneducated people just dont understand the moral value of everything you elitists are trying to do for us.
"I consider people who follow a God's commands just because that is what it says to be dangerous lunatics" - The greatest Republic was built with the understanding that its law must be founded in Gods laws. That its peoples rights must come from God and not other men, or that peoples rights are not what a concensus thinks is moral.
The actual Danger comes when when men like Obama and other liberals, who have looked to build the wall between church and government. They have touted the seperation of church and state. Now all of the sudden, they come forth with their new "Faith Based Inititives". Rule through the church and now you have the authority of God and Government.Obama is looking to be the new King Henry
Why write posts about the basis for morality. Your presupposition is that it cannot come from the supernatural. As long as that is true, there can be no constant, no absolute rules. No ground rules for debate. Nothing is fact. No ethic or moral or whatever you choose to call it can remain constant. It is debating something that can never be won or lost. I read this post (knowing full well I am in that insufferably stupid 90% Mint is referring to). When I am done reading I think that these posts on morality are just like the ones Massimo wrote 4 years ago (I havent read this blog in 3 years but used to post often). He is no closer to an absolute definition of morality that he was years ago.
Any lasting society must be built from a moral rock. How can you have just laws when the path for morality cant be even be debated by the helplessly deluded other 90% of us.
Even Thomas Jefferson, who was the one founder that had stong doubts of a creator, knew he must accept religion as a foundation for morality in order to have a maintainable the Republic.
Of course the last thing you guys probably want is a Republic. I know massimo loves the Socialists ideas. Society success and the peoples happiness (or satisfaction with their government) can be directly related to what the society has for laws and what its people have as rights. You cant build that from anything Massimo says here as a foundation. Athiests cant even remotelty begin to agree on what morality is or means or what it means to be ethical. people flawk to the US from other countries why? because we are a nation of just laws and rights that protects each person equally.
Mint just said that each person is not equal. that he is more qualified to debate morality than I am. The fact is Mint, you are indeed more qualiifed than I to debate this subject philisophically. But I am more qualiifed to bring just laws and rights to the people, because I believe the same exact things that our founding fathers believed. That a moral government roots its belief in God. Moral people follow the rule of God.
Where to start?
First, you seem to have a problem with reading comprehension. If you parse my comment carefully, you will see that my point was that the insane and ignorant cannot simply be excluded from the discussion, no matter what the author of this post wishes. We have the fellow humans around us that we have, and somehow we have to deal with them. So I was actually saying the opposite of what got you going.
Then again, yes, I am "elitist" in the sense that I feel it would be nice if people could at least inform and educate themselves and think a bit before believing they are entitled to an opinion. "Government hands off my medicare", anyone, just to address your rather random example?
Secondly, I am not an American, so I am understandably at least agnostic about the "greatest republic" accolades. I always wonder how many Americans would still say that if they ever visited Germany, Sweden, New Zealand or suchlike; you know, countries with a sound economy, a working infrastructure and less poverty. But I digress; what I wanted to say is that as far as I remember, Americans may correct me if I am wrong, your constitution starts as follows:
We the people... do ordain and establish this Constitution
GOD our LORD... ordains and establishes this Constitution
Thirdly, yes, faith based initiatives are silly. It would be much nicer if faith could be kept out of government business entirely, be it in the USA or in my country.
Fourthly, yes, I do in fact not believe that there are constant, absolute, god-given moral rules. Whether a lasting society must have them does not have any bearing on the question whether my belief is true or not, just as me needing a one dollar coin to start a machine does not have any bearing on the question whether I actually have such a coin at this moment. Seriously, why are so many believers pathologically unable to understand the difference between wishful thinking and reality?
Then again, we humans have always made our own morals, seeing as how gods simply do not exist, and so far we have prospered quite well. Even if you are under the delusion that the Christian god exists, you would have to realize dimly that there were thousands of years of human history before the cult was founded; and even if you are under the delusion that the world came into existence 6000 years ago, you would have to realize dimly that there are numerous societies on the planet today that do well without the morals supposedly given by your god, and they actually also consider stealing and murdering bad, again showing how superfluous your god is for the whole business).
"Sure would be nice if we could just exclude the willfully ignorant, the insufferably stupid, the helplessly deluded, the dangerously insane and the deeply malicious from the discussion of those topics where they will not contribute anything useful anyway, but that would mean discussing every individual issue among 10% of the world population, tops. If you also exclude those who are completely unqualified and too uninformed to contribute, the number easily goes down by another two orders of magnitude, by the way."ReplyDelete
Yes I get it, that your point is that you cant leave them out, but your reasoning is that it would be because it would mean your only discussing it with 10% of the population. So what, your the elite. Why do you need to include the deluded, insane and malicious that makes up the other 90%. Wouldnt the rest of us be better served if the elite like yourself just took care of defining morality without our deluded ideas about constant morality and the malicious idea that there is a God. (I am not really sure where you get malicious from? is it the the religious are actually more malicious than athiets?). Must be kind of like the super violent and racist Tea Partiers that the left is always talking about. Anyway, so yes, your awknowleging the rest of us must be involved, but implying that all would be better served if we were not. And that you indeed wish that it could be discussed without the other 90%. That is how the elite think. Just as you have freely admitted, you are elite. The reason I harp on it is because it is perhaps the most dangerous and immoral type of behavior. Others are less educated than you, but may have far more to offer in the subject of morality due to personal experience or just high intelligence. And my rather obscure example comes to mind, because I have a president that is an elitist just like you and is in the process of destroying what is left of my Republic because he knows better than the lowly Americians, the deluded 90%.
I'm sorry, but the whole elitism discussion does not play any role for me. Just vote for a different candidate - that's democracy. If, in your eyes, the idea that the people who are actually qualified to weigh a decision should be taken more seriously than those who aren't qualified is wrong, or that the most uneducated idiot in the whole country would make the best president, then we have an issue. Every sane person, however, wants those who serve a certain function to be the best at serving that function, and that is the only reasonable definition of the word elite.
By the way, there is an interesting tension between your venom directed at "elitists" supposedly deciding against the wishes of the majority, and the preference you have expressed for an acknowledgement that peoples [sic] rights must come from God and not other men, or that peoples [sic] rights are not what a concensus [sic] thinks is moral, which, gee, sounds exactly like deciding against the wishes of the majority. I guess if I tried to accommodate this degree of doublethink in my own mind, my brain would leak out of my ears...
Jim Fisher : "Moral people follow the word of God"ReplyDelete
Which god? Let's pick your favorite.
Let's talk about following the rule of anyone or thing for a second. You follow someone else's rule, be it one emanating from a person senior to you, maybe a rule as articulated by a traffic light, or any other because of a trust relationship that is not necessarily two-way. You trust that the rules tyou follow are somewhat fair. You trust that moral precepts given to you by your god are good for everybody.
But have you ever bothered considering a god's point of view? Suppose a god had goals that were not compatible with any one human's sense of morals, ethics etc? How would you know this? There is no way you could know this, just as there is no way you could know what political party or breakfast cereal the deities favor.
Maybe you do not care about all this, maybe you do not care about god's needs including what he, she or they had for breakfast, and simply subscribe to the concept of god creating divine law and sending it down the chute to earth. If so, I think that places you on the humanistic, secular side of the fence with everyone else trying to build a better secular society.
I am sorry, you are "more qualified" (your words) to discuss morality because? oh ya, your more educated. Intelligence doesnt play any part? Actual personal morality? (meaning, I would prefer not having the guy who calls 90% of the population malicious, dangerously insane and hopelessly deluded decide what is the correct morality for all of us), but since your education qualifies you as the authority, perhaps I should just bow down and accept whatever it is you come up with. Doesnt matter if perhaps I have a higher IQ, or have lived through the holocaust or whatever. Your view of people that are religious as automatically insane and malicious and deluded disqualifys you as any authority on morality.ReplyDelete
" the idea that the people who are actually qualified to weigh a decision should be taken more seriously than those who aren't qualified is wrong"
I am not against that, I am just curious what makes you more qualified? Education does not increase ones personal morality in fact it can be the opposite. Some of the worlds biggest atrocities were caused by educated people, that would not even been in the position to commit their infractions had it not been for their education.
" or that the most uneducated idiot in the whole country would make the best president,"
Yeah thats what I said, because I cant stand elitists, you infer the above.
Education is very important. I am constantly in some kind of class (in my field) the only problem is that sometime education spits out pompous, arrogant people like you that believe their self worth is elevated above others. Your opinion on morality is worth no more to me than the idiotic 90%. In fact I am willing despite all you education and regardless that you are in that top 10% of all people, no one will ever give a damn what you think about morality.
I am sorry, you are "more qualified" (your words) to discuss morality because?
I have yet to understand where I am supposed to have written something like that. Michael De Dora wrote that every sane person considers well-being and flourishing to be the basis of morality; I wrote that then there is quite a lot of insane people around, and you cannot simply disregard all of them when discussing morals; then you come and insinuate that not only have I written the opposite, but also that Obama is elitist because he tries to introduce a watered-down version of a civilized health care system like the rest of the first world has, not that this has anything to do with the topic here, by the way; and then I try to make the point that maybe not every hick who thinks that medicare is not government run is qualified to evaluate the details of health policy.
That does not mean that that hick can't express his opinion on morals, although I'd still be more inclined to take a moral philosopher more seriously. Got it?
I am sorry, you actually said people that are "actually qualified" should be taken more seriously, not "more qualified".
I hate it when people twist others words and do not want to do the same. My apologies.
The reason I initially posted was because as I was reading through the responses, I came across yours calling the religious "dangerous lunitics" for following Gods commandments. Also calling 90% of the population willfully ignorant,insufferably stupid, helplessly deluded, dangerously insane and deeply malicious (which I am guessing, you are still referring to the religious, by that other 90%). I dont care if you think we should get a voice or not. My point is that, just the fact this is your view disqualitfies you from being able to stand in the same room as the people who discuss what is moral. Even if your willing to allow them to have an opinion in the debate (which is your point, right?) You are obviously not holding any value to that opinion. You Athiests conitnue to search for a logical system in which to base morality and ethics all the while having no tolerance for people of faith. Massimo sees it as a goal to undermine religion and church. In these posts religion is constantly referred to and attacked. My founders set up a system that allows athiests to believe what they will, its funny that athiests cannot do the same and give way to people that want to have faith. When I read words like you write about religious people, I take offense. Take a second to read your words, you mean offense. Not for something people have done or didnt do, just for their personal beliefs. Its not much different than racism. You judge people and put them in groups as insane, delusional, stupid and ignorant because they are religous. I am sure your going to comment about how dangerous religion is and the wars it started. or how it undermines schools or whatever. The fact is, it does not hurt any athiest to let people be religious. If you want to debate on blogs about how a system for morality can work without God, so be it. Your not acually building anything so I dont care. There will never be a sound consistant logical system for morality without religion, so I am not worried about it. Its when the elitist actually devalues the opinion of others based on their religious views that I get worried (even if your so wonderful that your going to allow me to have a seat at the table).
The founding fathers were extreemly brilliant men. All (with exception to Jefferson)having deep rooted religious views and managed to build a government with system of morality that used religion as its bases. Your example of Gods absence in the constitution does not mean anything. The man that authored the document was a very religious person and used those principals as his system for morality.
I understand and admit I run off topic of systems for morality or ethics.
I will let you have last word and just because I dont repond does not mean I didnt read it.
I read your reply and would like to respond, but it would bring a whole new topic up for debate about the nature of God. keep in mind that issues you bring up are assuming only a natural state. I have a believe in a supernatural being. so you are way over-simplifying with the questions your asking. Things like Gods wants etc....I do not view God as a man. Like I said it would open a whole new topic and I have alread zoomed off topic to exceed the likings of the posters.
You used to post frequently about Bush and religion. Where is your outrage with Obama's faith based inititives. Or does the ends justify the means?
nope, the end doesn't justify the means. But I have plenty of more important things to complain about at the moment. Obama isn't perfect, and that's certainly a good example, but he ain't even close to being in the same category as Bush.
The reverence people can have for the 'founding fathers' never ceases to get my head shaking in disappointment.ReplyDelete
We can agree that they weren't idiots, but do we have to continue - over 200 years and counting - to rely on what these men intended? Things change. They had ideas that were devised and thought of for their time. We live in another time, with different problems, different challenges, new ideas, better knowledge, etc..
Reminds me of a scene from Seinfeld:
ERIC: Alright, so what's the big deal! There's millions of clowns!
GEORGE: Alright, just forget it.
ERIC: Me forget it? You should forget it! You're livin' in the past, man! You're hung up on some clown from the sixties, man!
As a side, I'd like to think that as smart as these men were, with some of them having a deistic take on god, you'd have to think they'd be just as quizzical of religious people as has been displayed here in this thread.
The reverence people can have for the 'founding fathers' never ceases to get my head shaking in disappointment.ReplyDelete
I am sorry you feel that way Darek. As far as 200 plus years changing things, I completely disagree. The systems main purpose was maximum freedom and protecting people from the government. I honestly believe if the government today actually adhered to the constitution for the last 100 years. It would still be a Republic and not this wishy washy combo of socialism, Democracy and 8% Republic. Faced with the challenges of today that Republic would be far better than what we currently have. Your argument that we have outlived the usefulness of the constitution has been made many times, but the constitution is about personal rights, structure of government and judicial system. I am not sure how current events makes that obsolete. It has the exact same importance.
You don't have to feel sorry; I don't think you totally understood me anyway. I may well be ready to agree, when someone refers to something Jefferson said, let's say, that such and such was a good idea. But the way in which you have embellished (and others do this as well) the people responsible for planning our government, is to place them on top of a Mt. Olympus. These people were not omniscient. They don't deserve to be praised to the point where every policy decision made must have them in mind. They were working out solutions to problems which were present over two centuries ago - let's at least see that much in agreement.
The rest of what you wrote is you pasting your cliff notes, not to mention just plain awful - as I take it you're against the Civil Rights Act?
What the heck is a republic? The textbook definition says it is any government that is not a monarchy, so that includes everything from a communist people's republic to a parliamentary democracy such as the federal republic of Germany. That makes the USA 100% republic.ReplyDelete
But again, Jim, I am mostly astounded by your complete unawareness of your own doublethink. On the one hand you lambaste "elitists" for supposedly not doing what >50% of the population want, and then you turn around and say that you'd rather live in a republic, whatever you imagine that to be, than in a democracy, which is defined as the government under which that happens what >50% of the population want. Sorry to ask that so pointedly, but have you thought that through?
I am against the civil rights act? If I was ever being baited for a point, I gather it is now. but I will indulge you. The civil rights act (for the most part) is just reinforcing what the constitution already says. So yes I obviously agree with the civil rights act of 1964 (if that is what you are referring to) The one difference is that the civil rights act extends into the private sector. although I agree with the private sector treating people equal regardless of race. I am not sure if law is the place for it. Being a person the believes in the free market, it would have taken care of itself. If you walked into a restaurant today that said "blacks in back", you certainly would not eat there, nor would I. So yes I believe in civil rights, but as far as the law extending into the private sector, I would honestly have to give it more thought. So I am not answering definitivly either way (on just the private sector part).ReplyDelete
If you mean civil rights in the form of matters such as health care. As in "all men are entitled to healthcare", then no I do not believe in civil rights. I view civil rights as all men have an equal right to pursue happiness, vote and have laws enforced upon them and all matters that deal with government.
BTW, It must just be coincidence that another hero in America that led us through the civil rights movement, MLK, also happened to have religion as his basis for his moral system.
Civil rights were spelled out in the constitution, just as our goverment ignores it today, so they did back then. Even some of my founders that I am placing on the Mt Olympus were slave owners and defied their own words. No worries Darek, I understand they were flawed as any man is.
As far is you saying the rest of my cliff note posting is jsut plain awful, I take it you are referring to me saying a true Republic would be better suited to handle todays issues than our current government. I would love to specifically debate the points, but we have already hijacked the morality post perhaps far enough.
Very fair question. I made the obvious mistake of just assuming you were American when we started. That is an issue with us Americans (I am not being sarcastic). And you are absolutly right, it has a loose definition. I meant my Republic as followed under the U.S. Constitution. All the word Republic actually means is that the people rule and have the power. In my studying of the founders, I see their intentions is having set up the smallest government possible that can provide freedom and be as close as possible to anarchy without actually having anarchy. The closer a government can be to anarchy without tipping the scale and still have equal rights for its people protected with laws is the maximum amount of freedom that can be had safely. The US Republic is a democracy, the two words are almost interchangable. So when I say republic I mean my origonal government, the founders being straight from a monarchy knew the dangers of how easily and quickly Rupublics corrupt and spelled out (in my opinion) a constitution that could withstand it, so long as it was adhered to. Today (as Darek pointed out) we obviously think of it as outdated for todays issues (I dont agree), and rather than amend it for whatever Dareks exact point is that it cannot deal with, we just ignore it altogether. Once that happens, anything can happen. As we now slip into a socialist state.....
BTW, hands of my medicare? I dont think there should be any medicare whatsoever. No social security (and I dont care how much I already paid into it), none of it. I am fairly consistand in my approach to government. Deliver the mail and have a military, the feds have no other responsibility to me. (and today I could care less about the mail)
I never said I would rather live in a Republic rather than a democracy. What I said was todays Us is a wishy washy version of Republic, Democracy and socialism. We are trying to imitate Europes Democracy / Socialism which is failing by the moment. I love that you pointed out Germanys success, because since they have the global view that I am sure you guys do, they will be strained into economic failure trying to fix their brotheren nations socialists failures. Lets chat again in 6 months and talk about Germanys success.
Not sure where I 'baited' you. You were making the point that you "honestly believe if the government today actually adhered to the constitution for the last 100 years.", to which I, mistakenly it seems, took that as you think the constitution should have remained unchanged during that time and simply adhered to as it was a century ago.
In your most recent post to me, however, you tip your hand a bit too far as it seems you do indeed have something against what has been placed into law - at least that which can be seen as a conflict of the 'free market'. Your relation to it and racism, I take it stems from the recent news of Rand Paul's comments; you agree that racism is bad - that is to say, you don't condone it. Yet, because the making of a buck is involved (business/private sector), you refuse to do anything about it or rather, refuse to have the government (public sector) do anything about it.
I'm actually glad we reached this point because this reveals a larger dilemma. For all the talk of morality religious people often invoke - as you have here - it never ceases to amaze me that morals can be ignored at the drop of a hat when it deals with profit (businesses, the 'free market' or private property). "Racism is a bad thing and against my moral beliefs... but, don't make the private sector have to adhere to any legislation which prevents people from discriminating against other people - I'm not for that, even though I don't believe in discriminating against other people..."
If you don't see the gaping flaw in this line of thinking, if you think Rand Paul actually has a point (assuming thats where your point stems from in recent news), I'm not sure we'll come to an agreement on much of anything, nevermind morals. This is confused thinking and a blind adherence to a dogma that best suits conditions of the Wild West (libertarianism).
As far as MLK being a religious man - that is a pretty cheap point. There were many religious leaders, who opposed MLK. What of them? Again, the point is cheap.
And I referred to what you wrote as 'cliff notes' because it all sounds rather canned to me. Small government (next to nothing in your case), socialism is bad, free market is everything, yada, yada, I can already guess what you'd say on things like taxes. You may in fact believe these things, but it tells me nothing of why you think these things.
You may be consistent in your approach to government, but I don't see how could be consistent with a 'moral system' given some of what it is you believe - like having no security nets for those less fortunate.ReplyDelete
"In my studying of the founders, I see their intentions is having set up the smallest government possible that can provide freedom and be as close as possible to anarchy without actually having anarchy."
I don't know were you got that idea from, but it wasn't from the founding fathers. Ever hear of the Federalist Party? It didn't form because people believed what you claim. Hamilton, Madison? Do these names ring a bell? They favored a strong centralized government... I'm sorry, but your conclusions from your studies are selective, much like how a religious zealot picks and chooses things from scripture to support ideas they desire to be believed.
My reasoning for skipping out on the answer for the private sector has nothing to do with their ability to make a buck but rather their right to be racist. I hate racism, but I will never say you dont have the right to be a racist. By your logic. I should not be allowed to have a blog where I can say racist things? I cant cant say anything racist. It just shouldnt be allowed. End of story. My point that if I own a store and I am racist, then I should be allowed to serve whoever I wish, just as I can write whatever I want on my blog or say whatever I want on my radio show. Its about freedom and rights not money.
You obviously missed my point about the free market. The free market eventually has to sway to what the majority wants or the buisiness will fail. Thats the beautiful thing about it. If the entire civil rights movement never exsisted with regard to private sector laws, would things be any different today? They would not.
The civil rights movement is far less about law and far more about what private citizens did. Like I said the law was already there. MLK boycotts and Rosa Parks refusal is what brought about civil rights. If you think it was the government that accomplished civil rights, your wrong. This is my line of thinking and I hope gives a small insight as into why I think the way I do about government (which is what you were looking for). The government accoplished nothing, its people accomplished everything. All the gov did was reinstate an exsisting law, whoopi do. the civil rights movement was pushing through regardless. It was right. Racism is ugly. What MLK did was show the rest of us what ugly looked like. We needed to see it to be disgusted by it. Thats what the civil rights activist did, they showed us the true face of racism, they knew once we saw the truth of it, we would be appalled and we wouldnt stand for it. In short, civil rights was not some accomplishment of the government. It was the activist bringing racism right into the face of people that didnt know what it was and making us choke on the ugliness of it.
My point about MLF being religious is actually larger, but I will spare you and myself the seperate discussion. But it has to do with his success over Malcolm X and other leaders.
I do believe in safety nets for the less fortunate. I just dont believe they need to have anything to do with government. My rational for this is with the libertarian bare bones government the people will contain far more wealth, and can bring charity with 10X more effiecentcy than the government can. You may say that the people wont, well then, it is a democracy right. I think the people will do a far superior job taking care of the people that actually need it than the government ever could. Socialism breeds people that need it. Whats the longest a fully socialist government lasted (I really dont know). My logic is that the general welfar of all the people as a sum is far greater in this type of Republic than a socialist government. Socialists refuse to acknowledge human nature. We work for the betterment of ourselves (yes I realize that is double speak to the whole christian view), but if you will endulge. If you can awknowledge that aspect of human nature, that we need to work for ourselves, you will generate the most wealth for the most people, therefor making it far easier for charity (and far mor effective) with out the 50% using programs that dont need it.
You need to do a little more research on Madison. Yes I am sure they say he believed in a "strong centralized government" on that first page of Wiki, but what he meant by strong centralized government, and what you are thinking are two different things.
So suddenly the 'right' for a restaurant, say, to discriminate against race is equivalent to free speech? How do you make sense of the world?ReplyDelete
You are free to say what you want, but a business has no rights - its not a person. Indeed there are no races to businesses, there are simply consumers. To use your business, as someone who would otherwise say racist things, to discriminate against a specific people, is not simply free speech. Once again, if this needs explaining... I'm not sure what common ground we can have here.
"The free market eventually has to sway to what the majority wants or the buisiness will fail. Thats the beautiful thing about it."
Thats not the case. I agree, if the majority of people don't want yellow ice cream bars, they'll let the company who produces them know by not purchasing their product, but how about when we speak of things like oil? financial markets? People can't not buy gas - the change is not as simple as buying a different ice cream bar. Of course, to use this simple of a model to demonstrate the difficulties of the free market only shows the wishful thinking of the libertarian. Supply and demand simplicity does not hold up to the real world thinking of what it is we as a society have to consider. We're not talking about sugar and salt here, we're talking about speculating markets which cause recessions... At what point, by the way, did people want to be taken advantage of when getting a loan?
Its useless to go on with this point, you either get this, or you don't.
Regarding civil rights... this is getting comical, Jim. On the one hand, you acknowledge that what made the Civil Rights Act happen was the people who moved behind it, in a system where there is representative government, yet you don't say that this is something we should credit government with... Jim - you either understand the way our government works, or you don't. Nows the time to say you do or not, because what you are saying isn't making sense. To have a representative government, we can only expect that legislation will happen when the majority votes or its citizens rally to make its representatives put something to a vote.
"I do believe in safety nets for the less fortunate. "ReplyDelete
No. No you do not. You don't, Jim. You believe in charity for the less fortunate. That is something entirely different from a safety net.
Charity is not the answer to solve poverty. If you think it is... I mean... damn man, I guess you just don't care about it. Anyone who has taken at least the time to do a 'Wiki' search, as you accuse me of, will know this. It requires some planning, and no, its not socialism.
We are both Americans here... its amazing how little we see in common with the history of the same country we're born in.
I am afraid you are correct that we will not find any common ground. A business has no rights? I don't even think its worth discussing if that is your view. That basically says business is public domain. That is your logic. Its funny you used big oil as an example. Do you remember about 15 years ago when someone had a law suite against Texico for racism that I believe they won. I was looking up the specifics and I came across this time article http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985585,00.html. Read the first sentence.The constitution had a system already in place to resolve the exact example you say couldn't be resolved. The legislation that was passed during the civil rights movement had little to do with it. (like i said the laws were already in place). I actually am not perfectly opposed to having laws that say businesses must serve people equally regardless of race. The reason I was hesitant to answer is because the issues become more complex when you say a Catholic hospital must perform abortions and many other issues. So businesses have no rights? No I do not agree with you.saying that can mean infringing on personal rights. It also says that buisiness has no protection. Liberals always equate business with huge corporations. The reason I refrained from answering the question originally is because it would send the discussion down another road. There are examples of what you speak of though, and believe it or not we have small amount of common ground. I am not saying that legislation cannot be imposed on business. Just that it should be a rare occurrence and be done extremely carefully. Our government has legislated manufacturing right out of our country.
Your last paragraph of your first post gave me a chuckle. Thats my exact point, is that if our government gives its people the most amounts of freedom and follows our constitution then the people can take care of the issues without and involvement from the government. I pointed out how this is exactly what happened during the civil rights movement. And somehow you think this point is against me? My point was that you say the constitution is no longer useful, it was 200 years plus years ago. You say we have different problems now. And you used civil rights as your point. I countered with it was our constitution that enabled civil rights, not some new law that needed to be passed because our constitution has outlived itself. C'mon Darek, keep up here.
Forget my whole Libertarian Republic for a moment.If there is some way we can find common ground I hope it is this. Just like when you pull an ice core and find CO2 correlates with temperature over the last 400,000 years, and this is evidence for global warming. I see how frustrated people like Massimo and yourself get with people that just deny the evidence. Yet the exact same thing holds true for government spending on social programs. Look at the depression of the early 20's At that time we had 73% tax rate, and maximum spending (it was huge). The country sank into a depression where the market dropped 50%. It was equally as bad as the great depression. Why didn't it last 15 years like the great depression? Because Harding and Coolidge literally cut the budget by 50% and lowered taxes to 24%. The economy shortly turned around and the roaring 20's began.
I dont care about Republicans or Democrats. I am not that kind of conservative. I don't want part in the culture war. I would be all for the safety net that socialist programs bring, if they worked. But they are economy killers. It has been tried and tried again. All of Europe is one big socialist funland. Hows that working? I don't care if you don't agree with my opinion of what government should be. But I hope you will at least not think that socialism is the answer. You and I are almost 14 Trillion in debt. Yes I know its not Obama's fault. Trust me I dont like Bush just as much as I don't like Obama. But You dont inherit a problem like 14 trillion of debt and decide its time to create national health care. You and I will be living in the first great depression since the 30's. Thats unavoidable common ground for ya. I dont care what form of government you want, but please don't look to Europe to copy cat socialism, come up with something new, I don't care what it is, I will try anything if it makes sense. The road Obama is taking us down. Bail everyone out. I am for the little guy, but GM is too big to fail. Its going to be bad. The Liberals will blame Bush and the Concervs will blame Obama. They both spent money that drove us into the ground. My opinion, leave the tax rate as is and cut the budget by 50%. People will suffer, but not nearly as much as they will otherwise. IF you think government safety nets are actually better for society your wrong. Socialism has never worked.ReplyDelete
The other thing I guess we disagree on is the whole "Preditory Lending" that you say occured. I suppose it had nothing to do with Barney Frank twisting FHA's arm to give loans to people that couldn't afford them. This is another example of goverment stepping in to help the less fortunate and making it worse for them and everyone. How do you give a loan to someone that can't afford the first payment? I refinaced at the same time and was offered one of these loans, somehow I figured out I wasn't going to win the lottery in 5 years and took a 20 year fixed despite their preditory tactics. As someone that thinks in scientific terms, I wonder why your not looking at root cause of what happened. You think the banks woke up one day and decided giving loans to unqualified recipients was a sound buisiness model. Of course there is more to it with AIG selling default swaps to hedge funds and the like, but that is a seperate issue.ReplyDelete
So businesses have no rights? No I do not agree with you.saying that can mean infringing on personal rights.ReplyDelete
Businesses are not people. They are inventions. Fabricated with the help of contracts and agreements. What is so difficult to understand about that? Sure, businesses, being private property, have legal protections, granted, but they are not then entitled to the rights and legal protections we recognize of human beings.
The constitution had a system already in place to resolve the exact example you say couldn't be resolved. The legislation that was passed during the civil rights movement had little to do with it.
First, you're being a bit disingenuous here. I also looked into this; the plaintiffs were claiming Texaco was violating the Civil Rights Act of 1991. You should look into the history of this legislation as its directly related to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. OK? Good, we can move on from this nonsense.
Second, you're guilty of attacking a straw-man when you claim I said that the constitution is no longer useful - I never said this. This entire discussion began by me taking notice of the way in which you praise the founding fathers, disagreeing with me when I say we shouldn't be considering them when making decisions about today's issues. The constitution they started was a good start, but we should feel free to make adjustments (as has been done) - even rewriting parts when necessary. They didn't think of everything - only what was most important in their time. Keep up? Hows about at least staying on track.
That's my exact point, is that if our government gives its people the most amounts of freedom and follows our constitution then the people can take care of the issues without and involvement from the government.
The government is an extension of the people. Look up 'democracy'. You make out the government to be this completely unaccountable institution to the public - its not. That's the private sector. And no, consumer demand is not the same thing as accountability.
The economy shortly turned around and the roaring 20's began.
Its funny that this makes it the third time in as many days that I've heard Coolidge being named as a new conservative hero to turn to... The echo-chamber is at it again, it seems.
What I am finding consistent about you, Jim, other than your reverence for the free market, is how selective your 'studies' are of some of the subjects we're touching. The 'roaring twenties' created a bubble which burst to give us the great depression. A bubble which was caused by the policies of Harding/Coolidge, which were a response to a peace-time environment following the great war. The new deal was an attempt to consider those who really suffer economic disasters - the destitute. If you think you genuinely have a point here, you'll have to do a better job in demonstrating it, as Coolidge did squat for the millions of Americans living below the poverty line and neither did business. They didn't get wealthier as the decade went on, either.
Unfortunately, we had to wait till Reagan and Thatcher to come along to show us, for a second time, the unrealistic and negative effects of supply-side economics.
I would be all for the safety net that socialist programs bring, if they worked.ReplyDelete
But they do. Social security, for instance, prevents millions of elderly Americans from going below the poverty line. That is working. It can be improved, sure, but that is a good thing.
Regarding the budget - cut defense spending. There's a pretty good chunk of cash right there to help the deficit. Instead we have a huge slice of our economy being used to stamp out scattered groups of religious extremists around the world... That's not very efficient - never mind this being an unconstitutional war.
Also, I am not advocating a socialist state, but you really ought to know something about Europe's problems before making all of these predictions about its failure. But how about we get this country's act together, then you can criticize Europe.
People will suffer, but not nearly as much as they will otherwise.
We began talking about morality, and we come to this kind of thinking from the supposed proponent of where 'good' moral systems come from (religion). Cognitive dissonance comes to mind when thinking how it is you hold beliefs about government and beliefs about morality.
I am not religious man, but I try to do what I can to help prevent people from suffering, private property be damned. Government and the private sector can both be doing a hell of a lot more. They are not and they won't with your political philosophy. Ironically, I think a renowned character from new testament would agree with me here.
I want a system that works too, but I could care less if a policy decision causes someone to be a little less wealthier if it means someone else is a little less poorer. You either care about people or other than yourself, or you don't.
I suppose it had nothing to do with Barney Frank twisting FHA's arm to give loans to people that couldn't afford them. This is another example of government stepping in to help the less fortunate and making it worse for them and everyone.
So you do, in fact, care about Democrats and Republicans? You're right - there is more to it than this and pinning it on Barney Frank is most short-sighted. Deregulation is the larger culprit here, not to mention the 'revolving-door'.
Michael: "Indeed, almost all people promote that the best way to believe is to base beliefs on evidence and reason. If faith were truly faith, theology would not exist. Indeed, even supporters of fideism employ reason to support faith.ReplyDelete
Yes. So, we have concluded that everyone operates on an element of faith.
You assumed I was not for civil rights.
"The rest of what you wrote is you pasting your cliff notes, not to mention just plain awful - as I take it you're against the Civil Rights Act?"
Why you wrote this I am not sure, I assumed it was because you said
" They were working out solutions to problems which were present over two centuries ago"
Thus your point was out constituion did not have a system that allowed civil rights.
I pointed out that civil rights were already in the constitution. That the actual movement was not about law, but rather showing public the face of evil (or for you the face of ugliness of however you want to word it).
Then you accused me of double speak for some reason.
So no, the this entire discussion did not begin by you taking notice of the way in which I praise the founding fathers, and me disagreeing with you when you say we shouldn't be considering them when making decisions about today's issues. It began by you assuming that I was not for civil rights becuase I believed that our constitution should be followed. So what exactly did I say that made you assume I was not for civil rights then????
Yes I realize the constitution can be (and should be)amended, but I believe it is extremely important, that before we go against it. We atually amend it, like we fail to do continuously. If that is done we still have a perfect document that can be used time and time again. Our polititions are failing at this. Once that happens, once the constitution can be ignored. the rights that are on it can be ignored. Then all can be lost. I am sure you feel I am over stating.
"The government is an extension of the people. Look up 'democracy'. You make out the government to be this completely unaccountable institution to the public."
Democracy is fragile. We are now on the fringe of democracy. Where dollars can win an elections. Massive corruption can give an appearence of democracy, but be something entirely different. Be a Rep or Dem that goes against your party, see how well you do. Personally I think the first step is term limits. I think people that will return to the private sector without political power in a few years will do what they can to preserve it. But there is more to the picture. That I have lost faith in our government, that is an understatement. I am glad you still have yours, that must be a nice feeling.
I will post more on the depression and the NEW DEAL that you say helped the economy so much. Its too bad Hard and Cool didnt just inact the NEW DEAL for the previous depression, perhaps it could have lasted as long. I will comment more when I have a few minutes on that.
Thus your point was out constituion did not have a system that allowed civil rights.ReplyDelete
YOU: The founding fathers were extreemly brilliant men. All (with exception to Jefferson)having deep rooted religious views and managed to build a government with system of morality that used religion as its bases.
ME: We can agree that they weren't idiots, but do we have to continue - over 200 years and counting - to rely on what these men intended? Things change.
YOU: I am sorry you feel that way Darek. As far as 200 plus years changing things, I completely disagree. The systems main purpose was maximum freedom and protecting people from the government. I honestly believe if the government today actually adhered to the constitution for the last 100 years. It would still be a Republic and not this wishy washy combo of socialism, Democracy and 8% Republic. Faced with the challenges of today that Republic would be far better than what we currently have.
ME: The rest of what you wrote is you pasting your cliff notes, not to mention just plain awful - as I take it you're against the Civil Rights Act?
YOU: The civil rights act (for the most part) is just reinforcing what the constitution already says. So yes I obviously agree with the civil rights act of 1964 (if that is what you are referring to)
ME: You were making the point that you "honestly believe if the government today actually adhered to the constitution for the last 100 years.", to which I, mistakenly it seems, took that as you think the constitution should have remained unchanged during that time and simply adhered to as it was a century ago.
In your most recent post to me, however, you tip your hand a bit too far as it seems you do indeed have something against what has been placed into law - at least that which can be seen as a conflict of the 'free market'.
The ideas expressed in the Civil Rights Act of '64 was *not* already in the constitution. If that was the case, there would be no need for it. Indeed, despite the fact that men proclaimed the ideals of equality when forming our government, they certainly never practiced them which was a glaring error for a century to come.
To say 'oh, well, the movement leading up to '64 was no big deal, they could have done that at anytime as our constitution allows for these things' (to paraphrase) is being pretty obtuse, frankly, about the period between the forming of the constitution and the passage of that act. I don't know what else to say about this - there is a reason why it took so long for a MLK to appear and the founding fathers did little to help that. Equality means equality and the lack of it after the forming of a new government (even after claiming it in writing) is a stain, not a praise of these 'brilliant men'.
Can we drop this point now?
As far as the crash and beginning of the great depression. What happened? We all know a healthy economy has highs and lows. In the twentys banks loaned people money to buy stocks. Most often the stock iteslf was the collateral. Stocks could be bought on credit. The market was at an unbelievable high in 28-29. Then the economy takes a dip. Some say due to new import tarrifs, some say other reasons, regardless the market takes a significant dip. A huge percentage of the market isnt backed, so we got a snowball effect. Perhaps this was Cooliges fault. It was under his watch that this happened. He should have had regulation in place perhaps. I really dont care if he is assigned the blame. My point is that yes the bubble burst, but it had an assignable cause that could have been avoided and the economy would have lived on in that healthy state were it not for that assignable cause. My other point was that cutting spending in half took this country out of a depression that was equal in strength to the great depression. You either agree or you dont. You say their policies were a response to a peace-time environment following the great war. that is just avoiding the facts. It was in response to a depression that followed the war. What is your need to down play that? the numbers were just as bad as the great depression.ReplyDelete
BTW, I think the two guys that came up with the tarrif that sent the stock market into its initial drop were Republicians. So please dont think I identify myself with the REP (I used to) After all it was the Republicans that initiated medicare part B, which is a huge burden on the economy.
I guess one piece of common ground we can share is that I agree with cutting the defense budget by 50%. I am with you there. Pull every soldier back to the U.S. When I say cut the budget in half, I dont have selective reasoning. It will be painful, to social programs, to the military, all of it. Harding caught hell from almost everyone for his cuts. How can you cut the budget in half without pissing almost everyone off. But he had enough buy in to get it done. It worked. You can just write it off as doing that (cutting budget in half, lowering taxes from 73% to 24%) just creates a bubble that must burst. That is just ignoring the facts of the events. The burst had specific reasons that could have been avoided and still maintained a very healthy economy with the current budgets. The need for social programs was far less at that time (I am not saying there was no need)
I am glad you dont buy in to a total socialist state. I guess we have just been debating what I think should happen. What is it that you think should happen. Do you think we will spend our way out of this like Bush did and Obama is doing? What is your opinion? Increasing the budget when 5% of the budget already goes to just the interest of the deficit? Which will explode in the next few years. Yes we are already 14 Trillion in debt and borrowing more by the day. Not to mention the unfunded liabilities, which some say could take us to over 100 Trillion in the next 20 years. is your plan to just get ready with some safety nets for the poor? because thats going to be everyone. Or do you have faith it wont happen? We can just keep bailing out each industry as they fail one by one. Each state, start with Cali, and wait for the rest of them to fall like dominos and the fed will just bail them all out. No worries where the money comes from. what is there something like 300 million Americans. Divide 14 trillion into 300 million to see what we each owe. Thats right, you believe some owe more than others. I imagine that if you ran two paper routes and your brother ran 1 when you were kids and your mom told you that you had to split the money in half that you would continue to run both routes? Why is it that logic escapes liberals. Human nature just doesnt exist when it comes to economy.
We are now on the fringe of democracy. Where dollars can win an elections. Massive corruption can give an appearence of democracy, but be something entirely different.ReplyDelete
This really makes me scratch my head. That is to say, I agree with some of this, but how do you 'lose faith' in government, but give the private sector a complete pass? Did you not see the link to revolving-door politics? Or is the government forcing people to work in government agencies which over-see the industries they come from (and will later go back to)?
I think its good to treat things with skepticism. And I am not advocating otherwise when it comes to government, but how you seemingly refuse to turn that lens on the activities of private interests is vexing.
I'll have to respond to your most recent post at some point tomorrow.
The other thing that suprised me Darek was your use if social security as an example of the New Deals success. If you live on SS then you live below the poverty line.this is an example of a completely failed social plan. As I am sure you know it is actually social security insurance. That we conviently now just call S.S. It was just supposed to be insurance for people that happen to live past the life expectency of 55. Then of course over the years people's average age exceeded the origonal funding, and it turned into a retirement program. That was not the intention of SSI. So it completey pursuaded many people from saving from their retirement (not today, but back then), since they were paying money into this insurance plan. Now since we are funding our predicesors, we pay into it and also feel we should get it. So I am not sure how a failed "life expectency" insurance plan is an example of successful social safety net. The question is, if the plan never existed. What would their standard of living be? I argue it would be higher as well as a huge portion of our budget would (I am tying in medicare for the retired on SSI) not exist. One could easily argue that SSI is the largest factor for the 14 trillion defecit and thus the depression we are spirialing into. Yay Social Security.ReplyDelete
Wow, this is really something. I don't want any part of the constitutional discussion here, but have to say that it never ceases to amaze me how some in the USA think of Europe.ReplyDelete
I would be all for the safety net that socialist programs bring, if they worked. But they are economy killers. It has been tried and tried again. All of Europe is one big socialist funland. Hows that working?
Yeah you got a point, sounds as if you have first-hand impressions from Europe. I freely admit we are not as successful as the USA in some regards, e.g.
You and I are almost 14 Trillion in debt.
I think Germany's is only about 2.1 trillion US$ currently, but please, you have to see that we do not have an Iraq-shaped hole to pour billions into on a daily basis, so you cannot expect us to keep up with you easily.
And yes, the safety net is hurting our economy, agreed. Why, if we did not have it, Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW could perhaps compete with those healthy American companies like Ford and Chrysler.
And we should definitely get around to investing as much into the public education system as you Americans - the number of creationists and people who confuse Austria and Australia is still much too low here!
I'm not avoiding facts, Jim. The problem is you are not understanding them.ReplyDelete
Compare this: You say their policies were a response to a peace-time environment following the great war.
With this: It was in response to a depression that followed the war.
Do you not understand what that means? These things are related, Jim
Depression of 1920-21: "A range of factors have been identified contributing to the depression, many relating to adjustments in the economy following the end of World War I. There was a brief Post-World War I recession immediately following the end of the war which lasted for 7 months. The economy started to grow, though it had not yet completed all the adjustments in shifting from a wartime to a peacetime economy. Factors identified as potentially contributing to the downturn include: returning troops which created a surge in the civilian labor force, a decline in labor union strife, changes in fiscal and monetary policy, and changes in price expectations." (emphasis in italics mine)
Whats worse is you're using circumstances which occurred almost a century ago, which do not in anyway apply to today's problems, in an attempt to say "look, look at what they did here, and they got out of it!". This is not evidence of a 'solution' to our current economic problems. If you honestly believe it is, than I am not sure you understand what is going on, let alone how different in scope and breadth our economy is in comparison to any previous recession.
I'm glad you're a fan of evidence-based policies, but it helps to understand what the evidence is. I am by no means an expert on any of this, but I can at least understandwhy tax rates are high at one point and reduced at another. I get that after WW1, the production of munitions stopped and there was a transition to consumer goods, I understand that we're talking about a period of history which was still on the gold standard. I did not avoid them. Its more than just what this president or that president did and what happened later - its about whats going on in the world at the time that forces them to act in the first place.
the numbers were just as bad as the great depression.
Read that Wiki link please. That one year was worse than any year out of the great depression in no way compares the totality of the two. I have no idea where you pulled this from, but please flush.
The need for social programs was far less at that time (I am not saying there was no need)
How do you even qualify this during a time where things like child labor was still running rampant? Wow.
What is it that you think should happen. Do you think we will spend our way out of this like Bush did and Obama is doing?
Obama isn't spending his way out of this and although I still have my reservations, there is still lots to consider.
I imagine that if you ran two paper routes and your brother ran 1 when you were kids and your mom told you that you had to split the money in half that you would continue to run both routes? Why is it that logic escapes liberals.
That's cute. But we're not talking about paper routes.
Human nature just doesn't exist when it comes to economy.
What does that even mean?
As far as social security... the program isn't perfect. Your rant, as that's the best word I can think of to describe what you wrote, still doesn't get at what the program does. The near 40% of elderly people who are on it who, without it, would go into poverty are indeed saying, 'Yay'. And I am saying it with them.
It's working and there are proposals to make it less of a 'burden' on the economy, but its difficult to get much done in Congress nowadays.
"but how do you 'lose faith' in government, but give the private sector a complete pass?"ReplyDelete
Give the private sector a pass? What are you talking about? What is it that the private sector is responsible for? I guess we have a huge fundemental difference in the view of what the private sector means. You have lost me. What is the private sectors obligation to you or anyone? Its the Private sector. By definition, it has no obligation to citizens other than following the laws of the GOVERNMENT. Thats what makes it the private sector. The private sector serves the interest of the individual citizen, the public sector serves the interest of the public. I am not sure why you would even ask the question. There is no pass needed to be given, unless they are breaking a law. We obviously have a huge difference on opinion as to what the free market is.
I see it as just an extension of the people. You view buisiness as an entity that has some obligation to the people.
You have a flaw in your logic. If your next door neighbor was a carpenter and worked for himself. What is his obligation to you? What is his obligation to the public? His only obligation is to obey the law and pay his taxes. Lets say he makes $120,000 working 40 hours a week. My guess (or at least my hope) is that you would say his obligation is to pay his taxes and obey the law by having fair and sound buisiness practices. Dont cheat anyone, right?
Now lets say he triples his efforts, next year he works 120 hours a week and makes $360,000. Is his obligation to society now increased? He is already paying 3X the taxes he was. 3X the next carpenter who works 40 hours. But your logic is that he should not pay 3X the taxes. He should pay 5X the taxes, right? Why not, he can afford it. If the rich get a little less rich while the poor get a little less poor, then this is morally correct? It is morally correct to increase ones tax burden based on their output? If someone figures out how to pay more taxes by earning more money then we should reward him by taking even more of his money. What kind of logic is that? If I do the job of 3 people, I must pay the tax of 5? Now you may want to switch the debate to a different circumstance, what if the carpenter only worked 2X as hard and generated 4X the income from it. Or lets say the next year he works 1/2 as hard and generates 10X the income. Does any of this increase his liability to the state at a different rate than anyone else, and if so, why?
Perhaps all you see is big oil and massive corperations. the same logic still applys. Which by the way, provide America with its best jobs. I work for big pharma and used to work for P&G and Gillette. All great places to work, pay better than smaller companies.
"Human nature just doesn't exist when it comes to economy.
What does that even mean?"
My bad, I meant that your logic ignores human nature, as in my childhood example.
Dont think its real? I supervise tradesmen, a couple were on the fringe of the 150 tax bracket. I ask if they want to work overtime, what do you think they say? There are all kinds of examples of higher tax rate for higher income leading to lower work force modivation.
Compare this: You say their policies were a response to a peace-time environment following the great war.ReplyDelete
With this: It was in response to a depression that followed the war.
Do you not understand what that means? These things are related, Jim
I am not sure what you mean??? its either that peace time environment and depression are interchangeable words or the become interchangable if they follow a war????
After WW2 would depression after the war and peace time environmnent after the war both make sense? NO, so if you are talking to someone that didnt know there was a depression or that you wanted to down play the depression, perhaps you would just leave the word depression out and say peace time environment instead. You know my point, I am not really sure what yours is. That you were not trying to down play it. Thats fine, I believe you, but peace time environment and depression are hardly interchangable words.
Read that Wiki link please. That one year was worse than any year out of the great depression in no way compares the totality of the two. I have no idea where you pulled this from, but please flush.
Thats my point Darek, the first depression only lasted 2 years because of the correct changes in fiscal policy. The second depression lasted way longer and due to its length was much worse, because the government just kept thinking they would create tons of social programs and spend tons of money they didnt have. They also regulated industry to death. What I meant by it being just as bad, was the actual market conditions, unemployement rate, GOP, these were similar at the end of 2 years in both, except one only lasted 2 years, one lasted almost 15. They had two seperate ways of dealing with it.
Look Darek, the policy of slashing spending and lowering taxes did not only work here. it has worked in other countries as well. I think I will spare going on about it, because we both know if I put five examples of similar successes on the table, you'll say they all have been of different times with different economies. If gold is the standard then nothing changes in this concept. Its so simple, people dont want to admit it. If you cant pay your mortgage, you dont keep borrowing money. You cut you budget until you can pay your mortgage.ReplyDelete
There is nothing about economics that makes it so complex that we can actually live in a world where we can spend more than we take in and everything will still be ok. Its all so different than 1921 and 1929. History not only repeats itself. apparently the people doing the repeating feel a uniqueness about the present that makes them feel its not repeating.
Obama is not spending his way out of this? I suppose you must agree with him that the health care bill is budget nuetral along with the 159 new agencies it creates
Yeah, this is all budget neutral. Wont cost a cent.
Now we have the new job and closing tax loop hole and preventing outsourcing bill. Well over a 174,000,000,000 for more bail outs in this bill. summer jobs, extended unemployment. It sounds to me like a lot of what they did in the 30's (but hey that was a differnet time when dollars were actually rocks). They are proposing 168 billion for bailing out the union pensions. 23 billion for teachers pensions.
So when you said that he is not spending us out of this, do you think Obama will not support these inititives and many many more that are coming our way? remember that promise they made us "Pay as you go"? They will not add to the deficit! Well guess what, just the jobs bill alone adds 134 billion. Add it all up. The stuff thats here, the stuff thats coming. You think Obama is going to put aside one of these suggested bills and not support it? Yeah right. We are in 1929. The market is about to crash, its trending up and down in big swings with overal negative effect, just like in early 29. Hey, but that was a different time right Darek.
Of all this you still havent given a clear answer of what you want to see happen. But I take it you just believe in what Obama is doing, hense the defending of the overspending as "hes not over spending".
why dont you give a clear cut of your philosophy on government
I am not really sure what your point is??? But bragging about your Deficit only being 2.1 Trillion? Germanys population is almost 60 million, one fifth of America. So if you would just take a minute to use your countries superior education system and do the math, your deficit in relative terms is about 10.5 Trillion. So your in almost the identical situation (within 35 percent) as to what each citizen owes toward the deficit. I guess you were commenting without reading my posts, because if you had you would have realized I am not for bailing out the auto industry, so that our auto manufacturers can compete against each other fairly and also that I don't want our soldiers in Iraq or Afganistan. Have either one of you guys looked into what's in the financial reform bill that will be voted on tomorrow. It is absolutly frightening. The government will now have the right to seize property without congress or judicial process. Oh yeah, that's some exciting stuff. You said it Darek, buisinesses don't have rights and now we get to see that come true.
I didn't 'downplay' anything. I accounted for the depression. Apparently, I just didn't give it the 'appreciation' you feel it deserves. Too bad. But that's because we shouldn't when talking about what to do today. And this comparison to the great depression is just absurd. If you can't understand the precursors to these events, than talking about this subject is pointless. The two depressions spoken of here had important distinctions, they had different causes and they had to be dealt with differently. Oh, and unemployment was not just as bad. I'm sorry, I have no idea where you pulled this from, but flush this as well.ReplyDelete
I agree that today, we need the "correct changes in fiscal policy", but that does not mean that looking back at the freakin' 20s provides the answers to what we need to do now. Once *again*, we're comparing apples to oranges. This Harding/Coolidge charade is just that - its a non sequitur. The whole point of me placing the 20-21 depression in a larger context was to show that something like lowering the tax rate from 73% (which was that high because there was a war that needed to be paid for) to 24% (when its now peace-time) wasn't just 'good policy' - there is no more war going on!!. It was right that they did it. But to use that to say this is why we should always be cutting taxes during recessions or depressions is incredibly narrow. Either that's intentional at this point, or its part of what has been displayed here on your part on whether we deal with history or economics - a selective reading that omits just about anything relevant.
Look, man, what I think you're driving at is that because booms and busts happen frequently, we need only to look at what 'fixed' them most efficiently and copy those policies no matter how unpopular. No. We can also do things like look at what caused them and try to make reforms where need be. Especially since after the new deal, which showed that you can use such circumstances as an opportunity to reform the system.
You can downplay that all you want, but I'm done giving you history lessons.
Re: Obama's policies, I don't think just because there is a deficit that we should refrain from making good investments - like what the COMPETES Act includes for science, research and training programs. There is spending going on, but more importantly, there is much needed reform going on. The health care bill was a good start and it sounds like the financial bill is as well (I haven't had time to digest it yet). What I should have said is that toward the end of his term we can say whether or not he spent his way out (but depending on what he does, it may not be a bad thing).
Don't worry, the market won't crash anytime soon, just like Europe won't fail in 6 years. Keep the apocalyptic rhetoric afloat if you wish, it'll give you something to do, I suppose.
I can give you a basic outline with respect to certain fundamentals, but I think one can deduce things from what I've been saying until now: you build a house from the bottom up, not the top down, in short. I'll have to do it tomorrow, as its late.
but that does not mean that looking back at the freakin' 20s provides the answers to what we need to do now.ReplyDelete
Im sorry you feel that way, its not just the 20's in the US, but there are many examples of cutting spending leading to prospering economics. Of course our current situation is just so unique that that we cannot learn from the past.
But to use that to say this is why we should always be cutting taxes during recessions or depressions is incredibly narrow
If you actually paid attention to what I said, you would have noticed I said we should leave the current tax rate and slash spending by 50% in every area of the government. But I forgot, your debating with the same Republican that you have talked to time and time again. God just made a Republican mold and spit us all out. All Concervatives think exactly the same.
You dont cut the tax rate until 14 Trillion deficit is paid.
You can downplay that all you want, but I'm done giving you history lessons.
Thankyou for the history lesson on how the New Deal was so good for the economy. Thats the same thing my 6th grade text book said, now that you have confirmed it, I can go on believe it was a good thing for Roosevelt to tax and spend their way out of a depression.
And Obama's financial reform? Its funny, not one part addresses Those "Preditory Lenders" that you say started the whole thing. Its all Wall Streets fault apparently. But hey, it gives the government the power to take over any buisiness without congress or judiciary involvement. Government takeover of buisiness ---wooooowwww, I cant wait. That sounds like the best way to take care of the economy. They always do such a bang up job over the private sector.
Do you really feel this health care reform somehow helps the economy? Government has proven time and time again to trash everything it gets its hands on. If you think Social Security is a success story, then no one will convince you otherwise. Social Security is responsible for keeping people in poverty. The problem is that you see it as if there was no social security then they would have nothing. I see it as if there was no social security then they would have something else that they planned on rather than the government planned on. Now that the plan has failed misirably, no one relys on it and those that dont will live comfortably. My 401K will be more valuable even at 25% of its origonal value. And I am not rich by any means. I have an average wage.
The good thing here is that you made a prediction. The economy will be fine. The market wont crash. My hope is that people that see things the way you do, that government has the answers to a better society. will think differntly after the Obama period leads us into depression. No its not the apocalypse that I am predicting. Just a market crash and a depression. It amazes me that something that just eneded 65 years ago is somehow apocalypse sounding loonyness if you think it will happen again. We will all survive, it will just be like living in the 30's for a while. When it does happen I hope you will see things differently.
Perhpas I am wrong. being wrong means I will continue to be prosperous. I can continue to help others. If you are wrong, thats gonna suck! Things being the way they are. I think your prediction is far less likely than mine.
I'll tell you what. perhaps we can find some common ground. If you are correct and the current path we are on does not lead us into a depression, I will promise to change my way of thinking. I will admit that the government can successfully move down the current path, what else would my options be? And I hope you would do the same. If this path leads us into a depression (and I mean the path Bush started not Obama, he is just taking it to the next level) perhaps you will awknowledge that history can repeat itself. Yes there will be differences. The economy if far more globla then it was then. My belief is that the smallest our Republic can stand has the best possible result for the masses. That does not mean total free market without any regulation, well I think you pretty much have what I believe and obviously see it differently. The one common groud we share is that we both believe our ideology works the best for the most people. I don't debate yours or anyones intentions, only the means for achieving it. I remember reading Animal Farm as a kid and thinking "this could have worked if the pigs did not currupt. It was not until later in life that I came to the understanding that not only is the Pigs corruption inevitable, but it does not work because the horses will not perform as pictured in the book. Their human nature will prevent their motivation for the good of the masses. It must be their direct cause and not their accumulated cause. I am sure you will say my view is far to simplistic.but the horses motivation only works if fear is brought into the picture. Hence Russia's system for dealing with them.Perhaps 2 years from now we will stumble across our paths and you can say "I told you so". I will happlily admit I am wrong and my Libertarian view of government is not the best path. For my familys sake I would be more than happy to admit I am wrong. Depression avoided and me a bit wiser, I will gladly give Obama credit. Until then, I currently see our path as distructive to our economy. One other point on Obama's policy. Can someone please explain how bailing out the unions pension (even if you believe its good for the economy) is somehow just or fair when I have a 401K that has been equally effected. Are they more valuable than I am. Or is it a tactic to unionize America?ReplyDelete
You did say we should keep the tax rate, but your original point to the 20s was "Why didn't it last 15 years like the great depression? Because Harding and Coolidge literally cut the budget by 50% and lowered taxes to 24%." You didn't read what I sent; that's OK - but the 'prospering' economics you speak of when bringing this up left millions below the poverty line of 2k per year per family. The rich, as always, were not only comfortable, but very pleased with those policies you want us to follow.ReplyDelete
All Concervatives think exactly the same.
I wouldn't say that, but after reading your talking p... err, arguments, it all sounds the same when it comes to free market ideology.
The reform bill doesn't go far enough. It's barely a start. It actually favors Wall Street, so you should be happy - no surprise though, considering its where his top advisers come from. Private sector leeches off the public sector once again - even when they mess up. Funny how some of the measures that were dropped from the bill - like tough conflict-of-interest rules and tighter controls on proprietary trading - because Republicans prevented these topics from even being voted on. I'm not saying this for a partisan point, its just another example of that revolving door I mentioned earlier - to which you have nothing to say, because you must be well aware of how the private sector captures government agencies that are meant to keep track of them... Again, government has its share of blame, but the private sector doesn't walk away clean - in fact it shows a reliance on government - let alone the notion that if they do any wrong, the taxpayer will be there to bail them out.
I'd like to read the bill in full though, I've still only read what the news has reported of it.
The rest of your rant is just giving me those conservative cliff notes. I might as well go to RedState and try to engage in a worthwhile discussion at this point. I mean, come on, "Security is responsible for keeping people in poverty." You explained this with such a depth of knowledge of the subject. Impressive.
Government has to be strong enough to at least enforce any regulations that are decided upon and, if necessary, intervene to reform where need be. The 'free-market' is not a rational device. When the only goal is to bring in capital, how can it be? Government, on the other hand, has the capacity to not only respond and react to things as they happen, but install safeguards for prevention, make policies that account for externalizations and work to benefit an entire population and not just those who can afford to pay for a commodity or service on one end or are capable to capture a politician in their back-pockets on the other.ReplyDelete
Markets couldn't exist without governments. Aside from something as foundational as the currency which governments provide, markets wouldn't be able to function without the infrastructure government provides (legal, technology, transportation, etc), so to sit there and say markets suffer from government interference ignores how they are capable to function in the first place.
But hey, you're not interested in discussing political philosophies, you're interested in creating the impression that government is this great evil that mangles everything it touches. By the way; have you been paying attention to the Gulf? Did you hear about the miners that died in W.VA.? Did you hear about how insurance companies made money by denying people care? Yeah, let's let businesses run wild; make Max Berry a prophet.
Certainly there is plenty to say and criticize about government, but one of the key differences to the market is that at least with the former, *we* can do something - now - rather than wait and hope for the market - the few who, as you've conceited, have no obligation to anyone else - to 'work its magic' of all the ills we speak of, with its narrow vision.
I'm sure you have good intentions, but I see no practical solutions for everyone else on your side of the fence. I see a 'survival of the fittest' scheme where eventually monopolies emerge and the 'free-market' comes to a crawl, eating itself while leaving the already poor poor.ReplyDelete
I'll take that wager - though on what benchmarks would such a wager rest? No unemployment higher than 20%? GDP growth? A reduction in income inequality? This isn't just betting on the races. And what time frame are we allotting? Some of these reforms, like health-care, won't impact us in full till 2014...
And human nature? What do you mean by this? You still haven't expounded on this term, as you see it. Define it.
I'll tell you what - perhaps a better way we can end this discussion is by recommending each other three books that we feel has influenced our thinking when considering any of the topics discussed here. Sound good?
Oh, I'd recommend The Road to Wigan Pier, Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London over Animal Farm or 1984 any day.
I won't count those as my three though. Here (no particular order):
- Political Ideals, Russel
- Practical Ethics, Singer
- Walden, Thoreau
I'll take you up on the book deal, but one issue. It literally takes me one week to get through a book. I have 4 very young children, and reading time is scarce although cherished.ReplyDelete
1. New Deal or Raw Deal - Burton Folson
2.The 5000 Year Leap Willard Skousen
3. Sacred Fire - Peter Lillback
I will be honest that it is doubtful that I will read all three books you recommend. I have a few that I am dying to get to and such little time for reading I doubt I will postpone them for a month. But if you pick the one you feel is most prominent of the 3 I promise I will read it.
The first I picked is perhaps the most relevent to our discussion. It is in direct contrast with your personal views so if you will only read one that I pick, I would like it to be this one. It examines not only the New Deal, but the reasons for the depression and the resons for the ending of it.
The 3rd you may make fun of me because of its recent popularity with concervatives. I tried to get a second copy yesterday for a gift and could not get one at Borders or Barnes and Nobel. I had to order it and it back ordered. It is just as much insirational as it is informative.
Pick one of yours you most want me to read, and I would like you to read my first choice.
I have so much to comment on what you just wrote, but not much time right now. So just a couple for the moment
"Security is responsible for keeping people in poverty." You explained this with such a depth of knowledge of the subject. Impressive
I am not sure how much depth you need. Almost 1/5th of the US is on Social Security. They get just over $1,000 a month. That is far below poverty. What did you want me to explain? There are many people that relied on this program alone (not all). Those people that soley relied on Social Security are living in poverty. My point it that today we are fully aware of this and plan for our own retirements. I currently pay good money for short and long term disability and I plan for my retirement. Why? Because I will not live on Social Security and live in poverty. I wont let my family live that way. When social securty started, people replaced their personal obligation to do this for themselves for the governments obligation. the result??? Poverty for millions of Americans. Did you want me to sing it as a song and dance for you?
We have a fundemental difference of what government is and its role. You say that markets cant exsist without government and the private sector leeches off the public sector. Those two statements astound me. Where does dollar one that the public sector uses come from? every tax dollar that is generated comes from some exchanges of the private sector. (yes I realize public employees pay taxes, but it logically cannot fund itself) Public sector is a complete leech from the private sector (that is by design and definition). I am not saying that public sector should not exists. Of course it needs to. But its as if you see it as the private sector owes its due to the public sector. When it is completely the other way around. Indeed it is the publics sectors job to serve the pivate sector. Its ability to stand depends on the health of the private sector.ReplyDelete
Of course the free market needs governance. people are inherently evil and monopoly is inevitable with total corruption being the obvious end result. without monopoly laws in place government wouldnt stand a chance and the few rich would rule all. Thats why monopoly laws exsists. I see governments role in exactly this way to govern the free market into prosperity for the many. Not to just take the tax dollars and redistribute them. To govern the free market into prosperity through laws not taxes. I am not against regulation. It just needs to be extreemly carefully done. Most regulation actually hurts the people. The example of price fixing regulation from your New Deal is a perfect example. There were many small companies that went out of buisiness. For many of them it was because they only means for survival was to charge less then the giant companies. Price fixing is a perfect example of how to damage the benifits of the free market. There needs to be regulation and laws for buisiness, that is what I actually see governements role as. Yes there is a need for infracstructure and police and so on. Almost all of that should be handled at the state and even town level where people can truely govern themselves. This was the intention of the constitution and it still works today, if we would would just obey it. Your point of todays world being so different that the constitutions role is not adaquate comes from us letting that happen not becuase it must happen
As far as guidlines for a wager. Hmmmm....I think 2 1/2 years is a good timeline. Even though much of the effects of Bills like health care might not be seen that quickly, some will. There are already companies (I heard John Deer the other day) talking about dropping coverage and just taking the $3,000 fine per employee since it will be much cheaper. Two years from now we will likely be spending 10% of our budget on the interest of the debt instead of 5%. And Obamas current spending is very doubtfully going to decrease. As far as what is the measurement? GDP is not a bad, except it figures government spending, so technically you could be borrowing and spending like a hurricain and bring the GDP numbers to growth even if the actual economy is in decline. Unemployement is as good an idicator as any. I think 20% may be unfair. To say it needs to be 20% for a depression is unfair. Most of the great depression the numbers were under 20%. It was only 1 year that it actually got to 25% (i think it was 33). Yet that is the number people always say. Why dont we say over 16% for 12 consecutive months. That would be a historic downturn.ReplyDelete
BTW. The 2 years of the depression in 20/21 were quite similar to the first 2 years of the great depression in unemployment %. So I know I am supposed to flush whatever you tell me to, but I was comparing apples to apples, not the first 2 years of 1 depression to the 4th and 5th of the other.
I suggested these books with the assumption that you may not be able to get to them right away, that's fine. I usually buy books in spurts online, so if these can't be found in my local used/rare bookstores, I'll purchase them through amazon in my next round of purchases.ReplyDelete
If I had to choose one, I suppose I'd go with 'Political Ideals'. Its pretty short - the copy I have is just over 100 pages and covers basic principals of questions with government, economy, etc..
Ideally, I'd like you - well, anyone to eventually read 'Practical Ethics' whenever they get a chance. It's a bit longer and deals with a wider variety of issues, but more importantly, these are primarily where my thinking (ethics) spawns when it comes to things like government or the economy or what have you. I don't understand how anyone can approach these matters otherwise. There are other values in the world than 'out-competing' someone else. I mean, I don't care if the private sector is efficient if it exploits people, resources or the environment to be efficient (which they do).
Please do research before you claim to know something about social security. Not everyone on it depends on it solely. 25% of beneficiaries depend on it alone, mostly single women and minorities - they wouldn't have to, of course, if they had pensions from their employers, but I'm sure the government is to blame somewhere there as well. 1/3 of its benefits goes to poor children who no longer have a wage earner. Without social security, over 40% of this country's elderly would join that 25%. This program is horribly underfunded, but it can easily be improved.
Do yourself the much needed favor and add this to your reading list, in it you'll find that if Congress makes a simple tweak like applying Social Security to all income, and not just the first $100k than the program would be completely funded for the next 60 years, upcoming baby-boomers included. It would literally get rid of a 5 trillion upcoming debt and instead create a surplus!.
The program works. It can be improved. It does a good things for a lot of this countries older people and disadvantaged women, children and minorities. But this isn't good enough for the lobbyists who want to prevent Congress from making such tweaks. Its bad! Its terrible! Corporations have the answers!! Privatize, privatize, privatize!! They need the money more than these old fogies do.
You say we both have good intentions, this would be a moment to prove it - who are you going to side with - the Americans who like this system and want it improved, or the corporate shills who feel they don't make enough money as they shower it over congressmen everyday.
every tax dollar that is generated comes from some exchanges of the private sector.
Which is regulated and depended upon government. The private sector needs workers, correct? These workers get an education through public school and universities. After they graduate, how do they get to work? Do they take a train? Fly? Drive? Government again. How about communications technologies? Businesses definitely need that to function... I'll likely buy those books through Amazon, over the internet... yep, developed, maintained and protected by government infrastructure. You think Comcast would be in existence if it weren't for dynamic capacity of government R&D? By the way, you think a private company like Blackwater would've made any money without the aid of defense contracts? Just curious.
Sorry, Jim. You're the one who has it backwards here. I'm not saying the private sector can't do a stellar job at creating money, but how they are capable of doing it is another story.
The unemployment bar is accepted.
In my post I said that not all SS recipients rely soley on SS. My point was that the people that do, are living in poverty. You are thinking under the idea that if there was no social security for the people that rely soley on it, then they would have zero. The question is - is that actually true? If SS was never passed in 1935, would those people that soley rely on it, actually have no income? My arguement is that is not the case. They would in fact be better off. Had SS not been there and they did not see themselves paying into it every week and knowing that it was their retirement, would they have done something else? You're operating on the assumption that the answer is no, and thank God they came up with SS or these people would have nothing. When Social Security was being passed in 35 Senator Clark added the option to the bill that employees and employers could have an option to not pay into SS and use private insurance or investment as long as it was Government apporved. Roosevelt squashed it with the help of his fellow democrats in the house and the bill went through without Clarks amendment. Since that time private pension plans have outperformed social security benifits 4 to 1 ratio. Over the last 60 years private plans have earned an average of 8% and SS has earned an average of 2%. So your 25% of SS reciepients that now live in poverty (its actually much higher, I am just using the percentage that rely on SS soley), many of them could be living with a much better standard of living and also not burdening the system. This is just if you gave people the option. Imagine if Clarks amendment passed and people had that option. The goverment would have been competing against the provate plans and would not have stop funding Social Security in the 40's
There are other values in the world than 'out-competing' someone else. I mean, I don't care if the private sector is efficient if it exploits people, resources or the environment to be efficient (which they do).
I guess the major difference is that you believe that values need to come from government. I believe they come from religion. That libertarian style of government WILL produce a healthier economy. It just will. But to you its not good enough, our values must come through the government. I can understand that. If your not religous (and I am not saying you need to be, I am all about religous freedom or freedom to have no religion) then you have to have values come from somewhere. Your points about buisiness exploiting people and resources and the environment are absolutly right. I am not sure how many times I can say it, I am not against regulating business. I am against redistribution of wealth. Yes I understand the need for infratructure, I am not sure why your telling me about the need for planes and trains. I said I agreed with the need to tax for infrastructure. I will repeat: per the constitution, most of this should be handled at the state level.
The program works. It can be improved. It does a good things for a lot of this countries older people and disadvantaged women, children and minorities.ReplyDelete
These programs actually enlave people. I am sure you find that statement outragous. I rememeber my best friend growing up, his mom was on SSI. She had a "fear of public places and people". She also just happen to be 1 year from her degree in phsyc, she was a very smart lady. She taught both her daughters how to go into the system. Each one had a different physcological problem. This is not an anicdote. It is the norm. People who use the system, even if they need it at one time, end up becomming enslaved to it.
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are willing to work and give to those who would not." - Thomas Jefferson
I know you probably dont agree with that. But you talk about the need to improve SS. I see the old saying "there are too many people in the wagon and not enough pulling it" when 1/5th of our people are on SS, that is insane. Walk down the street and see if 1/5th of all the Americans you meet are not capable of pulling the wagon in some way? The answer is not how to better fund it.
My guess is you are either fairly wealthy or better, fairly poor or working in the public sector? Is one of those statements true?
The one other point you made on education I wanted to answer. I live in MA, where we have a very successful and experimnetal charter school system. It is in danger of loosing its funding. My oldest daughter went to the local one "Rising Tide". Its a pretty neat program, its basically privatized education that is publically funded. No Unions. The expererience of this school vs the public school was amazing. There is one a little south of me called Sturgis. They are amazing as well and their kids blow away the public schools in standardized testing (and its not becuase they test prep). They are very demanding and very strict. For people with more liberal values there is one in hingham Ma called South Shore charter. At South Shore you can take music for up to 3 periods a day. They are focused much more on the arts.ReplyDelete
Point is this is another example of when the private sector outperfroms the public sector. It is regulated. They not only outperform public schools, but do it for less money per student. I dont see the program lasting. Many teachers in the union and others in the public system are screaming that the charter system is stealing money away from oublic schools and yada yada yada. The system works and they are very scared of it. It neither grows or shrinks. The current politicians dont want it, but dont want to be the one that takes down the successful experiment. it does indeed take money from the public schools, but it also takes students from them as well. the teachers unions will continue to wage war on it. I just hope it lasts long enough for the rest of my kids to make it through. If we got creative and semi-privitized education through a voucher system or charter system or what have you. Education in America would get much much better. Private sector is almost always more efficient than public. This is a perfect example of where competition can bring out something better. The Charter schools are privatly owned and they know they cant just match the public schools, to survive as a business, they must outperform them. My wife and I are considering private school, charter school or homeschooling (or some combo) for my little ones. Either way, we will use anything but the public sector on this, and my kids will outperform public school students. I am not interested in my kids getting the same US history about our Deist founders and the wonderful New Deal that I got. Our text books actually stress that our founders called for seperation of church and state. If they would take 2 seconds to read the Massachusetts constitution, they would see how stupid that notion is. Yet it is there and repeated over and over. We are taught that the governemnt tactics that maintained the worst depression in history was the great "New Deal" and it pulled us out. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am not sure what your point was about Comcast? are you asking me would there be no cable TV or internet without the goverment. My answer is absolutly yes. My town government (and most) will only let one cable provider in, thus creating a monopoly for years. But hey, then the government regulates the price they can charge. So we overpaid for cable for many years. My guess is your saying that they piggy backed on the governments infrastructure. It may not have happened at the same rate. It may not have happened the same way. But it would have happened.
What is your point here? Of course people shouldn't just solely rely on it - most of them don't. I just said most people that do are mostly made up of single women and minorities. What reasons could you possibly fathom that these groups happen to fall within this 25-percentile? Yeah, they're all just lazy bums and idiots, not as smart or as fortunate as you are to be a white, educated male, no sir.ReplyDelete
Not to mention, if a company folds or decides to freeze their pensions... what then? They always have SS to fall back on... wonder how many of the 25% that has happened to. What if there was no SS to fall back on during hard economic times? People are screwed. See, you really aren't for safety nets - you just proved it with this... 'point'.
I believe they come from religion. That libertarian style of government WILL produce a healthier economy. It just will.
That takes the cake. Throughout all of this discussion, what have you contributed to notion of values? That I have been arguing in favor of social programs and a strong eye on the private sector in no way validates that I believe values should 'come from the government'. What does that even mean? My arguments do indeed address values, I think I've demonstrated that clearly enough with what concerns me most about the 'free market'. That doesn't mean I give government a free pass though, I've already criticized how the government is guilty of being responsible.
Just a thought, Jim; you say you are against the redistribution of wealth... where do you think Jesus would stand on this issue? I don't know if you've read the Bible or not, but I think he makes distributing wealth a top priority at best, a bare minimum, at least. You say values come from religion, I say hogwash, we have our differences, but how you will explain to me how believing values come from religion (you being a Christian) while at the same time advocating for a libertarian world on some of basis of things you've been saying here will be a hoot - allow me to make some popcorn, this should be good...
This is not an anicdote. It is the norm. People who use the system, even if they need it at one time, end up becomming enslaved to it.
It is outrageous and extraordinary. Prove it - not about your anecdote, but what you are claiming here. That's all I have to say to this nonsense. Until you do, you're making things up or revealing prejudice. No more anecdotes either - give me something I can chew on.
Walk down the street and see if 1/5th of all the Americans you meet are not capable of pulling the wagon in some way?
You say you're not the typical Republican/Conservative, so why is that you repeatedly make the same generalizations often heard by them? But of course! The lazy bums! That's all they are!
This is just awful (and desperate) - you're spiraling out of any reasonable discussion on social security at this point. These values you speak of... let's pretend they do come from religion for a moment - I'd like to know where the hell are they as they have yet to make an appearance on any topic. Being 'successful' enough to live decently isn't simply a matter of choices... if you think that that is all that separates a poor man from a rich man, than there is really no point in discussing this any further.
My guess is you are either fairly wealthy or better, fairly poor or working in the public sector? Is one of those statements true?
Before I answer - what would be your definitions for these things; I'm curious. Seriously.
Re: charter schools. Anecdotes are not good enough to support a case against or for anything. Let's make that much clear. I'm glad your daughter had a great experience, but this does not mean that charter schools as a whole are better than public schools. And they do not out-perform public schools. No matter how efficient you want to believe they are.ReplyDelete
It's interesting that on this matter you have no problem in saying that on the one hand, the private sector trumps public, while acknowledging that these are privately run, publicly funded institutions. Not to mention your claim that it is the public which leeches off the private sector all the time... Tell me this is all a joke, Jim... it just has to be....
I do not work for the public sector but have worked for nearly four years in educational publishing and honestly, you don't have a clue about what you are talking about. Concede that much, or risk making a complete fool of yourself. It's nice you have kids, but don't think just because you have some you know something about education, public or otherwise. Here is a start.
Some of our founding fathers were deists. The new deal was responsible for helping produce the strongest middle class this country has ever seen. Ever since Reagan, we instilled some of the ideas you purport.. and look whats happened... what middle class can we speak of today? These are facts, whether you like to acknowledge them or not and no serious scholar, historian or economist, would say otherwise, unless they had a partisan bent (which all of your books do, by the way, just by looking into them. I tried to avoid that with my suggestions, which I feel I did. Still, I'm willing to give them a fair shake.)
you don't have a clue about what you are talking about. Concede that much, or risk making a complete fool of yourself.ReplyDelete
I should have been clearer, when I said that charter schools outperform public schools I was referring to Massachusetts. Here is a link to the MCAS stats for Rising Tide
(you may have to sign up to get the link, just requires an e mail address).
Sturgis actually has better results and MA charters DO outperform the state on the whole. Please feel free to look up any MA charter school, the results will be similar. I cannot speak for charter schools for the rest of the country. There are many complex issues as to the performance of certain states charter systems. 40 states have them, but many are forced to take higher percentages of minorities (I am not saying its right or wrong just a fact) and also severly underfunded per student. Some states will only give the charter 50% of the price per student that the public system uses. Some states use the charter school system as a last resort for problem students. So the results and data when looking at the system as a whole is almost useless. It must be sectioned off into smaller pieces and understand each system and what its exact circumatances are and what the states intention is when they start the charter system means everything. and because they hold the control, they still hold its ability to perform or not. Charter schools are public schools. They are just privatly run. When MA started the charter system, it was to look at alternative education. Otther states may have started the system for many other reasons.
The article you post just shows the charter system as if the whole country has one big charter system. Wouldnt you agree that is a bit short sighted? Thats no different than just saying public schools dont work because they perform the same as charter schools. There are many towns in the US that have outstanding public schools. You can call it anicdotal, but I have seen what charters are capable of with the data to back it up. I believe a lot of the benefit does not even come from the fact that it is public or private, but that they are typically much smaller and management is tighter and more effective, but I do also believe in the competitive aspect that privitization can bring out. Charters in MA are reviewed every few years and can easily have the plugged pulled. So they do not have the luxury that public schools do. Not to mention they dont have that one teacher with a flask in his desk and tenure keeping them teaching.
the reason I say your either wealthy or poor (most likely wealthy) is because people with money are far more likely to think that way. Why should you have to help other people when you have the means to pay someone to do it, like the government. hat if you lived like the average middle American? How much help could you actually bring to the world? You dont want that. you just want to give a little more and not worry about it.ReplyDelete
that these groups happen to fall within this 25-percentile? Yeah, they're all just lazy bums and idiots, not as smart or as fortunate as you are to be a white, educated male, no sir.ReplyDelete
Where did that come from? No one is calling anyone a lazy bum or idiot? Those are your words. If you can have a healthy economy people will not need the social programs. The people will go to work. It is the programs that enslave the people. Do you think it is just random that mulitple generations are far likely to use programs if the parents used them?
explain to me how believing values come from religion (you being a Christian) while at the same time advocating for a libertarian world on some of basis of things you've been saying here will be a hoot
I love this arguement. that I am not a good christian if I dont believe in redistribution of wealth. Thats what Jesus taught did he? I am just getting the bible all wrong. Jesus taught people to be charitable, become directly responsible for the suffering of others. Redistribution of wealth through the government is not me being a charitable person. In fact it is disconnecting me from being a charitable person. Someone else decided I need to give, not me. In fact I am willing (privately, we will have to exchange e mails) to put my charitable donations, up against yours. Since you are wealthier than I it needs to be based on % of income and not total donation. Why is that? Why is it that the guy who has better income than myself. The guy that is so much more interested in helping his fellow man. Has the means to help far more than I do, does less. And I am willing to prove it.
The reason: you want it to be the governments responsibililty. I see helping my fellow man as my responsibility. If every person saw it that way. If every person took responsibility to help his neighbors and family. What need would there be for social programs. Your looking for a machine to make everything ok. We just put the coins in and the machine fixes society That is not what Jesus wants. He wants us (you and me) to make everything Ok. When my parents are old and cannot take care of themselves, they will live with me. As my grandmother lived with them. My wife and I will be their nurse until the day they die or it is physically impossible. You want the political machine to take care of the elderly for you. The government has given us a means of disposing of our elderly so that we can live unbothered lives. Is that what Jesus wants, give your money to the government so you dont have to do the work. What if everyone that has the means to take care of their fellow man was a good Christian and just did it? What if we all did it? You know thats impossible so you want to create a government that forces you to do it. Does that make people better Christians? The end does not justify the means. Not to mention. Your means actually make the ends worse. Socialism brings the state into a divided rich/poverty state. This point that if I was indeed a good Christian I would support the government doing the job of the people is very typical. We have starving poeple. lets not take people into our homes and feed them. Lets not give them food. Lets give the government more money and let them do it. If you have a friend thats blind, lets not get together as a community and each donate our time and money to figure out a way to take care of him. Jesus wants us to give money to the government and they will do a bang up job with the blind man. Your thinking is typical. If the government cant do it, then it cant be done. We cant help people with out the government. Not only can we, were supposed to!
It's interesting that on this matter you have no problem in saying that on the one hand, the private sector trumps public, while acknowledging that these are privately run, publicly funded institutions. Not to mention your claim that it is the public which leeches off the private sector all the time... Tell me this is all a joke, Jim... it just has to be....ReplyDelete
You do realize that government has no means of generating income without taxes right? You either do or dont? I guess we need to get that clear, because its important. So yes they get their funds from the state, which in turn gets its funds from where?
You do realize saying that the private sector leeches of the public sector is an oxymoron right? it is impossble because all of the public sectors money comes from the private sector through tax dollars.
There is no such thing as a publically funded anything. Its just the public sector redirecting tax dollars. I speak to you assuming this is understood and that it doesnt really matter that the money comes from the state, because it still comes from the people.
Its almost as if you dont realize that private citizens started a government. its as if the government was already there and then the private citizens came strolling in later and said "looky here a safe place to lay my head"
i meant to say - What if you lived like an average middle American?ReplyDelete
Meaning. You claim to have the moral highground because I am not willing to have goernment be my means for charity.
Yet you are not willing to live like an average American and use all that extra money to help other people. Why is that? I am not sure why the wealthy want the government to tax them to help others. They think we should redistribute wealth. So do it! Redistribute your wealth and help people! Why are you waiting for the government. Think of the help you could bring people if you would live on 60,000 a year/ Just do it!
ya know it doesnt just work on a national scale. You can actually find the people you think need help and help them. The fact is you wont.
What does any of this have to do with me being a white male??? I love how liberals always throw that in. We are discussing economics and I have a point of view that likes smaller government. That must really bring out the evil white in me eh?ReplyDelete
Besides maybe Jefferson, which founder was a deist?
As far as a company going belly up leaving their pensions high and dry. The other option that Roosevelt would not let into the bill was the option for the company and the employee to take the equal amount an invest in private pension funds or insurance policys. They don't just go belly up. Like I said they have outperformed the government hugely. Fidelity and the like don't just go belly up they are not companies pension plans, that's not what I was talking about, you spun that how you saw fit. But its me spiriling out of any logical discussion of SS. The fact is over the years (and its been quite a few. People would have been much more wealthy had that choice been allowed, not to mention the government would likely have kept funding SS instead of breaking their promise.
Are you really eating popcorn right now?
Not to mention they dont have that one teacher with a flask in his desk and tenure keeping them teaching.ReplyDelete
This is just blatant prejudice on your part. Did you read the New York Times article I linked? Just read the first paragraph: During its first years of operation, the Niagara Charter School in Niagara Falls spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, restaurant meals and alcohol, and more than $100,000 on no-bid consulting contracts. Yet the school’s teachers resorted to organizing a fund-raiser to buy playground equipment.
Give me a break. What criteria is given to judge if a school - charter or public - is outperforming another? Test results? Graduation rate? Education isn't a business model. You don't run a school as a business. This is what charter schools are doing. Businesses drive at one thing and one thing only - profit. Whether or not it provides a benefit or not is a bonus. If you think that that plan is the one that is necessary for education in this country... than I'm not sure what I can say. There is more to getting an education that simply getting good test scores. It's one thing to get the question right of natural selection and random mutation being two mechanisms which account for evolution, for instance, but that doesn't necessarily mean you understand them. I hope I don't have to expound on this concept.
You say I need to view charter schools in some kind of specialized context because they're all different depending on where they are and some are drastically underfunded... one can say the same for public schools. Why not just invest to reform education in this country on the infrastructure that is already in place? Instead, the answer must be to let Wall Street take a piece of the billions spent on education each year.
This is what I am talking about with regard to the private sector leeching. In the case of charter schools, this is nothing more than a transfer of tax-payer dollars to corporate coffers. How can you not see it as such? To boot, what studies have been done thus far show charter schools not doing any better and not delivering on the promises of being the solution to the 'public school problem' - an idea hatched in the board rooms of corporations. There is no 'public school problem'. There are public schools out there with problems, but charter schools aren't necessarily the answer - especially when studies are showing they are doing no better (again, to say some are is to say some public school are excellent).
Still, this whole thing is a side-track from where this stems - government providing an educated workforce to the private sector. As I said before, markets couldn't function without government in the same way my computer couldn't work without windows.
Where did that come from? No one is calling anyone a lazy bum or idiot? Those are your words. If you can have a healthy economy people will not need the social programs. The people will go to work. It is the programs that enslave the people. Do you think it is just random that mulitple generations are far likely to use programs if the parents used them?ReplyDelete
I know those are my words - I was paraphrasing what is easily insinuated by your comments. And yes - *ideally* we shouldn't need social programs. I agree with that. But as things are, we certainly need them. And as long as we're talking about what we think, never mind a 'healthy economy', whatever that means as that's arbitrary to the persons' views on what that is, a system should be setup so that being poor is something that is impossible. A libertarian world-view doesn't provide this, with its short-sightedness to market values.
Your 'argument' regarding Jesus and wealth redistribution is lame as hell. At what point does government not mean people helping others out? That *is* what we are doing in the same way I give monthly donations to a charity. I am not physically there to help a destitute child in Rwanda in the same way I am not physically there to support an elderly man or woman - this is what programs like SS or a charity are for - they do it for you with your financial help. How are you 'more connected' by giving donations to a charity, to people you will never meet, never know, than in contributing to SS? This is not only lame, its terribly confused and a total cop-out. You're just trying to avoid the moral hazard in accumulating wealth while not helping others in the process. 'I'll give when I choose to give', as some how being more righteous is ridiculous when this can be said for the billionaire while children remain starving. That this needs further discussion is rather sad.
And since when have I become wealthy all of the sudden? This is just you making things up based on the very little information you know of me in attempt to make your arguments have some sort of effect. Unfortunately it does little - I'm not wealthy. In fact, given you work for 'big pharma', its far likely that you make more than I do as most jobs in that industry pay rather well, from what I have heard. I no longer work in the industry anymore; I was laid off in a massive cut within the company I worked with (who have merged with a competitor since), I've been working for a retailer doing freelance, waiting to get back into educational publishing, which is what I prefer doing.
Last year, after taxes, I brought home just over 35k. Not bad, considering I don't always work 40-hr weeks, but far from being 'wealthy'. This year I'll make less if I hit the same mark in hours, as I'll need to by my own health insurance. I also live in Chicago, which isn't cheap, even if its just an average neighborhood and am single. So lets put a stop to this 'me being wealthy' nonsense here and now. It didn't help your arguments when it started, won't help them from here on out.
You dont want that. you just want to give a little more and not worry about it.
But you do exactly the same thing when contributing to a charity or to your church. Again, this is a cop-out and *again* a revelation of your prejudice of others; people with money apparently like social programs. That makes sense. You'd think wealthier people would want to pay more in taxes. But this point is irrelevant. I'm not wealthy.
Its almost as if you dont realize that private citizens started a government. its as if the government was already there and then the private citizens came strolling in later and said "looky here a safe place to lay my head"ReplyDelete
This still avoids the fact that the private sector operates because the government is there to allow them to operate. How are you not getting this? Image a world where there is no government to protect and enforce things like contracts. A stable currency to rely on. Foreign trade, not to mention the infrastructure they rely on. That government taxes somehow makes it indebted to the private sector is to completely ignore what markets rely on. Which is what you have been doing all this time.
You can actually find the people you think need help and help them.
People don't do this for obvious reasons, not because they are malicious or lazy. Indeed, many people can't be lazy because otherwise mouths will go unfed. Under my financial situation, I do what I can; the point is people with more wealth can do more - but they don't. That is why you build it in the system. The practicalities of this are as plain as day. You're taking an unrealistic approach to justify not contributing, collectively, to help those who are in need of help. Again, this is just ridiculous as it completely ignores the efficiency and magnitude that a national scale can have to solve problems like the tsunami that happened a few years back, or the earthquake in Haiti. Every single person who wanted to help didn't physically go there and do so; they contributed collectively and made a significant difference.
It's amazing what hoops you are willing to jump through to remain on this 'social programs are bad' stance.I wish I could say its amusing, but its rather sad, at this lengthy point.
What does any of this have to do with me being a white male??? I love how liberals always throw that in. We are discussing economics and I have a point of view that likes smaller government.ReplyDelete
You need it explained to you how being a white male in this country is a tremendous advantage when talking about economics; particularity social programs? You cannot be serious. Wow. So tell me, does the world according to Jim have every man and woman, black or white, have complete equality in terms of things like pay? Discrimination? Some world; but not the one we live in. Read up, buddy, you *clearly* need it.
Besides maybe Jefferson, which founder was a deist?
Its well known at least a few of them were. If the only place you're looking to get 'facts' is from right-wing literature, than of course you're going to have a difficulty seeing things as they, in fact, are.
Fidelity may not go belly-up, but the employer, if they offer pensions (not all do), can go belly-up. Than what? So what if Fidelity is still around if you're hard-pressed to contribute to a plan with them... That's what I was getting at; I didn't spin anything.
My popcorn has now gone cold and stale; there is too much to clear up with what you say.
I have a lot to respond to, but I want to start with an apology. I have many of these debates (as I am sure you do) and the percentage of people that I discuss with that share your view that fall into one of those 3 catagories is almost uncanny. Most often the people calling you "white male" are the rich white males.It makes for good dramitic effect when debating that I just assume the liberal is in those catagorie and it almost always works out. In this case it backfired. so my apologies for saying your rich if your not. Yes I make a good middle class income working for pharma, but I also live in MA, where the cost of living is extreemly high relative to the most of the country. But I am in a good position. Earlier you were looking for data to support my anicdote on social programs, which I don't have and is tough to quantify. I started out young living in section 8 housing. So the anicdotes I have are countless (to me data) I know exactly how these programs work and how people work the programs. I lived with them for 2 years (I was not on section 8), but I would say 80 percent were. I have worked hard and struggled to get where I am. I applied for section 8, but there was a two year waiting list. They recommended my wife (girlfriend at the time) go to a shelter with my daughter and that would speed the process up to 2 months. We didn't do it and I am convinced if we had, we would still be there. I have much more to say, but heading to a graduation party for my oldest. Will respond tonight. Your arguements is very week and I have much to say. BTW, did you find those deist founders?
Give me a break. What criteria is given to judge if a school - charter or public - is outperforming another? Test results?ReplyDelete
It's funny how the article you showed me from USA Today which uses standardized test data to confirm its results is fine, but then you go on to say standardized test results can't be used when I show you how Massachusetts charter schools outperform its counterparts.
You compare charter schools to Wall Street and corporations. The fact is that most owners of charter schools are teachers, principals and different members of the community. They are not big Wall Street corporations. If you want to get into a business to make money, charter schools are not the place to go. Most people that start charter schools do it because they want to try something different to make something better. Again I am speaking to Massachusetts charter schools not the country's charter school system as a whole.
a system should be setup so that being poor is something that is impossible.
If the system is set up so that being poor was impossible, what motivation would you or I or anyone for that matter have for getting up in the morning and going to work? In trying to accomplish a system that is set up so no one can be poor ends up resulting in a system where everyone is poor except for the privileged few. That's just a fact. The only way it can work is if the government uses fear to get the people to perform. Hence the Societ Union. Our nature is such that we will generally take advantage of a situation if possible(I am no different). When I use the phrase “human nature” and saying that your not accounting for it, this is what I meant. Imagine actually living in a society where being poor was impossible. The amount of time I could spend with my family would be wonderful. If you think humans are better than that, that we would all pull for the greater good. Your wrong. And this is why I say that the social programs enslave the people that use them. I have seen it first-hand. And I know how easily it could have happened to me. So no, it's not about people being lazy, because I saw how close I was to falling into that trap.
But you do exactly the same thing when contributing to a charity or to your church.ReplyDelete
You obviously missed my point in talking about personal charity versus government social programs. Charity is most effective in a face-to-face encounter, the exact amount of uplift and relief can be given. This is what I meant when I said - I'll be taking care of my parents and the example I gave with the blind man and the hungry man. It is something that should be done on a state and local level and historically was something done by civic leaders, the local clergy and private citizens. Now it's done through taxes with a caregiver and receiver are completely disconnected. It is extremely inefficient and the waste is massive.
'I'll give when I choose to give', as some how being more righteous is ridiculous
Do you not see that the fact someone chooses to give is what makes it charity. If you dont choose to give and pay taxes, what is righteous about that? Not collectivly, but to the individual. The fact is that if Americans are given a choice rather than tax they will do a better job taking care of those who need it. France and other countries complained that the United States did not give enough to the Haiti relief because we were the richest nation on earth and only 3rd in government contribution. But if they took a moment to look at personal contributions to Haiti they would see that we were first. Back in the Great Depression when Roosevelt enacted the emergency relief and construction act. States like Illinois took 55 million while states like Massachusetts refused to take anything. Governor Joseph Eli and other state officials believed that the relief should be done on local and state level, they held a statewide unemployment drive and raised $3 million. Boston Symphony repeatedly gave benefit concerts for the jobless. Boston College and holy cross played exhibition games and raised money. The mayor raised a 2.5 million from city employees. Schoolteachers donated 2% of salaries to feed the poor. So not only did Massachusetts refuse to take taxpayer money at the federal level and took care of themselves at the local level. They also had to pay additional taxes to fund the ERC act. The type of relief and Charity that Massachusetts accomplished during the Great Depression connected people, got people active and allowed people on the personal level to feel what they were doing for other people. If you think this same as what the state of Illinois did by taking Massachusetts and other states taxpayer money, if you think these two types of charity are the same, and have the same effect on people than I'm sorry for you.
There was a time when I had to go to the local Catholic charities for food. Now that I'm in a better position, I buy food for Catholic charities. It's different than just giving money and certainly different than just paying taxes. And most importantly there is zero waste. For every dollar I spend there is a dollar worth of food supplied. It is a great feeling shopping and picking out what someone that was in my exact position will eat. Catholic church has a program where you can directly pay someones oil bill. Guess how much waste there is in that program? I get an oil bill and pay it, zero waste. Yeah the government is so much more efficient. If you want to get back to your point of which makes me a better Christian. Me paying an involuntary tax does not make me or anyone a better Christian.
The whole "white" thing. You make me wanna puke. I am argueing that social programs enslave people to them. They hurt people more than they help them. And you tell me it must be nice to be a white male. If minorities use social programs more than whites then I am arguing in their favor, regardless if you agree with me or not. My point is that I think these programs hurt people (I honestly was even considering race). I have lived with them and know how hard it is for a couple to get married and have to start counting the mans income. They loose the section 8 or their disability check or both. So they dont get married and the guy lives there and pretends he doesnt. They are constantly forced to make bad decisions to keep on the program. I dont blame them for making the decision. Who wants to leave safety? I wouldnt.ReplyDelete
It was just typical liberalism for you throw it in there. It must be nice being a "white freelance retailer". See how insulting that is? As if I am arguing to hurt minorities. Better economy is better for everyone.
I missed your Wiki post on Deism my first go around, but I soppose your pointing to Franklin as being a Deist. If you research him beyond Wiki, you will find his religous views never being all that clear. But I hardly would make the claim it was Deism. Nor are the founders as a collection of men routed in Deism. This strays greatly from our conversation, but if you do want to debate the point it will be easy to show and prove through their own words that the general assembly of founders were rooted in religion and used its system for a basis of morality. Liberals have distorted this into a revisionist history that our founders were a group of Deists, which is not true.ReplyDelete
Earlier you were looking for data to support my anicdote on social programs, which I don't have and is tough to quantify.ReplyDelete
That's all I need to hear and why I accused your argument of prejudice. I get that you have personal experiences which lead you to make certain conclusions; we're all capable of being guilty of that, but that doesn't necessarily make up the whole - hence the flaw of relativism.
I would also inject another idea into this equation, and that is it is more than just having to have to be collecting SS that contributes to some of the behavior you've seen. What you're driving at here is like saying poor neighborhoods remain poor because no one wants to work hard enough to improve their situation (so it's their own fault). If only answers to these problems were that simple; they're not. This is why I commented on race (as an example).
It's funny how the article you showed me from USA Today which uses standardized test data to confirm its results is fine, but then you go on to say standardized test results can't be used when I show you how Massachusetts charter schools outperform its counterparts.
But that is precisely the irony! Not to mention why this issue is so deceiving. Charter school advocates maintain that it can out-perform public schools on the basis of getting higher test scores and graduate rates; measurements which do not necessarily reflect the 'problems' of education. For example, just to take one variable; it is largely found - you can find this data yourself if you search for it - that when economic times are difficult at home, students fair poorly in the classroom. We've had real wages which have remained stagnant for nearly 30 years, income inequality has increased during that time, unemployment, people forced to work part-time as opposed to full-time and this correlates very much with poor school performances - things that public schools have no control over and certainly something charter schools can't fix.
To your other point; no. Hedge fund managers are trying to benefit by the tax credit the government offers to a lender that enables them to double their money in less than ten years. That's the incentive. This is easy money for Wall Street. There is nothing inherently wrong with that with the exception of them getting into education simply for the cash incentive; it doesn't work that way, as they are finding out per the USAToday article. Again, simply because a charter school here and there are successful doesn't mean they are addressing the problems they promise to solve and are the way to go.
If the system is set up so that being poor was impossible, what motivation would you or I or anyone for that matter have for getting up in the morning and going to work?ReplyDelete
Getting up and going to work isn't motivation - it is a forced need. This is the form of slavery you should be pointing at. You think human beings are meant to do things like get a job? Work 40 hr weeks? 60? Own businesses? Dig ditches? That is how the system is setup and we either abide by it or suffer the consequences. There is little choice in the man or woman who has to get an income to survive or provide.
In trying to accomplish a system that is set up so no one can be poor ends up resulting in a system where everyone is poor except for the privileged few. That's just a fact.
I'm getting tired of these things you pull out of your rear without any support whatsoever. I'm thoughtful enough to not just try and say whatever is off the top of my head, as if I know everything about everything. I try to back up what I say with supporting articles or reports. You don't. If you can't attempt to provide evidence for these kinds of claims (like how the market 'just will' work everything out), than please flush them down or make the effort to substantial them.
In any case, a Catholic priest said it best; "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."
This 'human nature' you speak of, although you haven't taken the time to elaborate on what it is you exactly mean by it, seems to be only negative... But largely misplaced. You say you're capable of taking advantage of a situation. Is that really because of you being human and that's the way humans are? Or because of the environment you forced to deal with? There is a difference. I'm not claiming we're all really angels deep down, I'm simply saying we can react in certain ways to certain situations; that is much different than being inherently 'good' or 'bad'.
Charity is most effective in a face-to-face encounter, the exact amount of uplift and relief can be givenReplyDelete
For who? You? Is it just as important for you to pat yourself on the back as it is for someone to benefit from your charity?
Contributing collectively also has the advantage of anonymity. The beneficiaries don't have to feel personally beholden to you or me, personally. This 'face-to-face' nonsense simply says to me that you need to feel good about giving to someone in need; it doesn't focus on the recipient, but rather to on the giver.
Whether or not I am physically there for that child living in a third-world country has no bearing on the usefulness of the aid I am giving. It says something to me that you're convinced by this shallow argument. You're avoiding the fact that you are just as 'disconnected' when donating to a charity or church is just as revealing (as you no doubt prefer those over social programs).
Do you not see that the fact someone chooses to give is what makes it charity.
I don't know what's more confused; your theories on government and markets or your theories on charity. One the one hand, human nature doesn't pull for the greater good (according to you), yet, social programs should be banned and replaced by charity - which relies on the good will of... humans. So, building in a safety net for those less fortunate into our system is bad because it prevents the choice of an individual to give - yet human nature prevents us from pulling for the greater good... Got it. Makes perfect sense. Jesus would be proud.
France and other countries complained that the United States did not give enough to the Haiti relief because we were the richest nation on earth and only 3rd in government contribution. But if they took a moment to look at personal contributions to Haiti they would see that we were first.
Per capita, we *are* the richest nation on earth. This is true, we have more millionaires than any other country on this earth - its no surprise we made the most personal contributions...
States like Illinois took 55 million while states like Massachusetts refused to take anything.
MA didn't not take any money from the new deal. That's just false. And I challenge you to find that during the same period, IL didn't try to do the same (communities working together). Teachers in Chicago did try to pool together resources; but they couldn't sustain such aid. Relief stations were setup all throughout the city and state. Your problem is your just not willing to look into this if it doesn't have a right-wing bent attached to it. Here.
As an aside, I found earlier today that Glenn Beck had on Folsom for part of his show, and its clear what his ideology is (what he said of Ford, for example was just flat-out nonsense.) Again, I'll give it a fair shake, but I'm kind of perturbed that on the one hand you keep insisting you're not about left or right, don't want to be colored a typical republican/conservative... but it seems that every avenue I turn, all signs are pointing one way.
I was talking about how race impacts economics (or vice verse). You can't not say that being a white male in this country serves as a tremendous advantage; especially when trying to get out of poverty, like in the form of getting a job.ReplyDelete
My original comment regarding this was a response to the 25% which rely solely on SS; which are made up of single woman and minorities. Again, the programs themselves are not responsible. You have yet to do a thing to demonstrate otherwise, other than provide a personal experience. That's great, but that doesn't win a case.
Typical liberalism? OK. Whatever that means. I am not saying you are arguing to hurt minorities... where did you come up with that? Insulting? Hahah. I am saying you aren't considering certain economic factors (advantages/disadvantages). There is a difference here. Let's cool out.
Ironically, you show a typical conservative response to any discussion regarding race; throw maturity and sense out the window.
Re: founding fathers and deism, I take it if Franklin wrote in his own autobiography that he was a deist, than I'll take his word for it, not yours, thanks. You can't deny that some of these men had deistic tenets at least, were deists at best. I mean; put it this way, if Barrack Obama said "in no way is this country a Christian nation", people would go nuts and a witch hunt would go on in the white house, in spite of him simply quoting Madison.
There is no revisionism; I'm not saying none were Christians, indeed most of them were. Not all. Though I would say that the kind of Christinaity men had in mind then doesn't resemble what's thought of today - especially on the right.
I started to respond to all your points as we both have been doing for the past week or so and then I came across your comment
Getting up and going to work isn't motivation - it is a forced need. This is the form of slavery you should be pointing at. You think human beings are meant to do things like get a job? Work 40 hr weeks? 60? Own businesses? Dig ditches? That is how the system is setup and we either abide by it or suffer the consequences. There is little choice in the man or woman who has to get an income to survive or provide.
I think you are finally starting to reveal what your true beliefs are. When we started debating you said you were not a total socialist. So I assumed that you believed in the free market somewhat, but just had a difference of opinion on social programs and to what degree they should be utilized. But from this comment I can see that our ideology is so far off that we will certainly not find any common ground. Yes I do think human beings are meant to do things like get a job. I think Humans should work 40 hours a week and if they work 60 should be getting ahead of the ones working 40. Yes I realize our system is set up for that. You are indeed talking about a completely different system than ours and obviously believe in a completely different system than ours. I cant help but wonder what system works where people dont get jobs and do whatever it is you think humans were "meant" to do. Where people are not "slaves" to this system.I disagree that in this system there is little choice in what a man or woman has to do to provide or survive. In fact I think our system offers the most choice, vs other systems. I believe in it. I believe in the exact system that our founders made. I may not be doing exactly what I would want, but I worked very hard to accomplish a rewarding job while providing for my family. Of course that is only because I am a white male. I guess this system does not allow for hispanics or blacks to be able to do the same. I will make sure I tell my boss that. (but thats just a crazy anicdote, this system is not really getting better and better at equality and human rights).
You have been a little evasive on what system it is you believe in.
earlier you said
I don't know were you got that idea from, but it wasn't from the founding fathers. Ever hear of the Federalist Party? It didn't form because people believed what you claim. Hamilton, Madison? Do these names ring a bell? They favored a strong centralized government
You glazed over my statement that what Madison meant by a strong centralized government and what you are refering to are two different things. Now I can see why. Do you believe that what these men intended for government is the same as what you believe in?
What exactly is the ideal form of government? Please lay that out for me.
Relax, Jim. I'm not going to pass out little red books to anyone. Simply because I am a critic of capitalism doesn't mean I want to abolish it or install a communist state. I don't.ReplyDelete
I don't think humans were 'meant' to do anything. That is to say, the systems we are talking about here, whether they be government-related or enterprise, are systems we have no choice but to be apart of in the same way a child has no choice but to be raised Muslim, Jewish, Christian, non-religious, etc.. What I was saying with that comment you apparently didn't like is to consider our situation a bit deeper, rather than on the surface.
Most ditch-diggers of the world surely didn't, when they reached an appropriate age, say to themselves, this is what I was meant to be doing. For that matter, the CEO who is hired by the board of directors of a company doesn't say this is what he or she was 'meant' do (in spite of them deluding themselves of such a belief) as it'd be just has meaningful to them to be the head of one of the other companies they'd be interested in being a part of. Nor are the people who were forced to take part-time instead of full-time work. Nor are the people who are forced to take minimum wage jobs. Look at students going to college; something like 70% of students change their majors at least once. Is what they do next, what they will spend the rest of their entire lives doing, what they were 'meant' for. Nonsense.
I'm not saying people shouldn't work. I'm saying they *have* to. They have no choice on the matter. It's either make some money, or suffer the consequences. Given that ultimatum, most of our so-called 'choices' from there on our are already rigged. Think of the men and women who, only in their spare time, took interests in things completely unrelated to what they during their '9-5' which is were they spend the majority of their lives.
Again, the point wasn't a lefty, marxist, socialist, communist, whatever-ist point. It was simply to draw a more philosophical notion toward something like slavery, where you see it being employed by something like a safety net in a system we have little choice in being a participant in the first place.
You can joke around all you want regarding race and economics in this country, but until you bring something to the table that supports your punchlines, the joke's on you.
The ideal government is one in which it works to benefit the most people on the basis of democracy - political as well as economic democracy; not just a select few or smaller groups who have concentrated wealth or power from an individual to a corporation.ReplyDelete
You believe in the system our founding fathers made, a system which preached equality, yet clearly didn't follow it or made an effort to even address basic human rights with respect to it. I guess it did certainly set an example as inequality still runs rampant in this country they founded and I see nothing in your views which seeks to even comment on this issue, never mind address it. In fact, you ignore it when presented with the case of racial discrimination in the workplace; which blows my mind - that is labor economics 101. It's no secret.
Capitalism should be just as cooperative as it is competitive. Workers should have a more involved role in a company. Instead of letting a few people - board members and share holders - dictate what you do, when you do it, how you do it, where you will do it, an employee should be able to have a say if he or she is going to provide their brains and hands 40 hours a week or more to help produce profits. If most of our lives are going to revolve around us having a job, than we should have more say in the matter and not be simply exploited and given the 'do what I say or else' treatment.
You want things like freedom, liberty and equality when it comes to government. So do I. But I don't want these ideas to stop there.
With such a system maybe there won't be as many billionaires as there are today, but if that means, say, no people living in poverty, no need for social programs, better living standards, etc than I think its a something worth working toward.
We should definatly define something before proceeding. The founders system that preeched equality. Does not mean each person should be equal. In fact a system that has that belief does not work. The founders meant we have equal rights. The law is applied to each of us equally. There is a huge difference in thinking that we should all be socially equal and we have equal rights. I do not believe in social equality (that we are all entitled to the same life style regardless of position or effort or talents or whatever) I believe in equal rights. That is that given the same circumstances the law shall be imposed equally on each individual. To say we are all socially equal is Socialism. I would like you to expand on your ideas. Capitolism that has a system of Democracy within it, within its companies. How does that work? How do you accomplish that? How do you give the ditch digger a say in whatever it is you think he should have a say in? How do you have cooperitive capitolism? Does it only apply to the p and G's of the world or does it apply to the country store's and 3 man plumbing outfits as well? I Can easily spout off tons of problems with the idea as well as the fact it infringes on peoples right to the pursuit of happiness, but I should wait until I truly understand what it is you are talking about. I believe that in our current system the ditch digger has opportunity to accomplish what he wants. As I started off as a ditch digger (not literally). BTW, I am not educated past high school officially. I have time at Wentworth and Biotech classes at M.I.T. And tons of other training classes as well as military training, but nothing that I can put on my resume as a degree.ReplyDelete
The free market does not enslave people. We have the right to do whatever it is we want to, if it is money we want, we have the right to pursue it. If it is passion for a certain field, we can pursue it. Our success cannot be guarenteed or the system breaks down. But we have a system where success is the most likely if efforts are applied tenaciously. I think it may be warm and fuzzy to say we should all have a say in how the company is run, but I think that would be in exchange for successful companies and the right to take the company you started in the direction you see fit.
Most inportant, please explain how your idea works.
Does not mean each person should be equal. In fact a system that has that belief does not work. The founders meant we have equal rights.ReplyDelete
First of all, if they meant we have equal rights, they only meant it for those who met certain qualifications and thanks to their small-mindedness on the matter, being of 'good stock' themselves, they gave birth to a system in which only until recently has seen some of the first signs of decency.
I mean, just take slavery alone - how can you possibly idealize a group of men and their documents when they didn't even address such a fundamental human value given the language in what they wrote? Just think about that for a moment; Jefferson wrote down words which espoused the validity of human rights and then went home that same day to be served by his slaves.
Clearly we don't have to take the bad with the good when we want to take away what we feel are worthy goals or sentiments, but at the first sign of anything you think is socialism from whatever it is I say - you're quick to jump at me with 'Soviet Union' nonsense and all the perils associated with it - yet you give complete sugar coating the other way around. Simply because I see countries like Germany, Sweden or Denmark, social democracies, doesn't mean my 'real' goal is to get the USSR back in shape. There are alternatives, as the former countries make clear, so we can cut this quasi-knowledge-bull of what you think socialism leads to. I am willing to acknowledge when an argument of mine is flawed, but to say to me that what I am advocating, even though it sounds nice, brings us to Russia a few decades back isn't a response to be taken seriously just as you won't take me seriously if I said your views don't concern minorities because your values identify with the founding fathers. OK? Good.
The problem I have with the position of 'equal rights' as you've stated it is that it inherently assumes everyone is starting from the same place, with the same resources, with the same opportunities. This assumption is there even if only inadvertently, especially if we are all (despite our differences in each of the categories I named) to adhere to the same laws and market rules. That is not realistic and therefore, I think, a bad criteria of what we should be calling anything close to 'equality'.
Second, social equality, to me, means that in spite of our differences and our circumstances, we all are entitled to basic needs - such as education, health care, security, freedom of speech, voting rights, etc and even to more basic needs such as a basic income to access food and clean water. This does not mean that we are all entitled to the same lifestyle. There are certain things we have no control over - like what economic situation we are born in and what diseases can harm us, but we can control a basic standard for everyone. We live in a world where we have access to technologies which enable us to set a certain standard of living which can eliminate things like poverty or illiteracy.ReplyDelete
This does not mean that therefore there should be an equality of outcome, however. There is a difference between setting up a basic safety net and infrastructure which provides things like the best education and health care to everyone and making sure each of us, in spite of our talents or lack thereof, obtain equal wealth - that is not what I am getting at. We are not created equal, but we can be given an equal opportunity, a level playing field in which we can start out competing against one-another. If you think this currently exists today, than you're kidding yourself.
The free market does not enslave people. We have the right to do whatever it is we want to
But you said you're not doing what exactly it is you want to be doing. You're rewarded by the hard work you do that supports your family. Those are two different things. I don't think my father wanted to work in a factory all of his adult life, in spite of his rewards of what he was able to provide for his family. There are two different things there. Doing something because you have to vs doing something you want to, what you're passionate about. The free market forces people into the former where the latter is simply a bonus. Enslavement wouldn't be the most fitting word for this if it wasn't for real wages not increasing over the last 30 years. I don't think you know what this means. This means that in spite of productivity going up and companies continuing to make record profits, a person today makes the same amount in real wages as he 30 years ago. I'd call that for what it is; enslavement.
Why is what I believe is better addressing this problem (needs vs wants)? If we can get rid of the burdens many people have today that force them to make decisions out of need rather than want (like finding ways to pay the financial debt of education or health care), than I think that is a better platform for this 'pursuit of happiness' you speak of (which I'll get to later, it's a terribly problematic ideal).
Regarding democracy in the workplace. I'm sure you've heard of co-ops? They are actually growing in popularity, so what I am advocating isn't necessarily new, its simply an extension and empowerment of an already existing operations. You living in MA, I'm sure there are some that exist there.ReplyDelete
Its making business built on egalitarianism, essentially. Everyone involved on making the good or service has a say from things like how it should be made to what to do with the profits. Unless you think people have a right to exploit other people (which is what capitalism inherently does as it seeks to gain the most in productivity while providing the least amount to pay for it). Even religious groups are known to do this. A group of people get together to form a jointly owned business or organization for common benefits. Each contributes labor and resources and control the activities of the co-op and reap the economic rewards (proportionally to use). They organize for the mutual benefit of their members and their community - not just for a one or a select few of people.
Capital is still made, but each member contributes to success or decline. So there is a vested interest in everyone involved to be productive and compete; as consequences of failure or also shared.
I think it may be warm and fuzzy to say we should all have a say in how the company is run, but I think that would be in exchange for successful companies and the right to take the company you started in the direction you see fit.
The first assessment is wrong; co-ops exist and they are sustainable. Success is subjective, but to you, it obviously means the millionaire can't be a billionaire henceforth making the millionaire's pursuit of happiness a struggle. Well, I think that's a compromise most are willing to make if it means the majority are living better and out of poverty. This pursuit of happiness you have seems to be a strange notion. If you sat down to have a good meal at a table where someone starving was sitting; would you feel comfortable? Would setting aside some of your meal for that person hinder your pursuit of happiness? What would that do to theirs?
Ever read Jeremy Bentham? I think his work is worth noting here. In short, if a dollar is transferred from a rich person to a poor person, the loss of utility (happiness) of the rich will be less than the gain in utility to the poor. Hence the total sum of utility is greater among both individuals.
I don't think equality of outcome is a good economic structure, which utilitarianism implies, but I think the concept is at least worth considering. Some people don't work as hard as others, some people aren't as talented, some people don't want to pursuit more money or resources, so the pie shouldn't necessarily be distributed evenly, but when talking about happiness, one should note that the pie of happiness is greatest when resources are distributed equally as inequality makes the pie smaller.
I am going to leave you with the last word, so in this post I will not make any new points or refute any of yours.
I understand that you are not an all out Socialist. As with most of the left today, you favor Democratic Socialism. Which has varying degrees of socialism within a democratic system. I think we understand each others views. The good news for you is your view is now coming to fruition. It will be tested thoroughly. I personally think it will be a failure and you think we will prosper. We wont change each others minds (as if any of these debates ever do). We have our gentlemens bet in place and I am sure you will post here from time to time and we can reconvien. In all honesty, I hope you win. I hope my wage climbs under Obama and we can bring healthcare to the entire country without hurting our economy. I hope the larger government will bring wealth to the masses. I hope the economy can thrive with 70% of it running under the government. I respectfully dissagree. But the test is in place, the men who share your idea's are in power, and I honestly have no issue with being wrong. I will welcome it as it will suit my own prosperity.
On Wednesday I wrote a lengthy post on minorities and what the private sector is doing to get them to work for their companies. I dont know if I screwed up posting it or not, butI did get the message that "your post will be put up once the owner has reviewed it". I will spare you the rewrite.
Keep in mind if your ideas fail. If the economy continues in its down turn. The people will only allow obama to contine to blame the previous politicians for so long. When you have depression you wake up the people like myself. for years I was content with letting others do the political thinking. Now I cant stop reading books about history and politics (just ordered Road to Serfdom). I desperatly want to refute your recent post about the founders, but will refain in the interest of focusing my energy away from debating and continuing my own education on how to best put forth my energies to restore the constitution.
I am curious. If this fails and we sink into further depression. Will you actually say your idea of government is not sustainable (to maintain high GDP, low unemployment, anything is actually sustainable, I mean sustain healthy economy). Or will you think it was not enough, or wasnt done right? I guess thats what I am really interested in. You have already won the debate, becuase your ideas are currently in effect. I am more curious in what would it take for you to think you are wrong? For me, it will be recovery of our economy with the current path. If thats happens, I will admit I am wrong. What for you?
Ugg, sorry I couldnt resist another post after reading your last reply, but i'll keep it short and sweet. Last night I was watching a show featuring Milton Freedmon and his writings about free market vs regulation. They had video taped interview with Andrus Ansip asking him about his success with Estonias economy. He had admitted he knew very little about economics and the only book he had ever read on the subject was Freedmans. So he went with what he knew. The rest is history. Even though they are richer than their democratic social european counterparts and used the methoed to pull out of a Russian style depression and their average person does far better in a short 19 years, I am sure you will give me a reason a flat tax is worse (depite that the poverty level is very low). According to Benthem they are not as happy.ReplyDelete
I couldnt help but imagine your co op idea being implimented by our government. The massive amounts of regulation it would take to not only mandate guidlines for new companies, but the destruction of our economy as you forced it on existing Co's. Writing code for every industry and size company to give the enslaved ditch digger a voice instead of being expolited. Free markets with the correct regulation dont have to have exploitation. The US is a perfect example. who is being exploited legally? Of course yours and my definition of exploited are undoubtedly different.
My pursuit of happiness, does not mean actual gaurenteed happiness. I use it in the same terms as the founders that it is a protected right to pursue ones personal objectives. Whatever he feels it is that brings his personal happiness. Jefferson replaced "property" with it because he felt it covered wider ground as a personal freedom. For some it may indeed be property, for others it may be knowledge,....etc.
I love the Jeremy Bentham idea of increasing overall happiness. He must have been using the scientific happiness meter when writing this. Although I agree with the concept in part. I dont believe once person giving to another absolutly makes the giver "less happy". that is only when it is done through government. Done personally it could make the giver "more happy". but again I think the whole concept of using this as a model for government is absurd. there is just so much more to the picture. How do you know for a fact that taxing someone that makes 80,000, by 30,000 and giving it to someone who makes zero increases over all happiness? Lets say that the guy making 80,000 has 8 kids and the guy making 0 has none. You just made the 80,000 guy so pissed off and he cannot take care of his family. but the betham formula says, nope, the guy thats now got 30,000 and had nothing has increased his happiness more than you pissed off the other guy. The concept is absurd and I could sit here and write a hundred situations that make it so. thats just crap that a guy smoking a big bone comes up and and the stoner next to him say "wow man,...thats awesome, your like Mr. Phylosophy man". Very scientific stuff you got going to a happier society. I would rather look to Estonia and countries of the like that have used free market to ressurect them from the dead. America is doing the exact opposite. Fact is, I am gonna win the bet. America is over regulating, over spending and going to be over taxing. We will sink. Unemplyment will easily reach 16% in the next two years. As soon as the census jobs are done it will be well over 10%. Will you still think it is the best path forward? I know, I am coo coo bananas. predicting catastrophy where there is none. I am preparing, so I will indeed be fine. I will be able to help some others as well. But many will suffer far more than they would in a free market, capitolist government. The net result of your ideology hurts the very people you want to help, and we dont have to debate it, you are going to see the proof. the question is, will you blame it. or something else?
I was going through my New Deal-Raw Deal book this morning. Mainly because so many of our current social programs got their start in the New Deal, I want to share Roosevelts words when the FERA program was ended and the WPA program was implimented instead. Under FERA tons of additional taxes (over 75% on the wealthy) were spend by the Federal government to give relief to states. Not only did it cause massive corruption in itself, but the local politicians began to notice a change in its peoples.ReplyDelete
This fundemntal change was so well noticed the Roosevelt was embarrassed, but to his credit he took full responsibility and said
"The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundemantally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is the inimical to the dictates of a sound policy"
This relates to the exact arguement we had where you say anyonimity has its benefits. The reciever does not have to feel beholden to his giver. Someone sees fit to take someone else money and give it to yet someone else and the worry is that the reciepient might feel beholden. This logic escapes me. If someone gives me something, yes I feel beholden to them. Thats what is supposed to happen. We should dontate through the government becuase they can do it without giving the reciepient any worry? Reciepients should worry. They should feel beholden. Your thought process amazes me.
So this was 1935 and the exact time Roosey started the WPA (works progress). He, being the most liberal of thinkers, understood the damage he did through the FERA. He knew he was indeed enslaving people. The difference is that back then people were not afraid to say it. He admitted his mistake and tried something else.
Although you say your not a socialist. You admit you are partly a socialist. You just have arbitrary limits as to what should be the lowest standard of living. You say people are entitled to a minimum standard of living. I believe people have no entitilement at all. Why are they entitled to some minimum? Why? because you think it is bad to live below some arbitrary standard. If you lived alone on an island, What were you entitled to? So it is the fact that we live in a group that entitles us to something? Is that the logic? If a man lives all alone in some far off land then he must fend for himself, but if he joins with many men they must take from the one who has the most and give it to the one who has the least until Darek has decided some arbitrary minimum is met. Total socialism has better logic than that. They can at least argue that people should be absolutly socially equal. Once we meet your random criteria for no poor and there is only a 80% difference between the richest and poorest person, then what? What is the number? You argue that I am wrong because I believe its OK to have billionares and poor, instead of just millionares and not so poor. But where did you get that arbitrary number from. Why is it ok to have millionares and people living slightly above poverty. Why not have hundred thousandares and people that live even better than slightly above poverty? Why not just have everyone exactly the same? Where does your logic start?
Jim, if you think you're responding to my arguments, you're not. You're attacking straw-men. If you honestly believe that the current political party in power holds the kind of views I'm referring to, than you don't understand where I am coming from. They don't. With such weak legislation on financial reform (just as an example), and some of the things I've advocated here, how the heck can you make that connection?ReplyDelete
If the economy fails, to say this is a failure of socialism or social democracy is to not have a clue what these things are when considering not only what the problems were to get us to this is point in time (which was NOT due to socialism or anything like it) but to think of what the solutions being offered are (weak financial reform and health care without a public option). Never mind to be completely blinded by your party's rhetoric that you actually believe Obama is a socialist (or something like it I'm sure). I mean, if anything, the only thing that is coming close to being 'socialized' is the risks of big businesses. That's about it. Certainly not the taxpayers' risks and losses, anyway.
If I were to point to anyone close to Washington that would come close to who or what I would like to see more of is people like Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader and Mike Gravel; people with clear, progressive careers. Not to mention that from what I've seen of the past 17 years (since Clinton), the Green Party would be closer to my political platform than the Democratic Party.
But than again, you're coming in from an angle where you're research into things like history comes from a professor who's clearly got a partisan bent, making repeated appearances on Glenn Beck (I mean, Glenn Beck!!) and a contributor to the American Spectator. Great.
Now you're about to read Hayek. How you make your bed is how you sleep in it. To tell me at one point that your not about left/right politics or ideology is a sham, at this point. It's clear that not only you're about a slant, but you're only about reading things that perpetuate that slant.
I point this out because frankly, it bothers me that when we discuss issues, it become more clear that you're not thinking about the issues we speak of for yourself. You're letting other people, like Folsom, do the thinking for you. I admit that I have read books which influence me, but I don't make it a dogma. I at least would Google, 'Folsom, criticism against' at the very least or find out what books argue the other way at best to see what others are saying, what the other views are. I doubt you take that initiative; you haven't demonstrated otherwise here, anyway.
We have our wager, but it is based on entirely differently viewpoints. You think its some ideological battle between socialism vs capitalism, or something like it; I think it is a matter of Obama knowing his chances for running for re-election are thwarted if he allows unemployment to go beyond 15%.
Estonia? Estonia? Come on Jim. This is pathetic. You earlier chided Mintman for comparing a European country to America for their economic problems, yet here you are, pointing to freakin' Estonia, population 1.2 million people to compare what we should do... This 'point' was just absurd, I'll speak no further of it. You're just desperate at this point and have nothing say, frankly.ReplyDelete
I noted Bentham's principal only as something to consider, not something to follow. I even said his theory of distribution is not something we shouldn't pursuit. That doesn't mean his principal is false as the situation I described with you sitting down at a table to enjoy a meal with a starving person demonstrates; to which you have no answer to.
To try and refute that, you hatch some extreme scheme of a guy having 8 kids who would somehow still pay 30k in taxes (I mean come on, think of the tax *breaks* you get as household), never mind that you are not just giving 30k to one person, its dispersed to a number of people.
This continued support of charity (your theory on it, anyway) is really just showing to me what kind of person you are. As I read the bible, Jesus spoke of doing good simply because it is the good thing to do; not whether or not people are beholden to you, not whether you receive the credit of giving to another, and not whether those that are given are taught that this is something they should be ashamed of. Doing good because it's the right thing to do is what I am talking about. What you are talking about, it seems is doing good so long as you *say* it is good, according to you, and so long as those who receive your good will, appreciate it so the bums can work hard.
This isn't about what I see fit. Distribution isn't what I say it is. You're just rambling on because you have nothing noteworthy to say in response to the argument that I've put forth that's worthwhile, and you know it. Instead, you have to make ridiculous assertions and attack straw-men. It's clear we've come to a close, and this time *I* will give you the last word; try to make it worthwhile.
You are correct, if the economy fails it is not just a failure of socialist democracy. It is in much larger a failure of massive spending first from the Republican party and now from the democrats. To be in the middle of the failure and determined to spend this way?. Bush will defend himself with his unnecessary war and attacks on 911 (neither which justify his actions). Obama's excuse for massive spending, is that he was left with what Bush handed him and had to bail everyone out. If you think that Health care is the only form of socialist democracy on Obama's agenda, you are wrong. Bailing out GM and putting it into the hands of government, is indeed socialist. Not letting Companies fail is socialist. Bailing out pension plans, and to me the most horrific plan to Cap and Trade, which has far less to do with CO2 reduction and far more to do with a socialist agenda of redistribution of wealth. But if you want to believe that it is only health care then we cant even debate it. The financial reforms to wall street don't even to begin to address the root causes of our market down turn which has its root causes in the housing market. The fact that you wanting to conduct our bet led me to believe you were on board with the current administration. So if you would like to go down another avenue, thats great, but the only idea you have shared is the Co Op. So I just assumed Obama's agenda and yours were quite similar.ReplyDelete
Your insistance to plant me in the Republican party is fine. I think I have clearly shown that my view is Libertarian or Constitutional Republican. I am sickened by today's Republican party and their willingness to spend money. The fact the you so often have felt the need to label me as the right (which I am obviously conservative) makes me wonder why the label is so important when we are debating specific issues?
The reason I hate saying I am about left/ right politics is because that what our current politicians want. Then they can finish driving a wedge between the country and get us to side with whatever stupid bill our party wants (which is usually about spending money). True reform can be avoided when people sit happily as a Rep or Dem defending a side instead of an idea. The current Rep party is an utter failure. They have spent us into this deficit and are equally to blame. It was Regan that recklessly lowered the FDIC requirement. So if I am attacking a straw man. Tell me what it is Obama should be doing rather than what he is. I have given you exactly what it is I think should happen. We should cut all socialist programs and slash the spending in half. Then in two years even cut the tax rate.
Its funny how you handle my point of Estonia. I am making a valid point of how a socialist country used free market to overcome a completely depressed situation that Russia left them in. And all you can say isReplyDelete
This is pathetic.
This 'point' was just absurd,
I'll speak no further of it.
Aside from the 1.2 million people, you got nothing. And size does not really mean the point isn't valid.You would have to explain why it is the exception due to its size. this is typical of what you dont many times in our debate. Just call it absurd and then you dont have to deal with evidence that it refutes your point. In fact the countries in the world that have larger economic freedom also have higher per capita wealth, but you just ignore it. The countries with higher regulations on its free market and higher degree of socialism also have lower per capita wealth. Friedman (just started reading his book) studied this close up and traveled to many many countries to understand it. But you can just.
speak no further of it
I could keep giving you examples across the globe, but you will not take them in so its pointless. Free market outperforms your socialist democracy in terms of providing the most people with the most wealth. The evidence is all around our globe. From Hong Kong to little ol Estonia. Your just going to give me the "its absurd" come back, so why bother. Your not willing to look at the evidence that is around this planet. So I am certainly not going to convince you with my charm (joke). Friedman s work was not about left / right slant it was only about economics and freedom. You should read it before you criticize.
Bethlems point and also your point at the dinner table dont refute my position about how charity should be handled. I say it should be done at the far more local level. You say charity should be done through government and I say it should be done locally. Bethlems point or the dinner table point does not show why Federal level is better than local and personal. So keep tooting your own horn that I couldn't even answer your point. I just figured it was obvious you didn't have one. How are your dinner table and happiness points showing government charity is better than personal charity? Its almost comical, because the dinner table is personal charity (yes I get your using it as a reference to larger scale) still funny though, cause it doesnt prove your point and somehow you use the dinner table example to think your refuting mine). In fact I think I have given a good case as to why it is important that the receiver feels beholden to the giver as our country found out in the great depression as it demoralized its masses through the FERA or ERA program. The most progressive thinkers saw it on such a widespread scale, they knew they would have to switch to work programs instead (still an utter failure).
The other thing you dont address with your need for social democracy is the need for centralized government and what happens to the levels of corruption when you have centralized government. As Roosevelt has shown us the need for centralized massive government to implement social democracy. the massive corruption is puts in place and thus completely eliminates democracy, further shown by Roosevelt in his win of 99% of the electoral vote in 36. Do you even remotely understand the dangers of centralized government? Even the democrats back then understood it. Of course quickly went to a two term limit after Rosey (even supported by Dems). That time US government was social democracy. That is exactly what it was. And he (FDR) scared the crap out of so may people with his power that even the Dems and progressives wanted term limits after him. You can call it perpetuate that slant reading I am selecting. You need to hear the actual words from democrats of that time.
That was the government your talking about. Socialist Democracy. FDR used those words himself.
Distribution isn't what I say it is.ReplyDelete
You missed the point here. You are for Social democracy. Citing the need to prevent their from being any poor. What you do not address (and what I am trying to get you to) is that it is a progressive system. Poor is a relative term. Are Americas poor also poor when compared to Mexico? You could perhaps say they are rich. So there is no such thing as achieving "no poor", You just increase the lowest standard of living by taking from the highest. Once that is achieved (once you have met whatever goal means "no poor" to you), do you stop? How can you, now what is poor is redefined to the new lowest standard of living that you have just achieved. Now what "poor" is is redefined. So now to have no poor you take it to the next level. Even lower richness and even higher standard for the poor (or what is perceived as poor). By definition, it is progressive. this was my point which I was having fun with in saying Dareks limit< but the point is perfectly valid. To say that you are a progressive in terms of socialism is also to say that you are for total socialism, because you have no defined point that your trying to achieve. Hence "progressivism", the only way you can refute this is to give some predetermined definition of what eliminating the poor actually means. It cant be obscure, It must have perfect definition. Otherwise it is a continuous process until you have actual socialism.
the fact that you would not define yourself as a socialist. tells me you see the importance of free market and capitalism. The fact you said you wouldn't be handing out little red books. Tells me you understand that socialism does not work. What you are telling me though is that you want to borrow a little bit from the ideology, just until some limit is met. I challenge you to explain to me how progressivism stops once that arbitrary limit is met. My guess is that you will try and define what poor means and what the lowest standard is. You not only have to define that, but also have to explain that once we achieve that. How does progressivism stop?
It is logically flawed. This is why people like myself are scared of it. Not only do we see the examples of how quickly it kills economy. We also see the need to centralize government to actually accomplish it. People like yourself like to use the term Social Democracy. What you fail to understand is that to accomplish it you need massive centralized government (maybe you do realize it) which actually removes democracy, and it does so extremely fast. Once centralized government is in control of what the people need, democracy completely breaks down. FDR almost completely finished breaking down all the checks and balances in place to prevent this. all he had left was the supreme court