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Government folly


Off-Topic Discussions

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Jeff MacDonald wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

There is a world or difference between coming to a mutually agreed upon compromise in a society and using government force to make people "compromise" who aren't harming anyone else.

Compromise can be a very ugly euphemism for, "Obey the majority or whoever holds political power or pay a terrible price!".

Imprisoning people because because they don't choose to obey the rules the majority sets for them when they cause no harm to others in not compromise. It's an abuse of government force. This is the great danger of democracy, the tyranny of the majority. Fortunately we live in more of a constitutional republic than a democracy. A constitutional republic should be committed to defending the rights of minorities and individuals even when...

The problem with "coming to a mutually agreed upon compromise in a society" is that it doesn't scale. A society of 100s of millions cannot work by mutual compromise. Even if you all managed to agree to set of common rules, you'd have to renegotiate the whole thing whenever anyone immigrated or just grew up. Which would be constantly. What do you do if someone won't compromise? Force him to accept the current rules?

It's possible to run a small community or organization that way, though it's not easy, even if the members are self-selected for wanting to work that way.
Government is itself a compromise. We give up our "right" to come to mutually agreed compromises with everyone in exchange for a system that will actually allow us to get something done. And we try to structure that system to reflect what everyone wants as closely as possible.

Now if, as a libertarian, you want to absolutely minimize what the government can do, mutual compromise might sound like a good idea. Only the bare minimum things that everyone agrees on. I suspect you wouldn't actually like living in such a system after a few years, but it's never been tried, (or never lasted long enough on any significant scale to be noticed.) I would rather not force that...

So you're argument against basic human rights and individual liberty is that it doesn't scale? Wow.

I reject your argument that convenience is an acceptable reason for violating the human rights of millions. Compromise is no justification for a police state in my opinion.


Officials let stowaway aboard Virgin flight despite invalid ID

More TSA incompetence, they make a 95 year old dying woman strip off her adult diapers. They grope children's genitals, but they let a young guy into the secure gate area without a valid id or valid boarding pass.

(sarcasm) That's hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowed money well spent.


Bitter Thorn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Imprisoning people because because they don't choose to obey the rules the majority sets for them when they cause no harm to others in not compromise. It's an abuse of government force. This is the great danger of democracy, the tyranny of the majority. Fortunately we live in more of a constitutional republic than a democracy. A constitutional republic should be committed to defending the rights of minorities and individuals even when that offends or inconveniences the majority.

“... and should those craven trolls go sniveling to authority, you humans will jerk me on the rug to explain my thinking and that is not the way it should be. There is no dignity in the living by the rule and no joy, either, and it was a rotten day when the human race arose.”

--Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation

:)
When anarchy is always right, anything even remotely resembling order is always wrong.
Hardly. There is a world of difference between disciplining a child and Stalin's Russia. Both are forms of order, but the aren't both virtuous.

I think I used the wrong terminology. I should have said "do as thou wilt" instead of anarchy.


Freehold DM wrote:
I think I used the wrong terminology. I should have said "do as thou wilt" instead of anarchy.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Hopefully that helps.


Bitter Thorn wrote:
Jeff MacDonald wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

There is a world or difference between coming to a mutually agreed upon compromise in a society and using government force to make people "compromise" who aren't harming anyone else.

Compromise can be a very ugly euphemism for, "Obey the majority or whoever holds political power or pay a terrible price!".

Imprisoning people because because they don't choose to obey the rules the majority sets for them when they cause no harm to others in not compromise. It's an abuse of government force. This is the great danger of democracy, the tyranny of the majority. Fortunately we live in more of a constitutional republic than a democracy. A constitutional republic should be committed to defending the rights of minorities and individuals even when...

The problem with "coming to a mutually agreed upon compromise in a society" is that it doesn't scale. A society of 100s of millions cannot work by mutual compromise. Even if you all managed to agree to set of common rules, you'd have to renegotiate the whole thing whenever anyone immigrated or just grew up. Which would be constantly. What do you do if someone won't compromise? Force him to accept the current rules?

It's possible to run a small community or organization that way, though it's not easy, even if the members are self-selected for wanting to work that way.
Government is itself a compromise. We give up our "right" to come to mutually agreed compromises with everyone in exchange for a system that will actually allow us to get something done. And we try to structure that system to reflect what everyone wants as closely as possible.

Now if, as a libertarian, you want to absolutely minimize what the government can do, mutual compromise might sound like a good idea. Only the bare minimum things that everyone agrees on. I suspect you wouldn't actually like living in such a system after a few years, but it's never been tried, (or never lasted long enough on any significant scale to be noticed.) I would

...

Your response ignores the meat of his comment regarding what constitutes harm and the history of compromise and regulations.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I think I used the wrong terminology. I should have said "do as thou wilt" instead of anarchy.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Hopefully that helps.

I wonder if Jefferson penned this before a midnight visit to the slave quarters or afterwards. Hilarious.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Presuming that's a goblin speaking, that sounds like a very good book.

Yes. Mr. O'Toole, the goblin chief, has gotten drunk and is admitting stuff to his human friend Maxwell that he would never give voice to when sober.


Freehold DM wrote:
I wonder if Jefferson penned this before a midnight visit to the slave quarters or afterwards. Hilarious.

From what I'm reading, his house slaves were educated and treated as full members of the household. Sally was more like a partner than a sex toy. I seem to recall that at one point he admitted that, barring the political situation, he'd have freed them all in a heartbeat and financed them in business.

Yes, slavery was an abomination, and remains an indescribably vile blot on the history of the nation. That doesn't mean that every person who lived during that time was either ultra-noble or irredeemably evil, however.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I wonder if Jefferson penned this before a midnight visit to the slave quarters or afterwards. Hilarious.

From what I'm reading, his house slaves were educated at his expense, and treated as full members of the household. Sally was more like a partner than a sex toy. I seem to recall that at one point he admitted that, barring the political situation, he'd have freed them all in a heartbeat and financed them in business.

Yes, slavery was an abomination, and remains an indescribably vile blot on the history of the nation. That doesn't mean that every person who lived during that time was either ultra-noble or irredeemably evil, however.

Words are wind. Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.


Bitter Thorn wrote:

So you're argument against basic human rights and individual liberty is that it doesn't scale? Wow.

I reject your argument that convenience is an acceptable reason for violating the human rights of millions. Compromise is no justification for a police state in my opinion.

Yeah, pretty much. If it doesn't scale, it doesn't work. If it doesn't work you can't do it, no matter what your pretty little theories say.

And I completely reject your straw man that the only alternative to pure libertarian ideology is a police state. You'll note that I spoke of a democratic government and for the record I do support constitutional protections for minority rights, in case that wasn't clear.

Can you point me to a nation, in the world today or the recent past, that is run by mutual compromise with no force used by the government, except in cases of "harm to others"? If not, are all nations police states? Can you give me an example of one that doesn't qualify.

As well, do you have any response to my questions about harm and regulations?

Qadira

Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Imprisoning people because because they don't choose to obey the rules the majority sets for them when they cause no harm to others in not compromise. It's an abuse of government force. This is the great danger of democracy, the tyranny of the majority. Fortunately we live in more of a constitutional republic than a democracy. A constitutional republic should be committed to defending the rights of minorities and individuals even when that offends or inconveniences the majority.

“... and should those craven trolls go sniveling to authority, you humans will jerk me on the rug to explain my thinking and that is not the way it should be. There is no dignity in the living by the rule and no joy, either, and it was a rotten day when the human race arose.”

--Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation

:)
When anarchy is always right, anything even remotely resembling order is always wrong.
Hardly. There is a world of difference between disciplining a child and Stalin's Russia. Both are forms of order, but the aren't both virtuous.
I think I used the wrong terminology. I should have said "do as thou wilt" instead of anarchy.

Jefferson or Crowley..... can I take a third option please??


Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Imprisoning people because because they don't choose to obey the rules the majority sets for them when they cause no harm to others in not compromise. It's an abuse of government force. This is the great danger of democracy, the tyranny of the majority. Fortunately we live in more of a constitutional republic than a democracy. A constitutional republic should be committed to defending the rights of minorities and individuals even when that offends or inconveniences the majority.

“... and should those craven trolls go sniveling to authority, you humans will jerk me on the rug to explain my thinking and that is not the way it should be. There is no dignity in the living by the rule and no joy, either, and it was a rotten day when the human race arose.”

--Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation

:)
When anarchy is always right, anything even remotely resembling order is always wrong.
Hardly. There is a world of difference between disciplining a child and Stalin's Russia. Both are forms of order, but the aren't both virtuous.
I think I used the wrong terminology. I should have said "do as thou wilt" instead of anarchy.

I prefer something closer to do what thou wilt and harm none.


Freehold DM wrote:
Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.

Be that as it may, his ideas about liberty -- the same ones that Madison wrote endlessly about as well -- are the ones the U.S. Constitution was set up to uphold (with obvious exceptions, which we've subsequently attempted to rectify). If that means you feel the entire nation is a hypocritical lie and should be dismantled and rebuilt by someone who achieves your standards of nobility, then say so, and tell us how you'd set the ball rolling. So, okay, if the Constitution is valid only as toilet paper, taking that as a starting point, what do you propose replaces it?


Jeff MacDonald wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

So you're argument against basic human rights and individual liberty is that it doesn't scale? Wow.

I reject your argument that convenience is an acceptable reason for violating the human rights of millions. Compromise is no justification for a police state in my opinion.

Yeah, pretty much. If it doesn't scale, it doesn't work. If it doesn't work you can't do it, no matter what your pretty little theories say.

And I completely reject your straw man that the only alternative to pure libertarian ideology is a police state. You'll note that I spoke of a democratic government and for the record I do support constitutional protections for minority rights, in case that wasn't clear.

Can you point me to a nation, in the world today or the recent past, that is run by mutual compromise with no force used by the government, except in cases of "harm to others"? If not, are all nations police states? Can you give me an example of one that doesn't qualify.

As well, do you have any response to my questions about harm and regulations?

Isn't a police state justified in your model as long as it "works"?

I view police state as a spectrum. The question is not whether the state is taking away rights, but how many of your rights they are taking. It's not a binary switch between anarchy and totalitarianism. It's a spectrum. The more power the state accumulates the less liberty we all have.

You say you support protections for minority rights, but don't you want the state to make those determinations? When the state has the power to harm one minority they have the power to harm others.

I'm not aware of a historic example of a minarchist state or any completely just state, but I still think a just state is worth striving for.

I think we live in a police state, and I think all extant states are police states in various degrees.

I accept government as a necessary evil in its best state. That's why I self identify as a minarchist rather than an anarchist.

As I've stated before I think the government is justified in using force or the threat thereof when someone initiates violence or the threat thereof against someone or by extension their property.


Bank of America to pay $8.5 billion settlement over mortgages

Paulson may catch a break on Bank of America deal

Has anyone heard more about this?


Bitter Thorn wrote:

Isn't a police state justified in your model as long as it "works"?

You say you support protections for minority rights, but don't you want the state to make those determinations? When the state has the power to harm one minority they have the power to harm others.

I think we live in a police state, and I think all extant states are police states in various degrees.

As I've stated before I think the government is justified in using force or the threat thereof when someone initiates violence or the threat thereof against someone or by extension their property.

Given your definition of police state, then I would agree that my model justifies a police state. My definition is a lot narrower and I would claim a police state is not justified.

Minority rights includes not just racial minorities but minority opinions, if that wasn't clear. The things much of our Bill of Rights is intended to protect and that would be threatened by the "tyranny of the majority" problem you mentioned.

It is interesting that you've switched from harm to violence. Violence (or force) is the term I'm more used to seeing in libertarian arguments. It's also a much narrower one.
So you would consider the use of government force to not be justified in cases of fraud or contract violation?
To go back to my earlier examples, would dumping toxic waste into a stream flowing off of my property count as violence? Could this minarchist government regulate air pollution? How toxic does it have to be before the use of government force is justified?
How about cars? I assume no safety regulations. Speed Limits? Do we just wait until the drunk driver hits someone?
And of course, no force can be used to collect revenue, so the government will have no funding to do anything anyway.

I'm not just trying to be a pain here. These are all real questions that someone would have to answer. Along with hundreds of others.
There are an awful lot of things that most of us don't want happening that are not simple and obvious violence like someone punching you in the nose. If you want a working society it will have to deal with them.


I wanted to raise this one more time as well. If you don't know the story look it up. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is an iconic illustration of what early industrial age work was like in the absence of government regulation. That's what happened when you let industry self-regulate. People take jobs in horrendous conditions because that's all there is. Child labor, poisonous chemicals with no protections, fire doors locked so employees could be searched on the way out, etc, etc.

Why do you think we wouldn't go down that path again? It happens in many of the overseas sweatshops where our cheap plastic junk is made today. What stops the race to the bottom, except regulation that ensures one company can't cut just one more corner, pay a little less? It might take a little while here. You can't go all the way back to Dickens in one jump, you have to inch down a little at a time.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.
Be that as it may, his ideas about liberty -- the same ones that Madison wrote endlessly about as well -- are the ones the U.S. Constitution was set up to uphold (with obvious exceptions, which we've subsequently attempted to rectify). If that means you feel the entire nation is a hypocritical lie and should be dismantled and rebuilt by someone who achieves your standards of nobility, then say so, and tell us how you'd set the ball rolling. So, okay, if the Constitution is valid only as toilet paper, taking that as a starting point, what do you propose replaces it?

Not at all thinking that our country should face the fate of Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Animated Movie. I just have issues with Jefferson being quoted so much on liberty when he, a little moreso than others, was so very, very hypocritical about it. People can doll up his relationship with his slaves as much as they want. They were still relationships with people in bondage who were simply put not free to refuse or even do much about their situation. It doesn't matter how nice he was to them, at least to me. This has less to do with what I think the constitution is made out of(parchment, not toilet paper) and more of my low opinion of Jefferson.


Freehold DM wrote:


Not at all thinking that our country should face the fate of Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Animated Movie. I just have issues with Jefferson being quoted so much on liberty when he, a little moreso than others, was so very, very hypocritical about it. People can doll up his relationship with his slaves as much as they want. They were still relationships with people in bondage who were simply put not free to refuse or even do much about their situation. It doesn't matter how nice he was to them, at least to me. This has less to do with what I think the constitution is made out of(parchment, not toilet paper) and more of my low opinion of Jefferson.

I tend to agree with you on a visceral level about Jefferson, and the Founding Fathers in general.

However, that being said, there is a certain amount of ahistorical reasoning behind this that should be guarded against. There were very, very few people alive back then who held any views that we would today recognize as legitimately egalitarian. Comparing, for example, the American revolutionaries on the race question with, say, the French revolutionaries treatment of their Caribbean colonies, it's the same thing. They talked a great game, but in practice they were pretty much the same old crap.

So, why? Well, my Marxism is pretty well known around here, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that I would point to money: The fact is that the world economy at the time was based on slavery. The world that we live in today was only made possible by the amassing of huge amounts of capital off the backs of the enslaved African population. There were other victims, too, of course, but it's not much exaggeration to say that capitalism, the industrial revolution, the whole shebang, was predicated on the wealth made off the slaves. At the time of the American Revolution, that was mostly Caribbean sugar, which played a role in the 18th century economy akin to what oil plays in ours today.

In fact, not trying to prettify the Founding Fathers at all, but I think it's safe to say that 18th-century American ideas about slavery were milder than what was to come in the 19th-century. Where some of the Founding Fathers, including Jefferson, at least had the sense to be embarrassed about slavery and hope that it would wither away, by the time you get to large-scale cotton production and, say, the 1830s, slavery has gone from being considered a regrettable necessity to an institution that slaveowners were actually proud of. And, of course, the ideology of racism became much more entrenched.

So, there's some scattershot thoughts on the matter.

By the way, a very fun book to read that touches on Jefferson's hypocrisy is Burr by Gore Vidal. It's a novel about the life of Aaron Burr and in it, Vidal paints a portrait of Tom that is so vicious that GV goes out of his way in an afterword to point out that it is not actually reflective of his own views. Highly recommended!


Freehold DM wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.
Be that as it may, his ideas about liberty -- the same ones that Madison wrote endlessly about as well -- are the ones the U.S. Constitution was set up to uphold (with obvious exceptions, which we've subsequently attempted to rectify). If that means you feel the entire nation is a hypocritical lie and should be dismantled and rebuilt by someone who achieves your standards of nobility, then say so, and tell us how you'd set the ball rolling. So, okay, if the Constitution is valid only as toilet paper, taking that as a starting point, what do you propose replaces it?
Not at all thinking that our country should face the fate of Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Animated Movie. I just have issues with Jefferson being quoted so much on liberty when he, a little moreso than others, was so very, very hypocritical about it. People can doll up his relationship with his slaves as much as they want. They were still relationships with people in bondage who were simply put not free to refuse or even do much about their situation. It doesn't matter how nice he was to them, at least to me. This has less to do with what I think the constitution is made out of(parchment, not toilet paper) and more of my low opinion of Jefferson.

But doesn't tying the person's personal conduct to the validity of their statements constitute the basis of the classic ad hominem fallacy?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
pres man wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.
Be that as it may, his ideas about liberty -- the same ones that Madison wrote endlessly about as well -- are the ones the U.S. Constitution was set up to uphold (with obvious exceptions, which we've subsequently attempted to rectify). If that means you feel the entire nation is a hypocritical lie and should be dismantled and rebuilt by someone who achieves your standards of nobility, then say so, and tell us how you'd set the ball rolling. So, okay, if the Constitution is valid only as toilet paper, taking that as a starting point, what do you propose replaces it?
Not at all thinking that our country should face the fate of Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Animated Movie. I just have issues with Jefferson being quoted so much on liberty when he, a little moreso than others, was so very, very hypocritical about it. People can doll up his relationship with his slaves as much as they want. They were still relationships with people in bondage who were simply put not free to refuse or even do much about their situation. It doesn't matter how nice he was to them, at least to me. This has less to do with what I think the constitution is made out of(parchment, not toilet paper) and more of my low opinion of Jefferson.
But doesn't tying the person's personal conduct to the validity of their statements constitute the basis of the classic ad hominem fallacy?

Not in this case, when what he is talking about specifically ties into his personal conduct. Just as I wouldn't write papers on how Haterade(tm) is destroying society, nor should Jefferson really have gotten into this particular subject without first freeing his slaves.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Freehold DM wrote:
pres man wrote:
But doesn't tying the person's personal conduct to the validity of their statements constitute the basis of the classic ad hominem fallacy?
Not in this case, when what he is talking about specifically ties into his personal conduct. Just as I wouldn't write papers on how Haterade(tm) is destroying society, nor should Jefferson really have gotten into this particular subject without first freeing his slaves.

I'd argue that it is the same. Jefferson didn't live up to his own theories. That doesn't make his arguments invalid. It just makes him hypocritical. Or more generally a flawed human being, with the prejudices and customs of his time. It's really not fair to judge him by today's standards, even if he helped shape those standards.

I've never been happy with the common hero-worship of the founders. They did some great things and were very impressive people in many ways. But they were also complex flawed human beings, perhaps ahead of their times, but still shaped by them. Far more interesting than the stock portraits we're taught about in school.


I concur 110% The founding fathers were a rough lot. there were quite a few jackasses there. But their ideas were pretty good. Newsweek has a decent article about this in this weeks issue.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jeff MacDonald wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

Isn't a police state justified in your model as long as it "works"?

You say you support protections for minority rights, but don't you want the state to make those determinations? When the state has the power to harm one minority they have the power to harm others.

I think we live in a police state, and I think all extant states are police states in various degrees.

As I've stated before I think the government is justified in using force or the threat thereof when someone initiates violence or the threat thereof against someone or by extension their property.

Given your definition of police state, then I would agree that my model justifies a police state. My definition is a lot narrower and I would claim a police state is not justified.

Minority rights includes not just racial minorities but minority opinions, if that wasn't clear. The things much of our Bill of Rights is intended to protect and that would be threatened by the "tyranny of the majority" problem you mentioned.

It is interesting that you've switched from harm to violence. Violence (or force) is the term I'm more used to seeing in libertarian arguments. It's also a much narrower one.
So you would consider the use of government force to not be justified in cases of fraud or contract violation?
To go back to my earlier examples, would dumping toxic waste into a stream flowing off of my property count as violence? Could this minarchist government regulate air pollution? How toxic does it have to be before the use of government force is justified?
How about cars? I assume no safety regulations. Speed Limits? Do we just wait until the drunk driver hits someone?
And of course, no force can be used to collect revenue, so the government will have no funding to do anything anyway.

I'm not just trying to be a pain here. These are all real questions that someone would have to answer. Along with hundreds of others.
There are an awful lot of things that most of us don't want happening that are not...

Busy week IRL, I'll try to catch up some.

Fraud, theft, contract violation, and pollution would all be crimes against property or persons. The thief or polluter is initiating violence against the victim and/or their property. The state and individual are justified in responding with force.

In a minarchist more free market model people would buy cars because the combination of cost to operate and maintain, price, safety and other factors would drive purchasing as opposed to arbitrary and corrupt government regulation. Fraud, such as lying about how safe a car is would be criminal.

Traffic laws would depend on how much of the road system was public. The government would have a similar amount of control over roads it holds. Far less so for privately owned roads. I would argue that operating a motor vehicle when drunk on a public roadway threatens violence to others and their property and responding to that threat is a reasonable use of government force. Some aspects of what we call public safety now need to be addressed immediately because they are harmful and stupid.

I never said the government could not use force to collect revenue. This is one of the key distinctions between minarchy and anarchy. I stipulate to government being a necessary evil. It must extract taxes by force somehow because governments are basically parasitic. I think revenue should be collected in the simplest least invasive way possible.

Any mode of government is going to have its questions and complexities, but I believe that the more transparent and less bureaucratic and invasive a government is the less subject it is to corruption and fraud.

One of the many problems with the gradual and systematic elimination of individual human rights is that it's a problem that expands like cancer. Even if the politicians had the best intentions year after year administration after administration it has a huge cumulative effect, and once these laws and regulations are in effect they are very difficult to get rid of. The result tends to be things like our tax code which most people would agree is a train wreck IMO.


Corruption in the Public Schools; The Market Is the Answer


A bit more light hearted with some adult language.

Why the Evil Koch Bros. Must be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending.


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Jeff MacDonald wrote:

I wanted to raise this one more time as well. If you don't know the story look it up. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is an iconic illustration of what early industrial age work was like in the absence of government regulation. That's what happened when you let industry self-regulate. People take jobs in horrendous conditions because that's all there is. Child labor, poisonous chemicals with no protections, fire doors locked so employees could be searched on the way out, etc, etc.

Why do you think we wouldn't go down that path again? It happens in many of the overseas sweatshops where our cheap plastic junk is made today. What stops the race to the bottom, except regulation that ensures one company can't cut just one more corner, pay a little less? It might take a little while here. You can't go all the way back to Dickens in one jump, you have to inch down a little at a time.

This is an excellent question. It raises very practical questions that impact hundreds of millions of people in their daily lives.

On one hand I think the vast majority of people would agree that it isn't OK for companies to let their workers get killed because it improves the bottom line. There have been vast improvements in workplace safety since 1911. Many people would give most of the credit to regulations and unions, and I would concede the fact that trade unions played a major role in fighting for workplace safety. They often had to fight against the government to make progress.

On the other hand we have the ugly practical reality of our current bureaucratic nightmare. We add ~80,000 pages of government law and regulation every year at just the federal level. On top of this there are countless changes in case law, and there are all of the state and local regulations that grow every year. It spite of spending billions on safety, transportation, and environmental regulations every year we still have mass fatality events like Deepwater Horizon, Texas City and so forth.

In addition to all of that government regulation adds ~ $5 an hour to the cost of manufacturing labor in the US, IIRC. This plainly contributes to the off shoring of jobs in the manufacturing sector, but OSHA and countless other regulatory organs do very little to add any real value to workplace safety. Please see much more up thread for details. We don't want work place fatalities and injuries as a society so we spend billions in direct government costs on regulation, and we spend hundreds of billions in opportunity costs. In spite of all of that our regulatory structures are corrupt, incompetent, incredibly expensive, and all but incomprehensible.

I can't positively say that if we had less regulation that big corporations would not abuse that environment, but I can say with confidence that they are rampantly abusing the current system. Bigger more powerful government has created the current reality of massive corporations largely writing the rules in their favor. This seems very much like the worst of all worlds to me.

From an ideological standpoint I am deeply skeptical about the federal government's right to regulate workplace safety based on the interstate commerce clause.

From a pragmatic standpoint I am convinced that they do a horrible job.


Freehold DM wrote:
pres man wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Some may call it a blindness on my part, but I have trouble taking Jefferson seriously when he starts going on about liberty. He had his chance to flip politics the bird and do something. He didn't take it.
Be that as it may, his ideas about liberty -- the same ones that Madison wrote endlessly about as well -- are the ones the U.S. Constitution was set up to uphold (with obvious exceptions, which we've subsequently attempted to rectify). If that means you feel the entire nation is a hypocritical lie and should be dismantled and rebuilt by someone who achieves your standards of nobility, then say so, and tell us how you'd set the ball rolling. So, okay, if the Constitution is valid only as toilet paper, taking that as a starting point, what do you propose replaces it?
Not at all thinking that our country should face the fate of Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Animated Movie. I just have issues with Jefferson being quoted so much on liberty when he, a little moreso than others, was so very, very hypocritical about it. People can doll up his relationship with his slaves as much as they want. They were still relationships with people in bondage who were simply put not free to refuse or even do much about their situation. It doesn't matter how nice he was to them, at least to me. This has less to do with what I think the constitution is made out of(parchment, not toilet paper) and more of my low opinion of Jefferson.
But doesn't tying the person's personal conduct to the validity of their statements constitute the basis of the classic ad hominem fallacy?
Not in this case, when what he is talking about specifically ties into his personal conduct. Just as I wouldn't write papers on how Haterade(tm) is destroying society, nor should Jefferson really have gotten into this particular subject without first freeing his slaves.

I get pres man's general classic ad hominem fallacy argument, but I must take some exception. If I argue that 2+2=4 my moral and intellectual shortcomings are immaterial. If I argue that all men are created equal while I own other men that goes beyond mere intellectual inconsistency. I understand that there are big issues of social and historical context, but I have major issues reconciling my admiration of TJ with the fact that he owned other human beings while he risked his life for the right of self determination.

How do I square this quote with a man who owned others?

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within
limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add
'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's
will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -Thomas Jefferson

I suppose the man had major personal failings, but his ideas were better than him.


BT, you have returned on fire!

Bitter Thorn wrote:
Many people would give most of the credit to regulations and unions, and I would concede the fact that trade unions played a major role in fighting for workplace safety. They often had to fight against the government to make progress.

Molly Maguires from my home state

I dont just concede that unions played a major role, I think that they played the most important role. Its the free market way to a better life. Make better working conditions more cost effective than replacing an entire workforce. Government is the enemy of the worker when they refuse to allow workers to peaceably assemble. (Not that I think Unions are shining bastions of goodness. they have a tendency to overstep their bounds, but then again, so do their employers. But they definitely have their place.)


TheWhiteknife wrote:

BT, you have returned on fire!

Bitter Thorn wrote:
Many people would give most of the credit to regulations and unions, and I would concede the fact that trade unions played a major role in fighting for workplace safety. They often had to fight against the government to make progress.

Molly Maguires from my home state

I dont just concede that unions played a major role, I think that they played the most important role. Its the free market way to a better life. Make better working conditions more cost effective than replacing an entire workforce. Government is the enemy of the worker when they refuse to allow workers to peaceably assemble. (Not that I think Unions are shining bastions of goodness. they have a tendency to overstep their bounds, but then again, so do their employers. But they definitely have their place.)

Good link.

Ironically unions are much like corporations in this regard. Some of them have great safety cultures that add value to the workers by keeping them alive while adding value to employers by keeping safety records high and insurance costs low.

Others, not so much.


I’m Willing to Go Along with President Obama’s ‘Balanced Approach’ to Deficit Reduction, but Only if We Use Honest Math


The Price of Big Government. Do the benefits ever outweigh the costs?


Huzzah for the unions!

Boo to market-control of education!

That's as far as I've gotten so far...


The Molly Maguires

SC: What was your mother's maiden name? I've f.... a lot of wh... in my time.

Hee hee!


Bitter Thorn wrote:

A bit more light hearted with some adult language.

Why the Evil Koch Bros. Must be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending.

I had a nightmare the other night that I was back in Boston and riding on the MBTA when I was surrounded by FBI agents who were trying to get me on possession of marijuana. They had been tracking me with GPS units that they had placed in fantasy novels at the library, knowing, of course, that I'd be by eventually to check them out. Listening to their conversation, they were upset that they hadn't been able to get me earlier but then I told them that I didn't need to check out the Earthsea novels because I already owned them. Then, when they couldn't find any weed on me, they made me get naked and did a full body cavity search...on the train in front of all the other passengers!

I woke up in a cold sweat.


For a second, I thought BSG slang had worked it's way into socialist terminology!

Imagine my disappointment!


Bitter Thorn wrote:
Fraud, such as lying about how safe a car is would be criminal.

This is where I always hit a stop. If government has no regulatory power, and if individual private citizens lack the resources, how would fraud ever be discovered and/or prosecuted?

In an ideal world, business would be self-regulating. In the real world, I feel like the best we can do is create a limited government in opposition to rampant big business, so that neither of the two can gain ascendancy over the other. This would require constant re-adjustment. If government becomes a de facto business owner, it has gotten too big and needs to be curtailed. If business starts getting out of control, government regulatory power would have to be reluctantly, and temporarily, expanded.

Simply getting rid of government regulation means that big business has NO regulation. Marketplace competition, left undirected, trends to the lowest common denominator, not the highest.

I do not like any large group to have free license to do whatever they want and run roughshod over anyone they choose -- not the government, certainly, but not a megacorporation, either. If the only way to prevent that is to pit them against one another, I'm all in favor of doing that.


Speaking of Gov. Scott Walker, Union Workers Replaced by Prison Inmates starting at about the 20 minute mark.

First, its not terribly well known how the post-Reconstruction south was largely rebuilt on penal labor by blacks rounded up on b~%*@+@! charges (such as vagrancy, loitering, homosexuality, etc.). See David Oshinsky's Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice.

Second, Alyona looks great in blue!

EDIT: Third, it was true for a long time, although I don't know for a fact that it still is, but here in NH our distinctive license plates with "Live Free or Die" stamped on them were made by...wait for it...prison labor!


Bitter Thorn wrote:

I suppose the man had major personal failings, but his ideas were better than him.

I guess this is where we'll have to leave it. A fair compromise.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Speaking of Gov. Scott Walker, Union Workers Replaced by Prison Inmates starting at about the 20 minute mark.

First, its not terribly well known how the post-Reconstruction south was largely rebuilt on penal labor by blacks rounded up on b*~%*~~+ charges (such as vagrancy, loitering, homosexuality, etc.). See David Oshinsky's Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice.

Second, Alyona looks great in blue!

EDIT: Third, it was true for a long time, although I don't know for a fact that it still is, but here in NH our distinctive license plates with "Live Free or Die" stamped on them were made by...wait for it...prison labor!

I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b+@~%&%% charges.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Fraud, such as lying about how safe a car is would be criminal.

This is where I always hit a stop. If government has no regulatory power, and if individual private citizens lack the resources, how would fraud ever be discovered and/or prosecuted?

Simply getting rid of government regulation means that big business has NO regulation. Marketplace competition, left undirected, trends to the lowest common denominator, not the highest.

I've edited this down to my biggest concerns. Your response, BT?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Freehold DM wrote:
I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b%+%&#%% charges.

You have no problem with good jobs that used to support families being given to inmates to perform for free? In the middle of a depression? Especially when part of the rationale behind Walker's union-busting was to make more jobs?


Freehold DM wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Fraud, such as lying about how safe a car is would be criminal.

This is where I always hit a stop. If government has no regulatory power, and if individual private citizens lack the resources, how would fraud ever be discovered and/or prosecuted?

Simply getting rid of government regulation means that big business has NO regulation. Marketplace competition, left undirected, trends to the lowest common denominator, not the highest.

I've edited this down to my biggest concerns. Your response, BT?

Once again, I dont believe anyone is advocating NO regulation. However, the current situation is that big business, via government proxy, writes their own regulations. (It seems that they mostly do this to stifle small business from becoming big business aka competition) If government had zero regulatory power it would be bad. But if government had a simpler, more transparent, more easily accountable regulatory process, I believe things would be better for all involved. Thoughts?


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b%+%&#%% charges.

You have no problem with good jobs that used to support families being given to inmates to perform for free? In the middle of a depression? Especially when part of the rationale behind Walker's union-busting was to make more jobs?

Looks like I need to get into a prison guard job. I predict plenty of growth opportunities.

Edit-not to be taken seriously. I think its sad.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b%+%&#%% charges.

You have no problem with good jobs that used to support families being given to inmates to perform for free? In the middle of a depression? Especially when part of the rationale behind Walker's union-busting was to make more jobs?

It depends entirely on what you mean by a good job and what type of labor is being done by the prisoners. No broad brushes here.


TheWhiteknife wrote:

Looks like I need to get into a prison guard job. I predict plenty of growth opportunities.

Unfortunately, you're right.


Freehold DM wrote:
It depends entirely on what you mean by a good job and what type of labor is being done by the prisoners. No broad brushes here.

Well, specifically, I mean the situation being discussed in the clip I linked.

But, you're right, I'm not necessarily opposed to prison labor--IF: a)it's for rehabilitation purposes; b) the inmates are adequately (and obviously that's a debateable term) compensated; and c) it's not some union-busting scheme that's destroying jobs during a depression.


Freehold DM wrote:
I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b&*@*$~# charges.

But being able to profit from prison labor creates a market for more prison labor, which leads to pressure for more b&*@*$~# charges.

As do private for-profit prisons.


Jeff MacDonald wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I have no problem with prison labor. I do have a problem with b&*@*$~# charges.

But being able to profit from prison labor creates a market for more prison labor, which leads to pressure for more b&*@*$~# charges.

As do private for-profit prisons.

I wouldnt have a problem with private for-profit prisons if they got paid for what prisons are meant to do: rehabilitate criminals. Instead the goalposts got moved and for-profit prisons operate with cheap labor. If they did what they are supposed to do, they would lobby to end bull@#&t charges.

Imagine if we had a system that worked like this: prison a and prison b both recieve x amount of dollars. prison a has 60 percent of its inmates re-enter the prison system within 5 years of release. Prison b only has 10 percent of its inmates re enter. Pay prison a 40% of x. Pay prison b 90% of x.
Alot of flaws here, I know. But there has to be a better way than our current system. thoughts?


For Freehold DM

Cruel and unusual?

Spoiler:
Semi-naked car washing!

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