Third party voting: Throwing your vote away or the only Path to Progress?


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meatrace wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:

The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

Why there are no third party candidates in the debates.

It's true. Another thing, though, is that the two parties tend to absorb at least some of the policies of third parties. Reform in 1994, some of the tea party/"liberty wing" in 2009, just as examples. There are plenty of "green" people, for example, in the Democratic party, they just aren't the majority. It's a party of plurality and, thus, pragmatism and compromise.

To be honest, though, I don't think I'd want some untested third partier as president. I would, however, like lots of greens (and maybe some libertarians) in other wings and other levels of government. Really! Why is it "president or bust" for third parties?

3rd parties are running in lots of other elections. Presidential candidates bring a lot of publicity to the platform though. People can advocate Jill Stien and their friend who votes in a different set of elections may look at her platform and check out the green party platform and their local green party candidates. Having a presidential candidate get publicity on a federal level will give them name recognition at local levels.


Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.


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Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

3rd party presidential candidates aren't about winning though. They are about getting their platform out to the public so that candidates running on their partly line in other elections can do better. They are about promoting their idea. The debates would be a nationally tellevised way for them to do that, which is why the debates matter to 3rd parties.


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Caineach wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

3rd party presidential candidates aren't about winning though. They are about getting their platform out to the public so that candidates running on their partly line in other elections can do better. They are about promoting their idea. The debates would be a nationally tellevised way for them to do that, which is why the debates matter to 3rd parties.

It's one way to do it, but it's not the only way and it's not even a particularly effective way. Historically, debate performance has had relatively little impact on changing anyone's mind regarding who to vote for, which means it's probably had relatively little impact on changing anyone's mind regarding the issues.

If a third-party wants to raise issue awareness, they know how to do it: grassroots, widespread activism. The debates should not be seen as the one thing that's prevented third parties from gaining traction, because they probably don't matter at all in that regard. There are so many other things that need to happen for third parties and their (relatively unpopular with the country as a whole) ideas to get off the ground.


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Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

How is a country at large supposed know if they hold similar views if the third parties don't have the same exposure to the public that the major two parties have? You're putting the cart before the horse. The debates used to be open to all candidates until the two parties took control of the procedures.


Caineach wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

3rd party presidential candidates aren't about winning though. They are about getting their platform out to the public so that candidates running on their partly line in other elections can do better. They are about promoting their idea. The debates would be a nationally tellevised way for them to do that, which is why the debates matter to 3rd parties.

There's truth in that. Though the counter argument is the presidential runs suck up air and energy and polarize people away from 3rd parties as spoilers. Think of all the venom spewed here.

On the one hand, I'd like to see 3rd parties in the debates. I'd like to see the debate broaden and they would bring up more interesting ideas. On the other hand, I know they're just a distraction. Any time they take up is time we don't get to hear the two who might actually be leading the country soon. On the gripping hand, the debates are largely a waste of air time anyway.


Shadowborn wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

How is a country at large supposed know if they hold similar views if the third parties don't have the same exposure to the public that the major two parties have? You're putting the cart before the horse. The debates used to be open to all candidates until the two parties took control of the procedures.

Again, historically, people do not wait for the debates to make up their minds. Independents assign their votes much earlier, save for a small minority that waits until much later. There is very little evidence that debates matter much at all in terms of winning hearts and minds. Debates are just one way to deliver a message, and they're not a great one. They certainly are not responsible for holding third parties back.


Scott Betts wrote:
Caineach wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
The main problem third party candidates deal with is that while Democrats and Republicans have their differences, they're in collusion when it comes to keeping third party candidates out of the Presidential race.

That isn't the main problem. The main problem is the way elections function, and always will be. The debates matter very little. The two major parties are entrenched, and make a concerted effort to appeal to the majority of Americans. Third parties take a stand on principles alone rather than factoring in political practicality, and will never be able to compete as long as the country at large does not hold their views.

Don't blame a lack of debate exposure for a failure that was preordained from the start.

3rd party presidential candidates aren't about winning though. They are about getting their platform out to the public so that candidates running on their partly line in other elections can do better. They are about promoting their idea. The debates would be a nationally tellevised way for them to do that, which is why the debates matter to 3rd parties.

It's one way to do it, but it's not the only way and it's not even a particularly effective way. Historically, debate performance has had relatively little impact on changing anyone's mind regarding who to vote for, which means it's probably had relatively little impact on changing anyone's mind regarding the issues.

If a third-party wants to raise issue awareness, they know how to do it: grassroots, widespread activism. The debates should not be seen as the one thing that's prevented third parties from gaining traction, because they probably don't matter at all in that regard. There are so many other things that need to happen for third parties and their (relatively unpopular with the country as a whole) ideas to get off the ground.

I disagree. I find that most of the Libertarian or Green party propoganda that works its way to me is through their presidential candidate supporters sharing information from their presidential campaign. Getting party awareness is a huge thing, and a presidential candidate hitting national news would be a boost for any 3rd party accross the board.

Getting into the debates wont help the 3rd party presidential candidates, but it could cause a huge shift in what people talk about.


Shadowborn wrote:

How is a country at large supposed know if they hold similar views if the third parties don't have the same exposure to the public that the major two parties have? You're putting the cart before the horse. The debates used to be open to all candidates until the two parties took control of the procedures.

Debates have never been open to all candidates. In fact, the only 3rd party candidate to debate the 2 major party candidates was Ross Perot.

Carter did not attend a scheduled debate that include John Anderson and the final debate was between Carter and Reagan only.


Caineach wrote:
Getting into the debates wont help the 3rd party presidential candidates, but it could cause a huge shift in what people talk about.

I disagree. Ron Paul, for instance, was very popular with a certain subset of Republican and independent voters during the primary. He can reasonably be said to represent and hold viewpoints far enough outside the mainstream of modern Republican ideology that he probably ought to be considered a third-party candidate. Even with his significant exposure during the Republican primary debates, he never polled particularly well against primary opponents, and earned less than 10% of the party's delegates at the convention. Furthermore, despite the increased coverage he received for someone who is effectively a third-party candidate, his ideas have not received much, if any, additional traction in the public discourse.


thejeff wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:

How is a country at large supposed know if they hold similar views if the third parties don't have the same exposure to the public that the major two parties have? You're putting the cart before the horse. The debates used to be open to all candidates until the two parties took control of the procedures.

Debates have never been open to all candidates. In fact, the only 3rd party candidate to debate the 2 major party candidates was Ross Perot.

Carter did not attend a scheduled debate that include John Anderson and the final debate was between Carter and Reagan only.

Look at the link I posted and forward to about the 12 minute mark. The debates were handled by the League of Women Voters, and open to all candidates, until the rules were changed to benefit the Democrat and Republican parties.

Carter's choice was his choice. Perot was only allowed in because H.W. Bush thought he would pull votes away from Clinton and demanded that Perot be allowed to join, against the Commission's suggestion. Perot ran in the next election, but neither Clinton nor Dole wanted him to participate, so he was barred.

Grand Lodge

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Irontruth wrote:
I largely agree, I'd rather see a significant portion of the military budget shifted to something like NASA. Doubling NASA's budget solely for the purposes of getting to Mars would have amazing effects on our economy in the long run. There are benefits to the military spending, but they're less than a lot of other things. Contracts with arms manufacturers create jobs, but the products themselves don't add to the economy much.

Actually if you're looking for spending that feeds back to the domestic economy, the better bet would be in investing in infrastructure which returns the most in basic jobs. and builds up general economy. Funding for NASA has it's place but the returns are not what it's advocates tend to claim.


Shadowborn wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:

How is a country at large supposed know if they hold similar views if the third parties don't have the same exposure to the public that the major two parties have? You're putting the cart before the horse. The debates used to be open to all candidates until the two parties took control of the procedures.

Debates have never been open to all candidates. In fact, the only 3rd party candidate to debate the 2 major party candidates was Ross Perot.

Carter did not attend a scheduled debate that include John Anderson and the final debate was between Carter and Reagan only.

Look at the link I posted and forward to about the 12 minute mark. The debates were handled by the League of Women Voters, and open to all candidates, until the rules were changed to benefit the Democrat and Republican parties.

Carter's choice was his choice. Perot was only allowed in because H.W. Bush thought he would pull votes away from Clinton and demanded that Perot be allowed to join, against the Commission's suggestion. Perot ran in the next election, but neither Clinton nor Dole wanted him to participate, so he was barred.

And yet somehow, despite being "open" to all candidates, none ever participated.


A Man In Black wrote:
Austrian economics are rejected by basically everyone, because Austrian economic thought is explicitly nonscientific. They split from the entirety of neoclassical thought because they reject the idea that economics can be falsifiable. So, when Austrian economists predict things, I rate it right up there with homeopaths predicting things. Sometimes they're right, I guess, but their entire methodology rejects the idea that you can make predictive hypotheses so it's all meaningless babble.

Because you can't easily predict human behavior! We can find a planet light years away by using the scientific method because the properties stay consistent. There are laws of physics that are absolute. You cannot predict the future of human action with pretty graphs and charts or with statistics. You're trying to tell me that our method is bunk because yours is built on a false assumption assumption. That's rich.

The ironic thing is that even though Austrians reject the notion that you can predict human behavior, they actually have a much better track record of doing just that.

Quote:
It's fitting that you mention the Weimar Republic, because German fear of any inflation at all is a large part of what's driving the EU into a dead end. It's forcing the periphery nations to run their budgets like businesses or else, and it's only making the situation worse.

Yes, blame and villainize the responsible people. It's all their fault. That seems to be a growing trend in the Western world. And people wonder why society is degrading.

Quote:
Controlled inflation is not evil or destructive.

Stealing is not evil or destructive. There, I fixed that for you.

Scott Betts wrote:
That's the central myth of libertarianism, right there: that, given the opportunity, people will naturally provide for their society as a whole in a manner that is better than anything a government could do.

Yes, losing all faith in humanity will produce much better results.

Scott Betts wrote:
We gave the system you talked about a chance, and it nearly tanked our economy.

When did we try the system I talked about and how did it tank the economy? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Scott Betts wrote:
No matter how many times we are forced to learn the lesson of what happens when cries of, "Shrink our government!" are actually listened to by otherwise sane people, we still come back to it after a few years.

When was the last time the government cut spending?

ciretose wrote:

Hush now, the facts shouldn't stand in the way of a good narrative.

The magical hand fixes everything if you just leave it alone.

It worked well for a long time. We didn't just all of a sudden become a rich and powerful nation right before WWII. We built that.

thejeff wrote:
On the one hand, I'd like to see 3rd parties in the debates. I'd like to see the debate broaden and they would bring up more interesting ideas. On the other hand, I know they're just a distraction. Any time they take up is time we don't get to hear the two who might actually be leading the country soon. On the gripping hand, the debates are largely a waste of air time anyway.

God forbid they take time from Obama and Romney. They detailed so much during the debate. It took them an hour and a half to say that we're going to keep doing the same thing we've been doing except Romney thinks he can do it better.

So Ross Perot pulling in 20% of the vote and leading in the polls for some time was a distraction.

thejeff wrote:

Debates have never been open to all candidates. In fact, the only 3rd party candidate to debate the 2 major party candidates was Ross Perot.

Carter did not attend a scheduled debate that include John Anderson and the final debate was between Carter and Reagan only.

This doesn't make it right or fair. It only restricts our choices. Why would anyone want this?

Grand Lodge

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Frogboy wrote:
When was the last time the government cut spending?

Does that graph adjust for the real value of the dollars spent, or is it just flat numbers?

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Frogboy wrote:
Because you can't easily predict human behavior!

Oh. Well. It's hard. Pack it in, economics, psychology, and sociology. The Austrian economists are here to tell us that we can't make predictions about human behavior because it's not easy, and therefore their predictions are the only correct ones I guess.

Quote:
Yes, blame and villainize the responsible people. It's all their fault. That seems to be a growing trend in the Western world. And people wonder why society is degrading.

Blaming people who are responsible for doing things is causing the downfall of western civilization.

what.

Quote:
Stealing is not evil or destructive. There, I fixed that for you.

When the government does it, it's not stealing.

That's a glib as hell response, but it's also true. (Also, if you quote it without replying to the rest of this, I will shoot you in the face, since laws preventing me from shooting you in the face are government coercion.) The only reason property "rights" exist is because the government defines them and protects them. Monetary policy (which is a fancy way of saying "controlling inflation") is a hugely useful tool to help keep the economy from stagnating or crashing. So the government "steals" from people who act in their own best short-term interest in a way that harms everyone long-term, because it turns out that individual actors acting in their own short-term interest, taken collectively, can't run a society very well.

Quote:
Yes, losing all faith in humanity will produce much better results.

Except that charity didn't fix things before governments stepped in to fix them. It was called the Gilded Age, it kind of sucked unless you were one of the super-rich. Yanno, Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, Upton Sinclair? That's what they were writing about. You may have learned about these authors in your publicly-funded, publicly-regulated schooling.

Quote:
When was the last time the government cut spending?

2010 and projected spending for 2013. 2012 is also going to see spending rise less than inflation.

I'm not particularly happy about this for a variety of reasons, but there you go.

Quote:
It worked well for a long time. We didn't just all of a sudden become a rich and powerful nation right before WWII. We built that.

Yeah, there was this whole program that did that. It had a catchy name, too. The New...Arrangement? Negotiation? Something like that.


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Frogboy wrote:
It worked well for a long time. We didn't just all of a sudden become a rich and powerful nation right before WWII. We built that.

With 80 hour work weeks, workers being maimed and crippled left and right, strikes broken up by the federal government, toxic pollution that the average citizen had no recourse to stop, people crammed into tenement housing that caught on fire...

But hey, Carnegie is cranking out profits no ones ever heard of.

Dude, your industrialists paradise is a dystopian hellscape. By what definition is that "working well"?

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
With 80 hour work weeks, workers being maimed and crippled left and right, strikes broken up by the federal government, toxic pollution that the average citizen had no recourse to stop, people crammed into tenement housing that caught on fire...

Indeed. In fact, one of the main forces in getting this changed was unionization, which is remarkable because unionists spent a good chunk of the first third of the 20th century getting shot in the face. The '30s are marked by unprecedented (before or since) government investment in social safety nets and infrastructure, and a raft of government regulations on workplace safety and labor relations.

How on earth is this compatible with libertarianism?

Also!

Frogboy wrote:
When was the last time the government cut spending?

You know what's neat? Some of that spending goes to a totally awesome graphing tool to look at that data.

For example, here's your data, adjusted so it's not just raw dollar totals.

The red line is inflation-adjusted expenditures, in 2005 USD. The blue line is per-capita inflation-adjusted expenditures, also in 2005 USD. I'll leave it to you to figure out who was president when, though!


Jonathan Swift died 120 years before the Gilded Age began, AMiB.

---

The union forever!


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Frogboy wrote:
It worked well for a long time. We didn't just all of a sudden become a rich and powerful nation right before WWII. We built that.

With 80 hour work weeks, workers being maimed and crippled left and right, strikes broken up by the federal government, toxic pollution that the average citizen had no recourse to stop, people crammed into tenement housing that caught on fire...

But hey, Carnegie is cranking out profits no ones ever heard of.

Dude, your industrialists paradise is a dystopian hellscape. By what definition is that "working well"?

And don't forget the regular "Panics".


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Grand Lodge

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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Jonathan Swift died 120 years before the Gilded Age began, AMiB.

---

The union forever!

Swift lived through his own version of the Gilded Age. What we call the Gilded Age was nothing more than an extension of what had been a truism through out most of post tribal history, a conditon of great disparity between the economic elite and the rest of society. It's really the post Gilded Age reforms which gave birth to the modern idea of the middle class.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Frogboy wrote:
It worked well for a long time. We didn't just all of a sudden become a rich and powerful nation right before WWII. We built that.

With 80 hour work weeks, workers being maimed and crippled left and right, strikes broken up by the federal government, toxic pollution that the average citizen had no recourse to stop, people crammed into tenement housing that caught on fire...

But hey, Carnegie is cranking out profits no ones ever heard of.

Dude, your industrialists paradise is a dystopian hellscape. By what definition is that "working well"?

It works very well for those on top. Most libertarians that I've met saw themselves as heading for management elite and struck me as coming from backgrounds with a major disconnect from factory labor. Social Darwinism finds a lot of adherents in that crowd.


Fine, then. Other Gilded Ages authors:

Euripides, Ovid, Virgil, Rabelais, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Moliere, Beaumarchais, etc., etc.


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Speaking of libertarianism, I think of Ayn Rand. When you -read- her book, Atlas Shrugged, you find that the people John Galt was gathering were people whose work helped their fellow man. It was only when the government made it impossible for them to keep helping their fellow man that they walked away.

Libertarians believe that you can't outsource compassion for others. Libertarians believe that we all have a -personal- obligation to help those around us and Libertarians take this obligation very seriously.

Other political parties want you to believe that all you have to do is send tax money off to their politicians' cronies money pits of a joke charity. The result? Two research studies found that when help is given privately, 70% or more of each charitable dollar gets to a worthy recipient. But only 30% of each tax welfare dollar reaches the needy http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_2/21_2_1.pdf

That's the libertarian response - that aid will be delivered more effectively and efficiently to those who need it. Libertarianism is the only political platform that truly embraces charity and helping the needy. Rather than seeing it as just a means to an end - gaining votes and money.

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Darkwing Duck wrote:

Speaking of libertarianism, I think of Ayn Rand. When you -read- her book, Atlas Shrugged, you find that the people John Galt was gathering were people whose work helped their fellow man. It was only when the government made it impossible for them to keep helping their fellow man that they walked away.

That's one way of reading it. Unfortunately Ayn Rand tends to overlook the multitudes of hands and minds involved in any one project, giving credit ONLY to those individuals she designates as prime creators. In her view point such creators are justified in taking any action they see fit. It's rather hard to take her depictions seriously because all the characters are such strawmen. They're either the heroes of the book or evil life sucking "altruists" with no room in between.

In the Fountainhead the hero of the book Howard Roark blows up the building he was involved in designing because the covenant he made with the architect on record specified that his designs were to be used unaltered and that was the only payment that he would accept. The building design of course went to death by committee and the book suggests that the covenant he made fully justified the violent action he took. Rand does not put any value on the actual work others took into the project or other losses caused by the hero's action.

In Rand's novels her heroes are essentially the only people that matter, any other viewpoint that contradicts this she dismisses as the evils of collectivism, largely because of the personal grudges from what her family suffered as a result of the Bolshevik revolution.

Rand's philosophies have an appeal largely because they are a justification for selfish attitudes with no regards to the people that we connect with.

P.S. As much as the Fountainhead sucks as a philosophy text and is a grinding pain to read as a novel, I highly recommend the movie of the same name starring Gary Cooper and one of my favorite actresses of the period, Patricia Neal, the latter being the female lead of The Day The Earth Stood Still.


LazarX wrote:


That's one way of reading it. Unfortunately Ayn Rand tends to overlook the multitudes of hands and minds involved in any one project, giving credit ONLY to those individuals she designates as prime creators. In her view point such creators are justified in taking any action they see fit.

Because they are the ones taking the risk. If they fail, they lose. No one else is put in that position.

Grand Lodge

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Darkwing Duck wrote:
LazarX wrote:


That's one way of reading it. Unfortunately Ayn Rand tends to overlook the multitudes of hands and minds involved in any one project, giving credit ONLY to those individuals she designates as prime creators. In her view point such creators are justified in taking any action they see fit.

Because they are the ones taking the risk. If they fail, they lose. No one else is put in that position.

And the money for those projects comes from where? In the Fountainhead it didn't come from Roark, he didn't have a dime. There seems to be some conceit the fact that he designed the building gave him some overriding right of ownership, an attitude which is completely unjustified by any logical, ethical, or moral sense.

And as far as risk goes... the character was not an expert dynamiter as the skills to take down buildings like that are not common and did not exist in those days. He was also risking the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be near the vicinity.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Speaking of libertarianism, I think of Ayn Rand. When you -read- her book, Atlas Shrugged, you find that the people John Galt was gathering were people whose work helped their fellow man. It was only when the government made it impossible for them to keep helping their fellow man that they walked away.

I've read both Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. And I was totally in love with them, until I turned like 18 and realized that objectivism doesn't survive application to reality. I still think they should be read, but they should be read by minds mature enough to recognize when a philosophy is practically untenable.


LazarX wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
LazarX wrote:


That's one way of reading it. Unfortunately Ayn Rand tends to overlook the multitudes of hands and minds involved in any one project, giving credit ONLY to those individuals she designates as prime creators. In her view point such creators are justified in taking any action they see fit.

Because they are the ones taking the risk. If they fail, they lose. No one else is put in that position.

And the money for those projects comes from where? In the Fountainhead it didn't come from Roark, he didn't have a dime. There seems to be some conceit the fact that he designed the building gave him some overriding right of ownership, an attitude which is completely unjustified by any logical, ethical, or moral sense.

And as far as risk goes... the character was not an expert dynamiter as the skills to take down buildings like that are not common and did not exist in those days. He was also risking the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be near the vicinity.

I didn't read the Fountainhead, so I can't speak to it. That's why I was speaking about Atlas Shrugged.


Scott Betts wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Speaking of libertarianism, I think of Ayn Rand. When you -read- her book, Atlas Shrugged, you find that the people John Galt was gathering were people whose work helped their fellow man. It was only when the government made it impossible for them to keep helping their fellow man that they walked away.
I've read both Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. And I was totally in love with them, until I turned like 18 and realized that objectivism doesn't survive application to reality. I still think they should be read, but they should be read by minds mature enough to recognize when a philosophy is practically untenable.

Why do you believe that objectivism is untenable? NOTE that I'm not saying you're wrong. I am asking, however, because there are an awful lot of critics of objectivism who don't really know what objectivism even is.

Grand Lodge

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Darkwing Duck wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Speaking of libertarianism, I think of Ayn Rand. When you -read- her book, Atlas Shrugged, you find that the people John Galt was gathering were people whose work helped their fellow man. It was only when the government made it impossible for them to keep helping their fellow man that they walked away.
I've read both Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. And I was totally in love with them, until I turned like 18 and realized that objectivism doesn't survive application to reality. I still think they should be read, but they should be read by minds mature enough to recognize when a philosophy is practically untenable.
Why do you believe that objectivism is untenable? NOTE that I'm not saying you're wrong. I am asking, however, because there are an awful lot of critics of objectivism who don't really know what objectivism even is.

Objectivism's main problem is that it's viewpoint is extremely skewed. It was created by one person traumatized by collectivism as practiced by the Bolsheviks so she created a philosophy that went completely to the other extreme. There actually is an interview with Ayn Rand that you might be able to find on Youtube or netflix.

Fact of the matter is that a proper working society strikes a balance between the individual and the group, not totally skewing to one at the expense of the other.


LazarX wrote:


Fact of the matter is that a proper working society strikes a balance between the individual and the group, not totally skewing to one at the expense of the other.

So, its not that there is anything wrong with objectivism, you just don't agree with it. Specifically, you disagree with its notion that the individual is given priority over the group.

Of course, that raises two critical questions

1.) What is the difference between the group and the collection of individuals?

2.) How, exactly, are the needs of the group identified?

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Darkwing Duck wrote:
LazarX wrote:


Fact of the matter is that a proper working society strikes a balance between the individual and the group, not totally skewing to one at the expense of the other.

So, its not that there is anything wrong with objectivism, you just don't agree with it. Specifically, you disagree with its notion that the individual is given priority over the group.

Of course, that raises two critical questions

1.) What is the difference between the group and the collection of individuals?

2.) How, exactly, are the needs of the group identified?

You're wrong in your preamble. It's not a matter of priority, Objectivism totally dismisses the group. It's also an extremely selfish philosophy. The hero of the Fountainhead not only blows up buildings, he uses rape to build the romantic relationship with the female lead. She justifies his action with the viewpoint being that the only honest love is that which is done for one's own pleasure. Objectivism does not only reject groups, it puts severe strain on even the idea of one on one partnerships. In the movie Roark partners with two people, one winds up in disgrace, the other commits suicide.

1 and 2. are not easy questions that begat easy answers. That's what we've been spending the past few thousand years of trying to answer. I think we're making progress on those answers but we're not quite there yet. And we've got a fair amount of reverses on that record as well.


LazarX wrote:


You're wrong in your preamble. It's not a matter of priority, Objectivism totally dismisses the group. It's also an extremely selfish philosophy. The hero of the Fountainhead not only blows up buildings, he uses rape to build the romantic relationship with the female lead. She justifies his action with the viewpoint being that the only honest love is that which is done for one's own pleasure. Objectivism does not only reject groups, it puts severe strain on even the idea of one on one partnerships. In the movie Roark partners with two people, one winds up in disgrace, the other commits suicide.

1 and 2. are not easy questions that begat easy answers. That's what we've been spending the past few thousand years of trying to answer. I think we're making progress on those answers but we're not quite there yet. And we've got a fair amount of reverses on that record as well.

Since you've read Atlas Shrugged, please take your examples from that book. As I've said, I've not read the Fountainhead.

You claim that objectivism totally dismisses the group.

The Atlas Society states,

Quote:


we can reach a verdict on democracy in its most popular sense. In modern America, "democracy" is often used to denote liberal democracy, a political system in which the right to make political decisions is exercised by the people within a framework of constitutional restraints (this system is alternately called a democratic republic or a constitutional democracy). On the Objectivist view, the propriety of such a democratic political system depends on the nature of the framework of constitutional restraints that exist on political powers. If this framework is properly conceived, so that the protection of individual rights is its organizing principle and guiding purpose, then liberal democracy is a logical extension of Objectivist political principles.

So, rather than dismiss the group, objectivism embraces and supports the group.

You claim that objectivism is an extremely selfish philosophy. To the extent, and only to the extent, that objectivism asserts that

Quote:
one must be free to think independently and act on one's own rational judgment, and one must respect the freedom of others to do the same.

I agree.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

And there goes this thread.

You're arguing with Darkwing Duck about Ayn Rand.

Think.

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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Jonathan Swift died 120 years before the Gilded Age began, AMiB.

History is also hard.

Darkwing Duck wrote:
So, its not that there is anything wrong with objectivism, you just don't agree with it. Specifically, you disagree with its notion that the individual is given priority over the group.

It's science fiction, dude. Atlas Shrugged is literally based on magic. It pretends that it's somehow meaningful if an entire class of people just pick up and leave for the Lands of the Valar, because they take their design for an elven magic perpetual motion machine with them. In the real world, science is advanced incrementally by many hands, industry doesn't revolve around a handful of singular actors (and, indeed, industry didn't work that way when Rand was writing, either), and there is no Galt's Gulch for people to run off to anyway.

But Objectivism? Objectivism is untenable (which is a nice way of saying completely insane nonsense) because it exalts perfect selfishness. Any time this runs into any problems they are handwaved away by claiming "rational" people wouldn't have those problems. "Rationality" is never clearly defined.

It's not anything like a coherent philosophy. Basing your life on it is as silly as basing your life on the philosophy of Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land.

Also, this is a good excuse to post this.

thejeff wrote:
You're arguing with Darkwing Duck about Ayn Rand.

Give me a break, I don't get a chance to compare Atlas Shrugged to Lord of the Rings very often.


A Man In Black wrote:


It's science fiction, dude. Atlas Shrugged is literally based on magic. It pretends that it's somehow meaningful if an entire class of people just pick up and leave for the Lands of the Valar, because they take their design for an elven magic perpetual motion machine with them. In the real world, science is advanced incrementally by many hands, industry doesn't revolve around a handful of singular actors (and, indeed, industry didn't work that way when Rand was writing, either), and there is no Galt's Gulch for people to run off to anyway.

But Objectivism? Objectivism is untenable (which is a nice way of saying completely insane nonsense) because it exalts perfect selfishness. Any time this runs into any problems they are handwaved away by claiming "rational" people wouldn't have those problems. "Rationality" is never clearly defined.

It's not anything like a coherent philosophy. Basing your life on it is as silly as basing your life on the philosophy of Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land.

Atlas is fiction. No one is disputing that.

Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, etc., also, all wrote fiction. They used that fiction as a way to clarify and address social issues. Rand does the same thing.

To argue that "there is no Galt's Gulch for people to run off to anyway" is like arguing that there is no Lilliput. While factually correct, it misses the point.


Way to ignore the point of AMiB's post. It's not just fiction, its use of magic means it ceases to be any sort of workable allegory to the real world. If Rand's philosophy *scoff* helps you get through your day and put the world in perspective then, I guess, fine, whatever.

No one is pointing to Gulliver's Travels or Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones or Richard III or 1984* and saying "see, this fictional world is perfect, we should endeavor to make our world function exactly like this, because it is unquestionably correct in all its assumptions.

*I think Republicans have used 1984 as a playbook rather than a warning.

A Man In Black wrote:


Also, this is a good excuse to post this.

That sums up my thoughts on the issue.

It's not a matter of "the elite" and "the proles" and that the elite do everything that is good in this world. It's a matter of specialization. Some people are specialized to be inventors or governors or legislators or research scientists or entrepreneurs. And some are specialized for farm labor and middle management and service jobs.

I'm willing to concede that the "elite", assuming they're competent (and our recent history is a good argument against that assumption), probably require more rarefied specialization and hard work to perform, and that they probably deserve a bigger piece of the pie than the rest of us. What I'm not willing to concede is that anyone who's not an "alpha" in Rand's world should be treated like mindless chattle whose opinions neither matter nor should be even considered.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Private giving is sponsored by the government, you get a tax break.

Also, 32% of donations go to churches. Another 13% go to universities. I'm guessing those are extremely efficient to reaching their intended recipients.

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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Darkwing Duck wrote:
To argue that "there is no Galt's Gulch for people to run off to anyway" is like arguing that there is no Lilliput. While factually correct, it misses the point.

The point is that if Rand's creative class neglects the needs of everyone else, they have to till the soil themselves. All of the "parasites" of Objectivism are laborers and consumers, and nobody gives a damn what magical properties Rearden Metal has if there's nobody to smelt it, nobody to build with it, and nobody to buy things made with it. The only way you have have the luxury to invent alloys is if you're not one of the people who spends their entire life exhausted from working in a refinery. "Individuals versus the collective" is a false dichotomy, because nobody is separate from the collective whole.

There is no Galt's Gulch because there is no separate class of singular individuals who could leave and devastate the collective with their absence. If you stop participating in society, nothing changes except for you. Science isn't predicated on singular individual inventions that were the work of one person and cannot be duplicated. (Remember, the main plot devices in Atlas Shrugged are perpetual motion and mithril.) They are less genius industrialists and more Tolkien Elves: we're expected to value their superhuman nobility, with only the sketchiest reasons to feel that they're noble or superhuman. Without those magical, superhuman inventions, the protagonists of Atlas Shrugged are just a bunch of self-absorbed a!$&@~#s who moved to the desert and starved to death shortly after the ending of the novel.

The moral of Atlas Shrugged is that we have to cater to the selfishness of selfish people, or else they'll go somewhere that their selfishness is better catered to. This is nonsense. There's nowhere for them to go.

Also Bob the Angry Flower is amazing and you should be reading it.


A Man In Black wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
To argue that "there is no Galt's Gulch for people to run off to anyway" is like arguing that there is no Lilliput. While factually correct, it misses the point.

The point is that if Rand's creative class neglects the needs of everyone else, they have to till the soil themselves. All of the "parasites" of Objectivism are laborers and consumers, and nobody gives a damn what magical properties Rearden Metal has if there's nobody to smelt it, nobody to build with it, and nobody to buy things made with it. The only way you have have the luxury to invent alloys is if you're not one of the people who spends their entire life exhausted from working in a refinery. "Individuals versus the collective" is a false dichotomy, because nobody is separate from the collective whole.

There is no Galt's Gulch because there is no separate class of singular individuals who could leave and devastate the collective with their absence. If you stop participating in society, nothing changes except for you. Science isn't predicated on singular individual inventions that were the work of one person and cannot be duplicated. (Remember, the main plot devices in Atlas Shrugged are perpetual motion and mithril.) They are less genius industrialists and more Tolkien Elves: we're expected to value their superhuman nobility, with only the sketchiest reasons to feel that they're noble or superhuman. Without those magical, superhuman inventions, the protagonists of Atlas Shrugged are just a bunch of self-absorbed a+$#~$%s who moved to the desert and starved to death shortly after the ending of the novel.

The moral of Atlas Shrugged is that we have to cater to the selfishness of selfish people, or else they'll go somewhere that their selfishness is better catered to. This is nonsense. There's nowhere for them to go.

Also Bob the Angry Flower is amazing and you should be reading it.

The "parasites" of Objectivism are not the laborers/tillers/etc. Objectivism has no problem with them. Rand's protagonists worked collaboratively with them to everyone's gain. The "parasites" in Objectivism are others - people who "compete" by buying and manipulating government.

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Darkwing Duck wrote:
The "parasites" of Objectivism are not the laborers/tillers/etc. Objectivism has no problem with them. Rand's protagonists worked collaboratively with them to everyone's gain. The "parasites" in Objectivism are others - people who "compete" by buying and manipulating government.

For example, the wealthy heir who ran his company into the ground, literally killing countless innocents when buildings built with his company's flawed copper fail, to make a political point?

Oh wait crap that's one of the heroic protagonists.

I guess it's all the rapists in her novels?

Oh. Those are the protagonists too.

What exactly was the difference between the protagonists and the antagonists again? Because I can't seem to remember any differences other than that it was a tragedy that the protagonist a#&@#++s left with their magic spells, because the antagonist a~~&$&*s couldn't cast those spells (and thus society fell apart).


A Man In Black wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
The "parasites" of Objectivism are not the laborers/tillers/etc. Objectivism has no problem with them. Rand's protagonists worked collaboratively with them to everyone's gain. The "parasites" in Objectivism are others - people who "compete" by buying and manipulating government.

For example, the wealthy heir who ran his company into the ground, literally killing countless innocents when buildings built with his company's flawed copper fail, to make a political point?

Are you talking about Francisco? He wasn't responsible for anyone's death.


LazarX wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I largely agree, I'd rather see a significant portion of the military budget shifted to something like NASA. Doubling NASA's budget solely for the purposes of getting to Mars would have amazing effects on our economy in the long run. There are benefits to the military spending, but they're less than a lot of other things. Contracts with arms manufacturers create jobs, but the products themselves don't add to the economy much.
Actually if you're looking for spending that feeds back to the domestic economy, the better bet would be in investing in infrastructure which returns the most in basic jobs. and builds up general economy. Funding for NASA has it's place but the returns are not what it's advocates tend to claim.

I think that's really hard to judge accurately. I'll concede the returns aren't 14:1, like some suggest, but NASA research has led to a 98% reduction in wet road accidents where safety grooving has been implemented in California. NASA projects have extreme demands, it's where theoretical science and engineering meet with a lot of success and have given us a lot of technology. Going to Mars is also less violent than starting another war.

The safety grooving has also reduced plane crashes and meat packing plant accidents. And that is just one of many innovations (developed during the shuttle era as well, because the shuttles high speed landing made it more susceptible to hydroplaning).

Also, I'm not saying we should shift all of the military budget to NASA, but rather just doubling it, making it 1% of the total budget and devoting those funds to a Mars mission.


Irontruth wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I largely agree, I'd rather see a significant portion of the military budget shifted to something like NASA. Doubling NASA's budget solely for the purposes of getting to Mars would have amazing effects on our economy in the long run. There are benefits to the military spending, but they're less than a lot of other things. Contracts with arms manufacturers create jobs, but the products themselves don't add to the economy much.
Actually if you're looking for spending that feeds back to the domestic economy, the better bet would be in investing in infrastructure which returns the most in basic jobs. and builds up general economy. Funding for NASA has it's place but the returns are not what it's advocates tend to claim.

I think that's really hard to judge accurately. I'll concede the returns aren't 14:1, like some suggest, but NASA research has led to a 98% reduction in wet road accidents where safety grooving has been implemented in California. NASA projects have extreme demands, it's where theoretical science and engineering meet with a lot of success and have given us a lot of technology. Going to Mars is also less violent than starting another war.

The safety grooving has also reduced plane crashes and meat packing plant accidents. And that is just one of many innovations (developed during the shuttle era as well, because the shuttles high speed landing made it more susceptible to hydroplaning).

Also, I'm not saying we should shift all of the military budget to NASA, but rather just doubling it, making it 1% of the total budget and devoting those funds to a Mars mission.

I'd like to see NASA's mission get shifted into promoting companies focused on private space missions such as they do with the Centennial Challenges.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Does that graph adjust for the real value of the dollars spent, or is it just flat numbers?

I'm assuming it's just flat numbers but that's half of the point. The dollars we hold in our hands continue to lose value. Government inflates so that they can spend brand new money that they just created out of thin air while the value is still high. By the time we get our paychecks, the buying power of our hard earned work now buys us less. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

A Man In Black wrote:
Quote:
Yes, blame and villainize the responsible people. It's all their fault. That seems to be a growing trend in the Western world. And people wonder why society is degrading.

Blaming people who are responsible for doing things is causing the downfall of western civilization.

what.

Responsible as in the opposite of irresponsible. The northern European countries are at no fault and are in no way responsible for the PIIGS reckless spending. Why the heck should they have to foot the bill or debase their currency to bail them out?

Quote:
When the government does it, it's not stealing.

Libertarians hold everyone, government included, to the same standards. Stealing is stealing; murder is murder; fraud is fraud etc. It makes no difference whether it's the government or a local street thug committing the crime. We aren't collectivists. We don't have different sets of rules for every group.

Quote:
Except that charity didn't fix things before governments stepped in to fix them. It was called the Gilded Age, it kind of sucked unless you were one of the super-rich. Yanno, Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, Upton Sinclair? That's what they were writing about. You may have learned about these authors in your publicly-funded, publicly-regulated schooling.

You can't compare early America to modern America. That's not even close to a fair comparison. Yes, life back then kind of sucked ... but life in many if not most other places in the world sucked a lot worse. We weren't known as the Land of Opportunity for nothing.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

With 80 hour work weeks, workers being maimed and crippled left and right, strikes broken up by the federal government, toxic pollution that the average citizen had no recourse to stop, people crammed into tenement housing that caught on fire...

But hey, Carnegie is cranking out profits no ones ever heard of.

Dude, your industrialists paradise is a dystopian hellscape. By what definition is that "working well"?

Again, you're comparing it to modern times. 80 hour work weeks were much better then the 0 hour work weeks which is what a lot of other countries had to offer their poor. People eventually formed unions. They fought for better working conditions. They fought for more reasonable hours and hourly wages. Of course, maybe they didn't even have to. The "evil corporations" eventually realized that working people for more than 40 hours per week reduced productivity. They may have even figured out that paying people more money increased productivity as well.

A Man In Black wrote:

Indeed. In fact, one of the main forces in getting this changed was unionization, which is remarkable because unionists spent a good chunk of the first third of the 20th century getting shot in the face. The '30s are marked by unprecedented (before or since) government investment in social safety nets and infrastructure, and a raft of government regulations on workplace safety and labor relations.

How on earth is this compatible with libertarianism?

Unions are fine. Free people have a right to form unions or to congregate in virtually any fashion they want. As nice as social safety nets sound, the negative side of government getting into this area is, unfortunately, devastating. The biggest problem is something that the Framers warned us about.

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." ~Benjamin Franklin

When government starts handing out favors, the poor will always lose. That's a battle we aren't going to win. The government hands out more money now than ever in order to help people and the poverty level keeps growing higher and higher. Why is that?

thejeff wrote:
And don't forget the regular "Panics".

People are obviously fine with risking their money by letting banks make investments with it. If they weren't, there would be a market for banks which hold and protect your money for a fee. There would be no risk with such a service. If you risk your money and lose it, then you lose it. You took the risk and lost. The problem is that people didn't (and may still not) understand how banking works and that there was risk involved.


I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who calls foul on comparing modern times to the gilded age because it's so far in the past...then readily quotes from the "framers" of the constitution.

Either it's a different paradigm now and things need to be completely reevaluated, or it's legitimate to call on examples from the past.

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Frogboy wrote:
I'm assuming it's just flat numbers but that's half of the point. The dollars we hold in our hands continue to lose value. Government inflates so that they can spend brand new money that they just created out of thin air while the value is still high. By the time we get our paychecks, the buying power of our hard earned work now buys us less. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

Yes.

Quote:
Responsible as in the opposite of irresponsible. The northern European countries are at no fault and are in no way responsible for the PIIGS reckless spending.

Yup. Spain and Ireland need to pay for their reckless and irresponsible...uh...government surpluses before the collapse.

Quote:
Why the heck should they have to foot the bill or debase their currency to bail them out?

Because all of the nations of the EU entrusted them with control over the currency to serve the best interests of everyone. Not just the best interests of the countries you like. After all, it's a libertarian idea that if you enter into a contract with someone without doing due diligence, it's your own fault when the contract turns out to be unfair. If Germany or France are unhappy with Greece having cooked books, they should have investigated Greece's books better and not allowed them into the EU. Now they're stuck with them.

Quote:
Libertarians hold everyone, government included, to the same standards. Stealing is stealing; murder is murder; fraud is fraud etc. It makes no difference whether it's the government or a local street thug committing the crime. We aren't collectivists. We don't have different sets of rules for every group.

Non-crazy people are okay with the idea of governments levying taxes, not so much non-governments.

Also, I am going to shoot you in the face because your shoes are my birthright, according to me. It's coercion to use force against me to stop me; that would be assault. So, there is nothing stopping me from shooting you in the face and taking your shoes except your own spurious claim of ownership. Isn't it a shame that you don't believe in some higher authority who is accorded the special power to rule on these sort of things and enforce those rulings with force?

Quote:
You can't compare early America to modern America. That's not even close to a fair comparison. Yes, life back then kind of sucked ... but life in many if not most other places in the world sucked a lot worse. We weren't known as the Land of Opportunity for nothing.

A) I am talking about why life stopped sucking in that way. The US of the present didn't magically replace the US of the previous 75 years, that happened for reasons. You are talking about going back to the policies that made the world a hellscape at the time.

B) Frogboy, meet Frogboy:

Quote:
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." ~Benjamin Franklin

Either I get to talk about how politics in the middle of the 20th century helped change the country into the form that it was in at the end of the 20th century, or you stop talking about 18th century authors. Whichever.

Quote:
Again, you're comparing it to modern times.

The modern times where productivity has been rising for 30 years but wages haven't? The modern times were weak labor laws have resulted in people working for no pay at all and employers increasingly working people over 40 hours with no additional compensation of any kind? The free market isn't fixing this.

Quote:
When government starts handing out favors, the poor will always lose. That's a battle we aren't going to win. The government hands out more money now than ever in order to help people and the poverty level keeps growing higher and higher. Why is that?

Because the government is handing out less and less money to help people since about the mid-70s and poverty keeps increasing correspondingly. The programs that have endured untouched are still doing their jobs effectively. You don't see old people being supported entirely by their children any more because of Social Security and Medicare.

Quote:
People are obviously fine with risking their money by letting banks make investments with it. If they weren't, there would be a market for banks which hold and protect your money for a fee. There would be no risk with such a service. If you risk your money and lose it, then you lose it. You took the risk and lost. The problem is that people didn't (and may still not) understand how banking works and that there was risk involved.

Back when there was risk involved, the lack of confidence in banks caused constant runs and constant banking panics. This is why we have the Fed in the first place! The Federal Reserve System provides the baseline security that instills that confidence in banks. You seriously need to understand how things were before the regulations we have now to understand why rolling back those regulations is a bad thing. There isn't any such thing as a free market. Markets form within the constraints of regulation, and quickly collapse without regulations to keep them stable.

But this is all moot because I can shoot you in the face to take your shoes because you don't believe in regulations that would stop me. It's a shame the hand of the free market can't stop bullets!


meatrace wrote:

I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who calls foul on comparing modern times to the gilded age because it's so far in the past...then readily quotes from the "framers" of the constitution.

Either it's a different paradigm now and things need to be completely reevaluated, or it's legitimate to call on examples from the past.

I believe that we are in a different world and I'm fine with doing some reevaluation.

What makes us different is that, back in the so-called gilded age of the Industrial economies, we wealth was in our machines and in the people who owned those machines.

Now, our wealth is in our information and in the people who own that information. The most common way for the average person to improve their lot in life is for them to gain competitive skills and then have companies compete for their labor. Machines (which typically mean databases or workstations) are relatively cheap. In the past, the most common way for the average person to improve their lot in life was for them to luck into a job with a good company where they worked their entire life running expensive machines that other people owned.

How is that difference relevant to what the Founding Fathers said? How does it necessitate changing what the Founding Fathers said?

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