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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Oh, Wisconsin, you so silly. (Page 5)

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Author Topic: Oh, Wisconsin, you so silly.
Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
It's never going to be worse than the smiley flipping you off.

But anyway, which are the laudable successes of walkers that you speak of?

Well, I'm at work, so don't really have time to go digging up lots of details, and I'll admit that I haven't been following it closely. But from what I've heard, he slashed the budget deficit, damaged the strength of the public sector unions, accomplished some degree of public sector pension reform, and... yeah, those are the big ones. Seems pretty laudable to me.

Edit: Wow, top page, really? I don't necessarily want to start a huge pile-on debate here...

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kmbboots
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See, at least two of those would be bad things.
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Dan_Frank
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I disagree. [Smile]
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Destineer
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Dan, do you think there shouldn't be unions?

I can understand the point of view of "right to work" types, but Walker's stuff seems to go beyond that. It seems like public employees' right to join a mutually beneficial club, and act collectively under the auspice of such a club, has been curtailed.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I've lived here for about 3 months now, I'm pretty sure I'm eligible.
Speaking of which, you need to look me up so I can buy you dinner. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
But from what I've heard, he slashed the budget deficit, damaged the strength of the public sector unions, accomplished some degree of public sector pension reform...
He has done two of those things. Namely, he has damaged the strength of public sector unions and stolen $2200/year from my family by increasing the cost of my wife's pension. He has miserably failed to slash the "budget deficit" here in Wisconsin, however.
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Hobbes
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I've lived here for about 3 months now, I'm pretty sure I'm eligible.
Speaking of which, you need to look me up so I can buy you dinner. [Smile]
I'd love to get together with you Tom, perhaps sometime soon? It's been a while since I e-mailed you, is the e-mail in your profile a good one to use?

Hobbes [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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Absolutely. *grin*
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
But from what I've heard, he slashed the budget deficit, damaged the strength of the public sector unions, accomplished some degree of public sector pension reform...
He has done two of those things. Namely, he has damaged the strength of public sector unions and stolen $2200/year from my family by increasing the cost of my wife's pension. He has miserably failed to slash the "budget deficit" here in Wisconsin, however.
Is "stolen" the best word to use there, Tom?

I try to be a respectful poster, here, because I think it promotes better discussions. For example, I don't refer to taxation as theft. Although taxation is compulsory, and I'm philosophically opposed to it, it's patently not theft, and using hyperbole like that just makes me seem like an ass.

I'm sorry that your family budget has been negatively impacted by Walker's decisions. [Frown] I hope you understand, and are not offended by the fact, that I don't think that your budget is actually a deciding factor in whether or not a policy was successful.

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Dan, do you think there shouldn't be unions?

I can understand the point of view of "right to work" types, but Walker's stuff seems to go beyond that. It seems like public employees' right to join a mutually beneficial club, and act collectively under the auspice of such a club, has been curtailed.

If that was all a union was, I would not have any problems with unions.
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Destineer
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You're really opposed to taxation, period? Really?

quote:
If that was all a union was, I would not have any problems with unions.
That really is all a union is, together with some "rules of the game" of negotiation between unions and employers, which were settled upon over the course of a tumultuous and violent period in history.

If you don't think there should be such rules, I suppose that's a position someone could take, but I think it's pretty hard to deny that in the absence of such rules, things tend to get extremely ugly between workers and their employers.

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Rakeesh
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*Why* do you think he went about weakening unions? And, hey, which unions did he weaken? Was it all, or some?

Note that you didn't refer to slashing the budget deficit. What do you know about Walker for yourself, that you haven't 'heard'?

[ January 18, 2012, 06:24 PM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
You're really opposed to taxation, period? Really?

You may not have seen me expound on this before, but... In principle, I am essentially an anarcho-capitalist. However, I believe that the best way to positively affect change is through tentative, incremental progress.

I don't want to smash the state, or any of that other crap that so many libertarians and anarchists rant about. I would, however, love to see slow, deliberate steps in this direction. If someone seriously proposed eliminating taxation tomorrow, I would oppose it. But if they wanted to reduce taxation, I would more than likely support it.

Does that make sense? I mean you disagree and all, but do you understand better where I'm coming from?

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
If that was all a union was, I would not have any problems with unions.
That really is all a union is, together with some "rules of the game" of negotiation between unions and employers, which were settled upon over the course of a tumultuous and violent period in history.

If you don't think there should be such rules, I suppose that's a position someone could take, but I think it's pretty hard to deny that in the absence of such rules, things tend to get extremely ugly between workers and their employers.

But then we had the government stepping in on the side of the companies, with the National Guard busting strikes and so on. That's no better! But it's also not accurate to say that it was a situation where the government's only involvement was to ensure no crimes were committed by either side, and otherwise remain uninvolved.

It's pretty clearly way more than just a special club. Outside right-to-work states, even if you decline to join the special club you still have to pay them.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
*Why* do you think he went about weakening unions? And, hey, which unions did he weaken? Was it all, or some?

Note that you didn't refer to slashing the budget deficit. What do you know about Walker for yourself, that you haven't 'heard'?

I'm not sure what you mean. I freely acknowledge that I'm not an expert on the man. I read that the state budget went from a significant deficit to a projected surplus. Of course, I'm well aware of how many "projected surpluses" are phantoms and have little basis in reality, so if Tom has some compelling evidence that this surplus is just as ghostly, I'm quite happy to see it. It wouldn't surprise me.

I responded to the other two issues because they were the issues people primarily argued with me about. Is there some reason you have "heard" in scare quotes?

You've edited your post, so, I'll add: Is this a quiz? I believe he weakened teacher's unions, which are (at least in most states, once again, I don't live in Wisconsin, so perhaps I'm wrong there) some of the most bloated, mismanaged and racketeering unions in the country. But maybe the articles I read just focused on teacher's unions, and he actually weakened them all. I really, truly, have not studied the man's activities in detail. I sort of get the impression that this fact offends you, which is baffling. [Dont Know]

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Destineer
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quote:

Does that make sense? I mean you disagree and all, but do you understand better where I'm coming from?

Yes, my uncle is also an anarcho-capitalist. In my experience, it takes a lot of optimism, about human nature and other things.

I don't think it's a bad idea in principle. I can imagine alien species for whom anarchism would work very well. They'd have to be very hard to kill, and much less dependent on resources and shelter than we are, though. Maybe after the Singularity we'll be like that. [Wink]

What I really don't understand is the idea that anarchism is some sort of basic moral principle that applies to all free intelligent beings, no matter how they're put together. I mean, what if people were so constituted that we'd die if we didn't get handshakes from ten different people every day? Would it then be your right to refuse to shake my hand, even though it would kill me, because you have perfect sovereignty over your own autonomous self?

When you think of what it would mean for libertarian principles of government to count as basic ethical principles, it becomes completely absurd.

quote:
But then we had the government stepping in on the side of the companies, with the National Guard busting strikes and so on. That's no better! But it's also not accurate to say that it was a situation where the government's only involvement was to ensure no crimes were committed by either side, and otherwise remain uninvolved.
Some of the worst massacres were committed by private detective agencies directly employed by the companies, like in Ludlow. (I'd link to the wikipedia page if it wasn't blacked out.) Sometimes government troops were cheaper or more convenient, but even when they weren't there was plenty of violence.

quote:

It's pretty clearly way more than just a special club. Outside right-to-work states, even if you decline to join the special club you still have to pay them.

Like I said, I basically agree with the right to work perspective under ideal conditions, although I wouldn't vote for a right to work law because the resultant fallout would have bad effects under present conditions.
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Destineer
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My standard one-liner against right-anarchism is: maybe that would work if it took 100 people working together to kill someone. Given that it's more like it takes 100 people working together to keep someone alive, I don't see the appeal.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:

Does that make sense? I mean you disagree and all, but do you understand better where I'm coming from?

Yes, my uncle is also an anarcho-capitalist. In my experience, it takes a lot of optimism, about human nature and other things.

I don't think it's a bad idea in principle. I can imagine alien species for whom anarchism would work very well. They'd have to be very hard to kill, and much less dependent on resources and shelter than we are, though. Maybe after the Singularity we'll be like that. [Wink]

Heh. You're messing with me, but I do genuinely think that our amazing advancements make anarcho-capitalism all the more feasible. I think it's more feasible now than it would have been in 1900, or than it was when I was a kid, or even than it was ten years ago. And the more we advance, the more I see it as a possibility. But yeah, like your uncle, I am pretty optimistic. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
What I really don't understand is the idea that anarchism is some sort of basic moral principle that applies to all free intelligent beings, no matter how they're put together. I mean, what if people were so constituted that we'd die if we didn't get handshakes from ten different people every day? Would it then be your right to refuse to shake my hand, even though it would kill me, because you have perfect sovereignty over your own autonomous self?

When you think of what it would mean for libertarian principles of government to count as basic ethical principles, it becomes completely absurd.

But if I have a moral obligation to shake your hand, then I am morally bound by whoever crosses my path wanting to shake my hand. What if I get stuck somewhere shaking hands and lose my job and then starve? Or just starve because too many people are passing by and I can't get away from them because of all the handshaking? [Razz]

More seriously, when you indicate that someone has the moral right to another person's labor, you're chaining him to that person against his will. Here's an example a friend of mine emailed to me earlier today, on a different but surprisingly related topic:

- A rich man owns an orchard with oranges
- A poor man wants some to feed his kids
- The rich man says no
- People claim the rich man is bad, guilty, etc

And, here's the kicker:

- The more children the poor man chooses to have, that the rich man denies his oranges to, the more guilty the rich man is.

This seems far more untenable and absurd to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
But then we had the government stepping in on the side of the companies, with the National Guard busting strikes and so on. That's no better! But it's also not accurate to say that it was a situation where the government's only involvement was to ensure no crimes were committed by either side, and otherwise remain uninvolved.
Some of the worst massacres were committed by private detective agencies directly employed by the companies, like in Ludlow. (I'd link to the wikipedia page if it wasn't blacked out.) Sometimes government troops were cheaper or more convenient, but even when they weren't there was plenty of violence.
But even when the Government wasn't using their troops to support the companies, they had clearly thrown their lot in with them. The fact that the companies were able to employ private agencies to kill their employees and not fear massive Government reprisal sort of speaks to this, doesn't it?
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
My standard one-liner against right-anarchism is: maybe that would work if it took 100 people working together to kill someone. Given that it's more like it takes 100 people working together to keep someone alive, I don't see the appeal.

I laughed. [Big Grin]
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Destineer
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quote:
Heh. You're messing with me, but I do genuinely think that our amazing advancements make anarcho-capitalism all the more feasible. I think it's more feasible now than it would have been in 1900, or than it was when I was a kid, or even than it was ten years ago. And the more we advance, the more I see it as a possibility.
That's certainly true, it's a matter of degree. It could be that we're closer now than we were then, due to technology and infrastructure, although that also depends on how badly we've damaged the environment, how close we are to exhausting fossil fuels, etc. It's a very tough empirical question.

ETA: And with all our technology, it's still just as hard as it ever was to be flat broke and quadriplegic.

quote:
But if I have a moral obligation to shake your hand, then I am morally bound by whoever crosses my path wanting to shake my hand.
That doesn't follow at all. For example, if someone has already had his ten shakes in a given day and you know that, you have no obligation. And if you live in a city where the law says you shake ten hands a day and you're done, and there's someone else nearby who hasn't yet fulfilled their handshaking duties for the day, you'd also be off the hook. (And also, obviously, if you need to do something else to preserve your own life.)

There are all sorts of systems we could work out to solve the problem of who shakes whose hand. The point is that, if the world worked that way, it would be wrong of us not to at least work out a system. We'd be letting people die, and gaining nothing of comparable worth by allowing that.

quote:
More seriously, when you indicate that someone has the moral right to another person's labor, you're chaining him to that person against his will. Here's an example a friend of mine emailed to me earlier today, on a different but surprisingly related topic:

- A rich man owns an orchard with oranges
- A poor man wants some to feed his kids
- The rich man says no
- People claim the rich man is bad, guilty, etc

And, here's the kicker:

- The more children the poor man chooses to have, that the rich man denies his oranges to, the more guilty the rich man is.

This seems far more untenable and absurd to me.

Huh. To me it has the ring of simple common sense. You don't just walk by when you see someone drowning. Not even if they stupidly jumped in themselves.

Of course the rich man becomes "more guilty" if there are more hungry kids around he's not helping. The moral law becomes more demanding when we're surrounded by bad circumstances. That's obvious. If you're in a bad war (even as a civilian), you must be willing to make terrible sacrifices. If there's a bad epidemic, you may have to quarantine yourself. Similarly, if there are starving people around, you have moral obligations to them that wouldn't arise if they weren't starving.

[ January 18, 2012, 10:21 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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Destineer
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quote:
But even when the Government wasn't using their troops to support the companies, they had clearly thrown their lot in with them. The fact that the companies were able to employ private agencies to kill their employees and not fear massive Government reprisal sort of speaks to this, doesn't it?
Right, but why is that relevant? Would they have any reprisal to worry about under your preferred system? A union militia perhaps, but who would have more money for better guns? (The "detectives" at Ludlow used an armored car with a machine gun.)
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Is "stolen" the best word to use there, Tom?
Yes. She signed a contract under certain terms. She has neither renegotiated nor accepted any changes to that contract, but they changed that contract anyway. The contract would be legally binding, except that -- because she was paid by the state -- the state simply changed state law so it didn't matter.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
A rich man owns an orchard with oranges
- A poor man wants some to feed his kids
- The rich man says no
- People claim the rich man is bad, guilty, etc

The problem I have with this, by the way, is that it completely distorts -- by orders of magnitude -- the actual moral question. We are not dealing with individual poor men begging food from individual rich men who work their own orange trees. Heck, this exact hypothetical was demolished by Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath, where he quite clearly pointed out that masses of the poor were being starved and displaced by bureaucracies that insulated the owners of capital from even seeing the effects of their maximization of profit.
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Destineer
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Even leaving the example as it is, though, it's obvious to me--as obvious as it is that 1+1=2--that the dude is obligated to feed the other guy's kids.
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TomDavidson
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I don't agree. I don't think individuals are necessarily obligated to each other in that way. Taking questions of starvation out of it: my neighbor owns a much better snowblower than I do, because he paid for it. Since he can clear my entire driveway in a couple minutes, a tenth of the time it takes me, is he morally obligated to do it every time there's a heavy snow?
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Destineer
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No, of course not. If you take the morally weighty variable out of the example, of course that can diminish or eliminate the obligation.
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jebus202
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Ah, thanks, I couldn't relate to that problem till you made it about snowy driveways. Screw the hungry.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
But even when the Government wasn't using their troops to support the companies, they had clearly thrown their lot in with them. The fact that the companies were able to employ private agencies to kill their employees and not fear massive Government reprisal sort of speaks to this, doesn't it?
Right, but why is that relevant? Would they have any reprisal to worry about under your preferred system? A union militia perhaps, but who would have more money for better guns? (The "detectives" at Ludlow used an armored car with a machine gun.)
Sorry, I may have confused stuff by bringing up An-Cap? I was talking about how I feel about unions in our country, and how unions could change (in our country) for me to feel much more positively about them. So in this context we still have a government and police force and all that jazz. I would rather said government prevent murders and vandalism and assault and so on, but not enforce special privileges for either the union or the employers. Does that make more sense?

Remember: I'm not your uncle. [Smile] I don't mean that in a mean way, I don't actually know anything about your uncle. I just mean that I don't want to demolish our country or anything. Maybe I actually am your uncle.

If we started making slow progress towards Anarcho-Capitalism, I'd be pleased, but I'd expect things like police and military to be the very last things we got rid of. And at every step of the way, if the changes failed, I'm okay with that too! I don't mind being proven wrong. My optimism could be too great. I'd rather acknowledge I am wrong along the way than end up in a chaotic state of violent anarchy. [Smile]

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Destineer
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Michael is probably to the left of you, actually. He sees the Democrats as the lesser evil these days (mostly because they start fewer, smaller wars).

He does love him some Ron Paul, though.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If you take the morally weighty variable out of the example, of course that can diminish or eliminate the obligation.
How many minutes of my life would someone have to be able to save me before it would become "morally weighty?"
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Michael is probably to the left of you, actually. He sees the Democrats as the lesser evil these days (mostly because they start fewer, smaller wars).

He does love him some Ron Paul, though.

Heh. Ron Paul is freaking insane. I mean, I sort of appreciate that his presence in the primaries has goaded the other Republican candidates into focusing less on terrible So-Con issues and more on limited Gov. issues. I think that's good. But I would never, ever vote for Ron Paul for President. That would be catastrophic.

And that's not just because I'm a warmongering racist bloodthirsty oil-grabbing Neocon when it comes to foreign policy. Ron Paul is too crazy for me on domestic policy, too.

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Destineer
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quote:
And at every step of the way, if the changes failed, I'm okay with that too! I don't mind being proven wrong. My optimism could be too great. I'd rather acknowledge I am wrong along the way than end up in a chaotic state of violent anarchy.
I'm happy you feel this way. But here's one thing to notice about your own view. It's not compatible with the notion that liberty (as the libertarian defines it) trumps other moral values. What you're effectively saying is that there are other values we don't want to sacrifice, even if sacrificing them is the only way to achieve a system that completely respects liberty.

Tom, I suppose the answer is that moral weight comes in degrees. Saving someone from spending a brief period engaged in tedious work is nowhere near as weighty as granting them some extra time on this Earth.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Saving someone from spending a brief period engaged in tedious work is nowhere near as weighty as granting them some extra time on this Earth.
But we do not redistribute wealth solely to prevent people from starving; we also do it to give them some freedom from tedious work.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
And at every step of the way, if the changes failed, I'm okay with that too! I don't mind being proven wrong. My optimism could be too great. I'd rather acknowledge I am wrong along the way than end up in a chaotic state of violent anarchy.
I'm happy you feel this way. But here's one thing to notice about your own view. It's not compatible with the notion that liberty (as the libertarian defines it) trumps other moral values. What you're effectively saying is that there are other values we don't want to sacrifice, even if sacrificing them is the only way to achieve a system that completely respects liberty.

Yep! This is actually why I am often a tad reluctant to immediately self-identify to people as a libertarian or an anarcho-capitalist! Because of the assumptions people make about what that means.

So, I'm a Popperian critical rationalist at heart. The Libertarianish tendencies follow from that, not the other way around. So if it turns out I'm wrong about my theories about the best, freest society possible, that's totally okay. [Big Grin]

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Destineer
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Very sensible. But since you grant the importance of other values besides liberty, I'm surprised you draw the conclusions you do from your example about the rich guy with the orange grove.

If some values are important enough to trump our property rights, why doesn't the health and well-being of a child fall into this category?

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Saving someone from spending a brief period engaged in tedious work is nowhere near as weighty as granting them some extra time on this Earth.
But we do not redistribute wealth solely to prevent people from starving; we also do it to give them some freedom from tedious work.
In the United States? I feel like our safety net is pretty near the absolute minimum to provide a basic livelihood. Are you thinking of social security?

Anyway, this gets to a whole family of issues. I don't think what's "my property" is a natural category at all. A system of property rights is something to be constructed by a society so as to benefit its members. Whatever system has the best effects is the one we should settle on. I doubt that a system in which your neighbor is forced to plow your driveway would strike the best balance.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Very sensible. But since you grant the importance of other values besides liberty, I'm surprised you draw the conclusions you do from your example about the rich guy with the orange grove.

If some values are important enough to trump our property rights, why doesn't the health and well-being of a child fall into this category?

It's not about property rights, it's about autonomy.
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MattP
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quote:
It's not about property rights, it's about autonomy.
It's really more about a particular philosophy of autonomy. I value autonomy as well, but I believe that the level of government that allows the most individual autonomy is significantly larger than the level of government that you would like to see because I see many functions of government as increasing my autonomy; or at least my ability to realize that autonomy. The compulsory taxes that fund these services are not, in any strong sense, a real infringement on my sense of autonomy.
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Rakeesh
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It's one of the strange things about libertarian-leaning ideals on government and economics that a big selling point is that if we did things right, it'd be the best, most liberating system out there. In other words, if it were an ideal version of itself, realized in the actual world.

When this is done, though, almost invariably the comparison is made of the idealized libertarian-leaning system versus actual current systems. In other words, a selling point is supposed to be the idealized version of one versus the often flawed real world application of the other.

That's when the version of reality it's compared to isn't grossly distorted, of course, by your Tea Partiers or your RP fans. Anyway, this comparison which is usually the one I see made has always struck me as both insecure and self-deceptive. One of the reasons I'm so mistrustful of it.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
It's not about property rights, it's about autonomy.
It's really more about a particular philosophy of autonomy. I value autonomy as well, but I believe that the level of government that allows the most individual autonomy is significantly larger than the level of government that you would like to see because I see many functions of government as increasing my autonomy; or at least my ability to realize that autonomy. The compulsory taxes that fund these services are not, in any strong sense, a real infringement on my sense of autonomy.
That's one of the strangest things about it. In a hypothetical scenario where government eases out and you have absolute anarcho-capitalism, let's say the structure of it results in the only civilized and safe areas being those where a single entity has purchased a wide swath of land, holds it for its own, and says that you are not permitted on this private property unless you abide by its laws and contribute a percentage of your earnings (lets say anywhere else has sort of degenerated into lawlessness because cities and counties where there were no public services, every inch of land had to have a private owner with corresponding private maintenance and/or permission to use, and absolutely no eminent domain decomposed and experienced collapse because it's really just not workable and crime would balloon quickly and unmanageably where things like security and fire protection was opt-in paid service only). It could basically be a series of microfederalized entities, short any representative democracy, or even be much more incredibly fascist and constraining than what we have now that the libertarians rebel against, but it's magically 'okay' because it holds ownership* of the land after the anarcho-capitalist reboot. It's all square with hardcore libertarian axioms even if the end result is less effective liberty. What.

*Real Ownership. Not, say, the ownership of the land that countries have right now. Because it's government ownership, and that is illegitimate somehow because it has to be to make this experiment work

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Dan_Frank
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Rakeesh & Sam: I'm not really sure if you guys are trying to argue with me, or if you're just using this situation as a convenient time to rail against libertarians.

If the latter, that's cool, I have no problem with that. I've certainly done it myself. Have a blast! [Smile]

If the former... I don't feel like either of you really understand what I'm saying, and it sort of seems like you don't have any real interest in doing so. [Frown]

For what it's worth, Destineer, I want to thank you for the conversation so far. You've been really awesome.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I doubt that a system in which your neighbor is forced to plow your driveway would strike the best balance.
Now imagine I'm 80 years old, and on a fixed income. I haven't been able to buy a new snowblower in ten years, and haven't been able to clear my own drive in six. But I still need to get out of my driveway, right?

So, sure, it's not fair to expect my neighbor, who has personally invested in a new snowblower and in his own health, to clear my driveway for me. But if I can't afford to hire someone to clear my driveway, do I have the moral leverage to demand a) free labor to come clear my driveway; or b) funds collected from a large number of people to pay for the labor to clear my driveway? Bear in mind, the alternative might well be my death.

What if the response is that I have a moral obligation, in exchange for public subsidies, to move somewhere that includes snow removal service in its contract?

---------

Now, I know parts of this are ridiculous, but that's intentional. Try mapping this issue onto, for example, the question of whether we should pay recipients of public largesse some amount per child -- and what we can in turn require of those recipients. People keep trying to make issues like these personal -- a rich man refusing to give to a poor man -- but I think that's a fundamental misunderstanding of the real scenario, in which groups which rarely if ever intersect make small but numerous financial demands of each other.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
If the former... I don't feel like either of you really understand what I'm saying, and it sort of seems like you don't have any real interest in doing so.

I'll get straight to it: I was interested in talking about this subject with you, though at first I was a bit frustrated that it seemed you were siding with Walker on the basis of second-hand knowledge.

When I asked you about it, it seemed that your take on the issue was second-hand. I'm not sure what you read, or who wrote what you read. The things you listed as reasons to favor the things Walker has done, one of the big ones you said you wouldn't be surprised if it turned out not to be true.

And yet if your certainty of its accuracy is so low you wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be wrong, why mention it as an accomplishment at all? I'm trying to think of a reason for that besides it simply being a thing you approve of, and so you're quicker to believe it. That's not what I think right now, but I can't come up with many alternatives-you can correct me, if you'd like.

His 'budget repair' bill has been met with many legal challenges, he targeted some unions but not others (and one just wonders if the fact that the unions he targeted were also opponents of his had anything to do with it), it's not actually clear he's fixed a budget deficit...anyway

Oh, and if someone had done to your employment agreement what was done to that of Tom's wife, I am frankly very skeptical that it wouldn't feel like stealing to you.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Very sensible. But since you grant the importance of other values besides liberty, I'm surprised you draw the conclusions you do from your example about the rich guy with the orange grove.

If some values are important enough to trump our property rights, why doesn't the health and well-being of a child fall into this category?

It's not about property rights, it's about autonomy.
OK, but then aren't you granting that there are other values that can trump autonomy?

If that's the case, then again, why shouldn't the well being of poor children be one such value?

[ January 19, 2012, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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Destineer
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Tom, I'm completely open to the possibility that there might be situations in which I would be morally bad (and a dick) if I didn't help my elderly neighbor plow his driveway.

I agree that the example isn't that analogous to the social welfare situation, but my point was that even looking at the example in isolation, I don't agree with Dan's take on it. In fact, I don't think anyone would agree with his take, if they weren't already committed to a libertarian philosophy and trying to make their judgement about the case fit their overall theory.

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Destineer
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Also, I think the example is quite directly analogous to our actual situation, concerning whether we're obligated to donate to charities for the poor.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
If the former... I don't feel like either of you really understand what I'm saying, and it sort of seems like you don't have any real interest in doing so. [Frown]

I understand that you really believe in anarcho-capitalism, the caveat being that you agree that the world would be forced to introduce it gradually. That you are welcome to being proven wrong, etc etc etc. If the subject is anarcho-capitalism, discussion about the axiomatic oddities and complete unworkability of multiple private land ownership living under the absolute rules of the Non-Aggression Principle setting an absolute cap on permissible social systems and government is par for the course. Because if, ultimately, you don't agree with the absolute unshakeability and feasibility of a world that obeys that principle 100%, so ends the obsession with anarcho-capitalism.

And extrapolating on social systems we have now and applying them as hypotheticals that test the idea of anarcho-capitalism is the only way you would be able to test your socioeconomic ideology, since it's not going to happen in real life outside of idealist communities potentially popping up to test the idea of absolute libertarian ideals.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
If the former... I don't feel like either of you really understand what I'm saying, and it sort of seems like you don't have any real interest in doing so.

I'll get straight to it: I was interested in talking about this subject with you, though at first I was a bit frustrated that it seemed you were siding with Walker on the basis of second-hand knowledge.[

When I asked you about it, it seemed that your take on the issue was second-hand. I'm not sure what you read, or who wrote what you read. The things you listed as reasons to favor the things Walker has done, one of the big ones you said you wouldn't be surprised if it turned out not to be true.

And yet if your certainty of its accuracy is so low you wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be wrong, why mention it as an accomplishment at all? I'm trying to think of a reason for that besides it simply being a thing you approve of, and so you're quicker to believe it. That's not what I think right now, but I can't come up with many alternatives-you can correct me, if you'd like.

I don't get why that's frustrating. I'm not supporting Walker. I haven't donated to his campaign. I can't vote for him. I have not lent him any material support whatsoever. I was asked what my opinion of him was, so I gave it. It wasn't a strong opinion, I said that from the outset. I'm not making ironclad declarations of love for the guy.

I'm only aware of him because of the controversy, and because several people whom I consider to be intelligent and trustworthy have discussed him in their writings. Three of the things mentioned, that seemed positive to me, were the three things I brought up.

Now, as much as I think the people I got this from are smart and all, they aren't economists, so I'm totally open to the possibility that the wool was pulled over their eyes re: the budget. I'm also open to the possibility that the people here were similarly misled about what he did on the budget. Barring actually reading the data myself, I'm not going to draw any final conclusions.

And I don't really plan on reading the data, either, unless someone shoves it in my face. I just don't care about the issue enough. I have a finite amount of time and determining if Walker really cut his state's deficit seems like a poor use of that time.

I was happy to concede the point, though, since obviously nobody here agrees, and I don't know enough on the topic to try and argue it. Should I have simply not brought it up? Sure, I guess. I didn't realize it was so heavily disputed. My previous impression was that he was hated for the way he cut the deficit. If I'd realized it was a controversial assertion, I probably wouldn't have made it.

Believe it or not, I was sort of hoping not to have an argument about it. I mentioned that I vaguely supported Walker and thought he'd achieved some success, Sam wanted to know what I considered laudable successes, and I didn't want to be rude and ignore him.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
His 'budget repair' bill has been met with many legal challenges, he targeted some unions but not others (and one just wonders if the fact that the unions he targeted were also opponents of his had anything to do with it), it's not actually clear he's fixed a budget deficit...anyway

Something being met with legal challenges doesn't exactly automagically mean that it's illegal. I mean, Obama's health reform bill has been challenged in 27 states, but I don't think it therefore follows that it must be unconstitutional.

As far as him targeting unions that opposed him, that's interesting! Of all the stuff here, that's the one that I am actually curious about, and will probably go read up on when I'm not working. Budgetary sleight of hand isn't very interesting, but power-mad government officials punishing their detractors is much juicier.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Oh, and if someone had done to your employment agreement what was done to that of Tom's wife, I am frankly very skeptical that it wouldn't feel like stealing to you.

I feel like I'm having my hands tied behind my back while you and Tom punch me in the face.

If I respond or defend myself, then it will seem like I am belittling his or his wife's situation, and I have zero interest in doing that. I'm really, genuinely sorry to hear about their situation. So... yeah.

PS: Sam, you're still completely talking past me. You really don't understand what I'm saying, and your attitude on this topic doesn't make me too enthusiastic about continuing the discussion. Maybe another time.

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kmbboots
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How about if it were asked a different way. If you had a contract with a private company and you fulfilled your part of the contract but they decided to pay you considerably less than what you had both agreed to, would you consider that you had been at least cheated?
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TomDavidson
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You don't need to feel sorry for us. But state employees suffered through hiring freezes, salary freezes, and mandatory furloughs for three years prior -- only to be cast, under Walker, as selfish, greedy thugs who'd been coasting on the public dole and costing everyone money. At which point they lost the right to negotiate their contracts even as Republicans in the legislature unilaterally rewrote their contracts for them in ways that were universally less favorable.

The claim that public servants are overpaid is a myth. The claim that the rich are overtaxed is a myth. The claim that the rich are "job creators" to whom most people owe their livelihoods is a myth. The claim that corporations are burdened by excessive tax is a myth. The claim that Wisconsin was a state on the edge of economic collapse is a myth. The claim that Wisconsin's budget improved as a consequence of Walker's cuts is a myth. The claim that Walker's cuts somehow increased corporate investment in Wisconsin (and thus led to job creation) is also a myth.

And by "myth," I mean straight-up "lie." The people promulgating these myths know the truth, but it serves their purposes to spread other narratives. It is possible to do a bit of research on any one of these claims to realize how untrue they are, but the amount of money flowing into the state -- and around the nation -- to ensure that people feel like they already know the truth (when in reality they've just been misinformed by the machine) is making it very difficult to awaken people to the need for that kind of mental investment in accuracy.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
How about if it were asked a different way. If you had a contract with a private company and you fulfilled your part of the contract but they decided to pay you considerably less than what you had both agreed to, would you consider that you had been at least cheated?

Sure! Of course. And it sucks that that happened to Tom's wife. I wouldn't be offering so much sympathy if I didn't think that some aspects of the situation were totally lousy.

I think that the actual situation has many more variables than your example, though, Boots, and is not quite so simple. But again... Yeargh. I don't want to do this. Personalizing discussions like this just leads to people getting offended and righteously angry.

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Dan_Frank
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Tom, the first couple of myths you mention (about public employees, about corporations being overtaxed, etc.) are vague enough that I am interpreting you to intend them as general statements across the US, not just Wisconsin. Is that the right way to read you?

If so, does the second part of your statement (about these myths being lies spread by people who know the truth but profit from the lies) pertain only to the myths about Wisconsin, or does it pertain to all the myths you mentioned as well?

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Rakeesh
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Well, you did belittle his wife's situation. I mean, at least towards him-it's a substantial issue to their family, and your response was effectively, "I'm sorry, but it needed to be done." Now I'm not saying this because I'm outraged over that-I don't know the woman after all, so I don't have a personal dog in this hunt. I'm just sayin'...it's not as though you can really claim neutrality. Nor is there anything necessarily wrong with saying, "I'm sorry, it had to be done." But those two stateemnts go together-the apology and the expression of necessity.

quote:
I don't get why that's frustrating. I'm not supporting Walker. I haven't donated to his campaign. I can't vote for him. I have not lent him any material support whatsoever. I was asked what my opinion of him was, so I gave it. It wasn't a strong opinion, I said that from the outset. I'm not making ironclad declarations of love for the guy.

There's quite a wide area between 'apathetic' and 'ironclad enthusiastic moral and material support', and one can be in that area and support the guy's policies without in fact being apathetic. I wasn't trying to suggest you were a partisan of his-just that you supported the policies under discussion.

quote:
Now, as much as I think the people I got this from are smart and all, they aren't economists, so I'm totally open to the possibility that the wool was pulled over their eyes re: the budget. I'm also open to the possibility that the people here were similarly misled about what he did on the budget. Barring actually reading the data myself, I'm not going to draw any final conclusions.
If this is your opinion (I'm not saying it isn't, or I don't believe you, just clarifying) then I have less of a bone to pick. It just didn't sound like your stance was one of still on or close to the fence while cautiously expressing support/agreement on the basis of budget deficits. Again, if you wouldn't be surprised at all to learn what you've heard was wrong, and what you heard was a part of your support/agreement...why use that as a part of things with such low certainty?

quote:
Something being met with legal challenges doesn't exactly automagically mean that it's illegal. I mean, Obama's health reform bill has been challenged in 27 states, but I don't think it therefore follows that it must be unconstitutional.

Of course. Nor did I say it was-it can, however, serve as an indicator that his accomplishments aren't so straightforward.

quote:
As far as him targeting unions that opposed him, that's interesting! Of all the stuff here, that's the one that I am actually curious about, and will probably go read up on when I'm not working. Budgetary sleight of hand isn't very interesting, but power-mad government officials punishing their detractors is much juicier.


Budgetary sleight of hand may not be a very sexy scandal, but the reason it's really important when it happens is because budget deficits are such an enormous campaigning point, especially on the right and among Republicans, that what would ordinarily be a little sneaky accounting is in fact more serious.
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