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Postby Episcopus » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:08 pm

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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:49 pm

Well, when I say they are totally useless, that's not quite true... we all leave your bikes in the police courtyard or just outside the main entrance so they can look after them, while we visit the free rock concerts in the Cathedral gardens (again, taxpayer's money I guess...).
If you want to keep your own bike, then Speyer is the wrong town to be in :P . Everyone has owned like every bike in Speyer at one time. They just get passed on and on... people often don't mean to steal them (often they do though), they just take the wrong one by accident...
In the UK people don't cycle as much as we do here. When I went to school there about 2 out of 2000 people went to school by bike. In my school about 500 out of 650 cycle to school.
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Postby Episcopus » Mon Oct 27, 2003 8:04 pm

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Postby Lex » Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:00 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Oh, come off it Lex! Think of the Americans... so many of them live in poverty and there are some really sad stories.


Yes, there are always lots of sad stories. And there always will be. But thinking with your heart will not make them go away. There are several reasons why socialized medicine is objectionable:

1) It is immoral to essentially enslave people for part of a year to pay for the medical care of those who can't pay for it themselves. I mean that literally. It's estimated that Americans pay about half their income to taxes every year. In my opinion, that means that I am effectively a slave to other citizens of my country for half of every year. That's just not right.

2) Because people get so much money taken away from them against their will to supposedly help the needy, a wet blanket is thrown on a true spirit of charity. One of the great advantages of true charity, besides the spiritual aspect, is that the willingness to give to charities will be reduced if the funds are being giving to those who aren't truly needy. Government bureaucracies, OTOH, don't mind giving to those who aren't needy; they are all about furthering their own budgets, and don't have the built-in feedback correction mechanisms that true charity has.

3) This is what I call the Clockwork Orange effect. In A Clockwork Orange, the psychopathic young antihero of the novel, Alex, is conditioned so that whenever he thinks of commiting an evil act, he gets physically ill. The question asked by the novel is, is such a person really good because he does not commit evil acts, if he has no choice in the matter? In other words, can a human being be good if he is not given the opportunity to choose evil? Similarly, is a person who contributes to the welfare of others really good, if he does not have the choice to refuse? I think that by giving people no choice but to contribute to welfare, we are taking away peoples' ability to choose to be good.

4) If that's not enough, there are the pragmatic economic arguments against socialized medicine. Firstly, governments are notoriously inefficient at almost everything they do. Second, when separated from the pricing system of the market, it is impossible to determine what the right level of medical care is. This is what happens when you make things free. When things are free, of course people will take advantage of those things much more than they really need to. Whether insurance companies end up paying for those things, or the government pays for them directly, the cost will wind up getting passed on to us all.

In short, pointing out that there are lots of sad stories isn't really much of an argument for socialized medicine.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:17 pm

Sorry, but it is for me.
I understand all your arguments, I've heard them all before (seen the film, but haven't read the book), but for my all these sad stories outweigh all your arguments.
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Postby Lex » Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:01 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Sorry, but it is for me.
I understand all your arguments, I've heard them all before (seen the film, but haven't read the book), but for my all these sad stories outweigh all your arguments.


Well, if neither practical nor moral arguments will sway you, I guess I may as well stop arguing, huh? As my final parting shot, all I can say is, I think that well-meaning but misguided compassion fascists like you will eventually be the end of us all.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:14 pm

I do think that justice should be higher on the priority list than compassion, but your agruments too me just sound stupid. I mean I'm more sort of practical: do what works, not theoretical. Because that's what your arguments all are.
I think the first thought here must be:'how can we make this world a better place for everyone to live in?' and you just have to do what works, not what may sound good. Like ok, you can say taxes are theft, but then they are a good kind of theft, because they help everyone. I'm not going to say theft is wrong, if you call taxes theft, because without taxes the state would fall apart, it's as simple as that.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:24 pm

Maybe someone should move this thread to the Academy... well, over half of it at least.
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Postby Lex » Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:52 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I do think that justice should be higher on the priority list than compassion, but your agruments too me just sound stupid. I mean I'm more sort of practical: do what works, not theoretical. Because that's what your arguments all are.


It may seem that my arguments are theoretical to you. And I suppose some of them are. But that doesn't mean that they aren't true. Sometimes theory points out truths that aren't obvious to the casual observer. It seems to me as though your arguments are not taking into consideration the big picture.

Emma_85 wrote:I think the first thought here must be:'how can we make this world a better place for everyone to live in?' and you just have to do what works, not what may sound good. Like ok, you can say taxes are theft, but then they are a good kind of theft, because they help everyone. I'm not going to say theft is wrong, if you call taxes theft, because without taxes the state would fall apart, it's as simple as that.


I'm not saying that we should eliminate taxation entirely. I'm saying we should admit to ourselves the truth that taxation is theft, and that government is force, and that we should thus be extremely careful about when we resort to them.

If the State should take care of all of our truly serious needs, why shouldn't we nationalize the production of, oh, food? After all, if medicine is too important to be left to the private sector, food production must be even more so! Heck, if nationalization works just as well if not better than private industry, why not just nationalize everything and be done with it? Because, of course, as the former USSR proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, socialism doesn't work! Nationalization doesn't work better than private industry for much of anything. Or is the collapse of the Soviet Union mere theory?

Didn't the early socialists/communists want to 'make this world a better place for everyone to live in'? Didn't they decide to 'do what works, not what may sound good', i.e. throw out the traditional conception of the sanctity of property and the 19th century British classical liberal tradition? And look what it got them.

Now look at modern Western governments. Why are they in the sad shape that they are in? If we look at the trouble that the Eastern bloc brought on itself, we might come to the conclusion that our countries are in the sad shape they are in because we are making the same economic mistakes that the Bolshies did. We just aren't in quite as bad a shape, because we aren't being as consistent about it as they were.

If you don't like theory, try taking a look at the empirical evidence.
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Postby benissimus » Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:32 pm

If by corruption you meant the bribes that candidates receive, then that seems to be very much unavoidable. I don't know of any government that has found a way to avoid this and still remain a fair democracy... even Rome had this problem.

And I do know of many arguments that make the United States seem just awful, but what is really rare is to fine one that is objective and not just purely hateful, biased, or with ulterior motives. I don't see why the U.S. gets singled out for all of this stuff; I think people just need a scapegoat.
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Postby bingley » Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:26 am

Firstly, I remember my parents and grandparents' stories of the 1930s. Lower taxation then but still lots of poor people not getting medical treatment they needed.

Secondly, I deny your basic premise, Lex. Taxation is not a form of theft. Yes, it has to be enforced, but so do all laws. Is it theft to insist on somebody paying a fine for misbehaviour? Is it theft to insist someone pay for services they want? Most if not all of us here live in democracies. The country collectively decides on what is an acceptable level of public service and what is an acceptable level of taxation to pay for it and who is going to pay for it. If you think the state takes too much of your income in taxation it is possible to argue that the state should take less. As it is a collective decision, yes sometimes you're going to lose out and things aren't going to be the way you want them. Change the govt. You can argue that govts. should be more responsive to citizens' desires, but that is a different topic.[/i]
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Postby Emma_85 » Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:49 am

You know, it's probably because the US is so damn big and important. Of course other states are worse, but they aren't as important. Everyone knows someone in the US and often enough people will tell you what it's like there. Most of Europe is socialist (what you call socialist) and America is capitalist. It's a fight between two big powers over the question which ideology is best. (Uh... and everyone just ignores Canada :wink: or says it's Europe).
Marxist socialist ideas are great! I love them! They just don't work in reality, not because of the theory is wrong, but because the people are wrong. Same with the Christian ideas. Just don't work with how we humans really are.
I really recommend you see 'Goodbye Lenin!', wonderful film, about just that.

And you said, look at the mess the western states are in. Now it's the US with low taxes and no health system and (mostly) rubbish public schools vs. Europe.
Germany definitely overdid it with its welfare, so yes, too much is probably wrong. But Britain or Holland are doing fine.
The US is not doing too well at all. The dollar has fallen so much it's unbelievable and they have what 5% unemployment? Britain has 2.6%.

And saying that because the USSR fell that any other system borrowing a certain principle they used will fail... that's not really a valid argument.
Russia spent a lot of its money on its army, which was part of why it collapsed. The US spends a lot of its money on the army! Russia fell -> the US will fall, too!
Now that doesn't make any sense, does it? Neither does your statement. In the communist countries you didn't have the principle: if you work hard you'll get paid. People just didn't turn up for work half the time or were sloppy at work, because they couldn't really loose their jobs. And quality wasn't important, so the industry produced as much as it could, but did it really badly. That's what was wrong with the economy...

And benissimus, didn't I just explain the German system? You can at least try to keep bribes at a minimum and not make them normal.

Taxation is not fundamentally wrong and so we don't have to keep it at a minimum. But, if we do have a state like the US that does not provide all the services you need, then you have to keep taxation at a minimum, but in a welfare state you don't have to.
If here they raise the taxes you say: 'Oh dear, I'll have to wait until next year to buy a new TV.' How tragic!
But if you raise them in the US, some one might say: 'Oh no, I'll have to wait until next year for my operation/next doctor's check up.' Now that can really be tragic!

To argue that Tax is fundamentally wrong, because it's theft, you have to first convince me it's theft, and second tell me why theft is morally wrong in all occasions, which I don't believe to be true.
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Postby Lex » Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:50 pm

bingley wrote:Firstly, I remember my parents and grandparents' stories of the 1930s. Lower taxation then but still lots of poor people not getting medical treatment they needed.


I fail to see how other peoples' need gives them a rightful claim to my money (or anybody else's except their own). If you ask me for help, and give me a choice, I might voluntarily give some of my money to those in need. If you just take it from me, I tend to get pissy about it. I'm just funny that way, I guess. I am most definitely not my brother's keeper.

bingley wrote:I deny your basic premise, Lex. Taxation is not a form of theft.


Sure it is. It is taken from people who have done nothing wrong, by threat of force. That's theft. Well, actually, to be precise, that's extortion, but you get the idea.

bingley wrote:Yes, it has to be enforced, but so do all laws. Is it theft to insist on somebody paying a fine for misbehaviour?


No, if that misbehavior has violated somebody elses' rights, then insisting that the person pay a fine is not wrong. IOW, if that fine is restitution for a crime or misdemeanor, it is not wrong. Taxes do not fall into that class, so this argument is invalid.

bingley wrote:Is it theft to insist someone pay for services they want?


If they request these services, and then make use of them, no, it is not theft. But what if I provide a service for you, let's say I shovel your driveway this winter, without first asking for your consent, and then demand $20 in payment. And if you don't pay voluntarily, I take it by force. That would be theft. That's essentially what most governments do.

bingley wrote:Most if not all of us here live in democracies. The country collectively decides on what is an acceptable level of public service and what is an acceptable level of taxation to pay for it and who is going to pay for it.


There's a great quote I heard somewhere; "Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner".

The fact that the majority thinks it's OK for the government to take my money and redistribute it does not give this act any special moral force, as far as I am concerned. It's simply a mob form of might makes right. The founders of America realized this unpleasant fact about democracy, which is why they tried to constrain it. Democracy was originally intended to be simply a way of deposing rulers who got too big for their britches, nothing more. So invoking the word "democracy" does not sanctify any act in my mind.

As another example, let's say I started a poll asking everybody here to vote on whether we should take 50% of bingley's money and redistribute it amongst ourselves. Would the act of voting justify it if we actually did take your money?

bingley wrote:If you think the state takes too much of your income in taxation it is possible to argue that the state should take less. As it is a collective decision, yes sometimes you're going to lose out and things aren't going to be the way you want them. Change the govt.


Yeah, right. Now who's being overly theoretical?
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:51 pm

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Postby Lex » Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:59 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Most of Europe is socialist (what you call socialist) and America is capitalist.


Actually, I believe that America and Europe are both socialist, to a certain extent. It's just that America isn't quite as socialist, and American politicians aren't as honest about the socialist nature of their policies. Probably because if you call yourself a socialist here, you don't get elected. So they call themselves Democrats or Republicans and institute socialist policies anyway.

Emma_85 wrote:Marxist socialist ideas are great! I love them! They just don't work in reality, not because of the theory is wrong, but because the people are wrong. Same with the Christian ideas. Just don't work with how we humans really are.


Well, I would say that it's the theory that is wrong, not reality. But aside from that quibble, Marxist theory is crap, because it is based on a completely nonsensical theory of economic value.

Emma_85 wrote:And you said, look at the mess the western states are in. Now it's the US with low taxes and no health system and (mostly)
rubbish public schools vs. Europe.


The US has a "health system", my dear. We have Medicaid/Medicare, and what a terrible system it is. But at least it's not completely nationalized medicine.

The school system here is a huge steaming pile of cark, you're right, but that's mainly because of the NEA (National Education Association, the national teachers' union), IMO. There are poor private schools that do much better than public ones when they're allowed to, so I don't think it's a lack of money.

Emma_85 wrote:Germany definitely overdid it with its welfare, so yes, too much is probably wrong. But Britain or Holland are doing fine.


Of course, if you don't steal too much money from somebody who has a good job, they'll still be able to get by. That doesn't really prove anything.

Emma_85 wrote:The US is not doing too well at all. The dollar has fallen so much it's unbelievable and they have what 5% unemployment? Britain has 2.6%.


Greenspan probably is a major culprit here. He won't let the economic downturn take care of itself, but keeps trying to inflate the money supply. It's like giving a cocaine addict more coke and more coke and more coke in the hope that he will never have to crash. It only makes the eventual crash worse when it happens.

Emma_85 wrote:And saying that because the USSR fell that any other system borrowing a certain principle they used will fail... that's not really a valid argument.
Russia spent a lot of its money on its army, which was part of why it collapsed. The US spends a lot of its money on the army! Russia fell -> the US will fall, too!


If the US economy is nationalized and we spend too much on the "war against terrism", as George the Lesser pronounces it, yes, the US will fall too.

Emma_85 wrote:In the communist countries you didn't have the principle: if you work hard you'll get paid. People just didn't turn up for work half the time or were sloppy at work, because they couldn't really loose their jobs.


Whereas in a welfare economy, why work if you get paid for sitting on your a**, watching Jerry Springer, and shoving HoHos and pork rinds into your face? Whereas if you do work, half of your money is taken from you, right off the top. Is there really that much of a difference between the two examples?

Emma_85 wrote:And quality wasn't important, so the industry produced as much as it could, but did it really badly. That's what was wrong with the economy...


Well, that's part of what was wrong. But another major problem was that, without a market pricing system, capital was terribly missallocated. Welfare socialism does the same thing, in a different way. Instead of simply removing and trying to replace the market, welfare socialism rides parasitically on top of the market, like a tick on a dog. Instead of trying to centrally manage capital allocation (and inevitably failing miserably), welfare socialism distorts the signals that the market pricing mechanism is sending, thus screwing up the economy in new and exciting (and more subtle) ways.

Emma_85 wrote:And benissimus, didn't I just explain the German system? You can at least try to keep bribes at a minimum and not make them normal.


What about the bribes that the politicians offer the voters? Shouldn't those be kept to a minimum too?

Emma_85 wrote:Taxation is not fundamentally wrong and so we don't have to keep it at a minimum. But, if we do have a state like the US that does not provide all the services you need, then you have to keep taxation at a minimum, but in a welfare state you don't have to.
If here they raise the taxes you say: 'Oh dear, I'll have to wait until next year to buy a new TV.' How tragic!
But if you raise them in the US, some one might say: 'Oh no, I'll have to wait until next year for my operation/next doctor's check up.' Now that can really be tragic!


Well, of course, taxes need to be high in a welfare state. Somebody has to pay for all those handouts! And of course if you steal money from people and don't give it back to them in any form, that's even worse that giving it back in the half-assed way that welfare does (even though welfare doesn't really give back to the individuals that the taxes take from).

All I can say is, you need to learn some basic economic theory. And not the cark that passes for economic theory among socialists. As a small example, do you think that rent control and minimum wage laws are good for the poor?

Emma_85 wrote:To argue that Tax is fundamentally wrong, because it's theft, you have to first convince me it's theft,


Taxation is money that is taken under threat of force, from people who have done nothing wrong, whether they want to give it or not. If they refuse, the money is either simply taken (with "penalties"), or the "evader" is thrown in jail. If you refuse to see that this is theft, I don't know what can convince you.

Instead, why don't you explain to me why taxation is not theft, despite the facts that I have pointed out above.

Emma_85 wrote:and second tell me why theft is morally wrong in all occasions, which I don't believe to be true.


Oh, my mistake. I assumed I was talking to a moral person, not a compassion fascist.
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:03 pm

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Postby Emma_85 » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:27 pm

I do know what I'm talking about, Lex. I've studied communism and Russian history and economics. I also vote green/communist in case you were wondering, so I think we'll never get on in policts (I already said this a few pages ago, before the discussion started, because you said 'socialist rubbish' or something like that).
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Postby Lex » Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:09 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I do know what I'm talking about, Lex. I've studied communism and Russian history and economics. I also vote green/communist in case you were wondering, so I think we'll never get on in policts (I already said this a few pages ago, before the discussion started, because you said 'socialist rubbish' or something like that).


Ah, a watermelon, eh? (Green on the outside, red on the inside.) If you vote green/communist, that proves to me that you either haven't seriously studied econ, or you don't really understand it. Seriously, like I asked before, do you think that minimum wage laws help the poor? Or rent control?

Another thing I just thought of, instead of talking in abstract terms about "taxation" and "societies" and "democracy", let's make it more real. Let's say you, bingley and I were hanging out in real life. It comes up in conversation that my brother is a crackhead, and he is having a real bad time right now. He lost his job because he's such a loser, and he can't make the rent. So you, bingley and I vote on whether to take the contents of your purse and give it to my brother as charity. Unfortunately for you, bingley and I both think that giving your money to my brother would be a swell idea, so you lose the vote. So we tell you that we think that you should give us the money, and if you don't, well, we will lock you in my basement for a few years until you see the light. Would that be "taxation", which is OK because the decision was arrived at "democratically", and was intended to help a person who was "in need"? Or would it be theft, pure and simple?
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Postby Emma_85 » Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:55 pm

Be carful, Lex, or my communist/green friends will beat you up or sue you. Lol, more likely they will be looking for some alcohol, a free rock concert, a demo, a bar, a sims game or a safe place to sleep... hmmm... maybe I need the help of my infulential communist/green teachers, then (except for my chemistry/maths teacher (head of the Green party of Speyer), she'll just tell everyone else what to do, sure my german teacher will help beat you up (ex-SDS), and my philosophy teacher (uhh... mad man), well, he can probably work out how to crossbow... oh, I nearly forgot my sociology/economics teacher (he wears sandals even in winter)... he'll work out that you're richer and so pass a law to say that it's actually your money we will be using, seeing as I have no money :P .
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Postby Lex » Tue Oct 28, 2003 9:40 pm

Emma_85 wrote:a sims game


I've always wondered if sim games appealed more to aspiring social planners than to other people.
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Postby Ptolemaios » Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:17 pm

Lex wrote: Another thing I just thought of, instead of talking in abstract terms about "taxation" and "societies" and "democracy", let's make it more real. Let's say you, bingley and I were hanging out in real life. It comes up in conversation that my brother is a crackhead, and he is having a real bad time right now. He lost his job because he's such a loser, and he can't make the rent. So you, bingley and I vote on whether to take the contents of your purse and give it to my brother as charity. Unfortunately for you, bingley and I both think that giving your money to my brother would be a swell idea, so you lose the vote. So we tell you that we think that you should give us the money, and if you don't, well, we will lock you in my basement for a few years until you see the light. Would that be "taxation", which is OK because the decision was arrived at "democratically", and was intended to help a person who was "in need"? Or would it be theft, pure and simple?


It may just be a detail, but the immorality of your story lies, I think, mostly in the fact that only one of you three would have to pay.

I also object to your use of the word 'fascist'; IMHO again, this has the connotation of willingness to murder people. How vehemently the discussion here may be, and how much the opinions may differ, I'm quite sure no one here would go as far as killing an opponent.

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Postby Lex » Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:37 pm

Ptolemaios wrote:It may just be a detail, but the immorality of your story lies, I think, mostly in the fact that only one of you three would have to pay.


No, the immorality of the story lies in the fact that the hypothetical money was taken from Emma involuntarily, and justified by the sham of a "collective decision-making process". Stealing money from everybody equally does not somehow improve the situation.

Ptolemaios wrote:I also object to your use of the word 'fascist'; IMHO again, this has the connotation of willingness to murder people. How vehemently the discussion here may be, and how much the opinions may differ, I'm quite sure no one here would go as far as killing an opponent.


I thought context made it clear that "compassion fascist" (not just "fascist") is merely an amusing phrase (with a nice combination of rhyme and alliteration) meaning a person who is willing to use force to make others be compassionate.
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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Oct 31, 2003 3:56 pm

The problem with your example, which is why I didn't bother to answer it, was that it was a very, very over simplified and well... wrong example for explaining the workings of a welfare state.
Those who have more money, pay to help those who have less, knowing that if they themselves end up in such a situation they too will recieve that help.
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Postby Lex » Fri Oct 31, 2003 5:53 pm

Emma_85 wrote:The problem with your example, which is why I didn't bother to answer it, was that it was a very, very over simplified and well... wrong example for explaining the workings of a welfare state.


It was a simplification, to make the principles more obvious, but I don't think it was an over-simplification. It was an attempt to make you think about what happens between individuals, instead of all sorts of nonsense about "us" deciding to give "our" money through "collective decision making". The welfare state is just my example, scaled up.

Emma_85 wrote:Those who have more money, pay to help those who have less, knowing that if they themselves end up in such a situation they too will recieve that help.


But some of those who have more are not convinced that government social security schemes are the best way to assure their security, but are given no choice but to contribute to them anyway. That is, as far as I'm concerned, extortion, and it is morally wrong, no matter what cause du jour you use to justify it. Not everybody has the same faith in the ability of the government to take care of them that you do.
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Postby sable_de_nuit » Sun Nov 16, 2003 6:57 pm

Don't worry Lex! With the way things are going in America, no long haired liberals are going to get their filthy peace-nic hands on your gun rights. "Wellfare for the rich"!? That seems pretty extreme language in regards to a television show. Oh, and as far as your "freedoms" are concerned, there is a difference (a subtile but imortant one) between democracy and mob justice. I would like to see some kind of bar on just how far media syndicates can go before bombarding my house with any trash they think is going to have mass appeal. Appearently, it's not even enough to refuse to own a TV. In America, you can't go any where without a damn TV in our face. Would I be selling my freedom of choice to not have advertising everywhere I go? What freedoms exactly would I be cashing in to have something like the BBC?

On the other hand, who ever insinuated that Americans are just a bunch of cultureless heathens, not good enough to have artistic television shows can think again as well. I'm sick and tired of even Americans saying they have no culture. America has amassed a greater body of literature in a shorter period of time than any other country on the planet. This is not to say that more is better, rather that Americans have been expressing themselves in all forms of art since the inception of the nation. That might be easy to forget when we are constantly told about the next mega blockbuster coming out of hollywood, or the next boy band to sweep the charts, but those are media "deamons" if you like and not art. American culture is rich and there to be discovered, but, like all culture, you need to dig. Like a man once said to me while I was complaining in line at the Louvre, " 'faut meriter la culture!" This is not a point I should have to go very far to make, one would hope, to a bunch of people read to get down and dirty with the ablative on any given night.

Oh! and one last thing...There is nothing that a brit, frog, kraut, or anyone else on god's green earth can say about Ameriky that we americans haven't already said first...and better! So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Have I alienated everyone yet? Yes? My work here is done.

Good night my fellow classicists and remember: politics is like sausage, the less one knows, the better for one's appetit (or something like that).

I remain,
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Postby Episcopus » Sun Nov 16, 2003 9:45 pm

a----------
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Postby benissimus » Mon Nov 17, 2003 4:24 am

If you want a thread to settle down, it's best just to ignore it, instead of insulting about half of the forum-members all over again.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Nov 17, 2003 7:42 pm

Lol, yes you'd better just ignore it, otherwise I'll start explaining proper Marxist theory, which Lex so obviously doesn't know cause he thinks it's like what they had in the east block, and about the social security system being more a product of rationalism than compassion and so on...
I ... must.... not ... be .... tempted.... to.... start... another .... debate....
arghh... it's just so difficult not to... :P
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Postby Episcopus » Mon Nov 17, 2003 10:44 pm

a-------
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Postby benissimus » Mon Nov 17, 2003 11:38 pm

Argue if you like, but don't be disappointed as it goes on and on :P
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Postby mariek » Tue Nov 18, 2003 1:23 am

I just caught up with this discussion. Quickly browsing through the messages, it appears to be 1% TV program and 99% Politics. :shock:

Well, I might as well throw this link out to all of you. You might find it interesting or amusing. We all did this at work a couple weeks ago, and the results were interesting... very neat to see where we lie on the political compass and where some well known people fall.

Political Compass: http://www.politicalcompass.org
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Postby Lex » Tue Nov 18, 2003 2:39 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I ... must.... not ... be .... tempted.... to.... start... another .... debate....
arghh... it's just so difficult not to... :P


Bring it on! :P
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Postby Emma_85 » Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:59 pm

Lol, ok. But not right now, no time, got two test tomorrow and an exam on Friday. Also I've lost my Nietzsche Texts (Antichrist and some other one, which would be quite helpful in this debate, as you seem to take sides with Nietzsche on the subject of compassion.

Well actually... I’ve got to learn for those tests.... arghh... I just can’t stop myself, can I?
Lol, well I’ll start with explaining Marxist theory and it’s big fault (which is not in economics, but in humans). Not saying that doesn’t make the fault less of a fault, it’s still a flawed theory, and Marx should have known better, but it’s just so not anything to do with the economics.

Friedrich Engels:

Mit der Besitzergreifung der Produktionsmittle durch die Gesellschaft (that is that not that the state should take over the companies, but with Gesellschaft he means the people, the workers. Marx knew that otherwise you would just end up with a new upper class) ist die Warenproduktion beseitigt (with the abolishment of Warenproduktion he means not luxury articles, just the basics) und damit die Herrschaft des Produkts über die Produzenten (here he means that it’s not us, who decide what we buy, but the producers. We don’t have a choice is what he says. Now this is important to understand, this is where he sees that the people of the middle classes are in fact in chains, even though they are golden ones, because they just think they are free to choose, but in fact they aren’t. Ok, I can choose where I buy my crisps from one company or the other, but well... think about it, what sort of choice is that, and why do I buy crisps anyway? So in capitalism you produce things we don’t need, but must buy, and in socialism we only produce what we need.)
Die Anarchie (here he means the unorganised economy, (and you can’t deny that it’s totally unorganised now, can you), and the economic cycles)) innerhalb der gesellschaftlichen Produktion wird ersetzt durch planmäßige bewusste Organisation (he want’s this chaotic system to be replaced, so that for the first time in human history it’s us making the laws. We are so brainwashed by the system we live in we just can’t imagine anything else, we think that the laws of economics have to apply and that they are like natural laws not things humans can make, but that isn’t true, which just goes to show how much we are people of our time and of this system. )

Ok, let’s not talk about everything at once, plus I don’t have time to write anymore :P .

well, maybe time for a bit more of an explanation, but no time to look for quotes:
in Marxist theory every one should earn the same amount of money. Just because you're intelligent and therefore have a better job does not mean you are entitled to more pay. The fact that you are allowed to do a fun job (well more fun that shovelling coal for example) is a big enough bonus in itself sort of, no need to reward you for having more fun than others.
Also people are voted into positions (like all the teachers are voted for by the parents and students and the directors by the workers) and can be voted out of their positions at any time, too.

The whole theory is regional. You only produce what you need in your town for example, there's nothing like the state really, nothing centralised as in the eastern blocks, who were as I said not Marxist at all.
There is still the one problem I see of getting the people to shovel coal or milk cows...

Uhh... now I really have to go :wink:

really :!:

:P
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Postby Lex » Tue Nov 18, 2003 6:29 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I've lost my Nietzsche Texts (Antichrist and some other one, which would be quite helpful in this debate, as you seem to take sides with Nietzsche on the subject of compassion.


I don't know if I take sides with Nietzsche or not. Did he argue that compassion is good, but forced compassion is not good (nor compassion at all)? Because that's what I'm arguing. It doesn't sound like Nietzsche, though.

Emma_85 wrote:Lol, well I’ll start with explaining Marxist theory and it’s big fault (which is not in economics, but in humans). Not saying that doesn’t make the fault less of a fault, it’s still a flawed theory, and Marx should have known better, but it’s just so not anything to do with the economics.


No, you're wrong. No economists nowadays, except the die-hard Marxists, believe in the labor theory of value. Without it, Marxist exploitation theory crumbles.

Emma_85 wrote:Mit der Besitzergreifung der Produktionsmittle durch die Gesellschaft (that is that not that the state should take over the companies, but with Gesellschaft he means the people, the workers. Marx knew that otherwise you would just end up with a new upper class)


You don't need to quote the original; I don't read German.

The problem with this idea is that you need a chain of command to run large companies. The "workers" alone would not be able to spontaneously run a large corporation. If they elected from amongst them to do it, 1) they would probably elect the wrong people, much like the politicians that we elect nowadays are usually the wrong people, and 2) those elected people would be the new upper class.

Emma_85 wrote:here he means that it’s not us, who decide what we buy, but the producers. We don’t have a choice is what he says. Now this is important to understand, this is where he sees that the people of the middle classes are in fact in chains, even though they are golden ones, because they just think they are free to choose, but in fact they aren’t.


I've always thought that line of thought was really silly. Nothing makes me buy cable TV, for instance (which is why, in fact, I don't buy it). This theory that you are being manipulated into buying things that you don't really want is just the Marxist way of saying that Marx and the Marxist intellectuals really know what you want better than you do yourself, so you should let them decide. It's just a facile justification for the existence of a Marxist ruling class and a command economy.

Emma_85 wrote:Ok, I can choose where I buy my crisps from one company or the other, but well... think about it, what sort of choice is that, and why do I buy crisps anyway?


Because you like the taste of them?

Emma_85 wrote:So in capitalism you produce things we don’t need, but must buy, and in socialism we only produce what we need.)


No, in socialism, the people produce what the Marxist intellectual ruling class decides that people need, as opposed to what the people themselves decide they need, or want.

Emma_85 wrote:Die Anarchie (here he means the unorganised economy, (and you can’t deny that it’s totally unorganised now, can you), and the economic cycles))


There are very good explanations for why an unplanned economy is better than a planned one (read Hayek sometime), which revolve around the idea that no central planning committee of Marxist intellectuals can possibly have enough knowledge to efficiently allocate capital, and even if they did, they would allocate it according to their own selfish agenda (maintaining power), rather than according to the desires of everyday people. Besides which, an unplanned economy has the great advantage of being decentralized, so that no one person or small group of people have all power over everything. Having that much power in the hands of one small group is extremely dangerous.

And contrary to most theories of business cycles, the biggest cause of them nowadays is artificial increases in the money supply by governments that still buy into Keynesian economics.

Emma_85 wrote:we think that the laws of economics have to apply and that they are like natural laws not things humans can make, but that isn’t true, which just goes to show how much we are people of our time and of this system.


The laws of economics are not just "like" natural laws; they are natural laws. By trying to deny the nature of human beings, and pretending that humanity is a blank slate that anything can be written on, Marxists make their biggest errors and justify their worst atrocities.

Emma_85 wrote:in Marxist theory every one should earn the same amount of money.


Why?

Emma_85 wrote:Just because you're intelligent and therefore have a better job does not mean you are entitled to more pay.


Well, yeah, sure it does. Even under the Labor Theory of Value, it would follow that the more a person produces, the more he should be paid. And smarter people tend to be more efficient producers.

Emma_85 wrote:The fact that you are allowed to do a fun job (well more fun that shovelling coal for example) is a big enough bonus in itself sort of, no need to reward you for having more fun than others.


The only problem with this logic is that the more high-paying jobs aren't necessarily all that fun. The only thing that makes them fun, i.e. gives the smart people who can do them the incentive to do them, is the high pay. Take away the high pay incentives, and nobody will do these jobs, much less the smart people who can do them. When nobody does these jobs, the whole economy tanks, and everybody is worse off.

Emma_85 wrote:Also people are voted into positions (like all the teachers are voted for by the parents and students and the directors by the workers) and can be voted out of their positions at any time, too.


You can already do that with jobs, by voting with your feet, i.e. quitting and getting another job. And if schooling were privatized, you be able to do the same with schools.

Emma_85 wrote:The whole theory is regional. You only produce what you need in your town for example, there's nothing like the state really,


Do you think that a regional economy that only produced enough for its own little region would really be able to sustain the size of populations that we have nowadays in the Western world? Could New York City feed itself? The only thing that enables the world to feed itself as well as it does now is the specialization brought about by the division of labor in a modern capitalist economy. Going back to an overly romanticized cottage industry society would kill millions by starvation. The West would be like India.
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Nov 19, 2003 12:51 pm

You would not have a new upper class, because you can vote them out of office straight away, Marx did think of that.
Of course you still have trade with other regions, Lex, saying something is regional does not exclude that...
also NY would be the city + surrowndings. In socialism you would have all these luxury appartments and so on, and more room for fields I suppose.

Only die hard Marxist economics? I live near the University of Mannheim, which is the most important University that concentrates on economic studies in Germany, and know many people who are studying there and they all tell me that's what their professors say.

Oh, I give up!

@ mariek: I've already seen the website and done the test. I think I came out somewhere near the Dalai Lama.
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Postby Lex » Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:28 pm

Emma_85 wrote:You would not have a new upper class, because you can vote them out of office straight away, Marx did think of that.


Yes, you could vote out the old upper class, and vote in a new upper class. Currently the upper class are politicians. In a purely socialist world, I suppose they would be called union leaders or something, but they'd still be politicians.

Emma_85 wrote:Of course you still have trade with other regions, Lex, saying something is regional does not exclude that...


You said "You only produce what you need in your town...". If you only produce what's needed in your town, how is there any surplus to sell?

Emma_85 wrote:Only die hard Marxist economics? I live near the University of Mannheim, which is the most important University that concentrates on economic studies in Germany, and know many people who are studying there and they all tell me that's what their professors say.


Then they are Marxists. Neo-classical economists believe in the subjective theory of value, not the labor theory of value.
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