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When nationality, race and bloodline cease to matter all we have is citizenship!

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User offline. Last seen 11 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
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guess again
libervisco wrote:

So I guess as far as you are concerned I am wrong and you are right, and so Libertarianism deserves no consideration?

We're considering it here, and I have believed in it for a few years myself. That means I've considered it for quite a while, and my conclusion happens to be the idea is wrong.

Quote:

Well that's sad, honestly.

You know what's sad? You of all people using this kind of crap debate style. "If you disagree with me, you're not willing to think!". Grow up!

Quote:

Clearly, if I was to believe individuals will never be capable to organize into benevolent groups based on mutual self interest...

You believe a government couldn't possibly stay benevolent. That means you believe the individual should be protected against the group. Your ideas about taxes and about democracy being "mob rule" further prove the point.

Quote:

... but I will take the liberty of saying that I expected more from people who are willing to think beyond the current framework.

Again, grow up!

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tbuitenh wrote:

Of course this government would also need much stronger anti-corruption and pro-fairness and transparency measures. I really mean extreme measures, like paying all ministers and members of parliament only minimum wage, and having them fired instantly for accepting any kind of donations at all.

And who would enforce this? Government itself?

If someone inside or outside the government breaks the law, possibly even the constitution, who you gonna call? If you consider the courts to be part of the government, then indeed the government, but these are generally considered independent.

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It has a fundamental flaw; "power of the people" is an illusion when the government is powerful enough to veto it without severe consequences to itself. And the wheel keeps spinning.

There exists an excellent safeguard against this: in order to change the constitution, the government needs to be reelected. And if a member of the government is not obeying the constitution, or trying to influence the courts, they'll be sued and most likely locked up.

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"If you hear the words "The government should ..." you may always substitute the words "I want other people to be forced to ..."." -- European Free State Project

If you hear the words "If you hear the words X, you may substitute Y.", you're most likely listening to malicious generalization, misrepresentation and propaganda.

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tbuitenh wrote: We're
tbuitenh wrote:

We're considering it here, and I have believed in it for a few years myself. That means I've considered it for quite a while, and my conclusion happens to be the idea is wrong.

You may be considering it, but your responses indicate mostly outright rejection. You believed in it then and this is now. I am not convinced you understand entirely where I am coming from because half the arguments you provide indicate that you misunderstood.

But fair enough, if you regardless believe it is wrong and unworthy of pursuance who am I to ask you otherwise.

tbuitenh wrote:

You know what's sad? You of all people using this kind of crap debate style. "If you disagree with me, you're not willing to think!". Grow up!

Did I say that? I do say that for a lot of people in our time, because for all that I've seen it seems quite true. For you I believe exactly the contrary. You are willing to think, but I believe in this case you misunderstood my position and seem quite fine with that.

I never dreamed discussing libertarianism on Libervis.com would be met with these kinds of initial responses - the kinds that indicate the the thinking that it is already a case closed and there is nothing to discuss, relegating yourself merely to a defensive position, arguments that preserve the safety of your long-before reached conclusions, as if those conclusions might not be challenged today.

tbuitenh wrote:

If you hear the words "If you hear the words X, you may substitute Y.", you're most likely listening to malicious generalization, misrepresentation and propaganda.

That may be, but does that *always* make such statements illogical? Don't generalize. Eye

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geez
libervisco wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

We're considering it here, and I have believed in it for a few years myself. That means I've considered it for quite a while, and my conclusion happens to be the idea is wrong.

You may be considering it, but your responses indicate mostly outright rejection. You believed in it then and this is now.

What am I supposed to do? Unlearn my knowledge of human behavior?

Quote:

I am not convinced you understand entirely where I am coming from because half the arguments you provide indicate that you misunderstood.

And I'm not convinced that you understand what your own opinion is Eye .

As far I can tell where you are coming from is your own experience with taxes and healthcare. Correct?
You see the system is producing undesirable results, and your proposed solution is to abolish most or all of the system. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Furthermore you feel it is unfair the rest of the citizens in your country determine how much you contribute through taxes. Right?

What you fail to see is that no-system also is a system, and an undesirable one because it is one in which it is way easier to become dictator than in any other.

Maybe it helps if I use something you're familiar with as an analogy. Some guy, let's call him X, proposes that copyright should be abolished, so everything can be copied and used as freely as possible. My response to X is that he's throwing away the baby along with the bathwater. Without copyright, there is nothing that makes software licenses work, and therefore nothing to stop anyone from taking freedomware code and putting it in a proprietary, binary only, DRM encumbered program.

Would you support abolishing copyright?

And yet getting rid of copyright wouldn't be extremely bad. Code is the opposite of a natural monopoly, there are enough copies for everyone, and then an infinity more. Is it really a problem when some lazy proprietary developer removes the freedom from his copy? It's not nice, and guaranteed to piss off both the original developers and the users, but it's no extremely big deal.

Now what you seem to be suggesting is far worse than abolishing copyright. You want to separate the public as a whole from their control of natural monopolies, so the "free market", in this case that actually means "a monopolist" because we're talking about natural monopolies here, may have more "fair" control over them.
Unless you tell me a way in which I can make sure which ambulance service takes me to which hospital while I'm unconscious and bleeding to death, I maintain the idea of a free market in healthcare as a whole is ridiculous. Yes, there could be a free market for small units like general practitioners (if only there were enough of them, but that's a different story), and that would be very nice if the current practical problems would be solved somehow, but releasing public control of healthcare as a whole is not a good idea.
([cynical]BTW, we have a very complicated healthcare system over here, apparently with some pretended "market" here and there. It's not surprising price and quality are both slowly going the wrong way, and there's a huge overhead in management. Just giving up and giving the whole thing to the first monopolist who wants it might actually be a good idea here.[/cynical])

So, if you do indeed want to remove natural monopolies from the hands of the government, instead of putting all natural monopolies there where I think they belong, please explain how you will keep them out of the control of entities whose control cannot be removed and who will abuse it.

"I'll figure out later" doesn't count as an answer, neither does "I trust in humanity" (and you obviously don't trust in humanity cause then you would trust a democratic system to work just as fine as any other). If your answer is "I trust the market to take care of it", I suggest you look up "natural monopoly" in wikipedia. If you assert healthcare is not a natural monopoly, please answer my question about ambulances, and also tell me you honestly believe having five hospitals per city instead of one would be a good thing for the quality of healthcare.

Quote:

I never dreamed discussing libertarianism on Libervis.com would be met with these kinds of initial responses - the kinds that indicate the the thinking that it is already a case closed and there is nothing to discuss, relegating yourself merely to a defensive position, arguments that preserve the safety of your long-before reached conclusions, as if those conclusions might not be challenged today.

The defensive position is mostly chosen because of the opposite view on the fairness of taxes. Kevin and I could never agree about that because we're using a different system of ethics. There's no point in arguing about it.

As for being open to discussion, that doesn't mean one has to forget all existing knowledge and conclusions before beginning. I explain to you why I think what you're saying is wrong, and instead of being willing to listen to my arguments and giving counter-arguments, you simply dismiss them as "not willing to listen" (hey, look, I can play that game too!). To make it really easy for you, this post contains questions. Please answer them. If you don't want to, then we'll know who really entered the discussion with a closed mind.

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tbuteinh wrote:What am I
tbuteinh wrote:

What am I supposed to do? Unlearn my knowledge of human behavior?

Absolutely not, nor did I imply that you should. But it can always be built on and expanded. However, I can understand that if your beliefs about human behaviour remain largely unchallenged by what is being said that you would react with rejection. Unfortunately, this does bear the risk of making an impression of approaching the issue too lightly. And you didn't exactly help alleviate that. If anything, the way you expressed your standing via PM showed me just how you feel about someone promoting the ideas I've been supporting in this topic.

I believe we reached an understanding on that in our short IRC discussion yesterday.

tbuitenh wrote:

And I'm not convinced that you understand what your own opinion is Eye

I tend to start simple. The non-aggression principle (whatever floats your baloon as long as it doesn't pop mine) has for me been among the most powerful principles for quite a while. In recent days I simply built enough of a context around this. It isn't just from personal experiences and life circumstances, but from deliberate observations and discussions as well.

However, as much as I know what my opinion is and how strongly I may believe in it, I realize that at some point they could be changed. If I became honestly convinced by your counterarguments I would've start reconsidering my opinions already. In fact, this discussion does raise some good questions worth thinking about and it DID make more more balanced in the way I look at libertarianism - I don't necessarily see it as an end-all solution that absolutely must be perceived. More than that I see it as a set of ideas that I find worth exploring and currently I don't think it could hurt to explore them. I believe I can learn something valuable if I do.

tbuitenh wrote:

As far I can tell where you are coming from is your own experience with taxes and healthcare. Correct?

It's not just that. My personal experiences in every day life only go so far. What I read about, think about or discuss often affects the way I see my personal experiences perhaps even more than personal experiences affect the way I think. But when I find a connection between the two and they run over same emotional poles, you bet it is going to ignite for a while. This doesn't happen so often though. I am usually fairly calm and indifferent about my situation because I believe things can gradually be improved even if this just means adapting as the lesser evil, so I can maintain enough well being and stability to continue pursuing set goals and ambitions.

tbuitenh wrote:

You see the system is producing undesirable results, and your proposed solution is to abolish most or all of the system. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

You're wrong. Smiling I don't seek outright abolishment. I seek gradual evolution. There is a huge difference because the latter allows things to be done step by step and it allows us to see first hand how things work out and remedy the problems that come up, and if it should prove that it doesn't work, it is easier to back track. The damage can hardly cause any more trouble than the corruption of the current system already does. Many people might not be in agreement with libertarians, but from what I've heard they play a good role at keeping the government under scrutiny, as it should be, which some people recognize - even if they wouldn't go all the way in supporting their vision of the outcome.

But it is ONLY an outcome. The libertarian society I am defending is merely an end-result of a gradual change, not revolution, provided that such an end result can ever be built through a reasonable evolutionary process. If not, by then we'd probably already know how and why exactly and adjust our standings.

tbuitenh wrote:

What you fail to see is that no-system also is a system, and an undesirable one because it is one in which it is way easier to become dictator than in any other.

Where did you get that from? Of course no system is a system, but I am not advocating no-system. As for making it easier to become a dictator.. just another extreme claim coming from by now pretty obvious lack of understanding of my position. You pretty nicely thrown it into pre-existing categories in your mind. I speak against the government and for a free market, now I am automatically against any and all systems. Yet I didn't even oppose the notion of having a minimal government, in a contrary, I specifically said multiple times by now that it could exist to make sure the free market remains a free market, that the non-aggression principle is followed through.

How much more extreme are you going to paint my opinions???

tbuitenh wrote:

Would you support abolishing copyright?

No. I wouldn't abolish anything. Just as with the libertarian society, so with copyright. The change must be evolutionary. Once there will be no need for copyright it can just die quietly. I believe, however, copyleft would fit the non-aggression set of laws quite well as means of governing software and works of culture, at least in a digital realm.

You keep seeing me as an abolishionist, simply because I see a different path of reform than you do, one which may lead to a consensual lack of government, or minimal government, rather than one where government is somehow kept clean of corruption and led "graciously" by the majority vote..

tbuitenh wrote:

You want to separate the public as a whole from their control of natural monopolies,

It's interesting how you emphasize public being in control of natural monopolies. I've always had the impression that it is controlled by the government in the name of public. You could say, well that's the same thing, right? But it isn't when the governments have repeatedly failed to truly reflect public opinion and desires and instead opted to lead them in their own direction. You say yourself corruption is a problem that needs to be fixed, well it seems it has always been a problem with big governments so there is very little track record based on which I can truly say that these natural monopolies are public property.

Sorry, but until governments really represent public opinion at least 90% I can't call this supposed "public property" anything else but "government property".

tbuitenh wrote:

so the "free market", in this case that actually means "a monopolist" because we're talking about natural monopolies here, may have more "fair" control over them.

You know, sometimes it seems as if you see "free market" as immediately one of constant discord, as if people will never be able to agree on anything by their own free will, as if, basically, free means "lack of agreement".

You might see this as my attempt to defend my position at any and all cost, but it really is not. If I was truly lost for words I would say so, but I'm hardly there. I simply see an alternative way. Free market is not immediately one in which cooperation is impossible. Furthermore, cooperation is not necessarily a monopoly. Instead of one big government managing natural monopolies, why couldn't they be many smaller firms each managing their part and competing to stay on that part if such competition is deemed possible and worthy?

You could have a positive network of private institutions operating in accordance to the non-aggression free market principles. While in other market segments competition can be possible, in segments relating to natural monopolies cooperation would be the only one left, in combination with perhaps, coopetition. Each member of this network would play a particular role. Builders may be signed as contractors to healthcare companies to build hospitals. Vehicle manufacturers would build emergency vehicles. Etc.

Roads would be built by a multitude of road construction companies networked into a say, "Road Association", cooperating on making the best possible roads. Competition might not be in whose proposal/technology etc. might be the best, but in who contributes most to the process (not just in terms of money, but also involvement). The minimal government would require that non-aggression principle is followed through, so no one company should presume power of veto to another company to participate in this process and gain something from it - they would have to cooperate and ultimately they would want to cooperate because it is in the interest of their society and themselves to have good roads efficiently.

In other words, instead of having the government holding the "natural monpolies" as a single institution who contracts all of the others to it as it sees fit, a cooperative association of enterprises who really are in the field and know what they do would take care of each segment.

This is just one way I see it happen. It might have some kinks to work out for sure, though I'm not even claiming this is the best way, but I can at least see an alternative possibility rather than just submitting to the implication that government controlled natural monopolies are the only way and that's it.

tbuitenh wrote:

So, if you do indeed want to remove natural monopolies from the hands of the government, instead of putting all natural monopolies there where I think they belong, please explain how you will keep them out of the control of entities whose control cannot be removed and who will abuse it.

Building on the above said, by creating a cooperative equilibrium of market players who wish a cake in natural monopolies, essentially turning natural "monopolies" into anti-monopolies. I say equilibrium because it could be set up in such a way for neither of the involved parties to really be able or even want to try and take control over all of it. Yet it would be better than government controlled monopolies because you would have one cooperative equilibrium per one "natural monopoly" involving people who have specific expertise in the area that such a "natural monopoly" requires..

Interestingly, the very term "natural monopoly" is loaded, so much that I find it challenging to come up with a term for a "natural monopoly" that actually wouldn't be a monopoly. The term forces an assumption that a particular field must always and can't ever be anything else than a monopoly.

tbuitenh wrote:

"I'll figure out later" doesn't count as an answer, neither does "I trust in humanity" (and you obviously don't trust in humanity cause then you would trust a democratic system to work just as fine as any other).

I didn't say as much as that I trust in humanity. In a contrary as it is right now I often come to the temptation of saying humanity equals to stupidity, but then.. I am human too and I might as well be contributing to that stupidity. No.. it doesn't make sense to say anything about humanity in whole. What I, not "trust", but "believe" in (I think there IS a subtle difference), is individualism or individual humanism - that if you equally encourage ALL human individuals to pursue their full potential that they would develop into selfish yet benevolent beings who in combination with other such human beings would form a society which is an equilibrium regardless of the fact nobody coerces them to anything from "above". It is about balance between people, achieved by creating circumstances in which all people would be equal in that they pursue the full of what they can be.

It's like... perhaps all other equilibriums in nature. A molecul of water must always have two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen for it to be water. Remove this one atom of oxygen and instead of life giving water you will have burning hydrogen.

I just don't think the current society encourages a human inter-individual equilibrium by making them be as human as they can be, in terms of what a human can be, the full potential. Instead it imposes social obligations and norms. It is as if each human is supposed to see their meaning in others rather than in themselves and what themselves can best do for others. Things just seem very skewed and imbalanced.

tbuitenh wrote:

I explain to you why I think what you're saying is wrong, and instead of being willing to listen to my arguments and giving counter-arguments, you simply dismiss them as "not willing to listen" (hey, look, I can play that game too!).

I didn't respond with counter arguments? What parallel universe are you in I wonder? I gave your arguments quite a bit of consideration and respond to quite a lot of them. Ultimately my position on libertarianism was even further softened to a point of merely expressing belief that it could be worth exploring, if not believing. It is only after you, regardless, continued with the expression of outright dismissal that I started wondering why on Earth would the notion of libertarianism be so extremely unworthy of even consideration as at least a thought experiment or a test subject etc., which led to the response that I gave. It is not that I thought you didn't give it consideration by responding. It seemed as if you felt even that was a concession.

I am sorry if I went a bit overboard with it, but I just couldn't bring myself to understand at that point why does libertarianism seem to be such a black sheep to you. I realize now, what you didn't specifically say, that you simply remain so extremely unconvinced that you'd rather just not think about it nor ponder its ideas, and respond with merely defensive arguments.

At this point I can only say whatever.. For me, it is worth exploring. For you, have fun with something else.

Cheers

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tbuitenh wrote:In many
tbuitenh wrote:

In many other cases, these people are gullible fools who believe the scum indeed does have the moral high ground (no offense intended to anyone here).

Yeah, as if they couldn't possibly have a mind of their own. How convenient. If most of them are either scum or the scammed, who is left?

How about me and Kevin? Sure sure we're not supposed to be offended, but the implication is quite clear. You know, I could theoretically defend some of hitler's ideas; would that automatically make me an evil nazi? Or would it just make me an individual who is capable of taking an idea and judging it on its merit alone, rather than on whom or what it may be associated with?

Why does expressing disagreement need to come down to these little pokes at the credibility of who you disagree with?

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libervisco wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

You see the system is producing undesirable results, and your proposed solution is to abolish most or all of the system. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

You're wrong. Smiling I don't seek outright abolishment. I seek gradual evolution.

Gradual abolishment, then. The intention is to get to a certain minimal system.

Quote:

I speak against the government and for a free market, now I am automatically against any and all systems.

Not quite. The no-system I meant was no regulation of the market, and no real government.

Quote:

You keep seeing me as an abolishionist, simply because I see a different path of reform than you do, one which may lead to a consensual lack of government, or minimal government, rather than one where government is somehow kept clean of corruption and led "graciously" by the majority vote..

I still don't see how you are not supporting gradual abolishment of government, while at the same time you are supporting it...?

Quote:
tbuitenh wrote:

You want to separate the public as a whole from their control of natural monopolies,

It's interesting how you emphasize public being in control of natural monopolies. I've always had the impression that it is controlled by the government in the name of public. You could say, well that's the same thing, right? But it isn't when the governments have repeatedly failed to truly reflect public opinion and desires and instead opted to lead them in their own direction. You say yourself corruption is a problem that needs to be fixed, well it seems it has always been a problem with big governments so there is very little track record based on which I can truly say that these natural monopolies are public property.

Sorry, but until governments really represent public opinion at least 90% I can't call this supposed "public property" anything else but "government property".

Come live in the Netherlands Smiling .

Quote:

You know, sometimes it seems as if you see "free market" as immediately one of constant discord, as if people will never be able to agree on anything by their own free will, as if, basically, free means "lack of agreement".

You might see this as my attempt to defend my position at any and all cost, but it really is not. If I was truly lost for words I would say so, but I'm hardly there. I simply see an alternative way. Free market is not immediately one in which cooperation is impossible. Furthermore, cooperation is not necessarily a monopoly. Instead of one big government managing natural monopolies, why couldn't they be many smaller firms each managing their part and competing to stay on that part if such competition is deemed possible and worthy?

Of course the natural monopolies may be reduced to small companies controlling only the cause of lock-in, with lots of other companies doing all the tasks around them. But pointing at the supply chain that isn't part of the monopoly doesn't prove anything at all.

Quote:

You could have a positive network of private institutions operating in accordance to the non-aggression free market principles. While in other market segments competition can be possible, in segments relating to natural monopolies cooperation would be the only one left, in combination with perhaps, coopetition. Each member of this network would play a particular role. Builders may be signed as contractors to healthcare companies to build hospitals. Vehicle manufacturers would build emergency vehicles. Etc.

Roads would be built by a multitude of road construction companies networked into a say, "Road Association", cooperating on making the best possible roads. Competition might not be in whose proposal/technology etc. might be the best, but in who contributes most to the process (not just in terms of money, but also involvement). The minimal government would require that non-aggression principle is followed through, so no one company should presume power of veto to another company to participate in this process and gain something from it - they would have to cooperate and ultimately they would want to cooperate because it is in the interest of their society and themselves to have good roads efficiently.

In other words, instead of having the government holding the "natural monpolies" as a single institution who contracts all of the others to it as it sees fit, a cooperative association of enterprises who really are in the field and know what they do would take care of each segment.

I don't really see the difference between a regulated market without the "agressive" style of competition, and the government simply owning everything in that market.

Quote:

Interestingly, the very term "natural monopoly" is loaded, so much that I find it challenging to come up with a term for a "natural monopoly" that actually wouldn't be a monopoly. The term forces an assumption that a particular field must always and can't ever be anything else than a monopoly.

The term isn't loaded, it's just a description of a concept, and a good and clear one too. If I had been using the synonym "water monopoly", I would agree with you, cause that implies water must be a natural monopoly. If I say I think something is a natural monopoly, and you want to use a different term, you're trying to change the meaning of my words.
It does seem you think a monopoly is necessarily a very big and evil company. That's not correct, a monopoly might just as well be a NGO or a part of the government. For example "writing laws" is a natural monopoly too (within a single country, that is).

Quote:

What I, not "trust", but "believe" in (I think there IS a subtle difference), is individualism or individual humanism - that if you equally encourage ALL human individuals to pursue their full potential that they would develop into selfish yet benevolent beings who in combination with other such human beings would form a society which is an equilibrium regardless of the fact nobody coerces them to anything from "above".

So you believe that if society as it is now had not corrupted them, everyone would be as nice as you are? I honestly hope you're right.

tbuitenh wrote:

I explain to you why I think what you're saying is wrong, and instead of being willing to listen to my arguments and giving counter-arguments, you simply dismiss them as "not willing to listen" (hey, look, I can play that game too!).

Mirrors. Ugly things, aren't they?

libervisco wrote:

At this point I can only say whatever.. For me, it is worth exploring. For you, have fun with something else.

Unfortunately, mucking about with the way the government works DOES sink my boat.

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libervisco wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

In many other cases, these people are gullible fools who believe the scum indeed does have the moral high ground (no offense intended to anyone here).

Yeah, as if they couldn't possibly have a mind of their own. How convenient. If most of them are either scum or the scammed, who is left?

You, I would hope Eye . Maybe the fact I made the quoted observation tells something about why the subject can annoy me so much?

Quote:

How about me and Kevin? Sure sure we're not supposed to be offended, but the implication is quite clear.

Hmm, I say I don't mean you guys, and then you claim I mean you anyway. Interesting logic you have there.

Quote:

You know, I could theoretically defend some of hitler's ideas; would that automatically make me an evil nazi?

Thanks for proving Godwin's law.

To save time I declare everything posted after this post in reply to my posts to be a misrepresentation of my point of view Laughing out loud .

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For the record I most

For the record I most certainly did not intent to directly accuse libervisco or kevin of being selfish, that can't possibly be true because if it were neither would be on a site discussing what's best for the world, you'd just be looking after yourselves.

The people I disparage are those who USE arguments about what freedom is possible for all in the future, to justify pure selfishness today. It's a particularly convenient cover story for the estimated 1% of clinical psychopaths in our midst. When you see starving African babies, saying "You choose your destiny" is patently absurd, except if you mean it's the reality we should work towards, together - that means a transfer of wealth from the better off to the less well off.

Saying they should help themselves is like asking a cripple to run a race.

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libervisco wrote: What else
libervisco wrote:

What else is a recognition of a potential market failure than an opportunity to serve? When you say "there is nobody to give loans" you might as well be saying "hey, is there anybody who would like to enter a business of serving loans?". Do you really think this market segment would be empty for long? Potential market failure is a market opportunity. Entrepreneurs beware!

Actually you're right, the debt industry has been in areas I wouldn't expect, we've seen how that works in sub-prime, People with no assets or income were offered loans and the resultant mortgages were repackaged and resold as collateralised investments, with AAA ratings from Standard and Poors etc.

There's no way those loans would have been given if the lenders knew they'd be the ones left holding the baby on default, and I can only admire the capacity for delusion of anyone who sees the sub-prime fiasco as an example of the success of the market.

As for educational loans, I recently saw another example of female students turning to the sex industry to pay their debts. Their choice, true, but in onerous circumstances engineered by the debt industry with the support of politicians.

libervisco wrote:

That seems to assume that a Libertarian society would actually widen the divide between rich and poor. If it would than this could only be because there are too many market failures left to transpire in the market segments dedicated to helping poor get out of poverty. Ultimately, not everyone would have a jet, and the few that would might be be viewed with as much condemnation as they may be today, if other people live fairly well still and enjoy a simple boat ride as much as the jet owner enjoys his flying. Today you have extremely poor looking up to extremely wealthy and feeling incredibly depressed.

And what happens when the poor attempt to start a business but aren't capable of paying all the money they are obliged to pay for forced government services? How are these fees encouraging poor to get out of poverty???

As I said, it is often government itself which is through its policy widening the gap between poor and wealthy.

The freer markets get, the greater the gap between rich and poor. The prime example is the USA, and I've seen the exact same transition here in Ireland. The reason is not that a market is incompatible with socioeconomic cohesion, but that the dominant category of player in markets today is the wealth concentrator.

Governments could implement tax policies that redistribute wealth, but they tend to be puppets of the greedy and bring in measures that favour the rich at the expense of the poor, they're increasing the gap. The solution is not to get rid of government, but to make it live up to it's job - of the people, by the people, for the people.

libervisco wrote:

I am not saying that Libertarian society equals a society with no need for charities and nobody to give them. Instead of government being the prime charity it would be private institutions.

What if the way you think poverty needs to be addressed is the wrong one? Who would you rather take charity from, people who give it because they have to regardless of not being in the line of work that involves working with the poor and really understanding their situation, or the ones who are in the business of giving charities because they want to? Forced charity vs. voluntary charity.

It's not either/or but a mix of the two. I take the point that the people close to the action and with the energy and freedom to get involved are indispensable, and Kevins point on the response to Katrina is proof, I remember one guy interviewed who was ferrying water to victims in his own pick-up truck (while public servants were probably in a room discussing what to do). That kind of spontaneous response is us at our best, the story is replicated around the globe, and I would fight any move to take away the freedom to help others.

At the same time, that doesn't amount to a case to bar the government from playing a role. I accept that keeping too many public servants on the payroll in case of this or that potential emergency is inefficient, but things like keeping the levees of New Orleans up to standard or deploying an early warning system for Tsunamis are big projects which governments are best suited to funding. I'm happy that we all chip in according to our economic ability, and have no time for those who are sitting pretty and won't lift a finger for anyone else.

libervisco wrote:

In other words, your way or high way. I've come to find that selfishness contains selflessness within itself. You care for others because it makes you feel good about yourself. Perhaps that would help you understand better where I am coming from.

All I was asking is for a bit more open minded consideration of other possibilities.

It's not just my way, it's the way of the majority. As for using the selfish label I've dealt with that several times on this site but it doesn't seem to have been accepted.

The FULL FACTS involve the costs and benefits to yourself AND others:

Cost to self, cost to others = Destructive
Cost to self, benefit to others = Self-sacrificing
Benefit to self, cost to others = Selfish
Benefit to self, benefit to others = Constructive

By looking at the WHOLE TRUTH, those you call selfish are more accurately described as either self-sacrificing or constructive. Selfish people want to parasite off the rest of us, and they of course don't want to deal with the whole truth, but hide behind an over-simplified half-truth.

There is also the neutral argument, that some actions have no effect on others, fair enough. But this only goes so far. Just as economists talk of 'oppertunity cost' - the next best deployment of resources, we can see a choice not to help another means you have decided on a future with less benefit for them. All the talk about your own freedom won't change the consequences of your action or inaction for others.

I can accept a possible future where the government role is much much smaller, but given the problems of today, for now I stand by my approach to tax contributions and consequences for evaders.

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tbuitenh wrote: I still
tbuitenh wrote:

I still don't see how you are not supporting gradual abolishment of government, while at the same time you are supporting it...?

Well, of course, once you relabeled my "gradual change" into "gradual abolishment" you would come to ask that. In the part you are responding to I am saying that I see a path of reform "which may lead to a consensual lack of government, or minimal government".

It is about pursuing the possibility of at least partial abolishment through gradual reform that would lead people to AGREE to whatever abolishments could happen. That's why I said consensual. Basically instead of putting abolishment as the absolute end goal and seeking to cause a process that would gradually lead to it I am setting abolishment as a potential end goal worth exploring while seeking to cause a process of positive change which would make people more individually free and responsible.

So I don't think a term as specific as "gradual abolishment" is applicable. We don't want to abolish anything right now or ever unless the people come to demand that. It is therefore by all means a gradual reform, only perhaps of a style different than you would approve of. It focuses not only on purging corruption in existing governments, but on also exploring the weaknesses such governments have as well as the weaknesses the society and its individuals led by such government exhibit. And instead of only one outcome, still big government only less corrupt, we see at least two future possibilities, second one being a minimal government or no government at all. I'm just not as dismissive of the latter potential as you might be (and indeed I do believe that if it could be made to work and work better, it would be an ideal way for a society to work).

tbuitenh wrote:

Come live in the Netherlands Smiling

You have at least 90% public representation in government there? If you mean something like 2% of voters getting 1 representative in the parliament, I have my doubts about how exactly representative this is. There is just too much complexity (election propaganda, the person chosen based on his party slogans rather than his actual beliefs etc.) between one individual's or group of individual's opinion and what their supposed representative would express on their behalf. And we're still talking only one representative against usually an oligopoly of parties which, regardless of what that one representative says on behalf of 2% can lead things their way.

This quickly eats away from the 100% of representation to something like 60% even if that, albeit I'm speculating. Still, I'm interested in the reasoning behind you calling me to Netherlands (in this context). Smiling

tbuitenh wrote:

I don't really see the difference between a regulated market without the "agressive" style of competition, and the government simply owning everything in that market.

It's a start. The market is only regulated in as much to ensure that non-aggression is applied, in any as well as in this case. I believe the difference would be greater efficiency and democracy of the process because it would avoid the bloat associated with government ownership. Road cooperatives would build roads. Healthcare cooperatives would offer healthcare services etc. They wouldn't be single entities, but alliances of entities competing for work based on what they contribute to the process. I didn't work out all of the details, but I am at least trying to show that there could be a way to treat natural monopolies, other than government just owning and regulating it all - which would be more transparent and make greater use of the free market.

tbuitenh wrote:

It does seem you think a monopoly is necessarily a very big and evil company. That's not correct, a monopoly might just as well be a NGO or a part of the government. For example "writing laws" is a natural monopoly too (within a single country, that is).

I just wish for people to have more choice or say in the matter than they do as things stand. So no wonder I am looking to make a monopoly less of a monopoly, regardless of how natural it may be.

tbuitenh wrote:

So you believe that if society as it is now had not corrupted them, everyone would be as nice as you are? I honestly hope you're right.

Yes! That's been in my head for, must be years now. I remember this notion pulling through my head long ago on various IRC and forum discussions. We talk about crime, about willingly selling out of freedom for convenience, about mentality of ignorance - and all I can think of.. well, it's the system - we are, after all, part of that system. If the system was different we would be different and vice versa. We tend to look down on people who murder other people and are angered when that happens, but how many people realize that if it were a different kind of world, the murderers wouldn't go through a process that makes one a murderer? It's just that. When the system is failing, the society is left with pockets filled with despair, rebellion and consequent depression, aggression and expressions of those. People become unhappy with themselves, looking for grasps on the outside. Some grab on to them while others go on destroying everything around them, because it is after all the evil world which made them the way they are and evil world.

Things are never as simple as evil people vs. good people. If they were I guess the best way to fix the world would be to exterminate the evil people. No.. the people are the barometer of our society. If something's wrong, we have to look both inside and outside of an individual, but change starts inside each of us - hence my insistence on being double plus human - be the most of who you want to be. Explore and USE your uniqueness rather than abandoning it for the sake of fitting in. If EVERYONE would do this, a libertarian society might not seem as such an utopia anymore.

So based on this, if we would just promote a different kind of mentality in individuals as means of changing the system, the system we come up with would start aiding us in changing human mentality - until that desirable equilibrium has been established.

tbuitenh wrote:

Unfortunately, mucking about with the way the government works DOES sink my boat.

What do you mean? My exploring of libertarianism sinks your boat? Huh?

Maybe instead of yet again explaining myself, I should just leave what I already said speak to you instead, because I already said that I don't want to in any possible way force the changes I'd like to see. Don't worry, your beloved government will not be affected by a puny libervisco just yet.

A web site I plan on starting, DoublePlusHuman.com is more about focusing on individual empowerment that libertarian propaganda.. Of course, individual empowerment IS a big part of libertarian philosophy, but I can extract one component without bringing up the rest too much. And even if I would, it would be in a sense of exploring it rather than shoving it down anyone's throats.. why the hell would that sink anyone's boat?

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