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Wouldn't having a service that's already funded and paid for by taxes that will repair her plumbing for her be as effective AND ensure the money isn't spent for other purposes?

 

Not if it's as easy or easier to defraud a huge service that doesn't particularly pay much attention to hhow and where its money is being spent as it is to defraud an involved individual who is keeping track of every dime.

 

Step 1. Charge government for high-grade steel piping.

Step 2. Actually install cheapest crap you can find.

Step 3. PROFIT.

 

(This is why your freedom is actually increased when you can do these things for yourself - defrauding yourself is kinda difficult.)

 

So hey, lets pay for training classes that will teach the woman to repair her own plumbing. Then not only will she save money, but she has a marketable skill. In fact, let's make Basic Home Repair a required part of a high-school education. It can replace/supplement Home Ec. / Shop (which in my school wasted our time making napkinholders and low-quality folded tin flour scoops, instead of teaching us useful things like how to plaster and spackle or build a set of shelves.)

 

'Cause most of that repair bill is going to be for "labor," anyway. That's the BEST place to pad a bill.

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So hey, lets pay for training classes that will teach the woman to repair her own plumbing. Then not only will she save money, but she has a marketable skill. In fact, let's make Basic Home Repair a required part of a high-school education. It can replace/supplement Home Ec. / Shop (which in my school wasted our time making napkinholders and low-quality folded tin flour scoops, instead of teaching us useful things like how to plaster and spackle or build a set of shelves.)

+1 in agreement.

 

When the US government is under my control (it will, rest assured) you will be a cabinet member for sure. President and Sec. Def. are taken, but VP is open for up to 4 terms... (3 presidents lined up, and 3 long-run cabinet members, me as Sec. Def.)

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VP might be good. I've always said I'd prefer to be the Spock to someone else's Kirk, or in Tropes terms, The Lancer to someone else's The Hero.

 

On the other hand, being so close to the big chair could tempt me to go all Grand Vizier on someone.

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VP might be good. I've always said I'd prefer to be the Spock to someone else's Kirk, or in Tropes terms, The Lancer to someone else's The Hero.

 

On the other hand, being so close to the big chair could tempt me to go all Grand Vizier on someone.

Ok, VP it is.

 

Don't worry about becoming the evil manipulator, our entire group is mad scientist/evil genius/comedian manipulators. We're eventually going to build a moon base, and launch tungsten rods at earth to destroy the North Korean government, and the Alamo.

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Not if it's as easy or easier to defraud a huge service that doesn't particularly pay much attention to how and where its money is being spent as it is to defraud an involved individual who is keeping track of every dime.

 

Step 1. Charge government for high-grade steel piping.

Step 2. Actually install cheapest crap you can find.

Step 3. PROFIT.

Well it sounds like you're making a case more for not subcontracting it, which I would agree with. If you kept it as a nonprofit government organization this would be less of an issue. I mean how many cases of widespread embezzling and corruption do you hear about from public waterworks companies or sewage treatment facilities? Not saying it's impossible, but it's hardly a gold mine.

 

So hey, lets pay for training classes that will teach the woman to repair her own plumbing. Then not only will she save money, but she has a marketable skill. In fact, let's make Basic Home Repair a required part of a high-school education.

As for teaching people practical skills, I would consider that another good thing for society to provide to its citizens. On the flipside though, I wouldn't expect an 80 year old or quadriplegic to necessarily be fixing their own plumbing.

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Here's something... you know how EVERYBODY (Especially OWSdroids) likes to hold Sweden up as a shining example of equality?

 

It's not.

 

While Sweden IS the country with the "least" difference in wages betweeen the rich and poor, WEALTH is a totally different story.

 

The wealth distribution in Sweden is pretty close to the same as it is in the US.

sweden_wealth_charts.jpg

 

usa_wealth_charts.jpg

 

Their poor are as wealth-deficient as ours (though their middle classes seem to be in better shape. I suspect that this is because so many "initiatives" and taxes aimed at soaking the rich actually hit the middle class disproportionately.)

 

Now me, I have to wonder how, with "more equal" wages, things still work out that way.

 

But then, I wonder many odd things, like how Mexico and Brazil can both be older than the US but still lag behind us in development.

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A kidney is a material object that has an economic utility--so is a watch, or a house that you inherited from birth. Why is taxing someone's kidney or taxing their land considered morally different, even though they're both--by definition--wealth?
I checked the definition of wealth in the dictionary:

 

"abundance of valuable material possessions or resources"

 

Having two kidneys is not an abundance, it's normal. Same for two lungs and two eyes. Having less than two is considered a deficiency, even if you can survive with that. Moreover, I would argue that they're your own being rather than a possession you acquired through your efforts or given to you by others.

 

I looked in the dictionary too, and that was definition number one. I was referring to definition number 4, which is: "all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value." But this is a semantics issue. Let's move on:

 

I think you're wrong here and are also sidestepping the point: don't ALL those people in those scenarios NEED FOOD AND WATER? Is making sure they can have FOOD AND WATER a desirable goal despite their other issues? I picked those because I think those needs in particular are pretty objective. People need that to survive, period. Something like telephone access is much more subjective and is debatable as to whether it's an actual need in modern society.

 

I guess you're right when you say I'm sidestepping, but I figured the principles of my previous statements carried over to this one. I don't believe that the government's purpose is to make its citizens dependent on it--I don't think the government is supposed to baby us or be our nanny; I think the proper role of the government is what Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence: to secure our inalienable right to life, which the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness comes from. Note that he did not said that the government secures our right to happiness--he said that the government make sure that we're free to pursue happiness.

 

If you live in North America, there will always be someone who needs it more than you. So if you really want the world to run on "from each, according to his ability; to each according to his need" (correct me if this is not your stance), then the North Americans and the Europeans should work as hard as they do now, while their efforts all get shipped to Africa.

 

On a more important note, what if I said "no?" What if I said, "I do not recognize your need to food and water as a claim on my life and my effort. I do not recognize your lack of value and goods to supersede my actual value and goods?" Do you think I should be thrown in jail if I disagree with you?

 

What you're describing in some of the scenarios aren't needs, but wants or desires. The first two I think are wants, not needs. That's too bad for the civil war guy and the teenager. They'll have to find another way to fulfill their wants, like getting a job or support from friends and family, or else learn to live with less. Now the lady with broken plumbing, that's a problem. Water is a need to survive and having basic hygiene is important for health. But does she really need money for this? Wouldn't having a service that's already funded and paid for by taxes that will repair her plumbing for her be as effective AND ensure the money isn't spent for other purposes? For the guy who goes to work with his car, strictly speaking, if he had a social safety net, he wouldn't NEED his job to survive. However, public transportation is general considered a societal good for societies that can afford it. But rather than fix his car (which is arguably a luxury), society could invest in trams that could take him to his job instead, benefiting everyone instead of just him. Anyway, I don't think MONEY should be given to any of the people in your scenarios. I think they should be provided with what they NEED and the people who do the actual providing for them (plumbers, construction workers, etc.) should get the tax money instead.

 

And who's to pay for the plumber if she can't? Who's to pay for the public transportation? I thought that this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?start=117&v=yw4GsjcsP24 was not only funny, but it also demonstrated the power of political context-dropping. Yes, it's desirable for everyone to have a potato salad and that they all agree per se, but once they understand the only place it can come from (tax money), they're repulsed by it.

 

I don't understand what you're saying either. A person who was working would not only receive their income, but would also have the benefits of the social system if they wanted them. So even if you're earning 500k a year, you could still receive government MREs for dinner instead of having your own food from a grocery or restaurant, though I would guess most wouldn't want to. In the system I'm describing, people who worked would always be better off financially than people who didn't (unless they had inherited wealth or retired or something).

 

What I'm saying is that, under this system, if I earned something through my hard work I do not have a right to my money; it can be taxed from me, so the remaining by I keep, not by right, but by privilege i.e. you're being nice by letting me keep the rest. However, if I didn't earn something, then I have the right to other people's earnings. That's not consonant with my sense of justice.

 

By "property threatened" I'll interpret that as a "tax" in which case, yes, they would still be obligated to pay that whether they participated in the services or not. This comes down to the effects rather than the ideology again. If it was optional for everyone, then the vast majority of people would stop paying for the services once they hit middle class or above. The poor would be too poor to contribute to the system, so they only people left would be only the most benevolent people at a certain income level or higher. Relying purely on charity would leave a lot more people starving or homeless than making this mandatory.

 

That last part of your paragraph is debatable, but I want to address the second sentence. Why do you address the effects rather than the ideology? Every country needs a moral structure, and without a proper one, a country won't survive long. Do you feel that the ideology is well-intentioned, but the effects are good or vice-versa? Again, I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

 

As for the difference between this and the Mafia, there are two practical differences and one ideological one. The practical difference would be that this would provide MANY more services than the Mafia would, and there would be no threats of violence or death for anyone refusing to pay. The ideological difference is the Mafia's end goal is to acquire wealth for their organization and pretty much keep it or spend it whatever they want. The goal is selfish and benefits a very small number of people at the cost of many. The goal of this would be to acquire wealth and then use it in order to provide a better infrastructure to all its citizens. It would also be at the cost of many, but it would benefit everyone to varying degrees.

 

"No threats of violence?" You mean, no threats of violence except for being thrown in prison for ten years?

 

So your ideological part inevitably comes back to the selfishness vs. alturism again. You're saying the government is moral while the mafia isn't, because the former is altruistic while the latter is selfish? As I've said before, I don't consider altruism to be morally superior to selfishness, but more importantly, this also sidesteps a fundamental point: you say that for both groups, there is a "cost." Citizens are just a bunch of individuals, as I said before. So when you say that there's a cost, but varying degrees of beneficiaries, you must also imply that some beneficiaries are more important than others. Therefore, I have to choice but to conclude that the phrase "cost to some; better infra structure to all" is only used as an excuse to hold some men at the threat of force for the benefit of others. When you view it like this, it suddenly becomes clear why it's so possible for evil governments to exist so easily, while evil corporations a lot harder to exist (they do exist, but their acts of evil can not even compare to the acts of evil that governments in history have committed, since a business never can convincingly justify their use of force on other people, while a government can).

 

No, it implies that others do not work hard or are less deserving for their work because they get paid less. This is basically a form of arrogance, which is generally an undesirable trait.

 

In this case, the author is using argument from intimidation fallacy i.e. instead of actually addressing the "rich person's" points, he's ascribing a moral claim to them--he's saying "oh, it's wrong of you to feel that way. You're arrogant!" Also, hard work does not mean production. In a capitalist society, a person is payed depending on the quality and usefulness of his work. For example, I know that, as a kid, I would spend days working as hard as I can remember trying to dig a whole to China, while at the same time, a surgeon would be operating for two days straight, working at his capacity as well. There's a reason why as a kid digging to China--even though I've never worked harder in my life--I get paid nothing while the surgeon receives a six-figure income.

 

I think what he's saying is we don't like people who acquire lots of power (political, financial, or otherwise) then act irresponsibly with it. As for businesses, there are good ones and bad ones. I think he's pointing to them in particular because it's often more profitable to run a business in a way that accomplishes less good for the workers (paying lower wages, outsourcing to regions with laxer labor laws, etc.). If you're large enough to be part of a cartel or monopoly, it can be at less good for the consumers as well by successfully limiting competition.

 

That's ok for the author to disagree with certain business practices, but to compare them to mass-murderers? That's so absurd, that it becomes laughable the more someone tries to defend it. There are too many reasons why it's wrong but I'll give one: a businessman is accountable to thousands of people and if he pisses them off, he goes bankrupt; he also rewards things he deems to be positive and doesn't reward things he deems to be negative (investments, and whatnot). A dictator is accountable to no one but himself, and he punishes things that he deems negative, while not punishing things that he deems to be positive. This is a another problem of someone equating reason and force.

 

Well going back to the room cleaning example, he's saying cleaning the room wasn't a punishment, it was because mom wanted an orderly house and your room was part of it. The government (in theory at least) wants a functioning society and you are part of it. The taxes aren't a punishment, but a duty. Now I can understand if you object to how the tax money is being used because you the government isn't doing its job properly, but to be opposed to taxes entirely means the safety net is ENTIRELY dependent on charity, which from our earlier posts I tried to make a case that it isn't as effective by itself as it is in combination with government support.

 

Also how does the accumulation of wealth of someone translate to society working? You mentioned Argentina, that has some very wealthy people in it, though I wouldn't consider its society to be in the best shape.

 

I see: so the author is saying that we're children in the caring hands of the government? If this is government and society--a society where I'm treated like a child, and not like a free-thinking independent man--then I want no part of it. I'm thinking back to a certain episode of Doctor Who where the Daleks make a clone slave army from their own, mindless, DNA, but the Doctor mixes the DNA with his own, free-willed, Time Lord DNA. When the Dalek commander orders the troops to march out to war, one of them asks "why?" and the commander simply responds with "your place is not to question." i.e. Duty for Duty's sake. That's what I think about the concept of "duty." If one takes a "dutiful action" to be a moral action, then, in a nutshell, that simply means that there's supernatural morality that somehow abrogates all of reality. Whether it be God, fairies, or "duty", I don't believe in anything supernatural (although, it's probably a lot harder to take this sentence seriously, since I used Doctor Who as an example). But if you want to bring Kantian morality into the mix now, that I have no problem discussing.

 

I don't know about accumulation of wealth, but production of wealth translates to someone working (careful with your words). Producing wealth is certainly accumulating wealth, but not necessarily vice-avers. Producing is the cause while wealth is the effect, and not the other way around.

 

Hey, OWS has decided to share some more of their thoughts...

 

'Occupy' protestors caught dumping human waste in bank

 

That's not to mention the rapes and the thievery that's going on.

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I was going to reply more, but some of what you're saying jumps out at me:

 

If you live in North America, there will always be someone who needs it more than you. So if you really want the world to run on "from each, according to his ability; to each according to his need" (correct me if this is not your stance), then the North Americans and the Europeans should work as hard as they do now, while their efforts all get shipped to Africa.
This is so far off base with what I'm saying, I'm not sure any explanation is useful here. If you want a real response, please re-read what I said in the past 1-2 posts and rephrase your question. I've explicitly stated multiple times this is not what I'm saying, I can't discuss this further without you understanding my stance. This would be like me saying repeatedly to you "So you think people should be allowed to do anything they want, even if they kill others?" even if you've already explained your stance to me.

 

And who's to pay for the plumber if she can't? Who's to pay for the public transportation?
Again, I can't have this discussion if you're not actually reading my posts:

 

Wouldn't having a service that's already funded and paid for by taxes that will repair her plumbing for her be as effective AND ensure the money isn't spent for other purposes?

 

 

If you still want a discussion, here's some stuff I would suggest understanding before replying:

 

-The difference between having a social safety net and some socialized services versus communism.

 

-The difference between someone's WANTS versus their NEEDS.

 

 

Too many of the arguments I'm getting from you suggest that I'm advocating communism and I think everyone's WANTS should be provided for. These are both false and I've already tried to explain that.

 

 

I'll answer this though:

 

Why do you address the effects rather than the ideology? Every country needs a moral structure, and without a proper one, a country won't survive long. Do you feel that the ideology is well-intentioned, but the effects are good or vice-versa? Again, I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.
Two part question. Why focus on the effects? This is such a fundamental thing for me, I think it would be better if you answer it yourself. If a drunk driver accidentally kills 3 people, but he honestly didn't MEAN to, why do we still lock him up? On the flipside, if someone is very mean, and secretly wishes to murder people, but has never actually harmed anyone, why do we let him free? I feel like if you answer that, you also answer why I focus on effects rather than ideology.

 

As for your second question, I feel the ideology is probably well meaning for most people who advocate it, but the effects mean a lot less people don't get helped. A nice real-world example:

 

When you were a kid, have you ever gone trick or treating to a neighbor where somebody has a basket of candy out that says "take one only" that is completely empty? The neighbor INTENDED to have all trick or treaters receive candy, but realistically there's usually somebody who is greedy and takes it all for himself, thus all the other trick or treaters get shafted than if he had actually handed it out himself. The parallel here isn't 100% analogous, but the mindset is. As well-meaning as the neighbor was, the reality was his plan didn't work as he intended.

 

That last part of your paragraph is debatable,
I don't think it is unless you can provide me evidence that private charity has raised more money to help people than the government since it instituted welfare. I made a case a few pages back that despite large tax cuts, private charity spending hasn't changed substantially since 2000, even though taxation has. In other words, there's evidence on the side I'm arguing. If this really is a debatable issue, you should have counter-evidence. And to be very clear, I'm NOT arguing that private charities don't help; I'm arguing that on the whole, they don't raise nearly as many resources as government welfare does, regardless of the amount (or lack of) taxation. I'm not unreasonable. If there was boatloads of evidence to suggest that many more people would receive help under a system with no government intervention than with it, I'd probably be in favor of that, but I'm really not aware of any evidence like that.

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If we're sharing Cracked articles, I thought that this article is very relevant. I don't really see how #3 and #1 factor into it, and I'm sure we can disagree with #1, but I thought the rest were pretty good. It's not a criticism of the movement so much--I think the author agrees with some of the movement's points--it's a criticism of the philosophy behind the movement.

 

I can't discuss this further without you understanding my stance.

 

That's fair enough. I'm going to try to state your stance so accurately, that you'll respond with, "Yup, that's what I think." If I can't do that, then you're right and this can go nowhere:

 

You support OWS because you agree with protesters that the government is doing their job poorly, if not at all. You believe its purpose is to make sure that each of its citizens have a basic standard of living, and that the government pays for this standard through taxes. You do not believe it is the government job to help businesses, and they should stop supporting businesses, and instead, tax them more to help the middle class; the middle class needs the help more than the businesses, if the businesses need them at all. The main goal of a government is to promote the common good for all its citizens, with a social safety net that makes sure that everyone's basic needs are satisfied. You believe that many businesses make money by exploiting their workers by not paying them enough, and it's up to the government to make sure that the workers get a fair pay and to regulate monopolists who exploit their workers; you support OWS, since it stands against these unfair business practices and urges the middle class and the government to take a stand against them.

 

How's that? If I did well, then, if you'd be willing, you should state my position to see if I agree with it.

 

If you still want a discussion, here's some stuff I would suggest understanding before replying:

 

-The difference between having a social safety net and some socialized services versus communism.

 

I consider both communism and the social safety net to be different incarnations of the philosophy of altruism, which I ardently repudiate--as I've said before. I consider the social safety net to be a slippery slope. The reason for that is that I believe that a capitalist society needs strong philosophical and moral principles, in order to survive. I don't believe there's a healthy compromise between socialized services and capitalism for the same reason that I don't believe there's a healthy compromise between water and cyanide. Once you've violated the fundamental principles of the society, the concept of "rights", then they cease to become rights and become privileges. This is the reason why I think that the European Union and the United States are going bankrupt: they're deviating from the principles of liberalism that made them so great in the first place.

 

Two part question. Why focus on the effects? This is such a fundamental thing for me, I think it would be better if you answer it yourself. If a drunk driver accidentally kills 3 people, but he honestly didn't MEAN to, why do we still lock him up? On the flipside, if someone is very mean, and secretly wishes to murder people, but has never actually harmed anyone, why do we let him free?

 

Two things are needed for a crime to be committed: actus reus and mens rea. We don't convict the drunk driver for murder; rather, we convict him for drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. The very mean person has mens rea, but no actus reus, so no crime is committed.

 

That's the literal answer, anyway, although, I don't think that's really want you wanted.

 

I think I meant to criticize what I perceived to be your attitude of "the theory's not that good, but the effects are good." Tell me if I'm misinterpreting this.

 

As for your second question, I feel the ideology is probably well meaning for most people who advocate it, but the effects mean a lot less people don't get helped.

 

I figured that's what you were saying. But this raises the question: doesn't that mean the theory is bad? If it doesn't work in practice, doesn't it mean it's a bad theory?

 

I don't think it is unless you can provide me evidence that private charity has raised more money to help people than the government since it instituted welfare.

 

Well, I guess that really depends on what you mean by "help". If you mean "help", as in, give food out at a soup kitchen so people can just barely survive for a day, but then go hungry in an hour, then I would say, yes: the government does more help. However, if you mean "help" as in making revolutionary technologies to make millions of people's lives easier, more affordable, more convenient, and give them the tools to make food for themselves and their family rather than just giving them a one-time meal, then I say that capitalists have done more good.

 

If this really is a debatable issue, you should have counter-evidence.

 

I was referring to the part when you said "If [taxes] was optional for everyone, then the vast majority of people would stop paying for the services once they hit middle class or above. The poor would be too poor to contribute to the system, so they only people left would be only the most benevolent people at a certain income level or higher." I posted that essay on tape a while back and I explained how the government would still be funded without taxes.

 

I know that you, like a lot of other people, will instantly reject the idea of a voluntarily funded government. To me, all that says is that the government has done such a good job of managing to convince the public that the rule of force is the only way to run a society, that you can't conceive of a government where that doesn't happen.

 

I'm not unreasonable. If there was boatloads of evidence to suggest that many more people would receive help under a system with no government intervention than with it, I'd probably be in favor of that, but I'm really not aware of any evidence like that.

 

Well, let's go back to the nineteenth century, which is the most capitalist that the United States has ever become. Before, under feudal monarchies, there was almost no middle class. In the nineteenth century, there was something like a three hundred percent population explosion since capitalism and the Industrial Revolution made unskilled laborers productive to the point where they and their family could survive. Life expectancy shot up dramatically. Yes, wages were low and living conditions were poor, but you have to understand that that wasn't created by capitalism: it came from the previous system. America was a very young country and it was still recovering. Again, this has to do again with your definition of "help." Capitalism certainly helped people become more productive and helped them help themselves.

 

The problem with a welfare government and a social security net is that, although helping people is certainly noble, important contexts are evaded. Because, literally, the "common good," means "good for every individual," this raises the question "what good for what individuals?" Looking at your previous posts, I conclude that you don't really mean all individuals; you just mean people who need help. My issue is that the necessarily implies that one man's good is more important than another, since government action in this situation necessarily involves the use of force. This seems like a double-standard to me. Horrible implications of this is that, if some men deserve other men's work, the the working men have no right to their work, which means that the deserving men feed off of, what is quite literally, slave labor.

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What I can inferr from the debate and the situation is that americans really are at the crossroads and in need of examining their system (which they actively do).

This kind of soul-searching, or "re-examination" of society was done by every society at some point, even several times, and it appeasrs that America was long overdue for one too.

From a historical perspective US achieved great things and the constitution as well as founding ideas are something to be proud of, but the ideals really seem to have been abandoned or relegated to the second seat in the last 50 years, as US started to become the global power player after WW2. The acumulation of wealth in the hands of the industrialists and the upper classes is not surprising. The surprising bit is the time it took for people to realise this and the fact that the natural distribution of wealth in the society in the US hardly evolved from its colonial, selfish attitudes.

 

Say what you will, but it seems tha American society appears to have missed one of the stages of social development, namely the managment and distribution of wealth, as well as the idea of pro-social behaviour in most spheres of life. Charity and can-do attitude are not enough anymore. These aren't colonial times where there was land or resources to spare and everyone knew how to till soil or live on thier own. Modern societies are much more dependant on mutual cooperation, especially in the workplace, something that in Europe is taken for granted and understood as a vital part of a society. Providing social net or introducing pro-labour legislation is not the end of the world but simply a necessity for a modern society. Same goes for for taxation and wealth distribution: upping taxes for the richest by a couple of percent isn't going to kill them or slow down investment if the only investment made is in the stocks or luxuries rather than in physical, productive capital.

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If we're sharing Cracked articles, I thought that this article is very relevant.
I've seen that article, and that's the difference; I DON'T think this is very relevant, I feel like the OWS people who fit his description simply obfuscate the larger issues. I'd be curious what your opinion is on this article:

 

http://www.nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/in-nothing-we-trust-20120419

 

(you can skip everything below "gutenberg to google" it becomes less focused after that)

 

Is it desirable to have a system where someone who works hard and is fiscally responsible for 10 years has no real financial security? If so, why?

 

You support OWS because you agree with protesters that the government is doing their job poorly, if not at all.
Yes.
You believe its purpose is to make sure that each of its citizens have a basic standard of living, and that the government pays for this standard through taxes.
This gets complicated, because there's a difference between what I think they SHOULD do and what their purpose is. I think the purpose of government is to be a defense against anarchy so civilization can function. I think the purpose of a representative democracy is to represent the needs and concerns of all its people and try its best to act upon that. In both those cases , I think the government is failing as our overall stability is getting weaker and I personally think much of our government has been co-opted by lobbyists more than constituents.

 

As for trying to give citizens a basic standard of living. I think that's a goal that is in the best interest of people, provided it has the resources for it. I certainly see that as a better goal that trying to give additional tax breaks to people who already earn over a million dollars.

 

You do not believe it is the government job to help businesses, and they should stop supporting businesses, and instead, tax them more to help the middle class; the middle class needs the help more than the businesses, if the businesses need them at all.
No, this is a loaded and compound statement and isn't really the direction I'm focusing on. I am in favor of a progressive taxation system however, with the mentality being that if you have lots of money (business or individual), you have more means to influence your situation as you see fit than if you do not.
The main goal of a government is to promote the common good for all its citizens, with a social safety net that makes sure that everyone's basic needs are satisfied.
I don't know if I'd go as far as main goal, but I consider it a very important goal. I again, consider this a higher priority than lowering tax rates on millionaires.
You believe that many businesses make money by exploiting their workers by not paying them enough, and it's up to the government to make sure that the workers get a fair pay and to regulate monopolists who exploit their workers;
No, it's not as simple as you're stating it, I see it as two separate issues:

 

1. I think the government should try to make sure all citizens (including workers) can have a basic standard of living. This isn't about dictating wages to business, it's about providing an infrastructure for people in general. Look at this way: Say there's no regulation and all the companies in your area start requiring 12-15 hour workdays because it's more profitable for them. Well if you can feed yourself and know you'll have a place to live with basic amenities, people say can "hell no" and negotiate better hours with businesses. However if people do NOT have those things and this is the only way they can earn enough money to survive day to day, they don't really have any choice and thus no freedom (except freedom to starve and be homeless). This is what I referred to before as "wage slavery."

 

2. I think business in general should be regulated by the government against practices that are generally harmful or abusive for a populace. This includes price-fixing, predatory pricing, polluting the environment, having unethical requirements of your workers (which is interpretive), tax evasion, fraud, etc.

you support OWS, since it stands against these unfair business practices and urges the middle class and the government to take a stand against them.
I don't consider it that simple either. The OWS movement is very varied, there are some views of OWS I definitely don't support. One is that the government should simple give more money to the middle and lower class, and I don't think that would solve much of anything. Another is to end capitalism completely, and I don't see that as realistic or desirable. What I support about OWS is that they're calling attention to the fact that wealth disparity in our country has become massive AND at the same time the standard of living for people has been going down.
How's that?
I think you're missing a lot of what I've been trying to say, sorry. You seem to think I'm focused on government v. business v. people and I don't really view it like that. I'm more focused on the objective of finding a balance between maximizing the amount of people who can receive basic needs to survive, doing what is beneficial for humanity overall (like advancing technology, not ruining the environment, etc.), and still have a reasonable amount of freedom, then try to evaluate the best method of achieving that.
If I did well, then, if you'd be willing, you should state my position to see if I agree with it.
Okay, my perception is that you have pretty much a textbook libertarian viewpoint. You're a believer in freedom in pretty much any area that doesn't involve force against another person. I think you see protecting property rights as perhaps the single most important aspect of government and are against any compromise to them whatsoever. I think you consider protecting these rights to be more important than whatever the consequences might be for the majority of the populace and / or have a radically different perception. In fact, I think you consider this principle to be the most important aspect of pretty much any sociological discussion. I think you consider mandatory taxes to be a punishment of sorts on people. I think you generally see any elements of tax-funded socialism as being as encumbrance on people, especially those who are financially successful, like the equivalent of holding back a fast runner in a race to slow down so everyone behind him can catch up. I think it's possible you're a social darwinist, I don't know. I think you're against OWS because you generally see it as a movement of people whining that the rich are successful and everyone else isn't; and maybe perceive everyone as wanting handouts and feeling they should be entitled to things instead of having to work for them.

 

EDIT: I saw another post you made saying you were not a libertarian, so it seems I'm mistaken. If this is the case, you might want to explain what about your views differ from libertarianism, because so far I haven't noticed any differences.

 

Tell me if I'm misinterpreting this.
It's more like you lost me, you'd have to clarify what you're or what you think I'm saying. Which theory?
I figured that's what you were saying. But this raises the question: doesn't that mean the theory is bad? If it doesn't work in practice, doesn't it mean it's a bad theory?
Not necessarily. It can me that it's a good theory for some situations, but a bad theory for other situations. For example, Newton's theory of gravitation works great here on Earth in the vast majority of situations. It doesn't work so great if you're trying to explain the rate of universal expansion. The same goes for the voluntary tax thing. I think in many cases a voluntary donation is fine and / or is more than enough that is needed. In other cases, it really isn't enough and a lot of people will suffer without mandatory measures.
Well, I guess that really depends on what you mean by "help". If you mean "help", as in, give food out at a soup kitchen so people can just barely survive for a day, but then go hungry in an hour, then I would say, yes: the government does more help. However, if you mean "help" as in making revolutionary technologies to make millions of people's lives easier, more affordable, more convenient, and give them the tools to make food for themselves and their family rather than just giving them a one-time meal, then I say that capitalists have done more good.
Well first, I think I mentioned before I don't think you can attribute all advances to capitalism that probably would have happened in our era anyway. As just a quick example, all of the first big advances in space travel and satellites were first achieved by the Soviets under a communist system (again, I'm not advocating communism, just using this as a counter-point). Second, if you're starving, that bowl of soup means infinitely more than knowing that refrigerator technology has gotten better. Again, it's not an either-or situation for me in having elements of capitalism and elements of socialism. Here's a comic to go with the concept of good:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2560#comic

 

I know that you, like a lot of other people, will instantly reject the idea of a voluntarily funded government. To me, all that says is that the government has done such a good job of managing to convince the public that the rule of force is the only way to run a society, that you can't conceive of a government where that doesn't happen.
No, I'm not saying that at all, I'm saying all other variables being equal, I think that kind of government I think would have a lot more starving and homeless people than one that had mandatory taxes and welfare system. I see that as undesirable for a society.
Well, let's go back to the nineteenth century, which is the most capitalist that the United States has ever become. Before, under feudal monarchies, there was almost no middle class. In the nineteenth century, there was something like a three hundred percent population explosion since capitalism and the Industrial Revolution made unskilled laborers productive to the point where they and their family could survive. Life expectancy shot up dramatically. Yes, wages were low and living conditions were poor, but you have to understand that that wasn't created by capitalism: it came from the previous system. America was a very young country and it was still recovering. Again, this has to do again with your definition of "help." Capitalism certainly helped people become more productive and helped them help themselves.
, I don't think you can attribute all this to capitalism. 1. Yes, most systems are better for people than feudalism. 2. I think you can link the population explosion to oil, there's a very strong correlation. 3. This still doesn't provide any evidence that people in a system with no government intervention (that had welfare in mind) would receive MORE aid than one without it.

 

This is a great question to respond to:

Because, literally, the "common good," means "good for every individual," this raises the question "what good for what individuals?" Looking at your previous posts, I conclude that you don't really mean all individuals; you just mean people who need help. My issue is that the necessarily implies that one man's good is more important than another, since government action in this situation necessarily involves the use of force.
No, it does benefit all individuals, just some more than others. Let's take public transportation. If I'm dirt poor, having a railway system is a godsend for me, it lets me get around. If I have a bike, it's still very nice. If I have a car, well it provides me more options, and keeps more people out of cars, thus lowering congestion. It's win-win. Now take something like food and provided housing. If I'm poor, again, that's vital to my survival. If I'm middle class, if I run into financial trouble that gives me some peace of mind, knowing I can at least fallback on that if I need to. If I'm rich, then having that stuff cuts down on crime, which can affect me, and it keeps the poorer class in a separate district from where I live, making my neighborhood more desirable. Again, win-win. In fact, give me an example where the kinds of services I'm advocating has NO benefit for someone, directly or indirectly. I honestly can't think of one.

 

As for one man's good being better than another's, PERFECT point to discuss. If you reply to nothing else, reply to this paragraph. I see it this way: We all start off as animals. If we manage to meet our needs enough so that we feel like our immediate survival isn't threatened, only THEN can we talk about what is civil or not, who has property rights, etc. None of us really OWN anything, all we have is influence and power to keep what we say is ours. I could own a car, have the title to it, fully paid off, insured and everything. Yet, if we have a nuclear war tomorrow and there's no more government or law, the first roaming gang with a gun to my head is now the owner of it. They took it, and now they have the power / influence to keep it. I have no actual rights to that car anymore, the only reason I "owned" it before was because society at some point came together and made rules that we shouldn't do stuff like that, because life for everyone is generally better when we don't steal things from each other. The roaming gang obviously doesn't like those laws, but society decided that their good was inferior to everyone else's since it depended on ruining theirs. Now most modern societies have decided that there should be some balance between having individual ownership versus helping others who are in greater need. If you push EVERYTHING towards individual ownership, then over time you can easily end up with situations where a few people have more resources than they'll even use, and many others will have less than they need. If there's not enough respect from the people who DO have their needs met to recognize that other people need resources to survive, by any means if necessary, then there's no reason they should respect the "rules" that allowed the people with plenty to accumulate THEIR resources in the first place. So back to one man's good not being better than another's, that works both ways. Why should the property rights of a man who has more resources than everyone around him combined be respected when everyone around him has almost nothing AND he refuses to help them? Why are HIS rights to survival more important than those of everyone around him?

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