Big Government Is Not Your Friend

Private industry creates wealth whereas government efforts only consume it.

Advocates for bigger government—just about everyone these days, it seems—believe that government is the most efficient and humane provider of goods and services. It’s such a bizarre way of viewing the world, but lessons about the wonders of the free market apparently aren’t taught anywhere any more.

The presidential election and ongoing debates in the California Legislature illustrate this frightening phenomenon. Voters chose a candidate who has an undying faith in the power of government and even the Republican candidate failed to clearly explain the most obvious lesson—why free enterprise is superior to government coercion.

I don’t like to toss around pejoratives such as “socialist,” but what do you call a state Legislature where the dominant majority seethes with hostility toward private firms and does little more than hatch plans to create new government programs?

Yet wherever we look, government fails.

The Sacramento Bee published an instructive article recently about how a federal wildlife agency is gaining contracts to provide pest-control services of the type that private-sector companies already are providing.

One of the basics of government is that it should not do those things that private companies already are doing, but now that government is unlimited no one seems to care about that idea any more.

Many of the costs of Wildlife Services are off the books—i.e., unfunded pension and overhead costs, which makes it seem as if the agency is more cost competitive than it really is. Essentially, taxpayers are footing the bill for something that should be paid for by those who need to contract for those services. And the government is putting private firms out of business.

But the most instructive aspect of this story is how poorly the agency provides the pest-control services. It is notorious for its ham-fisted approach to pest management, including killing of endangered species and a culture in which workers hide such killings. The agency has simply ignored calls by members of Congress and activist groups for reform.

“[Concern] is directed at an agency called Wildlife Services, which is already under scrutiny for its lethal control of predators and other animals in the rural West," the Bee reported. "A ... series earlier this year found the agency targets wildlife in ways that have killed thousands of non-target animals, including family pets, and can trigger unintended, negative ecological consequences.”

If a private company operated in such a way, there would be accountability—legal efforts to control its practices, civil lawsuits by people whose family pets were killed due to the company’s irresponsibility, criminal prosecutions for violations of environmental laws.

But the government doesn’t have to live up to the same laws that apply to the rest of us. Instead of having to cease and desist, Wildlife Services goes along its merry way, expanding more deeply into an activity the private market already is handling in a better and less costly way.

As the article pointed out, the federal agency operates in virtual secrecy, which is another hallmark of government endeavors. Here is the Bee again: “‘It’s been such an uphill struggle,’ said Erick Wolf, CEO of a California firm called Innolytics, which developed a form of birth control for Canada geese and pigeons with help from Wildlife Services’ scientists in Colorado. …‘All they want to do is shoot, trap and poison,’ said Wolf. ‘They don’t want to consider anything else.’”

Government does not have a bottom line so its incentives are different. Government agencies are protected from meaningful oversight. This is why a federal wildlife agency wreaks havoc on wildlife whereas private companies specialize in non-lethal approaches. This is the reason governments often are the biggest polluters.

These days I even hear people argue that government is the best way to provide services because there is no profit motive. That reflects an almost unbelievable level of economic ignorance, but it is a point officials make as they try to use eminent domain against private water companies, for instance.

Businesses need to earn a profit, but the price of its products is determined by competition, which relentlessly drives down costs and increases efficiencies as the less-able providers go out of business. There is no place to offload private costs onto the public in a free market, even though some businesses despicably lobby the government for special privileges and bailouts.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This post appears intent on preaching to the choir.

  • ||

    I know many liberals who acknowledge that the gov't isn't the most efficient means of delivering something - they just believe it's the most equitable, and that is all that matters.

    "But what if there's not ENOUGH charity to take care of EVERYBODY?!"

  • anon||

    "But what if there's not ENOUGH charity to take care of EVERYBODY?!"

    Then maybe people would get off their lazy asses, or, failing that, die?

    Either way, I'm ok with that.

  • T o n y||

    But you understand that others can have perfectly reasonable objections to the level of risk you're OK with? That it's worth the price of a certain amount of what you call "freedom" (tax money) to prevent needless death and misery? Or is your preferred level of risk in society the only legitimate opinion on the matter?

  • anon||

    But you understand that others can have perfectly reasonable objections to the level of risk you're OK with?

    I deny your premise. There are no "reasonable" objections, and there is no risk.

  • T o n y||

    Ok...

  • Brandon||

    Fuck off Tony.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But you understand that others can have perfectly reasonable objections to the level of risk you're OK with?

    Then they can increase the amount they give to charity.

    You also presume that big government doesn't cause needless death and misery, apparently.

  • T o n y||

    How about charities handle criminal justice and national defense then?

  • juris imprudent||

    You're willing to see a govt that only takes care of justice and defense?

    Outstanding!

  • iggy||

    Between the drug war, the war on poverty and our actual wars, the government has murdered or destroyed the lives of millions more people than small government advocates.

    What death and misery is the government protecting us from that the free market could not protect us from better? And do we need to spend 3 trillion dollars to defend against whatever death and misery you're talking about?

  • ||

    Or they could join a private health cooperative.

  • Calidissident||

    There's risk in every system Tony. The fallacy is that you think someone having a government health insurance card means they're actually going to get high-quality health care

  • T o n y||

    Unfortunately for you there's an entire planet of evidence about which healthcare systems work most efficiently.

  • $park¥||

    You're right. I'd rather have an efficient doctor than a good doctor.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Sure:

    "Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor's haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....z2EJCmBjii

  • tarran||

    Yes, there is, but unfortunately people like you ignore the evidence and persist in arguing that free markets are immoral.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Unfortunately for you, what is happening to the rest of the socialist planet is exactly what libertarians said would happen.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Unfortunately for you there's an entire planet of evidence about which healthcare systems work most efficiently.


    And how do you define "efficiency"? Most claims I've read of superior efficiency usually break down immediately upon looking at the proposed utility function. For example: an insurance company is most efficient when most of it's money goes to health care. Great. So efficiency is spending as much money as possible on medicine, with no attention to risk mitigation. How efficient.

  • T o n y||

    You can measure healthcare outcomes society-wide. Efficiency means the best outcomes for the best price.

  • ||

    Yes, in the most vague way, efficiency is defined by optimization, either maximizing reward or minimizing price. Knowing that general does not, in fact, define a utility function itself. Who defines, of all possible ways of defining reward or price, which is best?

  • ||

    In Tony World, a politician deciding the level of risk becomes "everyone" deciding the level of risk.

    In Tony World, everyone deciding the level of risk is "a libertarian" dictating the level of risk.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians want to force those who use force to stop using force!

    They're tyrants!

  • tarran||

    Heller, did you know that last week I gave a woman $1,000 dollars?

    She was walked by me on her way out of the bank with $1,000 and I didn't hit her on the head and take it from her.

    It was very selfish of her not to hand it to me.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    What a bitch.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not taking is giving and not giving is taking.

  • T o n y||

    If a restaurant owner didn't take your payment after you ate, you would be getting something for nothing. Taxes do pay for stuff. Stuff you get just by existing. How does it feel to have an entire philosophy based around semantic bullshit?

  • Calidissident||

    Half of those services are things the government claimed a monopoly over and people have no choice but to use. Others you have to pay for whether you use it or not. Not to mention there's a difference between a restaurant requiring you to pay your bill, and a restaurant requiring you to pay your bill and the bill of the people at the table next to you

  • sarcasmic||

    How does it feel to have an entire philosophy based around semantic bullshit?

    Taking from people without their consent is theft/extortion/robbery, regardless of what rules written by the guys with the monopoly on initiating violence might say.

    How does it feel to have an entire philosophy based around "Might makes right"?

  • T o n y||

    You give your consent. It's impractical to ask every newborn baby whether he wants to opt into her society, so consent is assumed--but can be revoked. Just renounce your citizenship and stop using the stuff taxes pay for (leave).

  • Calidissident||

    Giving the people the option to give up their property, lives, family, friends, etc to go live under a different government does mean the people consent to anything. I guess black people consented to Jim Crow because they didn't leave the South or the country?

  • T o n y||

    If you are not free to leave or to participate in your society as full citizens, then there is no legitimate social contract, and you would be right. I'm working under the assumption that we live in a legitimately free society.

  • Calidissident||

    "If you are not free to leave or to participate in your society as full citizens, then there is no legitimate social contract, and you would be right."

    And who says this is the case? You? Why is it necessary that they have the right to participate as full citizens? If they don't like it, they can leave, right?

    "I'm working under the assumption that we live in a legitimately free society."

    Well now we have to define "free society"

  • Redmanfms||

    You give your consent. It's impractical to ask every newborn baby whether he wants to opt into her society, so consent is assumed--but can be revoked.

    So is consent assumed or is it given?

  • Len Bias||

    "Just renounce your citizenship and stop using the stuff taxes pay for (leave)."

    It's great that when Obama is in power, progressives start to sound like the worst of the chest thumping conservatives. "Yew don't laak ObamaCare, then yew can jis leave."

    Remember, dissent in the highest form of patriotism, but only when someone you don't like is in power. As of Jan 20, 2009, mindless compliance is now the highest form of patriotism.

  • Whahappan?||

    You are a fucking liar. Nobody gives their consent, only acquiescence. Tell me, where can one go to avoid taxes? Oh, that's right, nowhere. In what form was this consent given? Oh, that's right, it's just assumed, because individuals don't fight a quixotic battle with leviathan. And of course, you have to ask permission from the scum in government to renounce your citizenship, who may or may not grant it, and then still claim a portion of your earnings going forward. And you have to leave family friends, etc. And again, just to move somewhere else where another government claims ownership over you. Fuck you.

  • T o n y||

    Well I want a pony. Why can't I have a pony?

  • Calidissident||

    Seriously Tony? You're mocking people for crying about ponies?

  • T o n y||

    What you guys are asking for, apart from being unworkable and devastating to human well-being, is an amount of personal liberty far disproportionate to what you could reasonably expect in a world inhabited by 7 billion other people. You want your own islands where you get to make all the rules. You could always buy one.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Well I want a pony. Why can't I have a pony?

    I give: why can't you have a pony?

  • ||

    Tony said:

    You give your consent Your consent is assumed. It's impractical when you want to shove your idea of society down everyone's throat to ask every newborn baby whether he wants to opt into her society, so consent is assumed--but can be revoked. Just renounce your citizenship and stop using the stuff taxes pay for (leave) If you don't like the abuse, you can leave your abuser. That makes it totally legitimate.
  • ||

    Tony said:
    You give your consent. It's impractical to ask every newborn baby whether he wants to opt into her society, so consent is assumed--but can be revoked.

    I also think it's quite telling that, instead of arguing that consent isn't necessary, you insist on the illusion that you actually have the consent of the unborn, just because you assume it.

    This kinda goes against the philosophy of "the ends justify the means." If that were true, why this need to fantasize about the consent of the unborn? If people don't have any basic rights to freedom or peace, why worry about their consent?

    I think you should just go straight to "the ends justify the means" argument. Otherwise, it becomes all to clear that you live in fact-free fantasy land.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Taxes do pay for stuff. Stuff you get just by existing.

    If I get it just by existing, then why do I have to pay for it? At that point, hasn't my existence brought the stuff into being?

    Or, perhaps the getting of the stuff is more complex than just "existing"?

  • T o n y||

    There is a taxpayer-funded government, including a system of laws and national defense and a host of other services, that exists when you are born. To ask everyone's consent before they opt in would be absurdly impractical. You can talk about consent and voluntariness all you want but you have to acknowledge the fact that new people are born even into the most voluntary of societies.

  • Calidissident||

    Well one way to rectify that problem is to have a federalist system with many competing jurisdictions, and letting people have the ability to form communes if they wanna live in a way that's different from the rest of society. Libertarians are ok with that. Progressives? Not so much.

    Also, libertarians don't use the "love or leave it" demand like progressives or conservatives. The point was not that we that it's necessary to ask for everybody's approval, just that the fact that someone hasn't moved isn't justification for the laws in that place

  • ||

    Tony said:

    There is a taxpayer-funded government, including a system of laws and national defense and a host of other services, that exists when you are born. To ask everyone's consent before they opt in would be absurdly impractical.

    I get it, Tony. If you think that's impractical, try getting the consent of the unborn for sovereign debt loads. It's impossible. So, you assume consent.

    In other words, when actual legitimacy is impractical, you assume legitimacy. You assume what you want is legitimate, instead of deciding what is actually legitimate, and making choices based on that.

    It sounds like, and has all the intellectual merit of, sociopathy, but, I get it. It makes your whining about hypocrisy seem kind of silly, though..

  • T o n y||

    It can't be sociopathy since it's an overwhelmingly mainstream view of society--and that's rich coming from the philosophy with the most disregard for empathy.

    But this is getting to an interesting place. It is, after all, a set of convenient fictions. Social contract? Not a substantial thing. But I'm not the one claiming any rules of modern human society exist in the fabric of nature. The goal must be paramount, not the premises, because the premises are always going to be intellectual constructs, and most forms of them are quite flawed to the end of human well-being. And that's the goal.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It can't be sociopathy since it's an overwhelmingly mainstream view of society--and that's rich coming from the philosophy with the most disregard for empathy.

    Right, because a philosophy based on assuming the consent of the unborn just because it's impractical otherwise, is a demonstration of true empathy.

    But I'm not the one claiming any rules of modern human society exist in the fabric of nature.

    No, but you always argue against straw men, since, neither have I.

    The goal must be paramount, not the premises, because the premises are always going to be intellectual constructs, and most forms of them are quite flawed to the end of human well-being.

    And what are your goals, if they are not intellectual constructs? How ridiculous an idea: we reject premises and accept goals, because premises are intellectual constructs, but goals are not. Therefore, they are not flawed to the end of human well-being.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It can't be sociopathy since it's an overwhelmingly mainstream view of society


    Uh, I don't think it's a mainstream view of society that you can just assume legitimacy for anything you want, such as assuming the consent of the unborn, and claim they actually give it to you, under those circumstances.

    That's like having sex with a woman in a coma, and saying it's not rape, because you assume she consents, and she can revoke it, if she wakes up.

    You can call that rationality "mainstream", but it sounds pretty psychotic to me.

  • ||

    Also, just for reference:
    Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes:
    False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
    Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations)

    Congratulations. By claiming the consent of the future unborn, you're a winner.

  • ||

    Tony,
    Nozick argued in favor of mandatory liability insurance if you intend to undertake a risky activity.

    However, risk can be measured. That's why we have statistics. So just because someone else is "uncomfortable" with a level of risk doesn't give them the right to impose that view on others if their fear isn't justified by the actual, measurable risks and costs. That person could simply be an overly anxious paranoid person.

    Moreover, once the actual measurable risk is covered by liability insurance, so the person is no longer IMPOSING an uncompensated risk on others, at that point you can apply Coasian bargaining - the exceptionally fearful individual could (say) pay the person doing the risky activity to go do it elsewhere. If it's not justified by the math, you can't FORCE the other person to stop, but you could pay him to do so. That compensates the person whose liberty is being restricted for the loss of liberty.

  • sarcasmic||

    But risk isn't fair!
    It's not equally distributed!
    Some people have higher risk factors than others, so a risk based assessment would mean they pay more and that isn't fair!
    Everything should be equal!
    Not fair not fair not fair!

  • ||

    I just disagree with the Rawlsian belief that "unlucky" distributions of features like health and intelligence are something society should be correcting for.

    Let everyone have an equal chance given their innate abilities, but if some people are born with bad genes, why should we make sure those genes have an equal chance at survival as the good ones?

  • sarcasmic||

    why should we make sure those genes have an equal chance at survival as the good ones?

    Because it's not their fault! I mean, they didn't choose their parents! How is it their fault! You're punishing them by not giving them special favors! Not giving is taking!

  • sarcasmic||

  • T o n y||

    The whole point of civilization is to mitigate the risks associated with living in a purely Darwinian natural world. Most people should find this a good deal.

  • Calidissident||

    That's really not the point of civilization Tony. That does not at all describe why civilization developed. Also, civilization is not synonymous with government

  • T o n y||

    Well technically any situation is a Darwinian situation. Civilization is just a wildly successful evolutionary strategy for our species.

    They may not be synonymous, but name a civilization without a government.

  • Calidissident||

    Successful in terms of expanding population, yes. Successful in terms of "mitigating the risks of living in Darwinian nature?" Until very recently, and only in some places, not the case. Primitive hunter gatherers did not necessarily have it worse off than people living in civilization for the vast majority of history. My point was that civilization did not emerge for the egalitarian or utilitarian reasons you implied it did.

    I would agree that a government is inevitable for any large civilization. I do think small scale stateless civilized societies have evidently occurred in history. My point was more that civilization does not require that government do everything you want it to do

  • T o n y||

    Maybe not, but neither of us any any more immoral than the other for preferring different aspects.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Or is your preferred level of risk in society the only legitimate opinion on the matter?

    Since you're typically in favor of using state sponsored violence to enforce your levels of risk acceptance on everyone else, how do you answer this question?

  • T o n y||

    I favor using free speech to persuade others to see my point of view and then enacting it democratically. Lots of things happen in a democratic society that I don't favor, but I don't declare it illegitimate just for that reason.

  • Redmanfms||

    Yeah, we all remember you defense of slavery by democratic fiat Spaces.

    Annnndddd, what happens when free speech is curtailed, you know, democratically. I suppose I should know your answer given your stance on slavery, but I just want to see you post it.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    I favor using free speech to persuade others to see my point of view and then enacting it democratically so that the violence of the state can force it down everyone else's throat, regardless of whether they agree.
  • $park¥||

    "A ... series earlier this year found the agency targets wildlife in ways that have killed thousands of non-target animals, including family pets, and can trigger unintended, negative ecological consequences."

    That's it. The term "unintended consequences" needs to be disappeared. If you perform and action, then every result is 100% intended. No more of this "I didn't mean to do that" bullshit.

  • $park¥||

    *perform AN action

  • anon||

    That's it. The term "unintended consequences" needs to be disappeared. If you perform and action, then every result is 100% intended. No more of this "I didn't mean to do that" bullshit.

    But... TEH CHILDRUNZ!

  • ||

    I'm starting to believe that there are no "unintended" consequences. These people want the negative outcomes; it just solidifies their power, or it fucks people they want fucked anyway. There's literally no way you could fuck up so consistently and not intend it.

  • anon||

    There's literally no way you could fuck up so consistently and not intend it.

    No way epi, you just have to have complete ignorance of the fact that actions have consequences.

  • $park¥||

    These people want the negative outcomes

    They either actively want them or, like anon said, are too stupid to understand that there will be some. Either way, they aren't "unintended."

  • sarcasmic||

    Consequences of shitty legislation are an excuse for more shitty legislation, and if you consider yourself to be a lawmaker, your purpose is to write legislation. Especially if it is shitty, because that gives you an opportunity to write more!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Nancy Pelosi just said, "You can't cut your way to deficit reduction."

    Because spending cuts have no effect on the budget, apparently.

  • anon||

    Nancy Pelosi just said, "You can't cut your way to deficit reduction."

    Really? Cause it works for my budget.

    Fucking Pelosi.

  • GroundTruth||

    In fact, that's how I'm staying even this year; by spending less money.

  • juris imprudent||

    You can't be serious!

  • T o n y||

    Advocates for bigger government believe that government is the most efficient and humane provider of goods and services.

    No we don't. We believe it is the most efficient and humane provider of some services, as in those that the market can't or won't provide efficiently or humanely on its own, and especially such services deemed necessary to be provided universally. It's the entity that's supposed to respond to the will and needs of the people at large, which is a different motivation from that of private companies. Both the market and government are tools, invented and maintained by humans for certain (differing) purposes.

  • $park¥||

    It's the entity that's supposed to respond to the will and needs of the people at large

    And when it doesn't, it's just because it isn't big enough. Right?

  • ||

    Dude, don't respond to it. It's just some shithead trying to wind you up. Don't be its porn.

  • T o n y||

    The size of government, say relative to GDP, is not the most relevant factor, and is not a moral consideration by itself. Government should be as big as it needs to be to fulfill the demands of the people. Ideally it should be paid for accordingly.

    If it's not responding to the will of the people then the people should elect new stewards of government.

  • $park¥||

    The size of government, say relative to GDP, is not the most relevant factor, and is not a moral consideration by itself.

    Hi, I'm a dumbfuck. I don't believe stealing is immoral. Derp.

    Government should be as big as it needs to be to fulfill the demands of the people.

    In other words, unlimited in size. Good call.

    If it's not responding to the will of the people then the people should elect new stewards of government.

    Yes indeed, let's continue to elect an unbroken chain of corrupt assholes none of which will actually care about the will of the people.

  • T o n y||

    If taxation is stealing then the only permissible form of government is no government. If that's what you believe, defend it, but don't pretend that a minimal government doesn't tax and spend.

    Perhaps rather than regular elections we should just make you dictator?

  • Brandon||

    And if you're in the 49%, then what?

  • $park¥||

    You know that answer to that. Fuck you, that's what!

  • sarcasmic||

    You're lunch.

  • T o n y||

    Then you only need to convince 2% to change their minds. I don't see why the 49% should get to dictate to the 51%.

  • Calidissident||

    They shouldn't. Neither should the 51% percent dictate to the 49%. I don't think you know what the word "dictate" means

  • T o n y||

    No policy is a policy.

  • Calidissident||

    Not using force against other people IS using force against other people

  • T o n y||

    The only functions libertarians think government should have are the most overtly violent ones, so the force stuff doesn't really fly.

  • Redmanfms||

    Libertarians believe government should have the ability to use force when force is actually justified Spaces.

    You think force by government is justified whenever somebody wants something and expects other to pay for it, so long as they represent the plurality.

  • Calidissident||

    Was the topic libertarianism? I thought it was the 51%-49%, and whether the 49% not forcing something on the 51% is the same thing as the 51% actively forcing something on the 49%

  • ||

    If it's not responding to the will of the people then the people should elect new stewards of government.

    That's not so easy when you only get to make ONE vote to express your will on hundreds of different issues.

    I might vote for Candidate X because I like his stance on immigration, even though I disagree with his stance on energy subsidies.

    There's no reason to think that the political process is able to filter these issues down to a pure reflection of the will of the people.

    Our elections aren't really about much more than brand identification. There's hardly ever a single overriding issue, and when there is it is some vague gut feeling like "The Economy". Hardly anyone votes based on specific policy positions. They vote based on crap like "likeability" and "character" - precisely because it's impossible for them to find a candidate who agrees with them precisely on the issues.

  • T o n y||

    I think people vote for policy positions, though people may not align exactly with a party ideology and may pick and choose between them on different issues.

    You guys just don't like democracy because people will choose socialism over social Darwinism every single time, if they actually have a choice.

    Then of course you'll call them all lazy fatasses for disagreeing with you.

  • Calidissident||

    "social Darwinism"

    Is this on the list of things we have to drink to if we see? Cause if it's not, it should be

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Both the market and government are tools"

    And religion is a ho!

    Actually, the market and government are just people acting like normal humans. The market is people trading for their preferences and needs and the government is an attempt to regulate people trading for their preferences and needs.

  • KDN||

    +1

  • sarcasmic||

    It's the entity that's supposed to respond to the will and needs of the people at large, which is a different motivation from that of private companies.

    That has to be one of the dumbest and most ignorant statements you've yet to come up with!

    Congrats for achieving Peak Derp!

    Hooray for Tony! Peak Derp is here!

  • Sevo||

    In a debate before an audience of children, the confectioner will *always* win over the nutritionist.
    Shithead represents that infantile audience.

  • BelowTheRim||

    best analogy yet possibly.

    Sevo for the win from 35 feet...nothing but net.

    Evan Turner doesn't have shit on you.

  • Jordan||

    LOL. You heard it here first, folks. Muggers have to be responsive to the demands of their victims, but a guy making a living through voluntary transactions can do whatever the fuck he wants and get money no matter what.

  • Calidissident||

    "No we don't. We believe it is the most efficient and humane provider of some services"

    The problem is, this list is always growing, and whenever someone opposes adding something else to it, progressives respond with stuff like "Oh so you don't like government health care? Why don't you get off the roads!" Progressives (not all, but many) often make this argument that it's hypocritical for someone to oppose government health care (or whatever the topic is) if they think the government should handle some other service. By their own logic, they're hypocrites unless they're communist

  • sarcasmic||

    unless they're communist

    A collectivist by any other name...

  • Redmanfms||

    Progressives (not all, but many) often make this argument that it's hypocritical for someone to oppose government health care (or whatever the topic is) if they think the government should handle some other service.

    Actually, Spaces made that very same argument just 2 minutes before this post (while you were typing probably) vis a vis national defense and law enforcement.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, I didn't see that post before I made mine. That's hilarious, you can't make this shit up!

  • The Derider||

    The problem is, this list is always shrinking, and whenever someone suggests adding something to it, libertarians respond with stuff like "Oh, so you like government health care? Why don't you confiscate all private property?" Libertarians (not all, but many) often make this argument that it's hypocritical for someone to support government health care (or whatever the topic is) if they don't think the government should handle some other service. By their own logic, they're hypocrites unless they're anarchists.

  • Calidissident||

    The problem is, your example is completely false and not actually happening. The list is certainly not shrinking

  • ||

    Derider said:

    The problem is, this list is always shrinking growing, and whenever someone suggests adding removing something to from it, libertarians liberals respond with stuff like "Oh, so you don't like government health care? Why don't you confiscate get rid of all private property the police, and the roads, and the schools?" Libertarians Liberals (not all, but many) often make this argument that it's hypocritical for someone to support limit government health care (or whatever the topic is) if they don't think the government should not handle some other service. By their own logic, they're hypocrites unless they're anarchists totalitarians.
  • T o n y||

    Unless you are an anarchist then you believe in some taxing and some government functions. Liberals believe in a few more functions than libertarians. That's fine. What's bullshit is libertarians pretending that their list of services is the only morally permissible one, when the services are all paid for in the same manner.

  • Calidissident||

    "Liberals believe in a few more functions than libertarians."

    A few? Bullshit

    I'm not an anarchist, because I don't think it's sustainable in any large-scale society. People would then fight to establish a new government. I think government is basically inevitable in a society as large as ours. Given that, why is it hypocritical of me to only support government doing the minimum things that any state, almost by definition, does? A government has to have law enforcement, defense, and a criminal justice system. Regardless of how you feel about government health care, it is not something a state by definition has to provide.

  • T o n y||

    True, but it's something it can provide and there are good arguments for why it should.

    All I'm saying is the taxes collected to pay for a healthcare system are not anymore moral or immoral than those collected to pay for defense.

  • Calidissident||

    That's not exactly what you said. You accuse libertarians who aren't anarchists of being hypocrites. For the reasons I described, it makes perfect sense why libertarians would be ok with one and not the other. You completely failed to respond to my point.

    And there is a difference between funding something that benefits everybody (even if you think government health care is great, it does not universally benefit everyone like defense does), is a necessary function of any government, and isn't provided by private markets, versus funding health care, which benefits some people, is not a necessary function of government, and can be provided by the private sector (whether or not you think it does an adequate job of that is subjective, thus irrelevant to the point)

  • ||

    Apparently, libertarians who aren't anarchists are being hypocrites, but statists who aren't totalitarians are just fair and balanced. Hypocrisy can only show up in the direction of liberty.

  • T o n y||

    The benefits of healthcare are certainly more widely enjoyed than that of national defense, especially relative to the size of our national defense apparatus. Everyone needs healthcare. You need it on the day you are born. Even if you never need it, which is a pretty ludicrous claim, that is not an argument that differentiates it from national defense.

    As I said in my first post, the reason healthcare should be funded by government is that it is a universal need and the private sector doesn't provide it (like education or any other universal human need).

  • Redmanfms||

    As I said in my first post, the reason healthcare should be funded by government is that it is a universal need and the private sector doesn't provide it (like education or any other universal human need).

    You can't be serious with this shit, can you?

  • Calidissident||

    "The benefits of healthcare are certainly more widely enjoyed than that of national defense, especially relative to the size of our national defense apparatus."

    We're talking about government as an abstract concept. Everybody benefits from the country being defended. A military is not something provided by the private sector. There are private methods of defense, such as militias, but having a military doesn't restrict any of these attempts to bolster defense. Health care isn't the same. The majority of people can obtain health care in a private market. A large portion of those who don't have insurance either do it by choice or are only uninsured for a short amount of time. A government health care system also majorly limits, if not outlaws, a private health care market. It's not that people don't benefit from health care Tony, but whether they benefit (and how much) under government health care. Some may benefit. Many others will not. With the military, everyone who is paying is receiving some benefit. A government can't exist if it can't prevent itself from being taken over by other government. A government is easily capable of existing without providing universal health care.

    "As I said in my first post, the reason healthcare should be funded by government is that it is a universal need and the private sector doesn't provide it (like education or any other universal human need)."

    I see a lot of unsupported assumptions in this paragraph

  • T o n y||

    Everyone doesn't benefit from national defense. Not everyone's gonna die in an attack, and some may even feel no worse off under a new regime. At the very least it benefits more those with more to lose. I'd say that number is somewhat on the scale of the number of people who never need healthcare.

    In this abstraction, if we eliminate old-age single-payer healthcare and subsidies for the poor, there would indeed be many, many people who can't obtain healthcare in the market. That's the entire reason these programs exist. It's a self-serving and unjustifiable assertion to say that universality could be achieved without government subsidy.

  • Calidissident||

    "Everyone doesn't benefit from national defense. Not everyone's gonna die in an attack, and some may even feel no worse off under a new regime. At the very least it benefits more those with more to lose. I'd say that number is somewhat on the scale of the number of people who never need healthcare."

    Well that entirely depends on the motivation of the foreign attacker. If they were genocidal maniacs, everyone would indeed benefit. Perhaps some may not object too much after the fact, but I generally don't think people are begging for an invasion that at the very least is going to be a major temporary disruption to their lives. As for the last sentence, you once again conflate "health care" with "government health care." My point was, as I directly stated, a government cannot exist if it cannot prevent being taken over by other governments. Regardless of how you feel about government health care, it is totally capable of existing without providing it.

  • Calidissident||

    "In this abstraction, if we eliminate old-age single-payer healthcare and subsidies for the poor, there would indeed be many, many people who can't obtain healthcare in the market. That's the entire reason these programs exist. It's a self-serving and unjustifiable assertion to say that universality could be achieved without government subsidy."

    Universality isn't achieved under government either. Government can't legislate away the laws of economics or scarcity. Having a government health insurance card isn't the same thing as receiving health care. Just as there are ways to receive health care in a private market without insurance.

  • ||

    the market can't or won't provide efficiently or humanely on its own, and especially such services deemed necessary to be provided universally.

    Define "humanely".

    Your problem is that you have a conflict between what you consider "humane", and the actual supply of resources.

    What if there aren't enough resources to provide the kind of medical coverage that you consider "humane"?

    It's not NICE to acknowledge that we can't keep every elderly person alive on a heart-and-long machine indefinitely. You might even call it "inhumane" to say "let them die". However, it's a FACT that as a society we cannot afford to do so.

    What's your solition to that problem?

  • Redmanfms||

    What's your solition to that problem?

    Something, something, will of the people, something, something. Mumble, mumble, roads and police, mumble. Something, rich asked to pay their fair share.

    Poof.

    Magic. Nobody wants.

    /T o n y

  • sarcasmic||

    Might makes right.

    Anything the government does is right, because government has the might.

    Whether society can afford it or not is immaterial, since might make right.

    Violence is the only thing in the world worth respecting, and since government is the last word in violence, government is god.

    /if Tony was honest in his beliefs

  • T o n y||

    sarcasmic you're dumb and you don't understand the points I make.

  • sarcasmic||

    Ha ha ha! You're just pissed because I'm showing you for what you are! I've never met a liberal progressive who wasn't hostile to honesty! Ha! Loser!

  • T o n y||

    We should first try to reduce underlying healthcare costs to see what we can afford. The next most expensive healthcare system in the world after ours is a full 6% of GDP cheaper. We have the most expensive healthcare in the world, and all evidence suggests it's because we don't have a universal system.

    If we can't afford end-of-life care or whatever, it's beside the point whether it's paid for by government. Healthcare costs exist with or without government being the payer. It just so happens that when government is the payer, things are the cheapest.

  • Calidissident||

    "We have the most expensive healthcare in the world, and all evidence suggests it's because we don't have a universal system."

    Well when government does have the option to ration care, they can contain costs. Your argument would be stronger if our current system was a free-market and not totally permeated with government rules and intervention. I suppose it's just a coincidence that the industries government gets involved in the most (at least when they don't have the power to ration), tend to see the greatest rises in prices?

  • T o n y||

    Our system is not totally free market (no market is totally free of government interference), but is the least centralized of all in the advanced countries.

    Rationing is a red herring. If government rations care, then we'll just have a market reality for what it doesn't pay for: the rich can afford the extra care and the poor can't.

  • Calidissident||

    "Our system is not totally free market (no market is totally free of government interference), but is the least centralized of all in the advanced countries."

    True or not, the point is that our government has plenty of power to inflate prices, without the powers that other governments do to restrain costs.

    "Rationing is a red herring. If government rations care, then we'll just have a market reality for what it doesn't pay for: the rich can afford the extra care and the poor can't."

    It's not irrelevant, because it's how the government hides costs. It doesn't eliminate them. As for the other part, there's the small problem that the remaining market for private health care is only slightly distorted by the single payer system. And that's assuming private insurance, medical practices, or hospitals are even legal

  • Redmanfms||

    Our system is not totally free market (no market is totally free of government interference), but is the least centralized of all in the advanced countries.

    See, it's not totally free, but like, the government interference is totally not the cause of the flaws, so like obviously more government interference (democratic of course) is the obvious solution.

    Jesus, just when I think somebody can't possibly be so fucking stupid as to make such an asinine argument in favor of statism you show up.

  • T o n y||

    You'd say government is the cause of any flaw in any market. It's quite clearly capitalism that is the driver of costs in healthcare in this country, but you can't admit that because you are a dogmatist.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    You can't admit that things the government mandates that businesses in the medical services and insurance industry do or don't do drives up costs by reducing supply and artificially increasing demand, because you're a cunt. Every other so-called "civilized" country has shit for health services, and what is happening to socialist countries is exactly what libertarians said would happen and is happening to America.

  • T o n y||

    You don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about.

  • Redmanfms||

    You'd say government is the cause of any flaw in any market. It's quite clearly capitalism that is the driver of costs in healthcare in this country, but you can't admit that because you are a dogmatist.

    I don't know what to do with somebody so catastrophically stupid as you Spaces.

    Healthcare is not expensive because of "capitalism" but because of market intervention by government.

    The "flaws" in the market were created by meddling fuckwits like YOU Spaces.

    You are a real prevaricating piece of shit, like all statist slavers.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know what lowers costs every time it has been tried? Free market competition and open prices!

    You know what raises costs every time it has been tried? Government intervention!

    Your economic and historical ignorance is majestic to behold!

    All hail King of the Derps!

  • T o n y||

    Laissez-faire markets can lead to monopolies and thus inflated prices too.

  • Calidissident||

    "Laissez-faire markets can lead to monopolies"
    No they don't

  • T o n y||

    What prevents monopolies in a free market?

  • Redmanfms||

    Competition dipshit.

  • T o n y||

    Competition prevents the establishment of anticompetitive alliances?

  • Calidissident||

    Yes, because those alliances have other competitors or competitors could easily arise. Every example of a monopoly that you could try to name either a) wasn't a monopoly or b) became a monopoly through government mandate or privilege

  • Whahappan?||

    Name one.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    We believe it is the most efficient and humane provider of some services, as in those that the market can't or won't provide efficiently or humanely on its own, and especially such services deemed necessary to be provided universally.


    This is just another "efficiency by definition" argument again. Who determines when it's necessary to provide something universally? Of course, when you decide that something needs to be provided universally, and the only way it can be provided is through violence against people, then, the state is the most efficient way to do it. Otherwise, you have to ask to politely ask people to provide the resources such that other people get this universal service. And you loose all your guarantees of universality.

    In other words, you're saying "the state is more efficient than the free market at forcing people to conform to your will." Yep. Great insight. Let's just combine this with an abdication of our conscience to the masses through democracy, and wait for awesomeness.

  • T o n y||

    Who determines when it's necessary to provide something universally?

    The people. Who else? You?

    You think some things ought to be provided for universally (with redistributed resources to pay for them) unless you're an anarchist. Why should the composition of society be solely up to you? Shouldn't you have to compete in a marketplace of ideas with the other people subject to the same government?

  • sarcasmic||

    The composition of society should be up to the individuals who make up society, not a subset of men with the monopoly on initiating violence.

    But that concept is foreign to you. Emergent order does not compute because it is not coerced. There is no violence involved.

    How can something exist without violence? In your sad little mind, the answer is "nothing".

  • anon||

    . Emergent order does not compute because it is not coerced. There is no violence involved.

    I liked this observation, mostly because order has emerged since the dawn of time in the universe with nothing to coerce it.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    You think some things ought to be provided for universally (with redistributed resources to pay for them) unless you're an anarchist.

    Do you have any arguments to make that don't hinge on assuming the person you're talking to isn't an anarchist, and then pointing out their hypocrisy? It makes your whole argument a big tu quoque fallacy, and even weaker because you must assume the hypocrisy before appealing to it.

    Why should the composition of society be solely up to you?


    Since I'm not endorsing this, it's a red herring.

    Shouldn't you have to compete in a marketplace of ideas with the other people subject to the same government?

    I don't abdicate my conscience to the masses through democracy, and I don't try to force my ideas upon the masses, either. In return, I wish they would show me the same respect (it's not hard).

  • T o n y||

    Yeah it's pretty simple. The libertarian argument is hypocritical at its core. If you're an anarchist, that's cool. You might as well be a Scientologist for all the intellectual merit of your position, but at least you're consistent.

  • Calidissident||

    And your philosophy is so consistent, right Tony?

  • T o n y||

    I don't chain it to any rigid first principles from which to judge its consistency. I'm for a mix of capitalism and government. The only measure is whether human well-being and individual rights are increased. I don't judge the moral status of government or market per se, but the outcomes of their interactions.

  • Calidissident||

    And you seriously think a system where everything is justified on whether 51% of the population thinks something increases human (or more accurately, their own, generally speaking) well-being and individual rights is ok? I mean, it's not like people would ever have some pretty repugnant views on these subjects that decent people wouldn't justify simply because the majority supported it

  • ||

    Then, by the same logic, your argument is a hypocritical at it's core, because, unless you're not a totalitarian, then you're just arbitrarily picking and choosing where you like state intervention, and where you don't.

    If you're a totalitarian, that's cool. You might as well be a psychopathic murderer for all the ethical merit of your position, but at least you're consistent.

  • T o n y||

    It's not arbitrary but it is not based on an external standard that declares one institution evil and thus to be avoided. If something doesn't work in one it should be tried in the other.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It's not arbitrary but it is not based on an external standard that declares one institution evil and thus to be avoided. If something doesn't work in one it should be tried in the other.

    Right, and if a libertarian thinks that there are less areas where this applies, they're hypocrites, right?

    I assume that if a libertarian thinks that government is an evil institution, then they are, in fact, an anarchist, fitting your special case exception, which makes your hypocrisy argument null and void.

    If they're not an anarchist, then they obviously don't think this, which makes you argument a straw man.

    Pick your favorite.

  • T o n y||

    If you're not an anarchist then you can't say taxation is immoral, that's all I'm saying.

    If taxation isn't immoral, then it can conceivably be used to pay for things other than what libertarians sanction.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    If you're not an anarchist then you can't say taxation is immoral, that's all I'm saying.


    And, if you're not an anarchist, I doubt you're going around saying that taxation is immoral, so lets stop worrying about fantasy people.

    If taxation isn't immoral, then it can conceivably be used to pay for things other than what libertarians sanction.

    Taxes can be used to pay for a lot of things. People aren't required to agree with all of them, and having opinions that more frequently favor more freedom than government doesn't make someone a hypocrite for not being an anarchist, any more than favoring government intervention makes someone a hypocrite for not being a totalitarian.

    For the sake of rationality, let's accept this, and move on. Talking about libertarian hypocrisy in very article, like it's some valid, valuable insight, gets old.

  • sarcasmic||

    These days I even hear people argue that government is the best way to provide services because there is no profit motive.

    But, but, but profit is theft! Profit is waste! Profits go to rich people! It's not fair!

    That reflects an almost unbelievable level of economic ignorance

    Well, there is an inverse relationship between one's knowledge of economics and the likelihood of them being a liberal.

    Private industry creates wealth whereas government efforts consume it.

    But, but, but we can't allow wealth to be created because then you'll have rich people, and that isn't fair!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    These days I even hear people argue that government is the best way to provide services because there is no profit motive.

    Fucking feedback- how does it work?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    others can have perfectly reasonable objections to the level of risk you're OK with?

    Perhaps they should put some money aside for the future.

  • ||

    The fundamental problem is a misperception that private enterprise is always motivated by selfish interests, while governments motives are always selfless and public spirited.

    This is enormously wrong. Politicians are generally NOT motivated by selfless public service - they are motivated by selfishness as much as any private entrepreneur. They want to win elections, they want to gain power and position. Even if they start off trying to "change the world", they very quickly find that in order to influence anything they have to play the game and start focusing on accumulating power for themselves.

    But private organization (non-profits and charities, even entrepreneurs), can be more generous and more public spirited than politicians. When your actions aren't constrained by the need to compell others to pay taxes or vote the same way as you, you are more FREE to behave in a purely selfless manner. You don't have to worry about winning elections and passing legislation. You just do the things you believe in.

    To a certain extent, even capitalism's defenders are guilty of perpetuating this myth, by so often emphasizing the role that selfish behavior plays in spurring productivity. That allows the advocates of government control to seize upon the human tendacy to think in terms of dichotomies, to craft a narrative of private-greed vs. public-altruism. A narrative that obscures the reality that private-altruism vs. public-greed is just as prevalent.

  • sarcasmic||

    To a certain extent, even capitalism's defenders are guilty of perpetuating this myth

    Well, yeah. Once they discover that they can use government force to destroy the competition, they become big fans of regulation, licensing and the like.

  • T o n y||

    The vast majority of people in capitalism are motivated by a paycheck that gets them to the next paycheck.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The vast majority of people in capitalism are motivated by a paycheck that gets them to the next paycheck.


    Compared to what? A political system where people are motivated by fear? Patriotism? Lust? Navel lint?

  • Whahappan?||

    And the vast majority of people in government are motivated by lust for power over their fellow man, overweening pride and sociopathy.

  • T o n y||

    The same isn't true in capitalism?

  • Whahappan?||

    No. And they can't use violence with impunity to impose their will on others. That requires government.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Big Government Is Not Your Friend

    That's what you think!

    I'm a General Electric shareholder, I'll have you know.

  • OldMexican||

    Many of the costs of Wildlife Services are off the books — i.e., unfunded pension and overhead costs, which makes it seem as if the agency is more cost competitive than it really is.


    Just the kind of zany and crazy things these government kids do! Oh, those cads!

    The kind of thing that for anybody else, us poor rubes and bucktoothed oakies for instance, would land our butts in jail.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    No we don't. We believe it is the most efficient and humane provider of some services,


    Surely as you also belive in the power of Special Pleading.

    as in those that the market can't or won't provide efficiently or humanely on its own,


    Huey Lewis and the News: That's the power of circular thinking!

    and especially such services deemed necessary to be provided universally.


    "Deemed", guys! Not driven by demand, by actual fucking people with actual fucking money they're willing to spend - noooooo.

    It's "Deemed."

  • T o n y||

    It's a form of demand: democratic demand. The only difference is everyone gets an equal voice. In the market, some are more equal than others.

  • Calidissident||

    Tony, in the marketplace, people don't "vote" for goods just to make their good win. The rich don't buy more goods than they actually want just to make their preferred company look better

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It's a form of demand: democratic demand. The only difference is everyone gets an equal voice. In the market, some are more equal than others.

    That, and, in a market, if you don't like something, you can avoid participating. In democracy, when you try to go your own way, they typically fine you, jail you, and, if you resist, possibly kill you.

    Other than the violence, though, they're just forms of demands, not very different.

  • T o n y||

    In democracy, when you try to go your own way, they typically fine you, jail you, and, if you resist, possibly kill you.

    Only if you go against the law. Which illegal things do you think should be legal? I'm sure we can both agree on a couple.

  • Calidissident||

    "Only if you go against the law."

    That's the entire fucking point

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Only if you go against the law.

    Ah, I don't have to do everything, just everything you say.

    How generous.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It's a form of demand: democratic demand.


    Democratic demand is no different than the sort of demand a mob makes. I'm talking about economic demand, with money or any other goods in hand to trade.

    The only difference is everyone gets an equal voice.


    Then you're not talking about democracy. In a democracy, at least half less one cannot have a voice.

    In the market, some are more equal than others.


    No, everybody is equal - all are equally alive, equally free and have equal right to their own property. What you don't have is all wants fulfilled, otherwise people would not have to trade anything.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    But you understand that others can have perfectly reasonable objections to the level of risk you're OK with?


    That does not justify either government or taxation.

    That it's worth the price of a certain amount of what you call "freedom" (tax money) to prevent needless death and misery?


    The Dog and the Wolf

    A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to
    meet a House-dog who was passing by. "Ah, Cousin," said the Dog.
    "I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin
    of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food
    regularly given to you?"

    "I would have no objection," said the Wolf, "if I could only
    get a place."

    "I will easily arrange that for you," said the Dog; "come with
    me to my master and you shall share my work."

    So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On
    the way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of
    the Dog's neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that
    had come about.

    "Oh, it is nothing," said the Dog. "That is only the place
    where the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it
    chafes a bit, but one soon gets used to it."

    "Is that all?" said the Wolf. "Then good-bye to you, Master
    Dog."

    Better starve free than be a fat slave.

  • T o n y||

    Yeah you sure are a strapping and rugged individualist from the comfort of your 21st century society behind your computer monitor.

    Go out and find some place that actually exists in anarchy, then come back and defend it. Otherwise you're just blowing macho smoke up everyone's ass.

  • sarcasmic||

    A thing that collectivists fail to understand is that individualists do not oppose collective action as long as it is voluntary.
    But your little mind cannot comprehend the idea of voluntary cooperation. All you understand is force because all you respect is violence.
    Might makes right. That's all you understand.

  • T o n y||

    A society of hundreds of millions of people cooperating voluntarily would look like what, exactly? Would it not in some fashion resemble the society we already have?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    A society of hundreds of millions of people cooperating voluntarily would look like what, exactly?


    Like one without a government.

  • T o n y||

    Because everyone will magically get along and never have any disputes that require arbitration and enforcement from a mutually agreed-upon framework (i.e., government)?

  • Whahappan?||

    Mutually agreed upon??!! Haven't you been paying attention to this thread?

  • ||

    Dispute arbitration and enforcement in a mutually agreed-upon framework != government. If you erroneously believe the opposite, then that goes a long way towards explaining your world view.

  • T o n y||

    It's a form of government. In a small group of people it can be very informal. For hundreds of millions, more formality is necessary, for obvious reasons. That includes enforcement, which should start being necessary at a much, much smaller scale.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It's a form of government.


    No, it's not. While government sometimes provides arbitration, it frequently resolves disputes with no regard to mutual agreement. Defining government in that manner is so general that it renders it a useless word. Can there really be no mutually-agreed arbitration and enforcement, without government? If government encompasses all voluntary organization, too, then let's rephrase every libertarians preference to freer, more voluntary government, and move on.

    I thought we were criticizing semantic word games earlier. Ah, well.
  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Yeah you sure are a strapping and rugged individualist from the comfort of your 21st century society behind your computer monitor.


    Resorting to Ad Hominems to make your point is not valid, Tony.

    Go out and find some place that actually exists in anarchy, then come back and defend it.


    This is very interesting but what exactly does this have to do with justifying government? There are awful places on Earth precisely because of government action - should I, in the name of balance, ask you to visit those to then compare notes with me?

    I can present to you moral arguments against the notion of thieving for the purpose of lowering other people's discomfort, one of them being the Golden Rule. I can certainly think of many justifications a thief can present for his thievery, and certainly among them would be that it improves his comfort and reduces his anxiety. That does not give moral weight to his actions.

  • T o n y||

    You gotta stop with the deontological fairy tales and everything will be fine. Moral norms should have a point to them.

  • Whahappan?||

    Just because you don't grasp the point, or more likely, wish it away, doesn't mean there's no point.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Who determines when it's necessary to provide something universally?

    The people. Who else? You?


    "The people" is the term used by collectivists to mean "the government"

    People are still individuals with different needs and wants. The idea that they can agree on whay is universally required is ludicrous, especially when taking into account their marginal preferences.

    You think some things ought to be provided for universally (with redistributed resources to pay for them) unless you're an anarchist.


    There's a difference between "I think" or "you think" and what "people think", Tony. What *I* think should be universally given depends entirely on my own and very particular biases, wants and needs, because I can only know mine. Since I cannot read minds, I cannot presume to *know* what other people need - I would only be guessing. Even when many would agree on things that are essential for life, it is one thing to conceptualize a necessity and quite another to understand the scarcity of that good. Most people will say that water is essential, but if you're close to water, is it still essential compared to, let's say, fuel to keep warm? Only a market can convey the true requirements of people, as it is through their actions that they convey this information - after all, talk is cheap.

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank you

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