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My Differences With Khmer Rouge Libertarians

charleslb
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6/23/2011 6:22:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
My Irreconcilable Philosophical Differences With Khmer Rouge Libertarians

By definition a "libertarian" is someone who entertains an idealistic vision of a society that's beyond government, a stateless social order in which individuals truly captain their own souls in all those affairs of life that legislatures and parliaments and politicians are currently in charge of. This is all well and good, as far as I'm concerned. I too envisage and hold the fond hope of an era of human beings live free of all forms of external, political domination. Where I differ with "libertarians" is on two points.

Firstly, libertarians are of the belief that the only Big Brother out there menacing their personal liberty and "self-ownership" is Uncle Sam. The G-word, government, is the nemesis of man's freedom that they exclusively fixate on. And because right-libertarians are so ideologically fixated on government and its insidious nature, any expansion of government whatsoever is interpreted as an expansion of government's capacity to be a menace to our individual autonomy. As a result, even the utilization of government for purposes that have a benevolent and humane effect, such as Medicare, which enables millions of elderly to obtain the health care they require for a decent quality of life, is looked upon askance, as a devious way of broadening the role and power of government in our lives.

My somewhat different view, on the other hand, is that government is by no means the only fell force in the world for limiting human freedom and alienating people from a sense of "ownership" over their personhood and internal nature. The capitalist system and its elite, of which government is largely just an instrument, is actually the greater and structurally deeper trespasser and arrogator of our humanity and liberty.

That is, under capitalism working individuals in the hire of owners no longer own their own productive activity and creativity, their labor and creativity is assimilated to the interests and dominion of their employer. This of course has the very real and oppressive effect of denying human being's "ownership" of their most fundamental spiritual reality, i.e. the creativity that we all embody.

The way it works is quite simple. When another, a "boss", takes proprietorship over the external expression of our intrinsic endowment of energy, productivity, talent, and ingenuity in the form of "work", when our work is reduced to being the property of someone else, this has the rather implicit tendency to alienate us from it, and from all the creativity that it manifests, from our very interiority, that is. Our own interiority ceases to feel like it's ours anymore, and becomes just another commodity exploited by someone above us in the economic food chain.

This is the real and worst sin against humanity of capitalism, it commodifies human beings, commodifies the portion of the transcendental mystery of creativity that we all personify. Capitalism doesn't have to be egregiously exploitative to harm us in this humanistic and spiritual sense, doesn't have to outrightly enslave us to adversely impact our freedom, it merely has to rob us of our rightful feeling for our own inward creative liberation. Which it does, thereby leaving masses of working human beings in a profound if partially unconscious state of alienation and unfreedom.

This all too common alienated state of course manifests itself in many ways, from the free-floating dissatisfaction that so many of us feel with our jobs, to the "Thank God it's Friday" attitude. Yes, workingpeople aren't merely happy when the weekend comes because they're tired and need a break, there's more to it for most than merely enjoying a respite. They may not grasp it consciously, but they certainly feel, correctly, that their jobs aren't really a part of their lives, i.e. that their jobs are a portion of their lives they're giving up and selling for a paycheck. No workingperson really fails to apprehend this with one degree of clarity or another, to apprehend that his time and life and creativity is something he's selling away for a wage from an owner. So, except on the crassly economic level, people have nothing at all invested in their work, nothing on an axiological or spiritual level, their alienation is genuine if unrecognized, until Friday comes around and they recognize that their work isn't truly a part of their lives and that they can't wait to return to their own lives on the weekend.

Such alienation is the severest infringement of our sovereignty over our own spiritual nature and over what libertarians like to term "self-ownership", which they consider to be the essence of freedom. Which means that the majority of persons in a capitalist society are grievously deprived of freedom, the inner freedom that matters more fundamentally than any political form of enfranchisement. Moreover though, in a capitalist society owners and wealth-possessors will use their economic clout to unfairly advantage and empower themselves, to establish a status quo in which they, the capitalist elite, exercise domineering economic and political control over the rest of us.

This is to say that capitalism is a system in which there will always be an inherent asymmetrical power differential between the rich and the majority of us, and this imbalance of power will always and systematically work to unjustly ensure and enhance the social privilege and dominance of a favored few over the bulk of society's population. In the capitalist social scheme of things there are alpha capitalists and omega workers, and the omega workers are under the politico-economic hegemony of the alphas to the extent that their political enfranchisement and human autonomy is a façade of the de facto plutocracy.

To put it in an overly-simplistic formula, no economic equality, no freedom. And within the bounds of capitalism, clearly, there's no economic equality, not even much pretense of economic equality. Alas then, capitalism, in relation to every social and existential dimension of our lives, is inimical to the "self-ownership" that's a sine qua non for human individuality and personhood, the power structure and the culture of economic subjection under capitalism is the real foe of freedom.

Right-libertarians of course don't see any of this, and they ideologically misconstrue the very concept of "self-ownership" into a rationale and rationalization for the egoism at the heart of the capitalist ethos. Yes, libertarian types confuse egoism with individuality, they advocate an egoism in the guise of self-ownership that would mean carte blanche for a small percentage of alphas to selfishly assert their individuality and in the process squelch the individuality of the rest of us. Here is where I most certainly part company with pro-capitalist libertarians, for the only way there can ever be a society of self-owning and free people is for us to bring off the total abolition of capitalism.

The other point on which I differ with libertarians is on what to do with and make of government in the meanwhile, in the not-set up-for-a-governmentless-society time we live in today. Libertarians, it seems, would like to begin acting, or playacting like we're already living in a society that's set up to do without government, they would like to abolish, virtually overnight, all regulation on capitalist greed and bad behavior, and all benevolent programs to help the much-maligned needy.

The conclusion is located directly below
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/23/2011 6:23:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Conclusion

In this way anti-regulation, anti-welfare libertarians somewhat remind me of ole Pol Pot, who was prepared to actualize his vision for society by mercilessly marching his people into the jungle to begin living in a fashion that most of them weren't on board with or ready for. It apparently didn't much matter to him that he was marching them into horrendous misery and astronomical mortality. He had his rock-solid ideology and knew best. Likewise, conservative libertarians seem to be prepared to march us into a radically deregulated and social-safety-netless "brave new world" that our society isn't arranged for yet, and that most of us aren't too keen on. Just like Pol Pot and his Khmers Rouges, libertarian true believers are quite prepared to march us all into the misery that would eventuate from abruptly realizing their theoretical vision.

Some libertarians simply haven't given enough intelligent and compassionate reflection to the fact that you can't institute utopia in a day. Rather, it's necessary to transition into a different form of society, and in the transitional interim before a stateless way of life can be achieved it's going to be necessary to retain some of the mechanism of government to keep capitalists in check, and to provide aid to the poor and unemployed. To attempt the creation of a stateless society in a too-sudden fashion, i.e. suddenly depriving the common people of your society of the protection they need from their capitalist overseers, and the protection that many of them need in the form of social welfare programs, would simply be unconscionable – unless one's conscience and sense of decency has been thoroughly distorted by being a too-doctrinaire right-libertarian of course.

My quite different view is that while we still have, and have need of government, it's only proper functions are preparing society to exist without it; and compassionately safeguarding the interests and well-being of its people from the predators who exist among them in a capitalist society, whether those predators are the street criminals produced by the materialism and poverty of a capitalist culture, or the "respectable" capitalist alphas themselves.

To this second end, government must practice humanitarianism by providing economic assistance to anyone unfortunate enough to need it. And as to the first end of government, paving the way for a stateless world, government must accomplish this by transferring management of the economy from the hands of an elite of private owners, into the hands and democratic control of all the people. Democracy must at last be extended from the political to the economic sphere. Then the work of structuring society to go on without government per se can get started in earnest.

The upshot, then, is that I radically differ with right-libertarians on these central questions, and on ethical and human grounds that are quite fundamental and ethically nonnegotiable for me, not to mention for a rather vast number of people whose thinking isn't steeped in libertarian philosophy. To libertarians I say you seriously need a reality check, and a compassion check, if you really wish to just rush society headlong into playing out your political dream without due consideration of the human consequences.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/23/2011 6:31:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The standard disclaimer, I don't intend the above post to be insulting on a personal level to anyone here who identifies as a "libertarian", I'm merely endeavoring to be critically analytical.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
askbob
Posts: 7,254
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6/23/2011 6:42:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:31:43 PM, charleslb wrote:
The standard disclaimer, I don't intend the above post to be insulting on a personal level to anyone here who identifies as a "libertarian", I'm merely endeavoring to be critically analytical.

critically analytical lmao

Well i'm just trying to be awesomely super!
Me -Phil left the site in my charge. I have a recorded phone conversation to prove it.
kohai -If you're the owner, then do something useful like ip block him and get us away from juggle and on a dofferent host!
Me -haha you apparently don't know my history
Kohai - Maybe not, but that doesn't matter! You shoukd still listen to your community and quit being a tyrrant!
Me - i was being completely sarcastic
Kohai - then u misrepresented yourself by impersonating the owner—a violation of the tos
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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6/23/2011 7:25:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
By definition a "libertarian" is someone who entertains an idealistic vision of a society that's beyond government, a stateless social order

You're confusing libertarian in general with anarchocapitalism in particular.

The rest of your post, from a quick sample, is likely bare assertion.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
charleslb
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6/23/2011 8:30:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:42:33 PM, askbob wrote:: critically analytical lmao

Well i'm just trying to be awesomely super!

Noncongratulations on the outcome of your election Bobby boy, I guess that neither of us is winning any popularity contests here!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/23/2011 8:41:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 7:25:31 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
You're confusing libertarian in general with anarchocapitalism in particular.

Well, it's somewhat difficult to pin "libertarians" down to a halfway uniform definition, as the arch conservative intellectual Russell Kirk has written, libertarians are "an ideological clique" of "chirping sectaries" "forever splitting into sects still smaller and odder, but rarely conjugating". So really, how am I supposed to be able to talk about them collectively without this one and that one replying that he/she doesn't identify with the libertarians I'm critiquing, and that my analysis is wide of the mark vis–à–vis whatever splinter sect of libertarianism he/she does identify with? Come on, when you libertarians have decided on who you really are, and what you're all about, then send me the memo with a hard-and-fast definition of your movement-ideology and I'll adjust my critique accordingly.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Merda
Posts: 322
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6/23/2011 8:45:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 8:41:04 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 6/23/2011 7:25:31 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
You're confusing libertarian in general with anarchocapitalism in particular.

Well, it's somewhat difficult to pin "libertarians" down to a halfway uniform definition, as the arch conservative intellectual Russell Kirk has written, libertarians are "an ideological clique" of "chirping sectaries" "forever splitting into sects still smaller and odder, but rarely conjugating". So really, how am I supposed to be able to talk about them collectively without this one and that one replying that he/she doesn't identify with the libertarians I'm critiquing, and that my analysis is wide of the mark vis–à–vis whatever splinter sect of libertarianism he/she does identify with? Come on, when you libertarians have decided on who you really are, and what you're all about, then send me the memo with a hard-and-fast definition of your movement-ideology and I'll adjust my critique accordingly.

Even a monkey with Down Syndrome knows the difference between an Anarchist and a Libertarian.
My manwich!
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/23/2011 10:21:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Come on, when you libertarians have decided on who you really are
You're exceedingly confused, it's the commies and socialists who have trouble deciding that. The class "Libertarian" is delineated by adherence to the NAP. That's it. That's the necessary and sufficient criteria.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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6/23/2011 10:29:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:22:46 PM, charleslb wrote:
My Irreconcilable Philosophical Differences With Khmer Rouge Libertarians

Firstly, libertarians are of the belief that the only Big Brother out there menacing their personal liberty and "self-ownership" is Uncle Sam. The G-word, government, is the nemesis of man's freedom that they exclusively fixate on. And because right-libertarians are so ideologically fixated on government and its insidious nature, any expansion of government whatsoever is interpreted as an expansion of government's capacity to be a menace to our individual autonomy. As a result, even the utilization of government for purposes that have a benevolent and humane effect, such as Medicare, which enables millions of elderly to obtain the health care they require for a decent quality of life, is looked upon askance, as a devious way of broadening the role and power of government in our lives.

There are many regulations that go along with Medicare, and it is carelessly expensive, to the point where it's a huge dent in our budget. Also, if it is so humane, then why must a government steal money from everybody to fund it?

That is, under capitalism working individuals in the hire of owners no longer own their own productive activity and creativity, their labor and creativity is assimilated to the interests and dominion of their employer. This of course has the very real and oppressive effect of denying human being's "ownership" of their most fundamental spiritual reality, i.e. the creativity that we all embody.

We have the freedom to do what we want with our body. We can work for ourselves, putting together goods which we sell to others, or we can perform services for others. Everybody, from a surgeon to a manufacturer to a postman to a fortune teller, does things for others for a job. Employment is no exception.

The way it works is quite simple. When another, a "boss", takes proprietorship over the external expression of our intrinsic endowment of energy, productivity, talent, and ingenuity in the form of "work", when our work is reduced to being the property of someone else, this has the rather implicit tendency to alienate us from it, and from all the creativity that it manifests, from our very interiority, that is. Our own interiority ceases to feel like it's ours anymore, and becomes just another commodity exploited by someone above us in the economic food chain.

Reduced to being the property of someone else? You sold the product for money, just as you would have if you were selling it at a store.

This is the real and worst sin against humanity of capitalism, it commodifies human beings, commodifies the portion of the transcendental mystery of creativity that we all personify. Capitalism doesn't have to be egregiously exploitative to harm us in this humanistic and spiritual sense, doesn't have to outrightly enslave us to adversely impact our freedom, it merely has to rob us of our rightful feeling for our own inward creative liberation. Which it does, thereby leaving masses of working human beings in a profound if partially unconscious state of alienation and unfreedom.

You feel as if you are separated from your own creativity? It sounds like a personal problem.

This all too common alienated state of course manifests itself in many ways, from the free-floating dissatisfaction that so many of us feel with our jobs, to the "Thank God it's Friday" attitude. ... No workingperson really fails to apprehend this with one degree of clarity or another, to apprehend that his time and life and creativity is something he's selling away for a wage from an owner.

It's that, or you sell it for a price from a buyer.

So, except on the crassly economic level, people have nothing at all invested in their work, nothing on an axiological or spiritual level, their alienation is genuine if unrecognized, until Friday comes around and they recognize that their work isn't truly a part of their lives and that they can't wait to return to their own lives on the weekend.

What occupation are you refering to, exactly?

Such alienation is the severest infringement of our sovereignty over our own spiritual nature and over what libertarians like to term "self-ownership", which they consider to be the essence of freedom. Which means that the majority of persons in a capitalist society are grievously deprived of freedom, the inner freedom that matters more fundamentally than any political form of enfranchisement. Moreover though, in a capitalist society owners and wealth-possessors will use their economic clout to unfairly advantage and empower themselves, to establish a status quo in which they, the capitalist elite, exercise domineering economic and political control over the rest of us.

If a man offers you ten dollars an hour to work in his factory, fusing your labor with his machinery to create products, you have the liberty to say yes or no. Such are your rights.

This is to say that capitalism is a system in which there will always be an inherent asymmetrical power differential between the rich and the majority of us, and this imbalance of power will always and systematically work to unjustly ensure and enhance the social privilege and dominance of a favored few over the bulk of society's population. In the capitalist social scheme of things there are alpha capitalists and omega workers, and the omega workers are under the politico-economic hegemony of the alphas to the extent that their political enfranchisement and human autonomy is a façade of the de facto plutocracy.

One has autonomy in that he cannot be forced to do work by another human being.

To put it in an overly-simplistic formula, no economic equality, no freedom.

What? If I have $200 and Bob has $500, I am no longer free to do what I want?

Alas then, capitalism, in relation to every social and existential dimension of our lives, is inimical to the "self-ownership" that's a sine qua non for human individuality and personhood, the power structure and the culture of economic subjection under capitalism is the real foe of freedom.

Does not follow, at all.

Right-libertarians of course don't see any of this, and they ideologically misconstrue the very concept of "self-ownership" into a rationale and rationalization for the egoism at the heart of the capitalist ethos. Yes, libertarian types confuse egoism with individuality, they advocate an egoism in the guise of self-ownership that would mean carte blanche for a small percentage of alphas to selfishly assert their individuality and in the process squelch the individuality of the rest of us. Here is where I most certainly part company with pro-capitalist libertarians, for the only way there can ever be a society of self-owning and free people is for us to bring off the total abolition of capitalism.

And replace it with what?

The other point on which I differ with libertarians is on what to do with and make of government in the meanwhile, in the not-set up-for-a-governmentless-society time we live in today. Libertarians, it seems, would like to begin acting, or playacting like we're already living in a society that's set up to do without government, they would like to abolish, virtually overnight, all regulation on capitalist greed and bad behavior, and all benevolent programs to help the much-maligned needy.

What gives the government the right to dub an action as "greedy" and/or subject to regulation? Or rob from the rich to give to the poor, taking a mightly large chunk for themselves, when the rich would otherwise give a fair amount to the poor regardless?
mongeese
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6/23/2011 10:37:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:23:33 PM, charleslb wrote:
Conclusion

In this way anti-regulation, anti-welfare libertarians somewhat remind me of ole Pol Pot, who was prepared to actualize his vision for society by mercilessly marching his people into the jungle to begin living in a fashion that most of them weren't on board with or ready for.

What?

It apparently didn't much matter to him that he was marching them into horrendous misery and astronomical mortality. He had his rock-solid ideology and knew best. Likewise, conservative libertarians seem to be prepared to march us into a radically deregulated and social-safety-netless "brave new world" that our society isn't arranged for yet, and that most of us aren't too keen on. Just like Pol Pot and his Khmers Rouges, libertarian true believers are quite prepared to march us all into the misery that would eventuate from abruptly realizing their theoretical vision.

We don't plan to march you anywhere. We just intend to march out of the jungle.

Some libertarians simply haven't given enough intelligent and compassionate reflection to the fact that you can't institute utopia in a day. Rather, it's necessary to transition into a different form of society, and in the transitional interim before a stateless way of life can be achieved it's going to be necessary to retain some of the mechanism of government to keep capitalists in check, and to provide aid to the poor and unemployed.

Why must this transition include regulatory government?

To attempt the creation of a stateless society in a too-sudden fashion, i.e. suddenly depriving the common people of your society of the protection they need from their capitalist overseers, and the protection that many of them need in the form of social welfare programs, would simply be unconscionable – unless one's conscience and sense of decency has been thoroughly distorted by being a too-doctrinaire right-libertarian of course.

The rich would suddenly have much less taxes, and they'll be able to give more to the poor. Even today, people in the streets could earn up to $20,000 a year just by panhandling. If taxes are removed, they can get even more.

My quite different view is that while we still have, and have need of government, it's only proper functions are preparing society to exist without it; and compassionately safeguarding the interests and well-being of its people from the predators who exist among them in a capitalist society, whether those predators are the street criminals produced by the materialism and poverty of a capitalist culture, or the "respectable" capitalist alphas themselves.

Wait, street criminals are created by capitalism now? And capitalists are predators?

To this second end, government must practice humanitarianism by providing economic assistance to anyone unfortunate enough to need it. And as to the first end of government, paving the way for a stateless world, government must accomplish this by transferring management of the economy from the hands of an elite of private owners, into the hands and democratic control of all the people.

By what right? You deprive the owners of their right to their property forcefully and without consent.

Democracy must at last be extended from the political to the economic sphere. Then the work of structuring society to go on without government per se can get started in earnest.

You're going to elect your CEOs, then? Or abolish the CEOs and leave the companies with no direction? Or what?

The upshot, then, is that I radically differ with right-libertarians on these central questions, and on ethical and human grounds that are quite fundamental and ethically nonnegotiable for me, not to mention for a rather vast number of people whose thinking isn't steeped in libertarian philosophy. To libertarians I say you seriously need a reality check, and a compassion check, if you really wish to just rush society headlong into playing out your political dream without due consideration of the human consequences.

Ah, but we have considered the consequences, except we did it using our knowledge of economics instead of our knowledge of rhetoric.
rarugged
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6/24/2011 7:26:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Charleslb won't respond, mongeese. He posts rants, responds once, and flees.

He's probably a member of one of the most corrupt, biggest lobbying workers' union in Washington. He's probably black or Latino. He's probably homosexual. He's probably a low-salary, "i-don't-want-to-work-hard", "my-life-is-not-my-fault", "why-can't-rich-people-pay-for-my-lack-of-talent", ugly, welfare-dependent, stay-at-parent's-home, once-homeless, Marxist, Leninist, Maoist, Stalinist, disabled-student, "why-can't-i-get-free-goods" liberal.

So, how's that for generalization?

Charleslb, just shut it. You haven't answered one argument people have made WITH
sources. If it "happens in the real world", link it. Your credibility is nothing. Your words mean nothing. You have absolutely zero qualifications to make any factual, theoretical assertions without the backing of a professional.

You, with your own rhetoric, are nothing.
If Jesus came back tomorrow, a cross would be the last thing he would want to see.
Cody_Franklin
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6/24/2011 8:26:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:22:46 PM, charleslb wrote:
My Irreconcilable Philosophical Differences With Khmer Rouge Libertarians

By definition a "libertarian" is someone who entertains an idealistic vision of a society that's beyond government, a stateless social order in which individuals truly captain their own souls in all those affairs of life that legislatures and parliaments and politicians are currently in charge of. This is all well and good, as far as I'm concerned. I too envisage and hold the fond hope of an era of human beings live free of all forms of external, political domination. Where I differ with "libertarians" is on two points.

Firstly, libertarians are of the belief that the only Big Brother out there menacing their personal liberty and "self-ownership" is Uncle Sam. The G-word, government, is the nemesis of man's freedom that they exclusively fixate on. And because right-libertarians are so ideologically fixated on government and its insidious nature, any expansion of government whatsoever is interpreted as an expansion of government's capacity to be a menace to our individual autonomy. As a result, even the utilization of government for purposes that have a benevolent and humane effect, such as Medicare, which enables millions of elderly to obtain the health care they require for a decent quality of life, is looked upon askance, as a devious way of broadening the role and power of government in our lives.

I look at it as something politicians use to score political points without any consideration for the severe economic ramifications of establishing entitlement programs. By and large, Medicare is one of those things that makes people feel warm and fuzzy when you talk about it in abstract terms, but make the same people feel nervous and jittery when you discuss things like how it's basically a big unfunded liability that's going to eventually mop the floor with us.

My somewhat different view, on the other hand, is that government is by no means the only fell force in the world for limiting human freedom and alienating people from a sense of "ownership" over their personhood and internal nature. The capitalist system and its elite, of which government is largely just an instrument, is actually the greater and structurally deeper trespasser and arrogator of our humanity and liberty.

It works both ways, really. State's an instrument of special interests, but the state is only an instrument because it benefits from the power expansion and money.

That is, under capitalism working individuals in the hire of owners no longer own their own productive activity and creativity, their labor and creativity is assimilated to the interests and dominion of their employer.

Well, obviously. If I sell you a basket of apples that I picked, it's no longer my basket of apples. If you sell your labor to an employer on a per-hour basis, you don't own that labor anymore, because you've already given it up in exchange for a paycheck. The same is true whether you're hired by Wal-Mart to bag groceries or by your neighbor to paint his fence.

This of course has the very real and oppressive effect of denying human being's "ownership" of their most fundamental spiritual reality, i.e. the creativity that we all embody.

You're not really "selling" your creativity per se, which would imply that you're no longer creative. You're selling your labor, which is influenced by your creativity. If I'm an architect, my creativity and ingenuity are services I offer people in exchange for payment. The fact that I agree to design that which my clients demand does not mean that I'm being denied ownership of my own creativity.

The way it works is quite simple. When another, a "boss", takes proprietorship over the external expression of our intrinsic endowment of energy, productivity, talent, and ingenuity in the form of "work", when our work is reduced to being the property of someone else, this has the rather implicit tendency to alienate us from it, and from all the creativity that it manifests, from our very interiority, that is. Our own interiority ceases to feel like it's ours anymore, and becomes just another commodity exploited by someone above us in the economic food chain.

Oh well. Who are you to tell people what their value priorities ought to be? People are perfectly free to work and express themselves out of their homes. Very few do, because they can make more by going to work for a company. That's just opportunity cost, i.e. Economics 101. There are other related reasons, like the fact that most people aren't exceptionally creative, that they don't have relatively low-risk access to abundant capital to actualize their creativity, etc., but that's all sort of implicitly bound up in the opportunity cost argument.

This is the real and worst sin against humanity of capitalism, it commodifies human beings, commodifies the portion of the transcendental mystery of creativity that we all personify.

So what? People also objectify each other during sex. That people can gain economically from the application of their creativity is, from where I sit, a good thing.

Capitalism doesn't have to be egregiously exploitative to harm us in this humanistic and spiritual sense, doesn't have to outrightly enslave us to adversely impact our freedom, it merely has to rob us of our rightful feeling for our own inward creative liberation. Which it does, thereby leaving masses of working human beings in a profound if partially unconscious state of alienation and unfreedom.

That's not really slavery. The very fact that people are agreeing to sign an employment contract, and aren't being beaten with sticks until they comply, signifies that they aren't slaves. If people really want to be free to exercise their creativity without an employer breathing down their neck, they can be unemployed or self-employed. They may or may not do well, but that's their value judgment--they judge the opportunity cost of a stable job to be less than that of the "full" expression of their creativity. In a free-market society, people can decide for themselves what path of self-actualization is preferable.
Cody_Franklin
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6/24/2011 8:26:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:22:46 PM, charleslb wrote:
This all too common alienated state of course manifests itself in many ways, from the free-floating dissatisfaction that so many of us feel with our jobs, to the "Thank God it's Friday" attitude. Yes, workingpeople aren't merely happy when the weekend comes because they're tired and need a break, there's more to it for most than merely enjoying a respite. They may not grasp it consciously, but they certainly feel, correctly, that their jobs aren't really a part of their lives, i.e. that their jobs are a portion of their lives they're giving up and selling for a paycheck. No workingperson really fails to apprehend this with one degree of clarity or another, to apprehend that his time and life and creativity is something he's selling away for a wage from an owner. So, except on the crassly economic level, people have nothing at all invested in their work, nothing on an axiological or spiritual level, their alienation is genuine if unrecognized, until Friday comes around and they recognize that their work isn't truly a part of their lives and that they can't wait to return to their own lives on the weekend.

That basically boils down to "some jobs aren't glamorous, and people working those jobs don't get paid as much as they would like to make". That isn't an argument for anything, though. It's definitely not a reason to ignore the economics just because the real market value of lower-skill labor makes you uneasy.

Such alienation is the severest infringement of our sovereignty over our own spiritual nature and over what libertarians like to term "self-ownership", which they consider to be the essence of freedom. Which means that the majority of persons in a capitalist society are grievously deprived of freedom, the inner freedom that matters more fundamentally than any political form of enfranchisement.

That's not what self-ownership actually means, though, so you're basically equivocating on what self-ownership is, and are therefore setting up a strawman to make your argument against libertarianism seem stronger than it actually is.

Moreover though, in a capitalist society owners and wealth-possessors will use their economic clout to unfairly advantage and empower themselves, to establish a status quo in which they, the capitalist elite, exercise domineering economic and political control over the rest of us.

This is also not an argument. This is an unwarranted assumption.

This is to say that capitalism is a system in which there will always be an inherent asymmetrical power differential between the rich and the majority of us,

Well, obviously people are going to have different amounts of bargaining power. A brilliant engineer will have a better chance of getting a good job than a high school dropout. Heterogeny in bargaining power doesn't imply injustice. You have to make an actual policy recommendation for your argument to hold any weight.

and this imbalance of power will always and systematically work to unjustly ensure and enhance the social privilege and dominance of a favored few over the bulk of society's population. In the capitalist social scheme of things there are alpha capitalists and omega workers, and the omega workers are under the politico-economic hegemony of the alphas to the extent that their political enfranchisement and human autonomy is a façade of the de facto plutocracy.

To put it in an overly-simplistic formula, no economic equality, no freedom. And within the bounds of capitalism, clearly, there's no economic equality, not even much pretense of economic equality. Alas then, capitalism, in relation to every social and existential dimension of our lives, is inimical to the "self-ownership" that's a sine qua non for human individuality and personhood, the power structure and the culture of economic subjection under capitalism is the real foe of freedom.

Not an argument. All you're saying "some people having more money than others is bad", which doesn't mean anything unless you A) justify your assumption with something other than another assumption about richer people somehow always dominating everyone else, and B) provide a policy recommendation (e.g. wealth redistribution) so that your claims don't just boil down to you ranting about things being bad.

Right-libertarians of course don't see any of this, and they ideologically misconstrue the very concept of "self-ownership" into a rationale and rationalization for the egoism at the heart of the capitalist ethos. Yes, libertarian types confuse egoism with individuality, they advocate an egoism in the guise of self-ownership that would mean carte blanche for a small percentage of alphas to selfishly assert their individuality and in the process squelch the individuality of the rest of us. Here is where I most certainly part company with pro-capitalist libertarians, for the only way there can ever be a society of self-owning and free people is for us to bring off the total abolition of capitalism.

Also not an argument or a policy recommendation. You can't just say "stop being egoistic and abolish capitalism". You can't just make people act the way you want them to, and you definitely can't just "abolish" capitalism and markets unless you use force to make the state own everything and prevent markets/currencies/etc. from ever manifesting.

The other point on which I differ with libertarians is on what to do with and make of government in the meanwhile, in the not-set up-for-a-governmentless-society time we live in today. Libertarians, it seems, would like to begin acting, or playacting like we're already living in a society that's set up to do without government, they would like to abolish, virtually overnight, all regulation on capitalist greed and bad behavior, and all benevolent programs to help the much-maligned needy.

I'm good on abolishing regulations and social programs. Regulation doesn't help anything, and social programs aren't good just because you keep shouting "But people need that money!" I'm sure you could help an African village by selling everything you own other than what you absolutely need to survive and handing over the money, but that doesn't make it morally obligatory to do so.

The conclusion is located directly below
Cody_Franklin
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6/24/2011 8:26:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 6:23:33 PM, charleslb wrote:
Conclusion

In this way anti-regulation, anti-welfare libertarians somewhat remind me of ole Pol Pot, who was prepared to actualize his vision for society by mercilessly marching his people into the jungle to begin living in a fashion that most of them weren't on board with or ready for. It apparently didn't much matter to him that he was marching them into horrendous misery and astronomical mortality. He had his rock-solid ideology and knew best. Likewise, conservative libertarians seem to be prepared to march us into a radically deregulated and social-safety-netless "brave new world" that our society isn't arranged for yet, and that most of us aren't too keen on. Just like Pol Pot and his Khmers Rouges, libertarian true believers are quite prepared to march us all into the misery that would eventuate from abruptly realizing their theoretical vision.

None of that is an argument.

Some libertarians simply haven't given enough intelligent and compassionate reflection to the fact that you can't institute utopia in a day.

Nobody advocates doing that.

Rather, it's necessary to transition into a different form of society, and in the transitional interim before a stateless way of life can be achieved it's going to be necessary to retain some of the mechanism of government to keep capitalists in check, and to provide aid to the poor and unemployed.

I already advocate transitional statism--democratic microstates, specifically. I don't advocate government regulation or social programs in any society, though.

To attempt the creation of a stateless society in a too-sudden fashion, i.e. suddenly depriving the common people of your society of the protection they need from their capitalist overseers, and the protection that many of them need in the form of social welfare programs, would simply be unconscionable – unless one's conscience and sense of decency has been thoroughly distorted by being a too-doctrinaire right-libertarian of course.

Ad hominem. You're arguing that anyone who disagrees with your social theory is depraved and defective. This does not validate your social theory, nor does it validate social programs. You continually ignore the economics and argue that we shouldn't care how much compassion costs. Problem is, you can't just pretend that the economic problems don't exist and expect them to go away.

My quite different view is that while we still have, and have need of government, it's only proper functions are preparing society to exist without it; and compassionately safeguarding the interests and well-being of its people from the predators who exist among them in a capitalist society, whether those predators are the street criminals produced by the materialism and poverty of a capitalist culture, or the "respectable" capitalist alphas themselves.

Just a restatement of your thesis--not an argument.

To this second end, government must practice humanitarianism by providing economic assistance to anyone unfortunate enough to need it.

Why do I have to be forced to support your political agenda? What if I don't want to donate to social programs?

And as to the first end of government, paving the way for a stateless world, government must accomplish this by transferring management of the economy from the hands of an elite of private owners, into the hands and democratic control of all the people.

That's not statelessness. That's just a different kind of government. Plus, democracy isn't as great as you think it is. You act like "the people" is some magical, noble, infallible entity that will always make good decisions, when it just comes down to some class of people ruling some other class of people.

Democracy must at last be extended from the political to the economic sphere. Then the work of structuring society to go on without government per se can get started in earnest.

You can't extend a political ideology into economics. Economics is a social science that describes what happens when you do certain things. It doesn't have values like political ideology does. You can't vote away economic facts.

The upshot, then, is that I radically differ with right-libertarians on these central questions, and on ethical and human grounds that are quite fundamental and ethically nonnegotiable for me, not to mention for a rather vast number of people whose thinking isn't steeped in libertarian philosophy.

In other words, any rational argument against your (and others') brand of ethics will be met with you plugging your fingers in your ears and screaming until I leave.

To libertarians I say you seriously need a reality check, and a compassion check, if you really wish to just rush society headlong into playing out your political dream without due consideration of the human consequences.

Compassion isn't a political philosophy, nor is it an economic justification.
charleslb
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6/24/2011 10:19:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/24/2011 7:26:54 PM, rarugged wrote:
Charleslb won't respond, mongeese. He posts rants, responds once, and flees.

He's probably a member of one of the most corrupt, biggest lobbying workers' union in Washington. He's probably black or Latino. He's probably homosexual. He's probably a low-salary, "i-don't-want-to-work-hard", "my-life-is-not-my-fault", "why-can't-rich-people-pay-for-my-lack-of-talent", ugly, welfare-dependent, stay-at-parent's-home, once-homeless, Marxist, Leninist, Maoist, Stalinist, disabled-student, "why-can't-i-get-free-goods" liberal.

So, how's that for generalization?

Charleslb, just shut it. You haven't answered one argument people have made WITH
sources. If it "happens in the real world", link it. Your credibility is nothing. Your words mean nothing. You have absolutely zero qualifications to make any factual, theoretical assertions without the backing of a professional.

You, with your own rhetoric, are nothing.

Thank you for these sweet nothings, dear rarugged. The whole low-wage, Hispanic black homosexual, etc. profile, which I take it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, is really just an attempt to dismiss me with disdain. Well, resorting to such a crude ad hominem retort does you and your ideological camp no credit whatsoever. Rather, the negative class, racial, and sexual-orientation stereotypes that you choose to mock me with only provide confirmation of my analysis of the conservative and right-libertarian mind-set (shared in previous threads). You might wish to take a page from the book of mongeese and cody, note how they actually replied to specific points and constructed arguments, you know, something that demonstrates intellect and the discipline to sit down and formulate one's viewpoint into words. You would represent your viewpoint, whatever that is, much more effectively if you followed their example.

Well now, we all know why some of the right-leaning, pro-capitalist, and libertarian folks here, such as yourself, get so bugged with me, it's not that I don't respond to their replies (in point of fact I often do), and it's not even really the length of my posts or my style of self-expression, it's that I don't buy into and politely play along with your self-image. And, further, I don't allow you-all to frame the issues in terms that are consistent with your self-image. What self-image is that, the self-image of being merely nice & logical individuals who believe in nice & logical doctrines such as "self-ownership", individual liberty, the "free market", etc. No, instead I look at the underlying egoistic psychology of these doctrines (for which I get accused of being excessively "ad hominem"), and I explore the empirical reality of what they could lead to if implemented, as well as the empirical reality of capitalism as it's currently found out in the rough & tumble world of capitalists who fudge your lofty "free-market" principles, break society's rules and laws, exploit and cheat workers and consumers, etc.

Yes, my sin against you is that I poke at and succeed in poking holes in the psychological and economic basis of your idealistic conceptualization of capitalism, and of yourselves as apologists & advocates of capitalism. All this being poked is of course what's so darn annoying to you, but you can't very well acknowledge this, least of all to yourselves, so instead you respond with disdain and/or disparagement. However, if you can ever sit down and be honest, truly honest with yourself, you might just realize that what I'm trying to tell you about the nature of capitalism and your support for it might be maddening, but it's not so mad.

That is, my pesky buzzing about among you as a leftist gadfly is actually just my humble little effort to speak truth to power, the power and ideological dominance of your pro-capitalist outlook in the world today. This is something that we each have a moral obligation to do, for capitalism is causing horrendous global suffering and what with the ecological and climatological effects it's having, it's not hyperbole to say that it's even threatening our survival as a species. Yes, more intelligent young people such as yourself (see how nice I'm being, assuming that you're intelligent when you've just made some comments that evince little thought or intellectual ability) imperatively need to wake to the profoundly insidious and invidious reality of capitalism, and begin speaking the truth to your friends, neighbors, political representatives, and society – before it's altogether too late for human civilization.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
rarugged
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6/25/2011 12:11:21 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/24/2011 10:19:10 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 6/24/2011 7:26:54 PM, rarugged wrote:
Charleslb won't respond, mongeese. He posts rants, responds once, and flees.

He's probably a member of one of the most corrupt, biggest lobbying workers' union in Washington. He's probably black or Latino. He's probably homosexual. He's probably a low-salary, "i-don't-want-to-work-hard", "my-life-is-not-my-fault", "why-can't-rich-people-pay-for-my-lack-of-talent", ugly, welfare-dependent, stay-at-parent's-home, once-homeless, Marxist, Leninist, Maoist, Stalinist, disabled-student, "why-can't-i-get-free-goods" liberal.

So, how's that for generalization?

Charleslb, just shut it. You haven't answered one argument people have made WITH
sources. If it "happens in the real world", link it. Your credibility is nothing. Your words mean nothing. You have absolutely zero qualifications to make any factual, theoretical assertions without the backing of a professional.

You, with your own rhetoric, are nothing.

Thank you for these sweet nothings, dear rarugged. The whole low-wage, Hispanic black homosexual, etc. profile, which I take it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, is really just an attempt to dismiss me with disdain. Well, resorting to such a crude ad hominem retort does you and your ideological camp no credit whatsoever. Rather, the negative class, racial, and sexual-orientation stereotypes that you choose to mock me with only provide confirmation of my analysis of the conservative and right-libertarian mind-set (shared in previous threads). You might wish to take a page from the book of mongeese and cody, note how they actually replied to specific points and constructed arguments, you know, something that demonstrates intellect and the discipline to sit down and formulate one's viewpoint into words. You would represent your viewpoint, whatever that is, much more effectively if you followed their example.

Well now, we all know why some of the right-leaning, pro-capitalist, and libertarian folks here, such as yourself, get so bugged with me, it's not that I don't respond to their replies (in point of fact I often do), and it's not even really the length of my posts or my style of self-expression, it's that I don't buy into and politely play along with your self-image. And, further, I don't allow you-all to frame the issues in terms that are consistent with your self-image. What self-image is that, the self-image of being merely nice & logical individuals who believe in nice & logical doctrines such as "self-ownership", individual liberty, the "free market", etc. No, instead I look at the underlying egoistic psychology of these doctrines (for which I get accused of being excessively "ad hominem"), and I explore the empirical reality of what they could lead to if implemented, as well as the empirical reality of capitalism as it's currently found out in the rough & tumble world of capitalists who fudge your lofty "free-market" principles, break society's rules and laws, exploit and cheat workers and consumers, etc.

Yes, my sin against you is that I poke at and succeed in poking holes in the psychological and economic basis of your idealistic conceptualization of capitalism, and of yourselves as apologists & advocates of capitalism. All this being poked is of course what's so darn annoying to you, but you can't very well acknowledge this, least of all to yourselves, so instead you respond with disdain and/or disparagement. However, if you can ever sit down and be honest, truly honest with yourself, you might just realize that what I'm trying to tell you about the nature of capitalism and your support for it might be maddening, but it's not so mad.

That is, my pesky buzzing about among you as a leftist gadfly is actually just my humble little effort to speak truth to power, the power and ideological dominance of your pro-capitalist outlook in the world today. This is something that we each have a moral obligation to do, for capitalism is causing horrendous global suffering and what with the ecological and climatological effects it's having, it's not hyperbole to say that it's even threatening our survival as a species. Yes, more intelligent young people such as yourself (see how nice I'm being, assuming that you're intelligent when you've just made some comments that evince little thought or intellectual ability) imperatively need to wake to the profoundly insidious and invidious reality of capitalism, and begin speaking the truth to your friends, neighbors, political representatives, and society – before it's altogether too late for human civilization.

Oh God, are you so idiotic as to not get the hint from my 2nd paragraph?

You NEVER respond to libertarian arguments. I knew you would reply to my post, but ignore mongoose's, because he ACTUALLY. MAKES. LOGICAL. ARGUMENTS. Something you can't handle. You never respond coherently. You are a simple embarrassment to your more educated liberal colleagues. You have lost a fair debate on libertarianism v. socialism, but you continued to b!tch like a child.

Come on, seriously, if you are going to start a worldwide Marxist revolution, at LEAST be able to defend your arguments. AT LEAST, study the world around you with impartiality. AT LEAST, attend just ONE course in history, not sucking up to the media. Come on, Lenin is shaking his head.

Your kind are bigots unto death. You cannot take criticism, nor can you defend yourself, so you resort to bullsh1t rhetoric. You don't think critically in the least. You think your set of morals are superior to others.

http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...

This is his failed website. Note how no one cares for his retarded assertions, nor even bother to sort through his flowery language. Notice how he basically says fuc* the American dream in one of his rants. Marxist much?

34-years old and trying to start a socialist revolution. You must really be an idiot!

1) Actually, work hard, instead of b1tching on a website. Americans are hard-working; you probably stick out like a sore thumb.

2) Attend a history class. No, socialism did not bring us where we are today. No, socialism did not help anyone else. And yes, socialist revolutions will fail. You will be another forgotten episode of idiocy.

3) Get a real website. Funny how you ask for donations. Donations for what exactly? You want people to voluntarily give up money to you so you can get elected to forcefully take money from them? Get the fuc* outta here. Your design is poor. Your layout is embarrassing. Your false membership is composed of only you.

4) Learn how to adapt. Yes, your website has been running for 6 years. No, it has not worked. Yes, no one gives a sh1t about your views. No, you will not succeed.
LEARN, BRO. LEARN. REAL LIFE ISN'T THAT SIMPLE. Did I also mention you should do something productive instead of b1tch?

5) Get a life. Dude, you're 34. You have no credentials. You have no support. Does that ring a bell? I assume you're not married nor have kids. Please, do something with your life. It pains me watching middle-aged men going through their periods.

Conclusion

Charleslb, you are such a loser.
If Jesus came back tomorrow, a cross would be the last thing he would want to see.
charleslb
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6/26/2011 4:56:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/
... Charleslb, you are such a loser...

Well, at least you attempt to explore where I'm coming from, which is what my attempts at critically psychologizing conservatives and right-libertarians is really all about. However, you over-personalize and limit your psychologizing to moi. This is what reduces your observations about me to a mere and rank ad hominem attack, as opposed to my more general if amateur psychoanalysis of conservative and libertarian ideologies and ideologues. In other words, you've failed at your petty and petulant attempt to turn my own modus operandi against me.

Secondly, well I've just alluded to your petulance, actually your tone is decidedly hostile and angry, this too undercuts it's pretension of being analytical. Another reason that I have to give you a big ole FAIL. Yes, you just let too much of your nonobjective anger come through in blatantly irate and insulting remarks. You even fall into name-calling, which does you no credit at all.

Now then, as to your charge that I never meet my opponent's arguments head on with logical counterarguments, that's simply not true. Perhaps in the subjective and quite biased estimation of the right-leaning folks at this site what arguments I've offered up, here and there, were weak, but I have in fact provided nonpsychologistic arguments in many threads. It's just the tendency of right-libertarians to reflexively and utterly dismiss my arguments that leaves you-all with the false impression that I never muster logical or empirical arguments. Actually, some of my arguments might fare quite favorably against libertarian arguments with more moderate and impartial folks. So then, your criticism that I don't put up any bona fide arguments against your camp's dogmas is simply false.

Of course I maintain that there's a genuine legitimacy to my psychologistic arguments too, and I suspect that the reason you and your fellow right-wingers so strongly balk at them is rather obvious, they, my psychologistic arguments and criticisms, hit way too close to the real cognitive-emotional-egoistic home of your politics and other opinions.

At any rate, the irony is that your type of reply only confirms a good part of my analysis of the rightist mentality, so I guess that I should actually thank you for your meant-to-be-hurtful reply – thanks!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
rarugged
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6/26/2011 5:34:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
So respond to the arguments above me then?

Line-for-line?

Unless you're too pusillanimous to do so.
If Jesus came back tomorrow, a cross would be the last thing he would want to see.
mongeese
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6/26/2011 5:58:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
charles, don't let rarugged distract you from the actual discussion of the topic at hand. Both Cody and I have raised valid points against your ideas that need to be dealt with.
DaveElectric
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6/26/2011 8:22:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If you ask you average libertarian/anarcho-capitalist about whether they believe government is the only infringer of liberty most would say no. Clearly, there are cultural attitudes and manifestions that can restrict personality liberty such as the family, peer groups, business managers, etc The question is should all questions of tyranny be political questions? It isn't that libertarians do not acknowledge other tyannies other than government it is that they choose not to make those issues political. There is no need to politicize everything.

"And because right-libertarians are so ideologically fixated on government and its insidious nature, any expansion of government whatsoever is interpreted as an expansion of government's capacity to be a menace to our individual autonomy. As a result, even the utilization of government for purposes that have a benevolent and humane effect, such as Medicare, which enables millions of elderly to obtain the health care they require for a decent quality of life, is looked upon askance, as a devious way of broadening the role and power of government in our lives." -charleslb

Let's look at two words you used: benovolent and humane. These words are loaded. There is no universal standard for what "benovolence" is. Some people will say taking from the rich and giving to the poor is benovolent awhile some will say only charity is truely benevolent. Some will say charity isn't even benevolent at all. They will say "Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". There is no universal standard for what "humaneness" is either for similiar reasons. Everyone is going to disagree and you cannot get an ought from an is.

Before there can be a debate there must be some agreement on values and definitions. Nobody can or even should debate you since you're already equiping your arguements with incoherent words and phrases that we are unlikely to agree upon.

Now onto Medicare. Assuming Medicare is as efficient as it is cracked up to be we should pay attention to the basic economic concept of oppurtunity costs. Everything has tradeoffs and everything is related to everything else. If you want to buy a bycycle then you won't be able to buy a skateboard. If one city is subsidized it is only because another city is taxed. There is an equal and opposite reaction so to speak. So how does Medicare help the elderly? Well only by hurting the non-elderly which immediately begs the qestion why are the elderly so morally superior to younger folk? If the elderly are of equal moral standing compared to everyone else then why must everyone else be punished? There is no clear reason why younger folks must commit to sacrifice for the sake of the elderly.

"The capitalist system and its elite, of which government is largely just an instrument, is actually the greater and structurally deeper trespasser and arrogator of our humanity and liberty."

Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production in the contex of a free market. A free market implies an absence of statism so your attempt to connect capitalism with government is dubious. There is a difference between the free market theoretical idea of capitalism and what uneducated people call capitalism (ie "state capitalism"). See "Vulgar Libertarianism" under Kevin Carson.

Oh here we go again...words like "humanity" which can entail just about anything. Everyone has a different idea of what "humanity" is.

"That is, under capitalism working individuals in the hire of owners no longer own their own productive activity and creativity, their labor and creativity is assimilated to the interests and dominion of their employer."

You must provide reasons why the workers should own the means of production. Simply asserting that they are deprived of what they "own" is circular reasoning. You point that managers control the means of production and therefore the activities of workers is an act of contex dropping. You ignoring how the managers got to those positions and how they started those businesses. They started those businesses by saving and accumulating capital. To deprive them of ownership of that capital would be to deprive them of the fruits of their productive activity and creativity.

"This of course has the very real and oppressive effect of denying human being's "ownership" of their most fundamental spiritual reality, i.e. the creativity that we all embody."

Your creativity ends where mine begins. Also, "oppressive" is a incoherent term.

"The way it works is quite simple. When another, a "boss", takes proprietorship over the external expression of our intrinsic endowment of energy, productivity, talent, and ingenuity in the form of "work", "

No no no. The boss is not "taking propretorship". He is creating it. Calling the capitalist's creation of propreitorship a "taking" is assuming the very thing you are trying to prove.

"when our work is reduced to being the property of someone else, this has the rather implicit tendency to alienate us from it, and from all the creativity that it manifests, from our very interiority, that is. Our own interiority ceases to feel like it's ours anymore, and becomes just another commodity exploited by someone above us in the economic food chain."

First of all, not everyone feels these intense feelings of alienation. Many of us are completely okay with renting our labor out. Second, your are ignoring the alienation you will cause to the capitalists who saved and accumulated capital if the workers were to violently usurp the capital.

"This is the real and worst sin against humanity of capitalism, it commodifies human beings, commodifies the portion of the transcendental mystery of creativity that we all personify."

Commodifying human beings exists no matter what society you live. The only difference is who is going to do the commodofying? The capitalist? The worker co-ops? Or the commune? No matter what you are going to commodied by someone.

"Capitalism doesn't have to be egregiously exploitative to harm us in this humanistic and spiritual sense, doesn't have to outrightly enslave us to adversely impact our freedom, it merely has to rob us of our rightful feeling for our own inward creative liberation. Which it does, thereby leaving masses of working human beings in a profound if partially unconscious state of alienation and unfreedom."

Again, not everyone has these feelings toward socialism You have to actually make an arguement for socialism. You can't just assert that capitalism is robbery. Property norms are social constructs after all.

"This all too common alienated state of course manifests itself in many ways, from the free-floating dissatisfaction that so many of us feel with our jobs.....They may not grasp it consciously, but they certainly feel, correctly, that their jobs aren't really a part of their lives, i.e. that their jobs are a portion of their lives they're giving up and selling for a paycheck."

I'm sorry but being disatisfied with you job isn't quite the same thing as wanting to take control over the means of production. Either way all your talk about how hate for the capitalist system is common place is irrelevant to whether socialism is better. People can very well hate capitalism, but then when they try socialism it completely fails and as a result they hate socialism even more than capitalism.

This post is getting long I'm going to have to make another post to continue this.
DaveElectric
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6/26/2011 8:42:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm going to skip all the talk of alienation for those feelings are not universal.

"This is to say that capitalism is a system in which there will always be an inherent asymmetrical power differential between the rich and the majority of us"

First of all, every society has asymmetical difference is power. Society needs order, order needs rules, and rules need rulers. Simply proclaiming the rulership of management is not an arguement. Also, asymmetrical power differences ought to exist because there are asymmetrical differences in the value and worth of human beings.

"and this imbalance of power will always and systematically work to unjustly ensure and enhance the social privilege and dominance of a favored few over the bulk of society's population."

Since when was average a source of value? The best and brightest human beings should be rewarded. So what if there is an imbalance of power? Some imbalances of power are justified.

"In the capitalist social scheme of things there are alpha capitalists and omega workers, and the omega workers are under the politico-economic hegemony of the alphas to the extent that their political enfranchisement and human autonomy is a façade of the de facto plutocracy."

Contex dropping

"To put it in an overly-simplistic formula, no economic equality, no freedom."

Equality =/= freedom. Freedom comes from power and authority especially over your own body. Your freedom ends where another begins. All societies exhibit freedom. The only difference between societies is how the freedom is distributed.

"And within the bounds of capitalism, clearly, there's no economic equality, not even much pretense of economic equality. Alas then, capitalism, in relation to every social and existential dimension of our lives, is inimical to the "self-ownership" that's a sine qua non for human individuality and personhood, the power structure and the culture of economic subjection under capitalism is the real foe of freedom."

"Freedom" is a relative idea dude. Every society is a foe to someone's freedom.

"Right-libertarians of course don't see any of this, and they ideologically misconstrue the very concept of "self-ownership" into a rationale and rationalization for the egoism at the heart of the capitalist ethos."

Not all anarcho-capitalists and right libertarians based their support of capitalism on "self-ownership". There is no universal standard for where "self-ownership" ends.

"Yes, libertarian types confuse egoism with individuality, they advocate an egoism in the guise of self-ownership that would mean carte blanche for a small percentage of alphas to selfishly assert their individuality and in the process squelch the individuality of the rest of us."

In this contex, your individuality begins where another ends.

"Here is where I most certainly part company with pro-capitalist libertarians, for the only way there can ever be a society of self-owning and free people is for us to bring off the total abolition of capitalism."

Again, freedom is a relative idea. There is no point in saying one society has a monopoly on freedom.

"The other point on which I differ with libertarians is on what to do with and make of government in the meanwhile, in the not-set up-for-a-governmentless-society time we live in today. Libertarians, it seems, would like to begin acting, or playacting like we're already living in a society that's set up to do without government, they would like to abolish, virtually overnight, all regulation on capitalist greed and bad behavior, and all benevolent programs to help the much-maligned needy"

There is this concept called "Vulgar Libertarianism" which might be valueable too you. Regardless, I don't think any libertarian thinks we can just simply abolish government overnight. Clearly there are non-free market privilieges that need to be corrected in order for their to be a true free market.
charleslb
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6/27/2011 4:25:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 10:29:51 PM, mongeese wrote:
There are many regulations that go along with Medicare, and it is carelessly expensive, to the point where it's a huge dent in our budget. Also, if it is so humane, then why must a government steal money from everybody to fund it?

Firstly, Medicare and other such programs suffer from the ill effects of politicians playing politics, from the fiscal malfeasance of politicians, and from certain design flaws, they are not inherently bad ideas, contra the ideological perspective of adherents of various free-marketarian isms.

Secondly, that a program is humane doesn't guarantee everyone's willingness to support it, as not all people are sufficiently humane after all. Now then, as to your characterization of taxing people to finance humane programs being "stealing", sorry, but this is just the sort of rhetoric that I'm often accused of.

Nope, it's not at all "stealing" for government to tax its citizens, for we're not the ontologically discrete individual monads that certain ideologies, with their emphasis on "self-ownership", view us to be. Our existence, our existential and social and economic lot and well-being are all a quite thoroughly interdependent proposition. This means that we're all ineluctably "involved in humanity", as John Donne would say, that we all have a responsibility to one another and to society, a responsibility based not upon an invented "social contract", but on something quite deeper than that, upon the very metaphysics of existence and life and society.

That is, reality itself, reality at the most foundational level is relational, not atomized, everything that is is by virtue of the creative interaction of its energies and particles and creatures. This brings us right back to our ontologically incumbent responsibility to one another. How so? That we're all connected means that we don't have a right to function like separate and selfish units, that we do have a duty to cooperate with, support, and aid each other and the common good. After all, we all benefit in some way from the common good, and therefore are obligated to give back to it. Taxing people to this end, to fund programs to enhance the welfare of others, and the common good, is just a way that society recognizes, reflects, and actualizes the inner interconnectivity and holism and mutual responsibility of being in the world. Some people may not be interested in "voluntarily" participating in said mutual responsibility on a conscious level, but it's everyone's truest nature to do so, and an involuntary imposition on no one. Gadzooks, it's certainly not "stealing"!

We have the freedom to do what we want with our body. We can work for ourselves, ...

Capitalism, my friend, in most certainly not a true worker's paradise in which we're all perfectly and ideally at liberty to do what we want with our own bodies, to exploit and profit from our own labor as we wish. Capitalism is a system instead based on a violation of the second formulation of Kant's categorical imperative, to never use another human being as a means to your own selfish end. This is the fundamental and humanistically wrong nature of capitalism, which no one, certainly no workingperson can escape.

That is, ours is a socioeconomic system that's structurally geared for exploitation, for business owners and outside factors to determine for us how we'll participate in the economic activities of society. As opposed to being a system that promotes an egalitarian freedom to be the spiritual navigator of one's own journey within the matrix of life's transcendental mutuality.

No, alas, the theoretical freedom that you believes exists in a "free-market" state of affairs is just that, a theory of free-marketarian philosophy, not a fact of life under capitalism. Under capitalism everyone who isn't an owner is forced to degrade him/herself into prostituting his/her labor. As for owners, morally it's even worse for them, for they're degraded into the whoremongers of our labor, and being a pimp is always more morally contemptible than being a prostitute.

So this is capitalism, real-world capitalism for you, a society of human beings all reduced, existentially and morally, to prostitutes and pimps, not the society of free, self-owning, and dignified individuals of the conservative's cloud-cuckoo-land vision of the "free market".

Reduced to being the property of someone else? You sold the product for money, just as you would have if you were selling it at a store.

You feel as if you are separated from your own creativity? It sounds like a personal problem.

Unfortunately it's an endemic human problem in our form of society, that you don't recognize this sounds like a personal problem or ideological inclination of yours.

It's that, or you sell it for a price from a buyer.

We're back to the degrading reduction of human beings and their labor to a commodity. And the degradation of society from a web of mutually respectful and responsible relationships into a sordid and exploitative web of meretricious relationships.

What occupation are you refering to, exactly?

Any job performed by a worker for an owner, any economic activity not performed on a basis of egalitarian mutuality, is inherently exploitative.

If a man offers you ten dollars an hour to work in his factory, fusing your labor with his machinery to create products, you have the liberty to say yes or no. Such are your rights.

Again, only in the unempirical theory of free-market fundamentalists.

One has autonomy in that he cannot be forced to do work by another human being.

Oh yeah, come down from the free-marketeer's ivory tower with its library stocked full of the works of von Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, et al, and explore the way that capitalism shapes up in the, dare I say it again, the real world. How much genuine autonomy do real-world workers, dependent on owners and the economy they control, get to exercise in Thailand or Mexico?!

What? If I have $200 and Bob has $500, I am no longer free to do what I want?

Bob should not be free to own a disproportionate amount of wealth that gives him the power to exploit you and circumscribe your freedom and "autonomy". The freedom to deprive your neighbor of his/her freedom is not at all a legitimate form of freedom, just as the freedom to knock someone down and take his wristwatch would not be a valid form of freedom. I.e., not all freedom is good and desirable, some forms of freedom are mere license.

What gives the government the right to dub an action as "greedy" and/or subject to regulation? Or rob from the rich to give to the poor, taking a mightly large chunk for themselves, when the rich would otherwise give a fair amount to the poor regardless?

Firstly, this is like a medieval Viking asking what gives a government the right to dub raping and pillaging unacceptable behavior; after all, it's quite pleasurable behavior if you're the viking and not the woman getting brutalized. It seems that you, and most pro-capitalist conservatives tend to identify with the Vikings of capitalism, aka the owners and fat cats, not the workers and underclass getting brutalized.

Secondly, government has the same right to protect workers and poor people that it had to protect peasants from Vikings. Our modern capitalist Vikings are the ones who have no real right to engage in the exploitative and selfish conduct that their wont to engage in. And yes, this sometimes involves reallocating through social programs some of the wealth produced by workers and expropriated by owners back to the workers who created it in the first place.

As for the charitableness of owners being enough to ensure a decent quality of life for all, ha!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
mongoose
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6/27/2011 5:21:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/26/2011 4:56:20 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 6/
... Charleslb, you are such a loser...

Well, at least you attempt to explore where I'm coming from, which is what my attempts at critically psychologizing conservatives and right-libertarians is really all about. However, you over-personalize and limit your psychologizing to moi. This is what reduces your observations about me to a mere and rank ad hominem attack, as opposed to my more general if amateur psychoanalysis of conservative and libertarian ideologies and ideologues. In other words, you've failed at your petty and petulant attempt to turn my own modus operandi against me.

Actually, that's exactly what makes his more accurate. You are attempting too psychologically analyze a large group of people who you don't know. All you can do is make guesses as to why they do certain things, which are pretty much always wrong. When he analyzes you, he knows how you act. He knows how you don't make arguments, make long ridiculous rhetorical speeches filled to the brim with egotistical arrogance, and uses that to make an accurate assertion about YOU. Out of 10, you get about a -10 for that last paragraph.
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/27/2011 5:26:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/23/2011 10:37:50 PM, mongeese wrote:
At 6/23/2011 6:23:33 PM, charleslb wrote:
Conclusion

In this way anti-regulation, anti-welfare libertarians somewhat remind me of ole Pol Pot, who was prepared to actualize his vision for society by mercilessly marching his people into the jungle to begin living in a fashion that most of them weren't on board with or ready for.

What?

Exactly what I said, some libertarians really do sound like ideological true believers who are prepared to usher in their libertopia, so to speak, and the real-world human costs be damned.

We don't plan to march you anywhere. We just intend to march out of the jungle.

Well, if you have no program for society, if you just want to be separatists practicing your ideology, then do so and cease & desist from advocating the implementation of your theories on a societal scale. Yes, stop supporting politicians, such as Ron Paul, who would totally deregulate business, à la your free-marketarianism, to the enormous detriment of workers and the poor. Mm-hmm, when free-market fundamentalists stop trying to influence public policy, then I'll take more of a live and let live attitude toward them, and stop critiquing the psychology of their ideology.

Why must this transition include regulatory government?

Because while there are still exploitative capitalists they need to be regulated in the best interest of society as a whole. And while there's not yet an equitable distribution of society's wealth, society needs legislation and programs to protect the welfare of the poor.

The rich would suddenly have much less taxes, and they'll be able to give more to the poor. Even today, people in the streets could earn up to $20,000 a year just by panhandling. If taxes are removed, they can get even more.

Oh my, cliché the rationalizing rhetoric of liberating the fat cats from taxation, and of this being something that would be good for the underdog! Yeah sure, if we give all power to the rich they'll just use it to become the beautifully humanitarian benefactors of the same people they've turned into peons. Yeah, this is really logical. NOT!

Wait, street criminals are created by capitalism now? And capitalists are predators?

Yep, that's only a puzzler to a believer in capitalism. Those who look at the capitalist system with wide-open and critical eyes soon perceive that the adverse socioeconomic conditions created by capitalism and the unenlightenedly self-interested behavior of alpha capitalists are factors in causing crime. Moralistic conservatives would of course prefer to shift all of the blame to the street-level crook himself, assigning none to capitalism and capitalists, but most people who aren't pro-capitalist dogmatists can understand and acknowledge the relevance of socioeconomic conditions to producing society's high crime statistics.

As to your questioning how capitalists can be viewed as predators, they can be viewed this way because all too frequently their behavior is exceedingly predatory. If you're not aware of this then you need to study the species Homo capitalicus a bit more thoroughly.

By what right? You deprive the owners of their right to their property forcefully and without consent.

It's business owners who expropriate the wealth created by workingpeople. Lest we forget or gloss that little factoid, it's workingpeople who create the wealth that owners own! Capitalism, therefore, is a system in which plenty of people are already being deprived of their right to their fair piece of society's economic prosperity pie. But you seem to identify more with owners, and what you feel would be the unfairness of depriving them of the right of retain ownership of the wealth that they wantonly expropriate. You might wish to introspectively explore this.

Now then, actually no one has a "right" to own anything in an egoistically separatist fashion, this goes back to the ontological interdependence and mutuality of reality. We are not ontologically self-contained economic actors, "owning" things on an individual basis. Such individuality, rather, is illusory in the first place! It also follows that the goods and wealth that ontologically ignorant people might wish to "own" are not separate items that can be owned away from the organic unity of existence either. Thus no, it's a fundamental mistake to even begin to think in terms of "owning".

You're going to elect your CEOs, then? Or abolish the CEOs and leave the companies with no direction? Or what?

Hmm, so you think it's somehow better having companies run by private CEOs who eliminate the jobs of millions of people, CEOs who outsource jobs to Third World sweatshops rather than pay their fellow man and woman a decent wage, CEOs who have left cities such as St. Louis in economic shambles with virtually no industrial jobs, CEOs who are constantly raising prices and the cost of living for consumers, CEOs who royally shaft their employees out of their benefits and pensions, CEOs whose globalized behavior creates economic hardship for the bulk of humanity, and CEOs who don't have enough shame about any of this to refrain from giving themselves $20 million "golden parachutes".

Could a system in which we're all responsible to each other, including those individuals who manage the economy, be a worse proposition?! Oops, I made the mistake of phrasing that statement in the form of a question, now watch the floodgates of free-marketarian theory unleash a torrent of economic arguments and rationalizations to show why public control of the economy would be a catastrophic idea.

The upshot, then, is that I radically differ with right-libertarians on these central questions, and on ethical and human grounds that are quite fundamental and ethically nonnegotiable for me, not to mention for a rather vast number of people whose thinking isn't steeped in libertarian philosophy. To libertarians I say you seriously need a reality check, and a compassion check, if you really wish to just rush society headlong into playing out your political dream without due consideration of the human consequences.

Ah, but we have considered the consequences, except we did it using our knowledge of economics instead of our knowledge of rhetoric.

Translation: Right-libertarians and other doctrinaire believers in the "free market" have an intricate body of economic theory and rationalizing political arguments galore to defend a point of view that would otherwise be readily refuted by empirical reality. That is, right-libertarians dismiss as mere "rhetoric" any morally and emotionally strong statements calling for a more righteous social order than what's on offer from capitalism, and they then proceed to whip out their convoluted economics and pseudologic to legitimize their particular brand of ideological purism.

Right-libertarianism, I'm afraid I must say, is not at all a nice and benign philosophy, it's a pack of fallacious justifications for egoism, greed, and exploitation, i.e. capitalism, the empirical not the quixotically theoretical kind of capitalism. But that being harshly said about capitalism, let me make something clear here, I subscribe to "hate the sin, not the sinner", so in that spirit although I have no positive feelings for capitalism, the system and the philosophy, I certainly do not despise its boosters, even though I might sometimes sound quite critically ad hominem when talking about conservatives and libertarians. I love you all as fellow human beings and sincerely hope that one day you'll outgrow your belief in an inhuman system and ideology. Yes, I'm ever the optimist.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/27/2011 5:33:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/26/2011 5:58:52 PM, mongeese wrote:
charles, don't let rarugged distract you from the actual discussion of the topic at hand. Both Cody and I have raised valid points against your ideas that need to be dealt with.

Yes, I agree mongeese, and have just replied to your points. Thank you, by the way, for making authentically analytical points that dissect my post, rather than doing as some others apparently prefer to do and launching an unsophisticated attack on my personality. To them I'll just say that such attacks on my personality don't really sting my feelings, they're just uninteresting. But again, thank you for being different this time, mongeese, and actually taking apart my arguments. See my reply above to see how I deal with your criticisms.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/27/2011 5:40:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/26/2011 8:22:27 PM, DaveElectric wrote:
Let's look at two words you used: benovolent and humane. These words are loaded. There is no universal standard for what "benovolence" is...

Well, we certainly have many points of disagreement, actually we have quite diametrically opposite takes on the nature of capitalism, however I very much do appreciate the obvious intelligence of your reply. I'll add you to the unfortunately short list of what I call thoughtful and smart responders to my posts, as opposed to those who prefer to just name-call and spew insults. Yes, it's always refreshing to receive a reflective reply such as yours, thanks again.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
mongeese
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6/27/2011 10:29:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/27/2011 4:25:59 PM, charleslb wrote:
Firstly, Medicare and other such programs suffer from the ill effects of politicians playing politics, from the fiscal malfeasance of politicians, and from certain design flaws, they are not inherently bad ideas, contra the ideological perspective of adherents of various free-marketarian isms.

Naturally. Few things are "inherently bad" ideas. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. One must look not at the intentions behind an act, but the implications of it.

Secondly, that a program is humane doesn't guarantee everyone's willingness to support it, as not all people are sufficiently humane after all.

People may disagree on what is humane, but what right have you to force your view of humanity upon others.

Now then, as to your characterization of taxing people to finance humane programs being "stealing", sorry, but this is just the sort of rhetoric that I'm often accused of.

Very well, then I shall defend it. It is stealing because it is taking without consent. Why is a king taking food from the peasants any worse than the government taking property from the rich? Do they have a lesser right to the fruits of their labor?

Nope, it's not at all "stealing" for government to tax its citizens, for we're not the ontologically discrete individual monads that certain ideologies, with their emphasis on "self-ownership", view us to be. Our existence, our existential and social and economic lot and well-being are all a quite thoroughly interdependent proposition. This means that we're all ineluctably "involved in humanity", as John Donne would say, that we all have a responsibility to one another and to society, a responsibility based not upon an invented "social contract", but on something quite deeper than that, upon the very metaphysics of existence and life and society.

Some people enjoy being part of society; others prefer seclusion. Why should people be forced to participate in society if they do not want to play their part? And why does being part of a society enable that society to dictate what you do with your life in any way? We are not, after all, bees with a hive mind, but individuals.

That is, reality itself, reality at the most foundational level is relational, not atomized, everything that is is by virtue of the creative interaction of its energies and particles and creatures. This brings us right back to our ontologically incumbent responsibility to one another. How so? That we're all connected means that we don't have a right to function like separate and selfish units, that we do have a duty to cooperate with, support, and aid each other and the common good.

But who is to judge to what degree people must cooperate with and support each other? By what right may you force an individual to "cooperate" with society? It is probably in his best interest, but should that not be the individual's call, and not the majority's?

After all, we all benefit in some way from the common good, and therefore are obligated to give back to it.

I benefit from a movie theater opening up close by; I give back by buying the tickets and commodities and fund it. I will choose what actions I can benefit from, and benefit them while simultaneously giving back to them at my own liberty.

Taxing people to this end, to fund programs to enhance the welfare of others, and the common good, is just a way that society recognizes, reflects, and actualizes the inner interconnectivity and holism and mutual responsibility of being in the world.

"Society" referring to the majority, or what? What gives 51% of the people the right to tell the other 49% what they can and cannot do?

Some people may not be interested in "voluntarily" participating in said mutual responsibility on a conscious level, but it's everyone's truest nature to do so, and an involuntary imposition on no one. Gadzooks, it's certainly not "stealing"!

So you're not really forcing anyone to do anything, you're just making them do what their "truest nature" commands? But what if their "truest nature" doesn't agree with the particular social program that you're trying to implement? Or is everybody supposed to support all social programs?

We have the freedom to do what we want with our body. We can work for ourselves, ...

Capitalism, my friend, in most certainly not a true worker's paradise in which we're all perfectly and ideally at liberty to do what we want with our own bodies, to exploit and profit from our own labor as we wish. Capitalism is a system instead based on a violation of the second formulation of Kant's categorical imperative, to never use another human being as a means to your own selfish end.

Kant is most certainly not infallible. Besides, it's not like that won't happen under communism; everybody would instead try to live off of each other.

This is the fundamental and humanistically wrong nature of capitalism, which no one, certainly no workingperson can escape.

One could start a service of mowing lawns, or braiding hair, or anything, really. One doesn't have to work for another person.

That is, ours is a socioeconomic system that's structurally geared for exploitation, for business owners and outside factors to determine for us how we'll participate in the economic activities of society.

How does one have any more freedom under communism, or whatever it is that you advocate? The only change I can see is that people would be able to do things that society doesn't actually feel is important. Under capitalism, a man lives by producing goods or services that society demands, but under communism, he need only do something, regardless of its importance, which skews his priorities away from society.

As opposed to being a system that promotes an egalitarian freedom to be the spiritual navigator of one's own journey within the matrix of life's transcendental mutuality.

You can't do that under capitalism? Why not? Or do you support the freedom to find oneself while not doing anything productive?

No, alas, the theoretical freedom that you believes exists in a "free-market" state of affairs is just that, a theory of free-marketarian philosophy, not a fact of life under capitalism. Under capitalism everyone who isn't an owner is forced to degrade him/herself into prostituting his/her labor.

As opposed to doing what with it? Using it for oneself? Not using it?

As for owners, morally it's even worse for them, for they're degraded into the whoremongers of our labor, and being a pimp is always more morally contemptible than being a prostitute.

Do you think prostitution should be illegal, then?