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Amy Coney Barrett

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  • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
    Again, it's the size of a US state. Anything we can do here, is something any of your states ought to be able to do.
    Again, it might be 'the size of a US state' but it has less population than, say, Los Angeles. It's also in the middle of the bloody ocean, rather than being surrounded by countless other states. It's simply not remotely reasonable to try to compare NZ to the US. Culture-wise, government-wise, or size-wise.


    The US government is bloated because both parties work to make that happen. The government in my country isn't, because all parties work to make it not happen. A pattern I see in really successful countries is that the governments in them are really efficient, because there's a cultural understand in those countries that governments ought to be efficient and the parties work to make that happen. The Scandinavian countries likewise expect and have efficiency in their governments.
    Sorry but government is bloated in every country.
    I would indeed say that "personal responsibility" is not a value I have any interest in, and even that I think it's meaningless term with no well-defined content, and it would hence not appear on any list I was making of my top-1000 values
    I'm not surprised. It's a concept that seems foreign to the left. Reliance on Mommy Government rather than taking responsibility for one's own life and one's own actions is common on the left. That's why when there's some rando nutjob that goes on a shooting spree, the gun is what is blamed and focused on by the left, not the person. That's why we've seen the last few days the left blame France (claiming it's their 'racism' that caused it) for it's recent beheadings by Islamic terrorists, rather than the bloody terrorists themselves.

    I think it is a morally-confused term that reflects indoctrination rather than clear thinking.
    It is quite clear thinking and has nothing to do with morality.
    Absolutely and totally not true. This is what I mean about libertarians being naive and ignorant.
    That's not naive and ignorant. It's just an inconvenient fact that you don't like.
    Last edited by Gondwanaland; 10-31-2020, 10:40 AM.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post
      Again, it might be 'the size of a US state' but it has less population than, say, Los Angeles.
      So do many US states.

      It's possible big US states might do worse in general than smaller ones, due to larger population. Though I note the opposite appears to be true. But NZ's population is about the median US state population. So if we can do something, most of your states ought to be able to do it.

      It's simply not remotely reasonable to try to compare NZ to the US. Culture-wise, government-wise, or size-wise.
      It's 100% reasonable. Both English-speaking countries were predominantly British colonized with miscellaneous other European influences but do have significant minority darker-skinned populations that have socio-economic/crime issues, both countries inherited ideas from British law and European political and philosophical traditions. Both have variants of Western culture, and US culture through movies and TV is very much felt in NZ. And NZ's size is comparable with a median US state.

      Sorry but government is bloated in every country.
      A random idiot politician (and that one is one of the biggest idiots of them all) making a random accusation against a government of the other party doesn't actually makes his claims true.

      I'm not surprised. It's a concept that seems foreign to the left. Reliance on Mommy Government rather than taking responsibility for one's own life and one's own actions is common on the left.
      I do want to engage with you some more around this idea of "personal responsibility" because it's clear it's important to you, but I don't see it as very coherent. Perhaps you could expand on it and explain it, if you feel it is a coherent idea and virtue? I've been thinking about it, and it seems to me like it might be another way of saying "maximum selfishness" but dressed up in a propagandistic way to make it sound like you're helping others by being selfish.

      Consider, there's a situation where you might or might not intervene to assist someone else. Your idea of 'personal responsibility' as I suspect you're applying it, is that you ought not to intervene, and instead that it's important that person experiences the outcome of their own choices, and that by doing perhaps that they can become a better person as they learn for themselves not to make bad choices in future. The ultimate application of a principle of 'personal responsibility' is thus that you should never ever do anything to help anyone else. And that seems to also be what the principle of maximum selfishness would tell you to do.

      The only difference is that if I say "I'm not going to help you cos I'm a horrible and selfish person" it might make me feel (rightly) as if I'm a morally bad person. Whereas if I say "I'm not going to help you cos I want to grow you as a person through you taking personal responsibility for your own actions" it makes it sound as if the reason I've taken the selfish action is altruism. It lets me take identically selfish actions but trick myself into thinking they're moral and done for the benefit of others. So this "personal responsibility" thing seems like it's pure selfishness wrapped up in self-delusion to trick oneself into thinking a selfish action is the moral action.

      I will pause here though and say that I think that good parents should indeed, very occasionally and thoughtfully and carefully, perhaps once or twice during their parenting, apply this sort of personal-responsibility to their children's development to ensure the children can make sensible decisions and learn from their mistakes. But it's certainly not something I would want parents doing all of the time or having as their highest value - that would be psychopathic of them and abusive IMO.

      And when it comes to the wider society thriving, there seems absolutely no reason to value this concept of 'personal responsibility' as far as I can see (if you have reasons why, please share them). Making other people suffer when we could help them is just selfishness and sociopathy, and achieves nothing. There is no guarantee they will 'learn from it' in general, no guarantee they'll make 'better decisions' next time, and no guarantee that their suffering currently is actually due to their bad decisions as opposed to bad luck. Instead we'd just be selfishly allowing the suffering of others when it was in our power to prevent it.

      I view this sort of maximal selfishness as pretty close to the definition of evil, and by contrast I would say I view "benevolence toward others" as the literal definition of "moral good".

      Do you see the idea of 'personal responsibility' as equivalent to selfishness or related to it? Perhaps if you don't you could expand on how you see it working? I'm reminded in this context that Ayn Rand thought that selfishness was the great / greatest virtue. Perhaps this is why I struggle with libertarian philosophy, because your greatest 'virtue' is literally almost identical to my very definition of 'evil'.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
        So do many US states.
        Which unlike NZ, are not isolated in the middle of the damn ocean.
        It's possible big US states might do worse in general than smaller ones, due to larger population. Though I note the opposite appears to be true.
        NY would beg to differ.

        But NZ's population is about the median US state population. So if we can do something, most of your states ought to be able to do it.
        Our states, again, are not lone pieces of land in the middle of an ocean.

        It's 100% reasonable. Both English-speaking countries were predominantly British colonized with miscellaneous other European influences but do have significant minority darker-skinned populations that have socio-economic/crime issues, both countries inherited ideas from British law and European political and philosophical traditions. Both have variants of Western culture, and US culture through movies and TV is very much felt in NZ. And NZ's size is comparable with a median US state.
        No, it isn't reasonable. NZ has quite a different culture and quite a different government. Fer Edited by a Moderator, you still bow to a queen. We got over that crap in the 1700s, and made a form of government that deliberately gives the people, and individual states, the power.

        A random idiot politician (and that one is one of the biggest idiots of them all) making a random accusation against a government of the other party doesn't actually makes his claims true.
        Sure looks true to me.....
        I do want to engage with you some more around this idea of "personal responsibility" because it's clear it's important to you, but I don't see it as very coherent. Perhaps you could expand on it and explain it, if you feel it is a coherent idea and virtue? I've been thinking about it, and it seems to me like it might be another way of saying "maximum selfishness" but dressed up in a propagandistic way to make it sound like you're helping others by being selfish.
        What are you on about now? It's clear you don't have a clue, but that's unsurprising, it's a concept foreign to the left. Educate yourself, because the rest of your post is a rambling beatdown of a strawman of your own construction.

        https://www.libertarianism.org/topics/responsibility
        Consider, there's a situation where you might or might not intervene to assist someone else. Your idea of 'personal responsibility' as I suspect you're applying it, is that you ought not to intervene, and instead that it's important that person experiences the outcome of their own choices, and that by doing perhaps that they can become a better person as they learn for themselves not to make bad choices in future. The ultimate application of a principle of 'personal responsibility' is thus that you should never ever do anything to help anyone else. And that seems to also be what the principle of maximum selfishness would tell you to do.
        That's not even remotely personal responsibility. You're literally pulling things straight out your Edited by a Moderator.

        The only difference is that if I say "I'm not going to help you cos I'm a horrible and selfish person" it might make me feel (rightly) as if I'm a morally bad person. Whereas if I say "I'm not going to help you cos I want to grow you as a person through you taking personal responsibility for your own actions" it makes it sound as if the reason I've taken the selfish action is altruism. It lets me take identically selfish actions but trick myself into thinking they're moral and done for the benefit of others. So this "personal responsibility" thing seems like it's pure selfishness wrapped up in self-delusion to trick oneself into thinking a selfish action is the moral action.
        See above. You're pulling things straight from your Edited by a Moderator.

        I will pause here though and say that I think that good parents should indeed, very occasionally and thoughtfully and carefully, perhaps once or twice during their parenting, apply this sort of personal-responsibility to their children's development to ensure the children can make sensible decisions and learn from their mistakes. But it's certainly not something I would want parents doing all of the time or having as their highest value - that would be psychopathic of them and abusive IMO.
        See above.
        And when it comes to the wider society thriving, there seems absolutely no reason to value this concept of 'personal responsibility' as far as I can see (if you have reasons why, please share them). Making other people suffer when we could help them is just selfishness and sociopathy, and achieves nothing. There is no guarantee they will 'learn from it' in general, no guarantee they'll make 'better decisions' next time, and no guarantee that their suffering currently is actually due to their bad decisions as opposed to bad luck. Instead we'd just be selfishly allowing the suffering of others when it was in our power to prevent it.

        I view this sort of maximal selfishness as pretty close to the definition of evil, and by contrast I would say I view "benevolence toward others" as the literal definition of "moral good".

        Do you see the idea of 'personal responsibility' as equivalent to selfishness or related to it? Perhaps if you don't you could expand on how you see it working? I'm reminded in this context that Ayn Rand thought that selfishness was the great / greatest virtue. Perhaps this is why I struggle with libertarian philosophy, because your greatest 'virtue' is literally almost identical to my very definition of 'evil'.
        What I see is someone who has no clue what they are talking about, having invented something from whole cloth.

        And Ayn Rand was not, in fact, a libertarian (though some things in her novels do happen to coincide with libertarianism), she was an objectivist, and was in fact opposed to libertarianism.
        Last edited by Cerebrum123; 11-01-2020, 02:31 PM.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post
          you still bow to a queen.
          There is no bowing, there is no payment of money, and the queen exercises no power. It's a convenient cost-saving legal fiction akin to saying a polar bear was our head of state. It has all the advantages of having no head of state. but technically, if in the future if we ever really really needed one, then we conveniently have a neutral person on the other side of the world who can act in that role if the country actually needed someone in that role (we haven't needed to use them ever in the country's history).

          We got over that crap in the 1700s, and made a form of government that deliberately gives the people, and individual states, the power.
          Indeed, and I am a very firm believer in democracy and think history shows it is by far the best system because it is the only system where the populace, and not the elites, can wield power.

          Unfortunately today the "Democracy Index" ranks the US as only the 25th most democratic country and rates it a "flawed democracy", an assessment you may or may not agree with - I find most Americans I talk to can agree their system currently is showing serious problems. Whereas NZ, and the UK are both ranked as "Full democracy", ahead of the US (NZ is at #4, the UK at #14).

          What are you on about now? It's clear you don't have a clue, but that's unsurprising, it's a concept foreign to the left. Educate yourself, because the rest of your post is a rambling beatdown of a strawman of your own construction.

          https://www.libertarianism.org/topics/responsibility
          That's not even remotely personal responsibility.
          Having read your link, I wouldn't change a single word in my previous post. Exactly what I said I would still say. "Personal responsibility" seems to be a very thinly veiled propagandistic way of saying maximum selfishness. Apart from insulting me you didn't offer a single word of explanation as to why it's not equivalent to selfishness in the way I described.

          But I'll comment on the initial parts of your link...

          Most of us believe that people normally possess free will
          I agree, especially when were are talking in general life context and not arguing the philosophical details.

          It also is commonly held that people are responsible for acquiring the skills necessary to earn a living that would allow them to take care of themselves and their families.
          And they pretty much lost me on the second sentence.

          I would endorse a weaker form of that, that people have a responsibility to make a good faith and serious effort to do this. But at the end of the day I can't at all endorse the idea that the entirety of the responsibility sits on that once person as opposed to being distributed around multiple people in the broader society.

          We believe further that most people are responsible for the direction their lives take and should receive the benefits of their industry and bear the costs of their decisions and mistakes.
          That might be a nice fantasy, but the cold hard facts are nature doesn't work that way. Two farmers can be equally industrious in sowing their fields, but if one gets no rain and then the crops catch a disease and the result is a loss for the year, and the other gets rain and sun and a bumper crop and a huge profit, that's not what they each deserved.

          I'm not opposed to meritocracy in principle but physics / nature isn't meritocratic with regard to humans, as per my example above, and endless similar examples. Disease can strike down the best of people. 5 people can take the same business risk, and it might work out for one of them and fail for the other 4, because that's what a 'risk' means, but that 1 person didn't do anything more right than the others when they took the same risk the others did, they didn't "deserve" their reward nor did the other 4 "deserve" their loss. A person born to poor parents, who gets no education, even with endless hard work is probabilistically never going to achieve as highly as a person born with a silver spoon in their mouths. This cartoon explores nicely the way these kind of effects tend to snowball throughout people's lives.

          A lot of societal intervention is thus required to actually achieve a meritocracy, and to make sure that each person is indeed getting something reasonably proportional to their efforts, and counteract the extreme randomness that the natural physical world tends to inflict and destroy meritocracy with. This can mean basic things like government-provided healthcare, so that if someone randomly gets sick (an undeserved negative random natural event) that they can be gotten well again at no cost to them, because they shouldn't be financially harmed by an event outside their control that they haven't deserved. Or if there's a huge earthquake that levels half a city (again an undeserved negative random natural event) the people who do suffer from that aren't people who deserved it through the merits of their decisions, so the government providing massive financial aid to them would make sense to level out the loss they have undeservedly suffered. Similarly this principle can mean that the government should make a huge effort to ensure that there are no children growing up in damp homes that give them lifelong health problems, because the children didn't take the actions that led to their parents being poor, so the children shouldn't be disadvantaged by the actions they didn't take. Similarly the government should make a huge effort to ensure that all children receive a good education regardless of whether their parents are smart or not or well educated or not, because again the children didn't take the actions that led to their parents being poor / wealthy so the children shouldn't be advantaged / disadvantaged by those actions in a truly meritocratic society.

          I would encourage you to think about what children 'deserve' in a meritocratic society. Because a lot of things happen to children, and affect them during their upbringing for the rest of their lives, and those things are not decisions the children themselves have made, but are a product of society and their parents.

          In general, as per the examples above, I see the actions of my government as fundamentally around trying to ensure a meritocratic society, because nature sure doesn't provide one naturally. Our term here for it is "ensure a level playing field" or "fairness", and those topic gets quite a lot of emphasis here in political discourse, and honestly I think we achieve it pretty well, vastly better than America does. In America, there seems to be an expected progression where the children of the wealthy go to Harvard and the good schools, they get placements in great jobs from friends of their parents, or they go into politics, and get groomed for higher office. By contrast the children of the poor, are statistically likely to remain poor in the US at a massive rate. In New Zealand there really is an understanding in our society that anyone here is capable of doing anything, because we all know the government has made a huge effort to counterbalance out the natural inequalities in society and provide us with as meritocratic society as is humanly achievable. So our political leaders, far from coming from rich and wealthy families, tend to be a totally random slice of the populace. The current PM grew up in a tiny town, a previous one's family had a government-provided house when he was growing up because his parents were poor, etc. The government funds all the universities so they're all good ones, and people get in based on their grades not based on their parents. I'm not saying we've achieved perfect meritocracy, but we've got a long way toward it because as a society we understand the problem of the natural world not producing meritocracy when left to itself, and so we've dedicated a lot of effort as a society into making outcomes fairly reflect effort and merit.

          we believe that the world does not owe anyone a living.
          I think this phrases the issue poorly. The issue is about what kind of society we want to have, and frankly living in a society full of poor and dying people driven to criminality to survive would suck even if you were rich, whereas a society full of people enjoying and loving the fullness of their lives, would be great even if you weren't rich. So it's not about whether we "owe" anyone anything, whatever that is supposed to mean. It's about whether we want to live in a paradise or a hellscape.

          The data shows that not merely is the average person happier in the more equal countries that collect more in taxes and spend more in social services, but rich people are happier in those countries than rich people are in less equal countries that collect less in taxes and spend less in social services. Why does them being taxed more not make them less happy? Well it probably does, but their increase in happiness that results from the society they live in being nicer appears to outweigh that. Being a ridiculously rich person but living in a society where people are dying on the streets, where people are trying to steal your stuff all the time, etc, simply isn't as enjoyable as being a slightly less rich but still rich person in a society where everyone is doing well and which is enjoyable to live in.

          So I think it's important to take the approach of trying to build a society in which human well-being is maximized across society across a large range of values and variables, rather than selecting one value at random (e.g. 'freedom' or 'responsibility') and making that value an absolute and sacrificing all other values at its altar, because you are in danger of creating a hellscape that way. And if you end up with a society where all the other human values have been so thoroughly undermined, it might turn out that the people in that society are psychopaths and no longer have any respect for your own endorsed absolute value of 'freedom' or 'responsibility', and thus you might lose even that value in the society you tried to create to extoll it.

          For myself, looking at history, and then looking at libertarian values, I do think if you ever built your perfect libertarian society it would pretty quickly collapse into feudalism as it has no mechanism to stop people who are selfish from choosing to exert power over others, so some would simply choose to recruit thugs around them and then use their superior strength to enslave others to be their workers, and you'd have a medieval-style authoritarian society. Societies need to have a mechanism to stop selfish people from seizing power over others, and that mechanism is the government which by virtue of being more powerful than those selfish individuals is able to act to restrain them and prevent them enslaving others to their wills. The closer you come to drowning the government in a bathtub, the more the selfish elites are empowered to seize power and enslave others and become modern feudal lords because nobody is stopping them. That's why we see the rise of warlords etc in countries today where the central government has broken down. But the product is neither freedom nor responsibility, it's authoritarian rule.

          It is a central tenet of libertarianism that the values of personal freedom and responsibility are indivisible.
          "Responsibility" seems to me to be a complex cultural construct. Responsible to who, and for what, and why? So I'm not sure I can take it seriously as 'indivisible'. I'll agree that 'freedom' can be more basic, though I think it can have many different layers and nuances.

          I'll stop there with deconstructing that article, that's more than enough to be getting on with...

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
            There is no bowing, there is no payment of money, and the queen exercises no power. It's a convenient cost-saving legal fiction akin to saying a polar bear was our head of state. It has all the advantages of having no head of state. but technically, if in the future if we ever really really needed one, then we conveniently have a neutral person on the other side of the world who can act in that role if the country actually needed someone in that role (we haven't needed to use them ever in the country's history).

            Indeed, and I am a very firm believer in democracy and think history shows it is by far the best system because it is the only system where the populace, and not the elites, can wield power.

            Unfortunately today the "Democracy Index" ranks the US as only the 25th most democratic country and rates it a "flawed democracy", an assessment you may or may not agree with - I find most Americans I talk to can agree their system currently is showing serious problems. Whereas NZ, and the UK are both ranked as "Full democracy", ahead of the US (NZ is at #4, the UK at #14).
            Well the index is clearly tripping, what with the UK litearlly being partly run by a bunch of titled nobles, who are mostly in position via heredity and appointment (by the monarch).

            In any case, the US is not a democracy, and that is by design. We are a federal presidential constitutional republic.

            Having read your link, I wouldn't change a single word in my previous post.
            I'm sure you wouldn't. You still don't grasp what it means.

            Exactly what I said I would still say. "Personal responsibility" seems to be a very thinly veiled propagandistic way of saying maximum selfishness. Apart from insulting me you didn't offer a single word of explanation as to why it's not equivalent to selfishness in the way I described.

            But I'll comment on the initial parts of your link...

            Most of us believe that people normally possess free will
            I agree, especially when were are talking in general life context and not arguing the philosophical details.

            It also is commonly held that people are responsible for acquiring the skills necessary to earn a living that would allow them to take care of themselves and their families.
            And they pretty much lost me on the second sentence.

            I would endorse a weaker form of that, that people have a responsibility to make a good faith and serious effort to do this. But at the end of the day I can't at all endorse the idea that the entirety of the responsibility sits on that once person as opposed to being distributed around multiple people in the broader society.

            We believe further that most people are responsible for the direction their lives take and should receive the benefits of their industry and bear the costs of their decisions and mistakes.
            That might be a nice fantasy, but the cold hard facts are nature doesn't work that way. Two farmers can be equally industrious in sowing their fields, but if one gets no rain and then the crops catch a disease and the result is a loss for the year, and the other gets rain and sun and a bumper crop and a huge profit, that's not what they each deserved.

            I'm not opposed to meritocracy in principle but physics / nature isn't meritocratic with regard to humans, as per my example above, and endless similar examples. Disease can strike down the best of people. 5 people can take the same business risk, and it might work out for one of them and fail for the other 4, because that's what a 'risk' means, but that 1 person didn't do anything more right than the others when they took the same risk the others did, they didn't "deserve" their reward nor did the other 4 "deserve" their loss. A person born to poor parents, who gets no education, even with endless hard work is probabilistically never going to achieve as highly as a person born with a silver spoon in their mouths. This cartoon explores nicely the way these kind of effects tend to snowball throughout people's lives.

            A lot of societal intervention is thus required to actually achieve a meritocracy, and to make sure that each person is indeed getting something reasonably proportional to their efforts, and counteract the extreme randomness that the natural physical world tends to inflict and destroy meritocracy with. This can mean basic things like government-provided healthcare, so that if someone randomly gets sick (an undeserved negative random natural event) that they can be gotten well again at no cost to them, because they shouldn't be financially harmed by an event outside their control that they haven't deserved. Or if there's a huge earthquake that levels half a city (again an undeserved negative random natural event) the people who do suffer from that aren't people who deserved it through the merits of their decisions, so the government providing massive financial aid to them would make sense to level out the loss they have undeservedly suffered. Similarly this principle can mean that the government should make a huge effort to ensure that there are no children growing up in damp homes that give them lifelong health problems, because the children didn't take the actions that led to their parents being poor, so the children shouldn't be disadvantaged by the actions they didn't take. Similarly the government should make a huge effort to ensure that all children receive a good education regardless of whether their parents are smart or not or well educated or not, because again the children didn't take the actions that led to their parents being poor / wealthy so the children shouldn't be advantaged / disadvantaged by those actions in a truly meritocratic society.

            I would encourage you to think about what children 'deserve' in a meritocratic society. Because a lot of things happen to children, and affect them during their upbringing for the rest of their lives, and those things are not decisions the children themselves have made, but are a product of society and their parents.

            In general, as per the examples above, I see the actions of my government as fundamentally around trying to ensure a meritocratic society, because nature sure doesn't provide one naturally. Our term here for it is "ensure a level playing field" or "fairness", and those topic gets quite a lot of emphasis here in political discourse, and honestly I think we achieve it pretty well, vastly better than America does. In America, there seems to be an expected progression where the children of the wealthy go to Harvard and the good schools, they get placements in great jobs from friends of their parents, or they go into politics, and get groomed for higher office. By contrast the children of the poor, are statistically likely to remain poor in the US at a massive rate. In New Zealand there really is an understanding in our society that anyone here is capable of doing anything, because we all know the government has made a huge effort to counterbalance out the natural inequalities in society and provide us with as meritocratic society as is humanly achievable. So our political leaders, far from coming from rich and wealthy families, tend to be a totally random slice of the populace. The current PM grew up in a tiny town, a previous one's family had a government-provided house when he was growing up because his parents were poor, etc. The government funds all the universities so they're all good ones, and people get in based on their grades not based on their parents. I'm not saying we've achieved perfect meritocracy, but we've got a long way toward it because as a society we understand the problem of the natural world not producing meritocracy when left to itself, and so we've dedicated a lot of effort as a society into making outcomes fairly reflect effort and merit.

            we believe that the world does not owe anyone a living.
            I think this phrases the issue poorly. The issue is about what kind of society we want to have, and frankly living in a society full of poor and dying people driven to criminality to survive would suck even if you were rich, whereas a society full of people enjoying and loving the fullness of their lives, would be great even if you weren't rich. So it's not about whether we "owe" anyone anything, whatever that is supposed to mean. It's about whether we want to live in a paradise or a hellscape.

            The data shows that not merely is the average person happier in the more equal countries that collect more in taxes and spend more in social services, but rich people are happier in those countries than rich people are in less equal countries that collect less in taxes and spend less in social services. Why does them being taxed more not make them less happy? Well it probably does, but their increase in happiness that results from the society they live in being nicer appears to outweigh that. Being a ridiculously rich person but living in a society where people are dying on the streets, where people are trying to steal your stuff all the time, etc, simply isn't as enjoyable as being a slightly less rich but still rich person in a society where everyone is doing well and which is enjoyable to live in.

            So I think it's important to take the approach of trying to build a society in which human well-being is maximized across society across a large range of values and variables, rather than selecting one value at random (e.g. 'freedom' or 'responsibility') and making that value an absolute and sacrificing all other values at its altar, because you are in danger of creating a hellscape that way. And if you end up with a society where all the other human values have been so thoroughly undermined, it might turn out that the people in that society are psychopaths and no longer have any respect for your own endorsed absolute value of 'freedom' or 'responsibility', and thus you might lose even that value in the society you tried to create to extoll it.

            For myself, looking at history, and then looking at libertarian values, I do think if you ever built your perfect libertarian society it would pretty quickly collapse into feudalism as it has no mechanism to stop people who are selfish from choosing to exert power over others, so some would simply choose to recruit thugs around them and then use their superior strength to enslave others to be their workers, and you'd have a medieval-style authoritarian society. Societies need to have a mechanism to stop selfish people from seizing power over others, and that mechanism is the government which by virtue of being more powerful than those selfish individuals is able to act to restrain them and prevent them enslaving others to their wills. The closer you come to drowning the government in a bathtub, the more the selfish elites are empowered to seize power and enslave others and become modern feudal lords because nobody is stopping them. That's why we see the rise of warlords etc in countries today where the central government has broken down. But the product is neither freedom nor responsibility, it's authoritarian rule.

            It is a central tenet of libertarianism that the values of personal freedom and responsibility are indivisible.
            "Responsibility" seems to me to be a complex cultural construct. Responsible to who, and for what, and why? So I'm not sure I can take it seriously as 'indivisible'. I'll agree that 'freedom' can be more basic, though I think it can have many different layers and nuances.

            I'll stop there with deconstructing that article, that's more than enough to be getting on with...
            So, nothing remotely like what you described in your previous post, thanks for the tacit admittance.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
              I do want to engage with you some more around this idea of "personal responsibility" because it's clear it's important to you, but I don't see it as very coherent. Perhaps you could expand on it and explain it, if you feel it is a coherent idea and virtue? I've been thinking about it, and it seems to me like it might be another way of saying "maximum selfishness" but dressed up in a propagandistic way to make it sound like you're helping others by being selfish.
              What you call "maximum selfishness" is commonly known as "liberty".

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                There is no bowing, there is no payment of money, and the queen exercises no power. It's a convenient cost-saving legal fiction akin to saying a polar bear was our head of state. It has all the advantages of having no head of state. but technically, if in the future if we ever really really needed one, then we conveniently have a neutral person on the other side of the world who can act in that role if the country actually needed someone in that role (we haven't needed to use them ever in the country's history).
                Act in the role of supreme authority by birthright? Think about that for a minute. Have you ever considered a more primitive form of government?

                Indeed, and I am a very firm believer in democracy and think history shows it is by far the best system because it is the only system where the populace, and not the elites, can wield power.

                Unfortunately today the "Democracy Index" ranks the US as only the 25th most democratic country and rates it a "flawed democracy", an assessment you may or may not agree with - I find most Americans I talk to can agree their system currently is showing serious problems. Whereas NZ, and the UK are both ranked as "Full democracy", ahead of the US (NZ is at #4, the UK at #14).
                Ask Tommy Robinson what he thinks about that full democracy. Ask the people who never heard of Robinson due to the government-mandated media blackout.

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                • Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                  Act in the role of supreme authority by birthright? Think about that for a minute. Have you ever considered a more primitive form of government?



                  Ask Tommy Robinson what he thinks about that full democracy. Ask the people who never heard of Robinson due to the government-mandated media blackout.
                  I hear they are after Robinson again, just arrested him today for 'breaching coronavirus restrictions", for attending a protest/gathering in support of Hatun Tash (former muslim woman and now activist) who was assaulted last week by a Muslim man for displaying an image of Muhammed in public. The same police did nothing at all when BLM was protesting. Such a nice 'full democracy'.

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                  • Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post

                    I hear they are after Robinson again, just arrested him today for 'breaching coronavirus restrictions", for attending a protest/gathering in support of Hatun Tash (former muslim woman and now activist) who was assaulted last week by a Muslim man for displaying an image of Muhammed in public. The same police did nothing at all when BLM was protesting. Such a nice 'full democracy'.
                    Robinson needs to bail out of that place. He's a marked man.

                    And this little ditty (actually this happened a few times)

                    https://www.facebook.com/notes/uk-po...0222007758302/

                    Countries lacking liberty can create all sorts of indexes listing freedoms and happiness until their fingers go numb, but they won't change reality. Sort of like Like a Peoples' Democracy, few are actually fooled anymore. The average American has more freedom than the average Brit (elitists in both countries enjoy many more freedoms). I don't know that much about "if-we-need-a-queen-we-got-one" New Zealand', but I'm guessing it is pretty similar down there.

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                    • Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                      Robinson needs to bail out of that place. He's a marked man.

                      And this little ditty (actually this happened a few times)

                      https://www.facebook.com/notes/uk-po...0222007758302/

                      Countries lacking liberty can create all sorts of indexes listing freedoms and happiness until their fingers go numb, but they won't change reality. Sort of like Like a Peoples' Democracy, few are actually fooled anymore. The average American has more freedom than the average Brit (elitists in both countries enjoy many more freedoms). I don't know that much about "if-we-need-a-queen-we-got-one" New Zealand', but I'm guessing it is pretty similar down there.
                      Indeed.

                      And if NZ is anything like Australia (I'd assume it's rather similar), well, this summer (their winter) we got to see police freely entering homes without warrants and arresting/investigating people for facebook posts encouraging protest against covid lockdowns.

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                      • Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                        Countries lacking liberty can create all sorts of indexes listing freedoms and happiness until their fingers go numb, but they won't change reality.
                        The Human Freedom Index that ranks New Zealand the freest country in the world (and USA #15) is compiled by a bunch of libertarian think-tanks, none of which are in New Zealand: The US Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany.

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                        • Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                          Act in the role of supreme authority by birthright?
                          As I mentioned, but which you seemingly skipped over, the British monarchy exercises in practice no authority in New Zealand, and has not done so for 150+ years. Supreme authority in New Zealand rests in practice in the democratically elected parliament.

                          There's occasional suggestions here that we should become a republic instead, but the trouble with that would be (1) cost, because we'd have to then have a President or something and that would cost money housing him or whatever, easier to let the British pay to house the queen in their country, and (2) the President would have to be appointed politically in some way, which would make them a political figure making them non-neutral in any emergency political dispute they had to rule on, better from the point of neutrality to have a person not appointed by political processes.

                          Have you ever considered a more primitive form of government?
                          Political scientists who have studied Western democracies over the last 200 years seem to generally think New Zealand's style of government is optimal. That is to say, a single-house multi-party parliamentary democracy. Presidential systems appear to lead to problems, gridlocks, and collapses into dictatorships.

                          Ask Tommy Robinson
                          Google tells me he's some far-right UK crazy, so I stopped reading at that point.

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                          • Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post
                            And if NZ is anything like Australia (I'd assume it's rather similar), well, this summer (their winter) we got to see police freely entering homes without warrants and arresting/investigating people for facebook posts encouraging protest against covid lockdowns.
                            That hasn't happened here in NZ (and I struggle to imagine it ever happening here). Nor have I seen any headlines about it happening in Australia, so I'm not really sure of the details of what you're referring to.

                            Also, it seems strange for someone in the US, a country infamous in the Western world for the police being extremely loose with how much they follow due process (from unprovoked shootings of suspects, through to planting drugs, through to turning off body cameras, through to lying about events), to be criticising Australia for that... someone needs to take the branch out of their own eye before complaining about the twig in their neighbours.

                            Police processes are pretty good in New Zealand - we had some big reforms a few decades ago that put in independent authorities to deal with all complaints about police, and that was very successful in cleaning up what had previously been quite a corrupt US-style police culture.

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                            • Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                              What you call "maximum selfishness" is commonly known as "liberty".
                              Lots of societies can have liberty to a greater or lesser degree. But insisting on absolute liberty as the core principle, equates to maximum selfishness, because you are saying under any and all circumstances you should be able to do as you feel like, and that there can never be any society obligation or requirement on you, that society and others in it can never ask or demand anything of you.

                              I am more than familiar with liberty. I live in what a libertarian think-tank says is the freest country in the world. I know all about freedom, probably vastly more that you guys in America in your 15th freest country. But we didn't get to be the freest country by prioritizing absolute freedom. We got to be the freest country by prioritizing fairness, as one American author who visited our country noticed. "Fairness", "kindness" and "being considerate of others" would be the dominant social values here, and those have what have produced a country that a libertarian think-tank thinks is the freest.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                                That hasn't happened here in NZ (and I struggle to imagine it ever happening here). Nor have I seen any headlines about it happening in Australia, so I'm not really sure of the details of what you're referring to.
                                I I managed to see it in America that indicates you're not paying much attention to your neighbor (and leaves me doubting you're paying much attention to your own country).

                                Also, it seems strange for someone in the US, a country infamous in the Western world for the police being extremely loose with how much they follow due process (from unprovoked shootings of suspects, through to planting drugs, through to turning off body cameras, through to lying about events), to be criticising Australia for that... someone needs to take the branch out of their own eye before complaining about the twig in their neighbours.

                                Police processes are pretty good in New Zealand - we had some big reforms a few decades ago that put in independent authorities to deal with all complaints about police, and that was very successful in cleaning up what had previously been quite a corrupt US-style police culture.
                                Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... ......

                                New Zealand Police brutally attack young man in Auckland

                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Ze...duct_by_police

                                https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/cri...arrested--ipca

                                Crowds Protest in New Zealand Against George Floyd's Death and Police Brutality Against Indigenous Communities

                                https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/119...se-by-officers




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