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  • Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
    The greater will of the public is not always fair or reasonable. Sometimes the public majority wants to outright murder a minority. I don't want the greater will of the public to be upheld in those situations. That is why there are supposed to be checks and balances on majority power in the US.
    And I do not have a problem with certain checks, such as rights bills or charters that ensure certain innate individual liberties even against the will of the majority. I also believe in proportional representation, where in a plurality of the vote can not rule over the majority of the electorate. In general I have a great liking for the Westminster system employed in my country primarily because it is a good way of making opposition voices heard while at the same time allowing the wheels of government to properly function, but the first past the post system that handles the election process is not properly representative, which does unfortunately result in pluralities forming majority governments such as we have now, which can then further entrench their own power thanks to the non-democratically elected senate.

    But I digress. Your proposed system would also face problems of majority will over the rights of the minority, because without a third-party body bound by law and an acknowledgement of basic human rights to resolve disputes you will not have an arbitrator and if need be enforcer to make sure that the rights of the minority and individual are upheld. By handing powers over to unregulated local authorities not bound by a global law you open up severe opportunities for favouritism, nepotism, racism, sexism, and all kinds of discrimination. Believers in Capitalism like to say that their world view is the only viable one because it is based on the more reliable darker sides of our natures; well, if that is the case, I would rather have an impartial law handle my case than some narrow-minded collection of people encouraged to exercise the worst aspects of themselves in society.

    Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
    Right wing ideology wants to see limits on the size and scope of federal government power, more dispersion of that power, and more engagement of common people, including genuine power wielded by a meritocratic free market system, not just a move from federal government employees to federal government contractors.
    By doing this "dispersion of power" wielded by a "meritocratic free market" you would simply close off power only to the wealthy few who are materially advantaged. The notion of a self-regulating market is an illusion promoted by people who believe in a spectral "invisible hand" that will come to solve inequalities. Problem is that it does not work, just as anarchism's belief that human good will alone will work to balance society failed to curb the cronyism that created organized power structures in the first place.

    In a material world we need materiel solutions to the problems of inequality, and no bleeding heart or disembodied limb is going to solve them for us on our own. This argument also places far too much emphasis on the political power of the state and ignores the tyranny that economic powers have over those who are subject to them; one dollar, one vote will always favour the person with the most dollars, while one person, one vote forces equality. It is difficult to maintain a true democracy, but it is definitely an endeavour worth pursuing, and only then can the common people actually be engaged. I will not claim we have such a system in place now, and the United States is certainly not a shining example of a working democracy, but that does not make the concept invalid.

    Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
    The actions of the Obama administration regarding space exploration are good, but they are hardly evidence of a right or moderate ideology. It's also ridiculous to suggest that social democrats are outraged by the space exploration changes. That is not an important issue in the mindset of the left of today.
    It is for the people involved, and you should be appalled at the government waste of the situation. Obama closed the Constellation program right on the cusp of real measurable results, throwing out years of work and investment simply due to free market ideology. Ever wonder why the U.S. is becoming so dependant on Russia to provide launch facilities all of a sudden?

    As for the policies you mentioned, almost all dealt with existing government institutions, and all of the changes are perfectly acceptable from the view of a social liberal. You will notice that Obama has refused to do such things as nationalize floundering private companies and firms under direct government control; even Obamacare simply puts regulations on the health insurance industry and offers certain assurances, and does not try and offer universal care directly as is attempted by the NHS in Britain or the provincial health services offered in my own country. Obama places a huge amount of faith in the free market, even in the banking industry which he gave so much money to in order to keep operating through private hands. If you think these paltry moves of regulation and limited social spending (and lets keep in mind that government spending in total has gone down successively under Obama) make him a far left radical, wait until you see what a real socialist would do.

    Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
    Of course. I am completely aware of special interest groups.
    Which are corporate leaders banding together to create legislative change. Saying you are aware of their existence does not negate their effect or how it casts doubt on your own assertions.

    Originally posted by sarmad View Post
    So, Mark Shuttleworth did not only stir a technological controversy, he also stirred a political one. Now the thread has turned completely into a US politics debate!
    Well, I am not arguing from a US perspective and I am trying to make this a broader argument. I do admit it is off topic, but given what we were discussing before I think this is an improvement. At least this has some finer theoretical points about it, and a little less fanboy chest thumping.
    Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-24-2013, 10:43 PM.

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    • Corporations DO band together for political power

      Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
      Plus companies have banded together to effect legislative change - what do you think ALEC is?
      Wal-Mart and similar giant corporations do in fact work jointly to control the political process and throw around huge bribes. ALEC is one of the worst examples. The racist SB1070 in Arizona came from ALEC. So did the "stand your ground laws" widely suspected of getting Trayvon Martin murdered. Here in DC, Wal-Mart is pumping huge bribes to politicians not only to open unwanted stores, but also to support replacing public schools with charter schools. Charter schools, through their ability to cherry-pick and expel students, are resegregating the school system in places like DC and New Orleans. Needless to say, I've marched with anticapitalists of many stripes and with Occupy against all of this. Hell we even had people dressed as money run from K Street to Congress last April over all this

      Care to guess why I prefer FOSS software to commercial?
      Last edited by Luke; 10-25-2013, 01:38 PM.

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      • Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
        By handing powers over to unregulated local authorities not bound by a global law you open up severe opportunities for favouritism, nepotism, racism, sexism, and all kinds of discrimination.
        How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments? I'm not advocating for removing checks and balances of power to allow unregulated governance.

        Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
        By doing this "dispersion of power" wielded by a "meritocratic free market" you would simply close off power only to the wealthy few who are materially advantaged.
        "Closing off power to a few" is concentration of power. I've been advocating for the very opposite: dispersion of power.

        Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
        The notion of a self-regulating market is an illusion promoted by people who believe in a spectral "invisible hand" that will come to solve inequalities
        I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities.

        To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."

        You are also mischaracterizing Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (which Mark Shuttleworth was a fan of). You are mocking it as a "spectral" thing, but it's a very reasonable claim.

        Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
        Saying you are aware of their existence does not negate their effect or how it casts doubt on your own assertions.
        I wish I could fix the problems of the world with a comment post, but I don't think that is feasible. I was just trying to agree with and acknolwedge your point that private companies aren't saints and special interest groups are an actual problem.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments?
          Because it is harder to enforce a global understanding of human rights and the need for diversity in smaller more clannish environments.

          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          I'm not advocating for removing checks and balances of power to allow unregulated governance.
          Then provide a mechanism for it. How are you going to ensure that powers are kept in check and people's rights are protected without a means of enforcing and protecting said assurances without a certain concentration of powers?

          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          "Closing off power to a few" is concentration of power. I've been advocating for the very opposite: dispersion of power.
          Yes, but have failed to show a viable mechanism to achieve it. Handing it away from the electorate (at least in principle) into the hands of the materially advantaged is not going to make it anymore accessible.

          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          "I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities ... To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."
          Which is completely unethical unless you believe that every single disadvantaged person did something to justify the treatment they have received.

          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          You are also mischaracterizing Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (which Mark Shuttleworth was a fan of). You are mocking it as a "spectral" thing, but it's a very reasonable claim.
          It is a claim that fails on the basis that it makes too broad an assumption on vague notions of human nature and human ability just as anarchism does; it fails to grasp that not everyone clearly perceives or is able to act upon their own self interest, making it no longer enlightened. It also fails to take into account that in a non-closed system actions outside of that system can still have an effect, making the interactions inside that system no longer independent of outside forces, something which the free market requires. It also, like most classical economical theory, is predicated on a notion of constant growth, something that flies in the face of ecology and the laws of thermodynamics.

          I also do understand that the Invisible Hand I invoked is not the quite the same as the one Smith himself postulated, but it is the commonly accepted notion of his work I am debating here, and not necessarily Smith's own conclusions. In fact, I think Smith might even agree with me that his limited metaphor has grown to become some sort of spectral deity far beyond the context which his original wordplay was attempting to establish.

          And finally, I really do not care what Shuttleworth's thoughts are on this, as I am hardly waving his flag here.

          Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
          I wish I could fix the problems of the world with a comment post, but I don't think that is feasible. I was just trying to agree with and acknolwedge your point that private companies aren't saints and special interest groups are an actual problem.
          I am not fixing any problems either by posting, but I am participating in a debate. So I hope you will forgive me for challenging some of your claims.
          Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-25-2013, 11:45 PM.

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          • Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
            How are smaller, local governments more suscept to racism/sexism/nepotism than larger, remote governments?
            The argument is that in a society where the government is representative of the people, more people means a broader range of opinions and values and ethnicities and regionalities. It might a bit of an over generalisation, but it's also fair to say that it has been true in many cases that a government formed from multiple tribal and ethnic groups ends up being less racist than the single ethnic group government.

            Originally posted by DanLamb View Post
            I and most of the American right have been advocating accepting and adapting to larger levels of material inequality. We never claimed that a free market will solve inequalities.

            To requote myself from one post ago: "Society should accept and adapt to material inequality that occurs as a completely natural part of a society based on personal and community choice and responsibility."
            Society does adapt to extreme inequality, but not in the way that you hope. Historically, extreme inequality has led directly to revolution, both violent and non violent. It turns out that the majority of people will not accept income inequality if they are poor. And if the majority of people reject something, then it can't be sustained without removing their power, ie denying them the right to vote and shifting to a non representative government. That's one of the reasons why income inequality is historically correlated with civil conflict. That does not mean it will always be that way, and perhaps some society will discover a way to have both stability and a stratification of income classes through extreme control over the lower classes (ie. something like current Dubai, although even there the economic slave class has been showing signs of dissent, and there have been riots involving thousands of people, so I doubt it is really sustainable in the long term).

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
              Because it is harder to enforce a global understanding of human rights and the need for diversity in smaller more clannish environments.
              This is self-contradictory. Smaller, clannish governments are inherently diverse, while larger unified government inherently means reducing diversity of community, viewpoints, and styles of governance.

              Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
              Which is completely unethical unless you believe that every single disadvantaged person did something to justify the treatment they have received.
              Consider the same argument in other attributes of life beyond money that government traditionally does not redistribute: social status, athletic accomplishment, physical health, academic achievement and credentials. Did every single disadvantaged person do something to justify the treatment they have received? Of course not! That also doesn't justify involuntary intrusive redistribution. In many cases the redistribution is a greater injustice.

              Originally posted by chrisb View Post
              Society does adapt to extreme inequality, but not in the way that you hope. Historically, extreme inequality has led directly to revolution, both violent and non violent. It turns out that the majority of people will not accept income inequality if they are poor. And if the majority of people reject something, then it can't be sustained without removing their power, ie denying them the right to vote and shifting to a non representative government. That's one of the reasons why income inequality is historically correlated with civil conflict. That does not mean it will always be that way, and perhaps some society will discover a way to have both stability and a stratification of income classes through extreme control over the lower classes (ie. something like current Dubai, although even there the economic slave class has been showing signs of dissent, and there have been riots involving thousands of people, so I doubt it is really sustainable in the long term).
              These are good, valid points and potential problems with a stratified society. Every society has minorities at the tail ends of the distributions of money/status/power. Those don't always trigger problems. The poor or middle classes don't always resent or clash with the rich.

              Dubai has problems much deeper than basic wealth stratification. 90% of the demographic doesn't have basic citizenship or a path to such citizenship. Even families that have lived in Dubai for generations of don't have citizenship or the same basic rights as the nationals. The society is also not a democracy with public elections. That's more of a blood line apartheid system.

              Brazil or South Africa is probably a better example of a semi-Democratic society with extreme wealth stratification. And yes, it seems to correlate with conflict.

              Comment


              • PLEASE STOP THIS OFFTOPIC NONSENSE, FIND ANOTHER FORUM TO DISCUSS ABOUT THAT OR USE PRIVATE MESSAGES...

                Thanks

                Comment


                • Originally posted by timofonic View Post
                  PLEASE STOP THIS OFFTOPIC NONSENSE, FIND ANOTHER FORUM TO DISCUSS ABOUT THAT OR USE PRIVATE MESSAGES...

                  Thanks
                  +1. There is off topic, and there is this. Trying to argue about politics is like arguing with the wind. Please stop and let's get back to the original topic of Mir.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by vivo View Post
                    +1. There is off topic, and there is this. Trying to argue about politics is like arguing with the wind. Please stop and let's get back to the original topic of Mir.
                    This thread is yet another example of how bad Phoronix needs more active mods. Between the off topic banter and piss poor atitude of so many posters, its getting really hard to find relevant information.

                    Sorry for the threadjack.

                    Comment


                    • somebody has to stand up for the rights of the majority. too many times minorities have taken power and collapsed the infrastructure that the majority built.

                      Maybe the teaparty analogy was pretty good after all.

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                      • Originally posted by vivo View Post
                        +1. There is off topic, and there is this. Trying to argue about politics is like arguing with the wind. Please stop and let's get back to the original topic of Mir.
                        I will move the politics discussion to a more appropriate forum, however, Shuttleworth did raise US politics and the tea party and so did the original post.

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