04 August 2008

I Have Idiots On My Team

Quote from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".

I think the reason we have the gun control we have today is because we gun owners are a self dividing group and divide and conquer works.

The more I look at things, the more I think we would be well served by being rid of the libertarians. It pains me to say so since there are a lot of excellent concepts in their philosophy. The problem is they are moral absolutists. Literally they seek the ONE TRUE WAY and will allow for no variation. It's the difference between theory and practice.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

I'm watching a debate about how far gone the US is and what we should be doing about it. More than two sides are debating.

The "taxation is theft" and "return to the gold standard" people are taking an, shall we say, "out there" position. Of course, the ONE TRUE WAY types think that anarchy will beget a functional society of rational self interest. I have always disagreed with that position. Anarchy is just too simple to have never been tried by humanity. It's simple enough that it could have been tried in pre-history. Where is this society? Larry Niven said it best, "Anarchy is the weakest form of government, it falls apart at a touch."

I don't need to go back to the stone age to show that the libertarian wet dream is doomed. The pirates in the Caribbean Sea had much the society that I have seen several authors advocating. They were well armed and in general, better at fighting than the opposition. What happened? Lack of unity and numbers. When presented with an existential threat they were unable to organize themselves to counter it. And they were not attacked with just military force.

Some government at all is required. Certainly a lot less government than we have in the USA today. The libertarians are correct about some of it; when left to our own devices, we tend to sort it out correctly. What government is for is when when our own devices create incorrect solutions. It's might makes right, certainly, but with rules.

Part of what is going on here is the rules are no longer the same for everyone. It's another movie quote, but it illustrates part of the problem, "Don't you think it's funny that if I grab a woman's ass and she punches me, she's fighting for her rights, but if a faggot grabs my ass and I punch his lights out, I'm a homophobe?"

The rules are different for different people. I can be called any of a litany of vile epithets with impunity; but I cannot use the word "niggardly" because it sounds too much like "CENSORED" regardless of whether "niggardly" means anything remotely close to the same thing as "CENSORED".

I've started a list I call, "Except for everything else." The list consists of all the things we do that is worst way to do things, except for all the other ways we've tried." It comes from a Winston Churchill quote about democracy. Fait money is on this list. For an example of why the gold standard is not the panacea that some claim, just look at what the price of oil is doing to the economy. Gold is also a commodity. It does not have a fixed price. The gold standard thing only works if gold has a fixed value. But you cannot fix its value. If there are fewer carrots than last year with the same demand for carrots as last year, the value of carrots goes up. That makes the value of gold less, relative to carrots. Ooops. The value of anything is always relative to something else, and that value can vary from person to person.

Fait money is not perfect. Representative democracy is not perfect. Laissez Faire capitalism is not perfect. Bear in mind, when trying to fix them, that "perfect" is the mortal enemy of "good enough".

Hate cannot be wished away, and it will always exist. Legislation that punishes someone severely for calling a black man a CENSORED will not stop them from being a racist. It might make them not act on their racism, it definitely causes them to hide their racism. But it doesn't stop them from being a racist!

Poverty cannot be ended by taking money from one person and handing to another. The arguments for wealth redistribution either hinge around some past insult to the people receiving the funds, the benefit to society in preventing these people from starving or that the recipients are not responsible for their situation.

I am not responsible for the insults spewed forth by my father. The people insulted are long dead. Insults cannot be inherited because they are only person to person transfers. The past insult model would work a lot better if the "insulted" were not being insulting in turn.

Benefit to society? In theory, the welfare provides opportunity to allow the child to escape and become a productive member of society, returning the investment in them. In practice, multiple generations of people who consume more than they provide.

Innocence? Perhaps the child is innocent. Their parents rarely are. I will let this argument sway me, I will pay for the innocent child; not the guilty parent. You want tax money to save the innocent kids, you have to take them away from the deadbeat parents so they will be raised in a manner that doesn't teach them that being unproductive is the right thing to do!

If the wealth redistribution thing solved poverty, why do we still have poverty? How many generations to the end? How many years until we can say, "Nope, that didn't work." How long until we can say, "If we had cut them off in 19xx they would have starved and we wouldn't be paying for their damned grandkids!" I am willing to bet, with their lives, that they wouldn't starve (or at least not many would).

A lot of that adds up to just taking personal responsibility seriously.

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