"Rigid Class System in Europe" Bob Roll Comments



P

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Guest
Simon Brooke wrote:
> in message <[email protected]>, Robert Chung
> ('[email protected]') wrote:
>
> >> At the base of this (as has probably been mentioned several times in
> >> this thread) is the question of whether health care is a right or a
> >> privilege. A person's answer to this question will determine to a
> >> great extent their reactions to any other point in the argument about
> >> social welfare.


What most people call "social welfare" is simply using the hammer of
The State to satisfy some groups idea of what is "good." Therefore, it
really isn't social welfare, it is always the mask of tyranny.

> >> Can our healthcare dollars be used more efficiently?


They are not "our" dollars. "You" are implying the dollar (property)
of one person's is the dollar (property) of another's. By what ethical
justification is my dollar your dollar? If one draws a legal line of
how much one holds and how much is taken, where and why?

> >> Of course, but
> >> not without regulation.


No modern society has an unregulated health care market. What
unregulated modern society is being compared against? What is "health
care" supposed to cost?

> >> I've heard that 1/3 of healthcare dollars are
> >> spent on the last 6 months of life...


Is that "right" or "wrong.?"

> > I'm not sure the "right vs. privilege" thing is central.


It is central because it roots out the underlying value judgements,
including what the sense of justice is and "right" from "wrong."

> I'm not sure it's even meaningful.


This is, of course, a good lead-in to positivist dogma. While
everything else in nature, has a nature, and the nature can be
scientifically studied, the positivist says humans uniquely have no
nature -- their nature is "whatever." This is the dogma that can
justify "killing redheads" because of transient expediency for the
local dictator.

> What is a 'right' and who gets to
> decide what is a 'right'?


There are essays to treatises written on the topic. A (negative) right
is something one is born with due to the nature of being human. (You
can see why positivists need to do away with natural right -- they can
impose any policy they fancy, at whatever time they wish, if there is
no such thing as a right.)

Natural rights/law claims you have a right to an _independent_ life,
and that you have a right to property. You won't get a treatise on
natural rights/law in a usenet post.* The right to property even has
utility, if that satisfies some (See Epstein
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738200417/) Also Kinsella embedded
some interesting ideas on property in his essay _Against Intellectual
Property_
(http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf#search="against intellectual property"see,
p.19 under the heading _Property and Scarcity_: "The very possibility
of conflict over a resource renders it scarce, giving rise to the need
for ethical rules to govern its use. Thus, the fundamental social and
ethical function of property rights is to prevent interpersonal
conflict over scarce resources... Were we in a Garden of Eden where
land and other goods were infinitely abundant, there would be no
scarcity and,therefore, no need for property rules; property concepts
would be meaningless. The idea
of conflict, and the idea of rights, would not even arise.").

> Any rights theory really comes down to consensual
> acceptance of a single non-human authority, and, in a
> multi-faith world, we don't have one.


It is true that in older natural rights/law theory, the thinkers did
include language of a "God." However, a deity is unnecessary to the
theory, and more modern readings would reveal this to you.

> So any talk about 'rights' is
> either simply woffle or else a bid for hegemony.


Actually, to *not* talk about it is the track to hegemony. If there
are no foundations in boundaries ("free spheres") and regulation of
human behavior and exchange, *anything goes*. Postitivist doctrine,
left to rule by itself, is dangerous for exactly this reason.

It isn't woffle; is that it is extremely difficult to frame well due to
the foundational nature of the problem.

> Which brings us back to utilitarianism, which someone upthread cast scorn
> on. Well, I'm happy to agree that it's inelegant and often produces
> results which are uncomfortable or seem at variance with our instinctive
> sense of natural justice, but it's the only moral system which has any
> real intellectual credibility.


Rawls (a positivist) wrote something like (on p.141 of TOJ): "we define
the original position such that we end up at the desired result." Such
a tact is one that defies science and nature. Humans are part of
nature, and they are studied under the science of natural law. A real
research scientist doesn't start out with a desired result and then
work the problem to fit the result.

The postitivist doctrine is difficult to systematically refute. But
it, at best, only gives partial answers. Natural law is more
encompassing, and in my opinion, it can actually suck up positivism and
utilitarianism into it.

I personally believe the problem attacking these philosophpical and
moral/ethical matters is language itself. When one digs very deep the
language becomes tautological, and many just wave things off as
"definitional." But this hardly lends justification to postitivism.
There is a reason philosophers struggle. The tool itself -- language
-- is not up to the task. I think this is why many throw up their
hands and finally resort to mysticism and supernaturalism. I cannot.


-----
* Following is from the recent Norwood case. Obviously I disagree
that "Government is the necessary burden."



CITY OF NORWOOD, APPELLEE, v. HORNEY ET AL., APPELLANTS. (TWO
CASES.)
CITY OF NORWOOD, APPELLEE, v. GAMBLE ET AL., APPELLANTS. (TWO
CASES.)

excerpt:

{¶ 35} Believed to be derived fundamentally from a higher authority
and natural law, property rights were so sacred that they could not be
entrusted lightly to "the uncertain virtue of those who govern."
Parham v. Justices of Decatur Cty. Inferior Court (Ga.1851), 9 Ga. 341,
348. See, also, Bank of Toledo v. Toledo (1853), 1 Ohio St. 622, 664;
Proprietors of Spring Grove, 1 Ohio Dec. Reprint 316; Joseph J.
Lazzarotti, Public Use or Public Abuse (1999), 68 U.M.K.C.L.Rev. 49,
54; J.A.C. Grant, The "Higher Law" Background of the Law of Eminent
Domain (1932), 6 Wisc.L.Rev. 67. As such, property rights were believed
to supersede constitutional principles. "To be * * * protected and *
* * secure in the possession of [one's] property is a right
inalienable, a right which a written
constitution may recognize or declare, but which existed independently
of and before such recognition, and which no government can destroy."
Henry v. Dubuque Pacific RR. Co. (1860), 10 Iowa 540, 543. As Chief
Justice Bartley eloquently described more than 150 years ago: {¶ 36}
"The right of private property is an original and fundamental right,
existing anterior to the formation of the government itself; the civil
rights, privileges and immunities authorized by law, are derivative -
mere incidents to the political institutions of the country, conferred
with a view to the public welfare, and therefore trusts of civil power,
to be exercised for the public benefit.
* * * Government is the necessary burden imposed on man as the only
means of securing the protection of his rights. And this protection -
the primary and only legitimate purpose of civil government, is
accomplished by protecting man in his rights of personal security,
personal liberty, and private property. The right of private property
being, therefore, an original right, which it was one of the primary
and most sacred objects of government to secure and protect, is widely
and essentially distinguished in its nature, from those exclusive
political rights
and special privileges * * * which are created by law and conferred
upon a few * * *. The fundamental principles set forth in the bill of
rights in our constitution, declaring the inviolability of private
property, were evidently designed to protect the right of private
property as one of the primary and original objects of civil society *
* *." (Emphasis sic.) Bank of Toledo, 1 Ohio St. at 632.
 
S

Steven Bornfeld

Guest
Jack Hollis wrote:
> On Sun, 27 Aug 2006 22:04:57 GMT, Steven Bornfeld
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>>The problem is where do you draw that line and who do you
>>
>>>help?
>>> I don't have any answers for that one either.
>>> Bill C
>>>

>>
>> The short answer is we will pay either way.
>>
>>Steve

>
>
> When you buy private insurance, there are state laws governing the
> insurance companies. They pretty much draw the line.



What line is that?

Steve
 
S

Steven Bornfeld

Guest
Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>
>>The free marketers seem to think they have a measure of control in the
>>system as it exists now.

>
>
> Your comment is self-contradictory. If "they" are "free marketers,"
> then they are against control. To the extent it is a "controlled
> system," then a free marketer is against it. The US "system" is not a
> free market in health care -- a free marketer could not support it
> as-is. Other governments may interfere more "effectively," or at least
> you might think so if you simply look at health care alone.
>
>
>>My guess is that they haven't had to deal with
>>catastrophic illness in a loved one lately.

>
>
> It sounds like you are resorting to "they are just cold-hearted
> assholes" ad-hominium, and relying on an emotional response, instead of
> making a rationale critique. That is okay for the usenet.
>



My use of "free marketers" was intended as ironic. I don't believe
them for a second.
If my speculation sounds to you as ad hom, too bad. In these issues,
perspective is everything, and I've known people whose thinking has
changed on these issues literally in a heartbeat.

Steve
 
H

h squared

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> Bill (and HH), you'd probably like to read this article on pension
> plans and spreading demographic risk/trends over larger pools
> of employers and employees, by Malcolm Gladwell,
> which appeared in the latest New Yorker:
> <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060828fa_fact>


i did like that article :) which is a little funny because i didn't
really know what a pension was or how it worked until i read the article
& so wouldn't have guessed i would like it. (i will have to just work
until i die or until i kill myself because i'm sick of working, so i've
never paid attention to that stuff).

heather
(exactly how does ben find time to read these things and also keep up
with rbr? i need to give him a raise... i've been away on vacation for a
week and have only been able to selectively read some posts in between
watching some bike racing today to try to keep up- but i did have a
dream last night that magillagorilla was traveling around the country in
a big tour bus like a bad metal band from the 1980's, so my subconscious
is trying to help me out, i guess..)
 
H

Howard Kveck

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
h squared <[email protected]> wrote:

> [email protected] wrote:
>
> > Bill (and HH), you'd probably like to read this article on pension
> > plans and spreading demographic risk/trends over larger pools
> > of employers and employees, by Malcolm Gladwell,
> > which appeared in the latest New Yorker:
> > <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060828fa_fact>

>
> i did like that article :) which is a little funny because i didn't
> really know what a pension was or how it worked until i read the article
> & so wouldn't have guessed i would like it. (i will have to just work
> until i die or until i kill myself because i'm sick of working, so i've
> never paid attention to that stuff).
>
> heather
> (exactly how does ben find time to read these things and also keep up
> with rbr? i need to give him a raise...


Maybe Ben has more time to look at that stuff now that they've dissed Pluto.

--
tanx,
Howard

Never take a tenant with a monkey.

remove YOUR SHOES to reply, ok?
 
D

Donald Munro

Guest
h squared wrote:
>> (exactly how does ben find time to read these things and also keep up
>> with rbr? i need to give him a raise...


Howard Kveck wrote:
> Maybe Ben has more time to look at that stuff now that they've dissed
> Pluto.


Dumbass,
Stop being so insensitive. Heather is from Pluto.
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Howard Kveck wrote:

>> (exactly how does ben find time to read these things and also keep up
>> with rbr? i need to give him a raise...

>
> Maybe Ben has more time to look at that stuff now that they've dissed
> Pluto.


Next up: dissing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.
 
M

Mark & Steven Bornfeld

Guest
Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>
>>The free marketers seem to think they have a measure of control in the
>>system as it exists now.

>
>
> Your comment is self-contradictory. If "they" are "free marketers,"
> then they are against control. To the extent it is a "controlled
> system," then a free marketer is against it. The US "system" is not a
> free market in health care -- a free marketer could not support it
> as-is. Other governments may interfere more "effectively," or at least
> you might think so if you simply look at health care alone.
>
>
>>My guess is that they haven't had to deal with
>>catastrophic illness in a loved one lately.

>
>
> It sounds like you are resorting to "they are just cold-hearted
> assholes" ad-hominium, and relying on an emotional response, instead of
> making a rationale critique. That is okay for the usenet.
>



Just re-read this. Forgive me, I didn't notice your name after the
"Pudd'nhead Wilson" sobriquet. I don't always follow rbr, and hadn't
noticed your return. I won't go further into this conversation with
you, as I remember fairly well how you stand. I also have a seriously
ill father, so I'm not thinking that straightly on the bigger issues
right now.
It is good to see you back here, in any case.

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
 
P

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Guest
Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:

> Forgive me, I didn't notice your name after the
> "Pudd'nhead Wilson" sobriquet.


No worries.

> I also have a seriously ill father, so I'm not thinking
> that straightly on the bigger issues
> right now.


Best of wishes with your father.

> It is good to see you back here, in any case.


Thanks, but I gotta go again.

Greg
 
E

Ernst Noch

Guest
Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:


>>(3) Eliminate any government involvement (end all regulation).


"Free Market" is the real new age religion
 
M

Mark & Steven Bornfeld

Guest
Ernst Noch wrote:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>> Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:

>
>
>>> (3) Eliminate any government involvement (end all regulation).

>
>
> "Free Market" is the real new age religion



Ernst--

This was from Pudd'nhead, not moi.

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
 
P

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Guest
Ernst Noch wrote:

> > Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:

>
> >>(3) Eliminate any government involvement (end all regulation).


> "Free Market" is the real new age religion


It is religion in the same way that pigs can fly.
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>,
Pudd'nhead Wilson ('[email protected]') wrote:

>> What is a 'right' and who gets to
>> decide what is a 'right'?

>
> There are essays to treatises written on the topic.


There are essays and treatises written about all sorts of things. The
existence of such scrivenings does not automatically convey intellectual
credibility to their content.

> A (negative) right
> is something one is born with due to the nature of being human.


As there is nothing whatever that falls into this category, the category
is pretty meaningless; but I grant you the (empty) category.

> (You
> can see why positivists need to do away with natural right -- they can
> impose any policy they fancy, at whatever time they wish, if there is
> no such thing as a right.)


Don't confuse my position with a positivist one. You are creating an aunt
sally. I have said nothing which defends positivism, nor would I, since
I oppose it.

> Natural rights/law claims you have a right to an _independent_ life,
> and that you have a right to property.


How?

As a matter of fact, I utterly refute that there is any 'right' either to
life or to property. Life is something we have briefly as a result of an
arbitrary accident - a rather cruel and pointless joke played on us by
the universe. We don't have a 'right' to it. We just have it, and have
to tolerate it, until it ends or we choose to end it. Property, on the
other hand, is purely artificial: merely a mechanism locking in
privilege. It is self-serving hegemony in its rawest and least
attractive form.

If there were such rights, on what foundation could they be based? How
would you know (without hand-waving, please) what they were?

>> Any rights theory really comes down to consensual
>> acceptance of a single non-human authority, and, in a
>> multi-faith world, we don't have one.

>
> It is true that in older natural rights/law theory, the thinkers did
> include language of a "God."  However, a deity is unnecessary to the
> theory, and more modern readings would reveal this to you.


Call me old fashioned if you will, but given a choice between $DEITY and
hand-waving, I'll choose $DEITY. Descartes tried to argue from first
principles to the existence of $DEITY; arguments from first principles
to the assertion of particular, specific 'rights' are equally vacuous.

>> So any talk about 'rights' is
>> either simply woffle or else a bid for hegemony.

>
> Actually, to *not* talk about it is the track to hegemony.  If there
> are no foundations in boundaries ("free spheres") and regulation of
> human behavior and exchange, *anything goes*.  Postitivist doctrine,
> left to rule by itself, is dangerous for exactly this reason.


Anything /does/ go. It's tough, but that's life.

I'm not denying that societies find ways to regulate themselves, but
that's a very different thing from asserting that there is some
principled or objective basis on which this is done. In practice,
powerful groups make rules to defend their interests - and 'property' is
a perfect example of that.

Actually, though, there is one principled and objective basis on which
human societies can be (and, to be fair, mostly, at least partially,
are) regulated, and that is utilitarianism. Which is where we came in.
You don't like it. I don't much, either, but I am reminded of what
Churchill had to say about democracy.

> The postitivist doctrine is difficult to systematically refute.  But
> it, at best, only gives partial answers.  Natural law is more
> encompassing, and in my opinion, it can actually suck up positivism and
> utilitarianism into it.


But it is childishly easy to refute. You can't successfully drag it
through a first year undergraduate philosophy seminar - the wheels fall
off.

> *  Following is from the recent Norwood case.  Obviously I disagree
> that "Government is the necessary burden."
>
> CITY OF NORWOOD, APPELLEE, v. HORNEY ET AL., APPELLANTS. (TWO
> CASES.)
> CITY OF NORWOOD, APPELLEE, v. GAMBLE ET AL., APPELLANTS. (TWO
> CASES.)


America is a capitalist society. That its courts uphold the values of the
society from which they are taken is neither interesting nor evidence of
anything at all.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; I'd rather live in sybar-space
 
E

Ernst Noch

Guest
Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> Ernst Noch wrote:
>
>> Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>>
>>> Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:

>>
>>
>>>> (3) Eliminate any government involvement (end all regulation).
>>>
>>> Is there anyplace on earth where this has been tried where it has worked at all?
>>> And why hang the AMA while leaving the pharmaceutical
>>> industry (where the money really resides) off the hook?

>>
>>
>> "Free Market" is the real new age religion

>
>
> Ernst--
>
> This was from Pudd'nhead, not moi.
>
> Steve
>

Sorry, I accidentally deleted the part of your comment I wanted to
quote (fixed above), but the quoting depth still should've made it clear
what wasn't from you.
 
M

Mark & Steven Bornfeld

Guest
Ernst Noch wrote:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>> Ernst Noch wrote:
>>
>>> Mark & Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>>>
>>>> Pudd'nhead Wilson wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> (3) Eliminate any government involvement (end all regulation).

>
> >>>

>
>>>> Is there anyplace on earth where this has been tried where it has
>>>> worked at all?

>
> >>> And why hang the AMA while leaving the pharmaceutical
> >>> industry (where the money really resides) off the hook?

>
>>>
>>>
>>> "Free Market" is the real new age religion

>>
>>
>>
>> Ernst--
>>
>> This was from Pudd'nhead, not moi.
>>
>> Steve
>>

> Sorry, I accidentally deleted the part of your comment I wanted to
> quote (fixed above), but the quoting depth still should've made it clear
> what wasn't from you.
>


s'OK. It's clear on my newsreader, but if this gets reproduced
somewhere else I just wanted it clear.

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
 
P

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Guest
Simon Brooke wrote:
> in message <[email protected]>,
> Pudd'nhead Wilson ('[email protected]') wrote:
>
> >> What is a 'right' and who gets to
> >> decide what is a 'right'?

> >
> > There are essays to treatises written on the topic.

>
> There are essays and treatises written about all sorts of things. The
> existence of such scrivenings does not automatically convey intellectual
> credibility to their content.


You're missing my point. You aren't going to sort it out on the usenet
with a few paragraphs. It isn't that easy. That is the point.

> > A (negative) right
> > is something one is born with due to the nature of being human.

>
> As there is nothing whatever that falls into this category, the category
> is pretty meaningless; but I grant you the (empty) category.


This is a positivist stance. The only reason the "negative" prefix
exists is because a certain un-named political group re-defined "right"
to include "power." "Negative" is not "empty" in math or philosophy.

> > (You
> > can see why positivists need to do away with natural right -- they can
> > impose any policy they fancy, at whatever time they wish, if there is
> > no such thing as a right.)

>
> Don't confuse my position with a positivist one. You are creating an aunt
> sally. I have said nothing which defends positivism, nor would I, since
> I oppose it.


I think you are a positivist and a utilitarian.

> > Natural rights/law claims you have a right to an _independent_ life,
> > and that you have a right to property.

>
> How?


I'm not going to write a treatise in a usenet post. And even if I did,
and it were compelling, it would still have the difficulties of
language I already pointed out. That is, the same problem any
foundations treatise (on philosophy) has. So I simply point to the
conclusion and you are left on your own.

> As a matter of fact, I utterly refute that there is any 'right' either to
> life or to property.


Oh, but you say you have a "right" to other's money to pay your medical
bills. According to you, I can take anything you hold, including your
life, with no compunction, because you have no rights. And again, this
attitude is entirely positivist. The law is "whatever." I can merely
say there is transient utility to killing you, and that is enough under
positivist doctrine.

> Life is something we have briefly as a result of an arbitrary
> accident - a rather cruel and pointless joke played on us by
> the universe.


So what. I could not care less. While I struggle, I have my joys.

> We don't have a 'right' to it.


Um, according to natural rights law theory, you have a right to an
*independent* life. But independence means you do not have a right to
depend on someone else (*no right* to a dependent life) -- you can't
parasite off others. That is why positivists hate natural law/rights
theory -- plunder can be legalized/sanctioned under positivism and
utilitarianism (unlike natural law, a peace loving anti-aggression
doctrine).

> We just have it, and have
> to tolerate it, until it ends or we choose to end it.


You are very negative.

> Property, on the other hand, is purely artificial:
> merely a mechanism locking in privilege.


{laughs} And government (and its policies to plunder) is not
artificial? {laughs}

Sure, you can say property is a created concept. I might say it is a
discovered concept -- an increment in cultural evolution/revolution.
Whatever.

But I don't think you really understood what Kinsella was writing,
which is shocking for someone who claims to be a utilitarian. And
Epstein wrote about the basic utility of property rights too.

> It is self-serving hegemony in its rawest and least
> attractive form.


So you prefer theft? No one can claim something for themselves? You
have no values -- which means that we can hurt each other with impunity
because no one has a right to anything. As a part of life, how do you
think your acceptance of violence affirms that of which you are a part
of (life)?

> If there were such rights, on what foundation could they be based? How
> would you know (without hand-waving, please) what they were?


I am not going to write a disputable treatise on the usenet. I touched
on the insufficiency of language. But you can use your own utilitarian
framework to understand the life affirming character of the right to an
independent life and property.

Now if you think that life is self-destructive, and not affirming, then
simply say "might makes right," and thus I can kill you with impunity.
Why, under your ideology, would killing you be wrong? If you have no
rights, then nothing is wrong with me killing you as long as I simply
have transient utility in doing so.

> >> Any rights theory really comes down to consensual
> >> acceptance of a single non-human authority, and, in a
> >> multi-faith world, we don't have one.

> >
> > It is true that in older natural rights/law theory, the thinkers did
> > include language of a "God." However, a deity is unnecessary to the
> > theory, and more modern readings would reveal this to you.

>
> Call me old fashioned if you will, but given a choice between $DEITY and
> hand-waving, I'll choose $DEITY. Descartes tried to argue from first
> principles to the existence of $DEITY; arguments from first principles
> to the assertion of particular, specific 'rights' are equally vacuous.


A great philosopher, among and including *all* the other great
philosohers, tried and failed to "nail it shut." That should teach you
something. You think someone can write you a map to life with
language. It cannot be done at the deepest level. Language is
symbolic -- a model/framework for explaining life. *All*
models/symbols eventually break down, because they are not the thing
itself. As I pointed out, that is why people resort to "definitional,"
"self-evident," or end up with tautology. Some turn to mysticism and
supernaturalism. Life is something that happens, and words can only
frame that, not "be it."

> >> So any talk about 'rights' is
> >> either simply woffle or else a bid for hegemony.

> >
> > Actually, to *not* talk about it is the track to hegemony. If there
> > are no foundations in boundaries ("free spheres") and regulation of
> > human behavior and exchange, *anything goes*. Postitivist doctrine,
> > left to rule by itself, is dangerous for exactly this reason.

>
> Anything /does/ go. It's tough, but that's life.
>
> I'm not denying that societies find ways to regulate themselves, but
> that's a very different thing from asserting that there is some
> principled or objective basis on which this is done. In practice,
> powerful groups make rules to defend their interests - and 'property' is
> a perfect example of that.


Actually, property is perhaps the only exception. But I'm not talking
about something like Columbus landing on the beach and claiming a
continent as the property of Spain. That is ridiculous.

As best as I have been able to tell, individual liberty is the only
thing thing that seems to be a candidate for objectivity. It seems to
be a life affirming concept (anti-destructive), and there would lie its
possible objectivity. For to affirm that which generated it -- to make
more of itself (or at least not destruct) -- is exactly what life seems
to "do" by my observation. Life is self-replicating, so that which
affirms itself is as "objective" as it can be. See how tautology and
circulation show up? But circulation is no problem for life -- that is
what it "does."

The "right to an independent life" is a re-phrasing of "individual
liberty." Generated from that is the right to property -- the right to
the fruits of one's own efforts.

> Actually, though, there is one principled and objective basis on which
> human societies can be (and, to be fair, mostly, at least partially,
> are) regulated, and that is utilitarianism. Which is where we came in.
> You don't like it.


I am not so much against utilitarianism as to constrain what it can
explain, or to constrain the level of guidance it offers. And besides,
these are categorical ways of thinking, but without some ultra clear
boundary line drawn in the sand. That is why I am not categorically
against positivism either -- I just think it has its limits as a tool
for thinking about the world.

It is not clear how the greatest good for the greatest number could
even be ascertained, and despite the cloak, it is entirely a value
judgement, since we don't know which good is the right good, and we
don't have infinite time and resources to figure it out (scarcity is
real; life is heuristic). And where is the base of values for summum
bonum? (You are back at square one -- where is *your* treatise?)
Moreover, the judgements will invariably come down to temporal special
interests and their minions. The greatest good for the greatest number
could destroy the individual liberty and chances of the next Gauss. It
is bad. Utilitarianism, as most often represented, is decidely not
objective. It is riddled with subjective value judgements.

> I don't much, either, but I am reminded of what
> Churchill had to say about democracy.


Since I don't want a government, to sing about the claimed "least bad"
is not inherently satisfying. Maybe it is the least bad -- that point
I have not argued. (Also, simply a lack of a formal government is not
to say a free society forms and holds. What I do want is to live in a
free society. I think it is possible for some given anarchy to be
worse than some given government. There is a petty tyrant on every
corner to worry about, government or no government.)

> > The postitivist doctrine is difficult to systematically refute. But
> > it, at best, only gives partial answers. Natural law is more
> > encompassing, and in my opinion, it can actually suck up positivism and
> > utilitarianism into it.

>
> But it is childishly easy to refute.


Well you have not been very childish then. {laughs}

> You can't successfully drag it through a first year
> undergraduate philosophy seminar - the wheels fall
> off.


Well... actually I have had success. But I don't go braggin' on
Philo101 accomplishments.

> > * Following is from the recent Norwood case. Obviously I disagree
> > that "Government is the necessary burden."


> America is a capitalist society.


It is not a capitalist society. It is more and more a democracy. (I
think the idea that representatives "represent" is naive.)

> That its courts uphold the values of the society from
> which they are taken is neither interesting nor evidence of
> anything at all.


It was simply a pointer to some origins. If you don't think the law
and order of a society are interesting, then you have nothing to say.
The discussion, by and large, is about the law and ordering of various
societies.


I really must bail out. Good luck.
 
P

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> Bill (and HH), you'd probably like to read this article on pension
> plans and spreading demographic risk/trends over larger pools
> of employers and employees, by Malcolm Gladwell,
> which appeared in the latest New Yorker:
> <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060828fa_fact>



"There is no shortage of conventional explanations. Ireland joined the
European Union. It opened up its markets... But, as the Harvard
economists David Bloom and David Canning suggest in their study of the
"Celtic Tiger," of greater importance may have been a singular
demographic fact. In 1979, restrictions on contraception that had been
in place since Ireland's founding were lifted, and the birth rate
began to fall."

Lifting restrictions on contraceptives is to say the market for
contraceptives was made freer. It was exactly a free market effect
that in turn affected demographics. Overall, it is a rather
hare-brained article. I usually don't get three paragraphs into this
style of article.
 
H

Howard Kveck

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Robert Chung" <[email protected]>
wrote:

> Howard Kveck wrote:
>
> >> (exactly how does ben find time to read these things and also keep up
> >> with rbr? i need to give him a raise...

> >
> > Maybe Ben has more time to look at that stuff now that they've dissed
> > Pluto.

>
> Next up: dissing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.


Goofy was dissed by the voters in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago.

--
tanx,
Howard

Never take a tenant with a monkey.

remove YOUR SHOES to reply, ok?
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>,
Pudd'nhead Wilson ('[email protected]') wrote:

> Simon Brooke wrote:
>>
>> Don't confuse my position with a positivist one. You are creating an
>> aunt sally. I have said nothing which defends positivism, nor would I,
>> since I oppose it.

>
> I think you are a positivist and a utilitarian.


Then you are mistaken, but that's your problem not mine.

>> As a matter of fact, I utterly refute that there is any 'right' either
>> to life or to property.

>
> Oh, but you say you have a "right" to other's money to pay your medical
> bills.


Where did I say that, or anything remotely like it? I said that a system
of socialised medicine was /more/ /efficient/ (in unit cost per health
outcome terms). It is 'better' because it is more efficient. That
doesn't mean it's a right, it only means that it works better.

> According to you, I can take anything you hold, including your
> life, with no compunction, because you have no rights.


No, I didn't say that, and you can't. You can't because there is a
sufficiently powerful group which share common interests with me (viz:
we want to keep our property) that we can successfully oppose you. This
group has hegemonised its interest into the laws of the state. But it
isn't a right, it's simply the interest of a powerful constituency. If
the constituency of the propertyless becomes more powerful than the
constituency of the propertied, then you have the French Revolution and,
in the short term, all of us property owners lose our heads.

So it's in the interest of property owners to prevent property ownership
from becoming too polarised. A large constituency of small property
owners is more powerful than a small constituency of large property
owners.

>> We don't have a 'right' to it.

>
> Um, according to natural rights law theory, you have a right to an
> *independent* life.


Yes, but the 'theory' is meaningless hand-waving.

>> Property, on the other hand, is purely artificial:
>> merely a mechanism locking in privilege.

>
> {laughs} And government (and its policies to plunder) is not
> artificial? {laughs}


Of course government is artificial.

>> It is self-serving hegemony in its rawest and least
>> attractive form.

>
> So you prefer theft?


No, I prefer property. I would. I'm a property owner. I (selfishly) do
not want my wealth distributed among all the poor of the third world,
and I'm a member of a coalition ('the West') which is at present
sufficiently strong to prevent that happening. But that is very
different from asserting that I have some 'right' to keep my property. I
do because I can, not because I should.

Note, of course, that while property is theft, theft is also property.

> Now if you think that life is self-destructive, and not affirming, then
> simply say "might makes right," and thus I can kill you with impunity.
> Why, under your ideology, would killing you be wrong?


I cannot see any reason why shooting someone in the back of the head,
causing instantaneous death without suffering, would be a wrong done to
the person shot. It would be a wrong done to the material dependents of
the person shot, and it would be a wrong done to the friends and
colleagues of the person shot. Consequently, again, we're (almost) all
members of a constituency which opposes arbitrary killing, and that
constituency would stop you or bring sanctions against you; and again,
the interests of this constituency are typically hegemonised into state
laws. But, again, we oppose arbitrary killing because we can, not
because we should.

Might may not make right, but in the end it's all we have.

>> >> Any rights theory really comes down to consensual
>> >> acceptance of a single non-human authority, and, in a
>> >> multi-faith world, we don't have one.
>> >
>> > It is true that in older natural rights/law theory, the thinkers did
>> > include language of a "God." However, a deity is unnecessary to the
>> > theory, and more modern readings would reveal this to you.

>>
>> Call me old fashioned if you will, but given a choice between $DEITY
>> and hand-waving, I'll choose $DEITY. Descartes tried to argue from
>> first principles to the existence of $DEITY; arguments from first
>> principles to the assertion of particular, specific 'rights' are
>> equally vacuous.

>
> A great philosopher, among and including *all* the other great
> philosohers, tried and failed to "nail it shut." That should teach you
> something. You think someone can write you a map to life with
> language. It cannot be done at the deepest level.


Suppose I agree with you on this. Now, take me from the point where you
claim that /nothing/ can be proved by reasoning, to the point where you
prove that some specific rights exist, and that you can know what they
are.

>> Anything /does/ go. It's tough, but that's life.
>>
>> I'm not denying that societies find ways to regulate themselves, but
>> that's a very different thing from asserting that there is some
>> principled or objective basis on which this is done. In practice,
>> powerful groups make rules to defend their interests - and 'property'
>> is a perfect example of that.

>
> Actually, property is perhaps the only exception. But I'm not talking
> about something like Columbus landing on the beach and claiming a
> continent as the property of Spain. That is ridiculous.
>
> As best as I have been able to tell, individual liberty is the only
> thing thing that seems to be a candidate for objectivity. It seems to
> be a life affirming concept (anti-destructive), and there would lie its
> possible objectivity.


I can conceive no more perfect example of a vacuous argument than that.
Why is 'life affirmingness' any more interesting, logically, than any
other property? What is 'life affirmingness' and how is it measured?
Hand waving is not philosophy, it's rhetoric.

> It is not clear how the greatest good for the greatest number could
> even be ascertained, and despite the cloak, it is entirely a value
> judgement, since we don't know which good is the right good, and we
> don't have infinite time and resources to figure it out (scarcity is
> real; life is heuristic).


Here we're in total agreement: the point where utilitarianism breaks down
is the point at which we try to assign objective measures to 'good'. So
long as, within a given community, there are fairly consensual
understandings of what is considered 'good', utilitarianism kind-of
works as a pragmatic approach to resource distribution. But as a grand
over-arching principle, it is ultimately broken.

> And where is the base of values for summum
> bonum? (You are back at square one -- where is *your* treatise?)
> Moreover, the judgements will invariably come down to temporal special
> interests and their minions. The greatest good for the greatest number
> could destroy the individual liberty and chances of the next Gauss. It
> is bad. Utilitarianism, as most often represented, is decidely not
> objective. It is riddled with subjective value judgements.
>
>> I don't much, either, but I am reminded of what
>> Churchill had to say about democracy.

>
> Since I don't want a government


You want property. How is property to be maintained without a government?
Why, by a hegemonistic claim of 'right'. What if the unpropertied masses
dispute that 'right'? Hegemony only works when you have power. Weapons
make power, if you have a monopoly of them. So either you form a
coalition with the other people who have weapons, or you go under. Once
you have a coalition of the powerful dictating the distribution of
resources, then you have government.

But you can't have 'rights' without government, unless those 'rights' are
merely empty words.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
;; Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees,
;; lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk,
;; garbage, slime pits, and debris. -- Edward Abbey
 
J

Jack Hollis

Guest
On Tue, 29 Aug 2006 01:51:12 GMT, Steven Bornfeld
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> When you buy private insurance, there are state laws governing the
>> insurance companies. They pretty much draw the line.

>
>
> What line is that?
>
>Steve



What services are available. Most states require private insurance to
cover any treatment or diagnostic test that has proven efficacy. When
a dispute arises, the state decides.