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Author Topic: Why vote for anybody but Ron Paul?  (Read 56744 times)
The Rabbi
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« Reply #100 on: September 19, 2007, 10:47:15 AM »

I wasn't begging the question.  I demonstrated pretty conclusively that a state is not an individual, and thus subject to different standards.

Sorry, no. You didn't even try. You made some appeals to authority, some straw men and some circular arguments--but mostly you just asserted your conclusion over and over again.

--Len.

Again, evasion and obfuscation.  I guess it's easier than having to defend the indefensible.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #101 on: September 19, 2007, 10:57:25 AM »

Again, evasion and obfuscation.  I guess it's easier than having to defend the indefensible.

Yawn. I'll reply if and when you offer any actual arguments.

--Len.
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Tuco
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« Reply #102 on: September 19, 2007, 11:56:38 AM »

deleted, 

i just couldn't.....  grin



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The Rabbi
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« Reply #103 on: September 19, 2007, 12:59:11 PM »

Again, evasion and obfuscation.  I guess it's easier than having to defend the indefensible.

Yawn. I'll reply if and when you offer any actual arguments.

--Len.


Arguments for what?  I asked you a question and you have yet to answer it.  You can't even separate a question from an argument.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #104 on: September 19, 2007, 10:09:07 PM »

Arguments for what?  I asked you a question and you have yet to answer it.  You can't even separate a question from an argument.

Once again, your question rested on the false premise that you've proven that "nations" are above morality, and hence cannot be criticized on moral grounds; in particular, that a "nation" can kill all the innocents it wants to, and that isn't murder. Not only haven't you proven it, but you'll find it's an extreme fringe position: even the folks who generally agree with you over me concerning the Iraq war will not accept the argument that nations are above morality. Specifically, most of them would insiste that Saddam's was an immoral regime, and your view negates that position.

--Len.
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The Rabbi
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« Reply #105 on: September 19, 2007, 10:38:10 PM »

If that was an accurate account of what I wrote or thought you'd be right.  But it isnt.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #106 on: September 19, 2007, 10:41:25 PM »

If that was an accurate account of what I wrote or thought you'd be right.  But it isnt.

This has passed the level of tedium. It's an accurate summary of what you've said. If you claim otherwise, clarify your position. It's unspeakably boring when someone runs out of all arguments and resorts to an endless loop repeating, "You haven't answered my question," and "That's not what I said," over and over and over.

I have answered your question and it is what you said. If you feel you've been misunderstood, state your position clearly.

--Len.
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Euclidean
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« Reply #107 on: September 20, 2007, 10:02:19 AM »

Okay this little debate basically seems to hinge on an assertion by The Rabbi that a state is:

#1.  Not a person.

#2.  Not accountable to an arbitrary morality.

I'll address each point thus.

#1.  Yes obviously a state is normally not a person, it is an entity.  Even a pure dictatorship usually can't point to a single person and say "that man or woman is the state in its entirety".

However, this gets us to point #2:  I'll agree that the state is not accountable to Christian, Jewish, Scientologist, Humanist, Marxist, or Vanilla flavored morality, and especially not the morality of just one person.  However, this is also the exact reason why the government must be as limited as possible, so that private competing moralities shared between free people to establish an ideal culture.  It is not the function of government to give us standards or ideas of right and wrong.

Now, it may seem a bit of a paradox to turn around and then say that the government must conform to ethical standards, but the reason for that is that morality is objective, not subjective.  Certain key concepts quickly become apparent in all moral and ethical belief systems, such as the idea it's inappropriate to initiate force on another party with no reason or provocation.  To violate such a concept is morally indefensible.  In other words, yes, there are moral standards we can hold up as unchallengeable.  But in my humble opinion, they're very few.  And really some ethics in government are just a matter of practicality.  For example how the heck can you run a state if all your leaders refuse to tell the truth, regardless of whether or not they are right in their decision to lie?

As it's my personal belief that we still have much to learn about what's objectively ethical, so this is yet another reason the government must be as limited as possible.  And if a good work truly needs to be done and enough people want it to be so, it will happen voluntarily and with greater effect and efficiency.

None of this has anything to do with anything, just thought I'd throw it in there.

Anyway I state again, I love this thread.  There's a lot of "Ron Zombies" name calling, ridiculous comparisons, and downright insults.  What's interesting here is I respect the opinions of those who disagree, and they call me names in return without substantiating their cirticism even if they do state their opinions.  There's a lot of people who disagree you should vote for Ron Paul and some other candidates have been suggested, which is good, because we have to contend with the fact that good candidates don't always survive the primaries.  If Dr. Paul drops out for whatever reason, it's good to have a #2 pick.

I'm going to abandon it at this point however, because I think I've gleaned what useful information there is to be had, and quite frankly I'm a bit dissappointed that Ron Paul's critics have failed to address most of his platform even though there was some discussion of substance about foreign policy.  I think it's just a lot of name calling at this point, and there's still not a persuasive argument against Dr. Paul.

We have a decision to make, and I submit to you the reader that the best choice is Dr. Paul.  I don't think Ron Paul is perfect or that he will make sandwiches taste better.  But I sincerely believe we will be worse off if we vote for anyone else.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #108 on: September 20, 2007, 11:49:28 AM »

#1.  Yes obviously a state is normally not a person, it is an entity.  Even a pure dictatorship usually can't point to a single person and say "that man or woman is the state in its entirety".

Subtle difference, but I'm not saying that "no man is the state." I'm saying that the state is an abstraction. It doesn't literally exist at all. People literally exist. If you swing a cat by the tail, you can bonk one. The state, on the other hand, can never be bonked, even if infinitely many monkeys swing infinitely many cats by infinitely many tails. Which brings us to:

Quote
However, this gets us to point #2:  I'll agree that the state is not accountable to Christian, Jewish, Scientologist, Humanist, Marxist, or Vanilla flavored morality...

"Accountability" is a human trait. We're anthropomorphizing when we even use the word. It's like saying "Catholicism is accountable." It's clear that "Catholicism" isn't accountable and can't be; it doesn't even make sense to use the word. We realize that's nonsense readily, I think. We're slower to realize that "the Catholic Church is accountable" is meaningless, but if you think about it, it is. You can't arrest the Church, or shoot the Church, or argue with the Church. You can only argue with members of the Church, such as the Pope. Popes can be accountable, as can cardinals and priests. When we say "the Church" is accountable, we really mean that the men in it are accountable.

That's rather abstract, but it's also important. The "nation" doesn't do things: people do. We say the "nation" is doing them when we attach a certain significance to the man's actions. If a cop says you're littering and knocks you to the ground, you regard it as the "state" knocking you down. If I say you're littering and knock you down, you perceive it as assault. In both cases a man knocked you down, not a state. The sole difference is in our interpretation of the act.

This is important because the fundamental assumption is never questioned: why is it that a blue suit gives one man the power to give you commands? The "state" never told him he could do that; his "superior officer," a man, did. And where did that man get the authority? Not from the "state," but from his superior. When you chase the chain of command all the way to the end, you still don't find a "state" issuing orders: you find another man. And where did that man get the authority? Nowhere. He gets it from our belief that he has it. We believe that he isn't just a man: he's the embodiment of the "state," or the "will of the people." But those, too, are abstractions that don't exist. We might as well say he gets his authority from Odin the All-Father.

When you restrict yourself to the literal facts, there is no "state"; there are only men who claim to represent the "state" in the same way that priests represent Zeus. And unless the mythical deity, be it "Zeus" or "Lady Liberty," turns water into wine and otherwise proves her divine authority, its priests are nothing but frauds. They are just men, and they're bound by the same morality as any other man.

When I use the common language of the "state," and say that it is immoral, or guilty of a crime, or bound by morality, I'm really talking about the individual men who supposedly represent the state. They are guilty of murder, or immorality, etc.

--Len.
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Paddy
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« Reply #109 on: September 20, 2007, 01:08:22 PM »

Before you leave, Euclidean (and before we go off to abstract lala land), maybe you have some idea why RP or any libertarian for that matter, can't connect with the people of this country?
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Len Budney
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« Reply #110 on: September 20, 2007, 01:55:04 PM »

Before you leave, Euclidean (and before we go off to abstract lala land), maybe you have some idea why RP or any libertarian for that matter, can't connect with the people of this country?

I wouldn't expect one simple answer. The biggest factor, though, is that people are most comfortable with what they know, and what they know today is a far cry from nonagression or from the founders' vision. Not only don't they think things can work differently, but the idea itself is unthinkable.

If we grew up with socialized milk in the US, people would scoff at the ridiculous idea that the free market could supply anything as important as milk. We don't have socialized milk, but we have socialized quite a few other things, including roads, law enforcement, a good chunk of the health care system, etc. People find it unthinkable, and hence ridiculous, that these things could be done any way but the way they are done.

--Len.
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roo_ster
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« Reply #111 on: September 20, 2007, 09:55:00 PM »

OK, I have the answer.

Q: Why vote for anybody but Ron Paul?

A: He likely won't be on the ballot for the general election.
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roo_ster

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The Rabbi
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« Reply #112 on: September 20, 2007, 10:40:09 PM »

Before you leave, Euclidean (and before we go off to abstract lala land), maybe you have some idea why RP or any libertarian for that matter, can't connect with the people of this country?

I wouldn't expect one simple answer. The biggest factor, though, is that people are most comfortable with what they know, and what they know today is a far cry from nonagression or from the founders' vision. Not only don't they think things can work differently, but the idea itself is unworkable.

I

--Len.


Fixed it for ya.
Americans are smart people.  Never lose faith in the American people.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #113 on: September 20, 2007, 11:31:33 PM »

Before you leave, Euclidean (and before we go off to abstract lala land), maybe you have some idea why RP or any libertarian for that matter, can't connect with the people of this country?

I wouldn't expect one simple answer. The biggest factor, though, is that people are most comfortable with what they know, and what they know today is a far cry from nonagression or from the founders' vision. Not only don't they think things can work differently, but the idea itself is ridiculous unworkable.

Fixed it for ya.
Americans are smart people.  Never lose faith in the American people.

I didn't call anyone stupid. Habit-formation is a survival trait, and what I describe is just habit writ large. It's efficient to optimize one's behavior for the status quo. But once that's done, changing the status quo screws us all up: suddenly our habits are all wrong, and we have to form new ones. The idea of changing our most deeply-ingrained habits naturally strikes us as completely ridiculous. That's how our sense of humor works; glaring contradictions make us laugh.

You yourself illustrate just what I'm talking about. You changed "ridiculous" to "unworkable," but your response to ideas such as road privatization has consistently been to ridicule. Plenty of things are workable despite your ridicule. If this conversation were twenty years ago, you'd probably ridicule the idea of private postal service; today, with UPS, etc., well established, you at least recognize that the idea is workable. Ten years ago you would probably have said that government schools are absolutely necessary. With the growth of charter and home schools, you probably would admit that privatization is "workable," but possibly not. Private fire companies have been in the news recently, so you probably wouldn't dismiss them out of hand. Your resistance to each idea is roughly proportional to their prevalence today.

But roads? Private roads are practically nonexistent today, so they're "unworkable." In fact, private turnpikes were a vital part of England's infrastructure in the 18th century, and also in the US until the early-mid 19th century. There's nothing unworkable about them. What makes them seem ridiculous unworkable to you is that things aren't currently done that way.


--Len.
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The Rabbi
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« Reply #114 on: September 20, 2007, 11:45:10 PM »

Once again illustrating your tendency to misrepresent and use straw men arguments.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #115 on: September 20, 2007, 11:59:56 PM »

Once again illustrating your tendency to misrepresent and use straw men arguments.

My post explained itself reasonably and at length. If you wish to critique it, please repay the courtesy. A barrage of flippant replies are not enjoyable dialogue--neither for the participants nor the bystanders.

--Len.
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The Rabbi
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« Reply #116 on: September 21, 2007, 12:42:06 AM »

You could start by acknowledging that I never wrote you called anyone stupid.  So your disclaimer is dishonest.  That right there would be a sign of some kind of intellectual honesty.
Next you could point out any place where I even commented on privatizing roads.  Once you've determined I never expressed an opinion either way about it, you could admit to that fact.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #117 on: September 21, 2007, 12:58:14 AM »

You could start by acknowledging that I never wrote you called anyone stupid.  So your disclaimer is dishonest.

You said, "Americans are smart people. Never lose faith in the American people." That reply can mean nothing other than that I in some way maligned the intelligence of the American people. If you didn't mean to imply that, then I'm glad to hear it. If so, what were you trying to say? I can't tell.

Quote
Next you could point out any place where I even commented on privatizing roads.

To my knowledge, you have not specifically mentioned roads: your responses to liberty in general, and Ron Paul in particular, have been sweeping and broad. Since you seldom give specific objections, I have no choice but to select specific points myself. If you are in fact on-board with road privatization, just say so and I'll be glad to hear it. In that case, it was a f'rinstance, and not one of your specific objections--but it remains a good illustration of the way in which perfectly intelligent Americans reject the unfamiliar out of hand.

--Len.
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The Rabbi
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« Reply #118 on: September 21, 2007, 01:26:35 AM »

I was confident your level of intellectual honesty would come out.  It did.
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« Reply #119 on: September 21, 2007, 01:47:06 AM »

I thought you guys were both 'free market' types.  Anyway the privatization of everything without some (at a minimum) legal system to protect it goes nowhere.  Then you'll need an enforcement arm of the legal system, so you're back to government again.  Gov't needs money in order to operate, so you've got taxes again.  But then taxes are theft, and round and round we go.  OTOH, maybe private property is theft and the claim to ownership that requires force to protect is itself aggression.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #120 on: September 21, 2007, 02:01:56 AM »

I thought you guys were both 'free market' types.  Anyway the privatization of everything without some (at a minimum) legal system to protect it goes nowhere.

I agree. The question is whether the legal system can only exist under the aegis of government. There are lots of examples of law and order without government. Iceland, William Penn's colony (which functioned without government of any kind for many years), and others are out there. Other examples of spontaneous order abound as well. In Tiananmen Square, protesters for democracy, ironically, spontaneously created an orderly anarchist society for the duration of their protest.

Quote
Then you'll need an enforcement arm of the legal system, so you're back to government again.

You need enforcement, but that isn't automatically a government. For example, when you defend yourself against murder or burglary or rape, you're enforcing law, but you aren't doing it as a government agent. If your friends help you, or you pay your armed neighbor to stand guard, or hire Pinkertons, the government is not involved. Most law enforcement can be handled in precisely that way, and even is in some places.

Some things definitely can't be handled that way, but shouldn't be law enforcement issues in the first place. Drinking alcohol, as is banned today in "dry counties" in the Bible belt, or smoking marijuana for that matter, are private matters. We can forbid it on our property, but if someone wants to do those things in his own home it's his business. Private law enforcement can't be used to impose our morals on others, but that's okay because we shouldn't be doing that anyway.

There are some aspects of law enforcement that are tricky without government, but they're not impossible. For example, how does one square arresting someone for fraud with private property rights? Can random citizens invade someone's property to haul off the fraudster? That's a tricky sort of question, and it's too involved for a snappy solution in a post like this, but it is a solvable problem.

In short, it is possible to have law enforcement without government. And law enforcement is, as you say, absolutely necessary.

--Len.
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Paddy
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« Reply #121 on: September 21, 2007, 02:10:52 AM »

Quote
You need enforcement, but that isn't automatically a government. For example, when you defend yourself against murder or burglary or rape, you're enforcing law, but you aren't doing it as a government agent. If your friends help you, or you pay your armed neighbor to stand guard, or hire Pinkertons, the government is not involved. Most law enforcement can be handled in precisely that way, and even is in some places.

That won't work.  You'd have roving gangs of privateers extorting protection money, then you'd have gang wars and chaos.   You've devolved to a tribal society.
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Len Budney
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« Reply #122 on: September 21, 2007, 02:21:27 AM »

Quote
You need enforcement, but that isn't automatically a government. For example, when you defend yourself against murder or burglary or rape, you're enforcing law, but you aren't doing it as a government agent. If your friends help you, or you pay your armed neighbor to stand guard, or hire Pinkertons, the government is not involved. Most law enforcement can be handled in precisely that way, and even is in some places.

That won't work.  You'd have roving gangs of privateers extorting protection money, then you'd have gang wars and chaos.   You've devolved to a tribal society.

Your objection deserves discussion (and has been discussed extensively in the past, BTW), but I'd only point out that it's jumping the gun a bit simply to assume that. Historical examples suggest otherwise, for starters. For instance, the "wild west" was in fact safer than the "civilized" east, and was quite an orderly place, despite the lack of government law enforcement. People are smart enough to know that killing is bad business, and are willing to find other means of working things out. Even the Mafia uses murder sparingly.

Would murder disappear from the earth? Of course not. But I'd point out that the biggest mass-murders in history have all been carried out by governments. Germany, Russia, China and Cambodia all come readily to mind.

--Len.
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The Rabbi
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« Reply #123 on: September 21, 2007, 02:25:24 AM »

Quote
You need enforcement, but that isn't automatically a government. For example, when you defend yourself against murder or burglary or rape, you're enforcing law, but you aren't doing it as a government agent. If your friends help you, or you pay your armed neighbor to stand guard, or hire Pinkertons, the government is not involved. Most law enforcement can be handled in precisely that way, and even is in some places.

That won't work.  You'd have roving gangs of privateers extorting protection money, then you'd have gang wars and chaos.   You've devolved to a tribal society.
I'd agree.  The only reason that private judicial systems work is because all parties agree to be bound by them.  If they dont then they have to appeal to the gov't system.  This occurs frequently enough in the private Jewish courts (batei din).  Private enforcement of private judicial systems could easily either be swayed into partiality or fall to accusations of partiality.  This would occasion "my police force vs your police force."
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Len Budney
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« Reply #124 on: September 21, 2007, 02:30:03 AM »

Private enforcement of private judicial systems could easily either be swayed into partiality or fall to accusations of partiality.

Unlike government law enforcement.  rolleyes

--Len.
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